Recycling in regional and remote Australia has been given a $7 million funding boost to “turbocharge” Australia’s waste and recycling industry.
Environment Minister Sussan Ley said the funding will help build new or expand existing recycling facilities to deal with waste glass, plastics, tyres and paper in remote and regional areas, and tackle the city-country imbalance when it comes to recycling opportunities.
The funding, from the Recycling Modernisation Fund, is in addition to 23 projects already identified in regional and remote Australia, jointly funded with state governments.
“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,” Ley said.
“Regional and remote communities often face unique challenges but that doesn’t make recycling any less important, and it doesn’t change the fact that people want the chance to do the right thing for the environment.”
Ley said the funding will be for projects that provide local solutions to local problems, increase employment, provide economic benefit, and solve transport logistics complexities.
“They could range from community sorting stations to AI technology and have a co-investment value from $10,000 to $1 million.”
Trevor Evans, Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management said the government recognises the constraints on waste collection, sorting and processing faced by communities where kerbside collection is not feasible.
“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,” 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 Morrison Government is working with the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) to look at ways to develop waste collection partnerships in regional and remote areas, including potential collaboration 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 $150,000 provided to Regional Development Australia–Tropical North (RDA-TN) to assess the viability of a plastics recycling, collection, processing and manufacturing hub in Far North Queensland.
For more information visit: www.environment.gov.au/protection/waste/how- we-manage-waste/recycling-modernisation-fund