Recycling sector plans to invest
An industry survey has revealed that Australia’s waste and recycling sector is keen to back Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s $20 million funding by creating additional jobs and boosting investment in research and technology.
The wide-ranging survey of stakeholders was conducted by event organisers in the lead-up to the Australasian Waste & Recycling Expo (AWRE) in Sydney on 30–31 October. The respondents came from every state and territory representing a wide range of suppliers and customers.
The survey found 85% of respondents were planning investments of up to $500,000 and 12% planned to invest more than $1 million, with respondents citing research and development, technology and innovation, and product development as their major investment priorities over the next three years.
While 49% of respondents said they plan to increase staff over the next 12 months, 43% said there would be no staff changes.
AWRE Event Manager Andrew Lawson said the survey revealed an overarching sense of optimism about the future, despite the short-term challenges following the loss of export markets.
“54% of those surveyed said they were confident that new recycling technology, especially in energy generation, would transform the sector over the next one to three years,” Lawson said.
“Not surprisingly, there is still widespread concern about China’s National Sword policy, which dramatically cut Australia’s export of plastics, paper, metal and other waste materials to that market. However, far from throwing Australia’s waste and recycling industries into crisis, most believe this presents an opportunity to develop homegrown solutions to the growing problem of waste.
“A majority of respondents said, thus far, neither federal nor state initiatives had helped their business navigate the challenging new landscape, so the Prime Minister’s recent focus on these issues will be welcomed by the industry,” he said.
Asked to nominate the main drivers for bringing about radical changes to Australia’s waste and recycling sector, respondents nominated government policy, technology and international trends — with some also identifying climate change as a major influence on public policy and community attitudes.
The survey was conducted by Explori in August 2019 — 50% from the waste reduction demand side and 50% from the waste reduction supply side.
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