$171 million to tackle organic waste

The Federal Government has launched a $171 million bid to take 3.4 million tonnes of food and garden waste out of landfill each year, diverting it to farms to create healthier soils and a better environment.

Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley has released guidelines for the first national fund to recycle domestic and commercial organic waste.

“For years people have talked about paddock to plate, this is about plate to paddock. It is something that is already taking place, that we know can help farms, but which needs to be scaled up to a whole new level,” Ley said.

She said $57 million of Commonwealth investment, to be matched by states and territories and the private sector, can generate 2700 jobs in the organic recycling industry and remove two million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere.

Trevor Evans, Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management said organics represent Australia’s second largest waste stream after masonry.

“Australia’s soils are crucial to our prosperity and directly contribute $63 billion to the Australian economy through agriculture alone,” Evans said.

“Nothing embodies a circular approach more than composting – returning today’s organic waste back to the soil to improve our food tomorrow.

“A much stronger organics recycling industry will be one outcome, as will greater diversion from landfills, less food waste, better soil quality, and improved soil carbon capture.”

The Australian Organics Recycling Association (AORA) described the national government’s Healthy Soils Fund as a game changer for the industry.

“The government’s support and hard work in lining up cross-governmental support nationally, will reap huge benefits,” said Peter Olah AORA National Executive Officer.

There will be two application rounds under the fund, the first closing on 17 December 2021 and the second closing on 31 March 2022.

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