NSW Government’s $47M National Sword package

The NSW Government has announced it will release a $47 million package to support local government and industry in response to China’s National Sword policy.

China is the largest importer of recyclable materials from Australia, and the new policy restricts the types of waste that will be accepted.

A one-off package is planned to respond to this, and is funded by the Waste Less, Recycle More initiative and aims to provide short, medium and long term initiative to ensure kerbside recycling continues.

The funding will allow councils to offset extra costs associated with kerbside collections, improve council tendering processes to increase production and use of recycled products, and fund community education to reduce recycling contamination.

The package also includes $9.5 million for industry and local government to invest in infrastructure projects to find new uses for recyclable materials and reduce the amount of unrecyclable materials at the end of the process.

Guidelines have been set in place to ensure applicants seeking funding address the National Sword policy, represent better value for money and demonstrate benefits for the community.

Recycling facilities can also apply to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) to temporarily vary their stockpile limits, with facilities being assessed to demonstrate appropriate safety measures remain in place.

NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton said the NSW Government is committed to working with the recycling industry and local councils to ensure it continues having a strong kerbside recycling system.

“I have met with industry and government stakeholders to hear first-hand about how we can address the current global challenges to the recycling market in NSW,” Ms Upton said.

“The short-term need for increased stockpiles of recycled material during this critical time must be balanced with the safety of the community and the environment,” she said.

An inter-government taskforce is also being established to urgently progress a longer-term response to National Sword in partnership with industry and councils.

“I have also written to the Federal Environment Minister to urgently progress the work on this issue and the long-term solutions at a national level.”

The Australian Council of Recycling has welcomed the NSW Government’s recycling package.

“In the context of the unprecedented impact of China’s new settings on Australia’s recycling system, the NSW Government package can help relieve short-term pressure while also building longer-term resilience for the recycling system. That’s an important step forward to ensuring that recycling can continue to deliver job and environmental benefits for NSW residents,” ACOR CEO Pete Shmigel said.

“It is good to also note that the NSW Government is urging a national approach and we will be calling on all Ministers to adopt an Australian Recycling Resilience Plan to future-focus our industry and drive toward a circular economy that makes fullest use of what comes out of our homes and onto our kerbs,” he said.

“It’s time to shift from ‘crisis’ mode to claiming recycling’s potential as a major national industry of the future.”

 

Almost 100 million containers collected by NSW Return and Earn

Almost 100 million containers have been returned since the NSW Return and Earn scheme began in December last year, according to the official website.

Reverse vending machine technology, alongside over-the-counter and automated depots have helped NSW reach this goal. As of Monday, the website showed more than 98 million containers collected.

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NSW Minister for Environment, Gabrielle Upton said more than five million drink containers had been returned over the second weekend of February.

Nepean Distributors, a drinks product supplier to schools and sporting club canteens, have been supporting the scheme and having a positive impact on the local community, according to EPA NSW.

In two months, Nepean Distributors has processed 133,034 containers, with over record of 11,879 in a day.

“It is making people, especially kids and teenagers, think about recycling. We want to help change their mindset to think about their environment and cleaning up their local park,” Managing Director of Nepean Distributors, Anthony Morrissey said.

They have also teamed up with local sports groups such as Macarthur BMX to help fundraise for the club and encourage locals to donate their refunds to charities like the African AIDS Foundation.

Return and Earn collection points mapped out

Collection points for NSW’s container deposit scheme, Return and Earn, have been mapped out on its website. 

Under the scheme, people in NSW will be able to return most empty beverage containers between 150 ml and three litres to collection points for a 10-cent refund.

There will be more than 200 collection points across NSW when Return and Earn launches on 1 December 2017.

Collection points include reverse vending machines, over-the-counter sites such as cafes, small grocers and news agencies and automated depots for high volumes of returns.

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Refunds can be received as cash, digital payment, in-store credit or a charity donation.

Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton said more collection points will be finalised as the scheme rolls out.

“This is the first step in rolling out more than 500 collection points across NSW,” Ms Upton said.

The new myTOMRA app for smartphones is also slated to allow container refunds to be deposited securely into registered PayPal accounts.

To receive the electronic refund, a person claiming the refund simply needs to scan a barcode from the app under the barcode reader on the front of the reverse vending machines before depositing the containers.

Other refund options include donating the refund to a charity or community group and printing out a refund docket that can be exchanged for cash or redeemed on in-store purchases at the local retail partner.