Ministers met with the waste and recycling industry in Melbourne to discuss recycling challenges, developing markets for recycled materials, new infrastructure capacity and how waste levies should be managed and reinvested into the sector.
Federal Waste Reduction Assistant Minister Trevor Evans and Victorian Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio meet with National Waste Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC) members and affiliated representatives on 6 August.
NWRIC Chairman Phil Richards said active collaboration between government and the waste and recycling industry was crucial to an effective sector.
“With recycling services under threat in Victoria, growing stockpiles across the country, exemptions revoked for the recovery of organics from mixed waste in NSW, now has never been a more important time for industry and government to work closely together,” Mr Richards said.
“Topics of discussion included the critical importance of long term infrastructure planning coordinated across all levels of government, as well as consistent, regular community education campaigns to rebuild community confidence in recycling.”
NWRIC Secretary Alex Serpo said NWRIC members suggested local procurement of recycled materials, and setting appropriate recycled content levels for packaging and civil construction, could revitalise domestic recycling.
Fuel manufacture and energy recovery projects were also discussed, with industry ready to deliver projects that recover embodied energy from unrecyclable materials, reduce greenhouse emissions and extend the life of landfills.
The role of waste levies in addressing current challenges was another topic of conversation.
“This included the need for states, territories and the Federal Government to develop a national levy pricing strategy through the Council of Australian Governments,” Mr Serpo said.
“This pricing strategy could prevent the inappropriate disposal and movement of waste, stop levy avoidance activities, and ensure the resource recovery industry is viable and competitive.”
NWRIC is calling on all state governments to be more transparent and accountable for the total amount of levies collected annually, what proportion of the levies are invested back into the waste and recycling sector and what outcomes are achieved.