Call for further investment in domestic recycling

Tuesday, 17 April, 2018


In the lead-up to a meeting between Australia’s environment ministers on 27 April, sustainability consultancy ACOR is calling for further government investment in the domestic recycling sector, citing a new report which finds such investment could result in the creation of hundreds of new jobs.

“The report by the highly regarded MRA Consulting shows that domestically remanufacturing 50% of the material formerly sent to China leads to some 500 jobs here and reduces greenhouse gases by the same as taking 50,000 cars off the road,” said ACOR CEO Pete Shmigel.

“To check the China challenge, we are ready to reboot recycling as a self-sufficient sector that enables employment and prevents pollution. Ministers can support this by agreeing to a National Circular Economy & Recycling Plan that makes a one-off investment in the three i’s of recycling: infrastructure, improvement and innovation.”

ACOR believes Australia is in the midst of a recycling crisis, with Shmigel saying the sector “needs support now or services and jobs could go, including in country towns”.

“We need to make and buy more recycled content products here in Australia,” he said. “Closing the loop is what’s needed for community confidence, job growth and environmental results.”

According to ACOR, projects under a government investment of $150 million could include:

  • New technology to support more Australian reprocessing of mixed paper, mixed plastics and glass cullet.
  • Enhanced methods and machinery at recyclate sorting centres.
  • Support for government and corporate purchasing of recycled content products.
  • A national centre for recycled content product development.
  • Education to ensure what’s collected is clean enough for recycled content product making.

“While state governments have rightly focused on the system’s short-term survival, it’s time for all governments to jointly act for recycling’s future success,” Shmigel said.

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