$7 million recycling boost for regional and remote Australia

Wednesday, 15 September, 2021

$7 million recycling boost for regional and remote Australia

The Australian Government has announced $7 million in funding to help build new or expand existing recycling facilities to deal with waste glass, plastics, tyres and paper in regional and remote Australia. It is hoped that the funding will close the gap in the city–country imbalance when it comes to recycling opportunities.

Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said: “I come from a regional area that is very progressive when it comes to waste and recycling, but there are just over 630,000 Australians who do not have access to any form of kerbside recycling.”

The funding under the Recycling Modernisation Fund will be in addition to the 23 projects that have already been identified in regional and remote Australia through joint funding with state governments (value $39 million).

According to Ley, the government is prepared to invest in opportunities that could range from community sorting stations to AI technology, with a co-investment value from $10,000 to $1 million.

The Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management, Trevor Evans, said the government recognises the constraints on waste collection, sorting and processing faced by communities where kerbside collection is not feasible.

“However, a key aim of the Recycling Modernisation Fund is to introduce new and innovative technology to significantly increase Australia’s recycling rates. For example, in NSW we recently funded new mini factories to process glass, mattresses and e-waste into tiles and 3D printer filament in the Shoalhaven area,” Assistant Minister Evans said.

“We know that what drives improvement in cities is different to remote, regional and rural areas. There are different economies of scale that will require different technical solutions and it will be exciting to see what they will be.”

The federal government is also working with the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) to explore and develop waste collection partnerships in regional and remote areas, including potentially collaborating with other product stewardship schemes.

It has also provided $114,000 to the Waste Recycling Industry Association of the Northern Territory (WRINT) to assess the status of legacy waste in Territory regions. This is in addition to the $150,000 provided to Regional Development Australia Tropical North to assess the viability of a plastics recycling, collection, processing and manufacturing hub in Far North Queensland.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Cienpies Design

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