Up to 190,000 tonnes of soft plastic packaging will be recycled and reprocessed each year under one of the proposals funded through the National Product Stewardship Investment Fund.
The Federal Government has awarded $10.5 million to 15 projects through the fund, with the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) securing a $985,866 grant that will bring the food and grocery supply chain together to tackle the problem of hard to recycle consumer plastics.
According to Environment Minister Sussan Ley, the Federal Government has made it clear that industry needs to take action for its waste.
“We are investing $10.5 million to seed 11 new and expand four existing industry-led initiatives that will make a practical environmental difference and it is great to see industry respond strongly to our call,” she said.
“Initiatives like the AFGC’s will lift the recycling rates of hard to recycle consumer plastics like chocolate and chip wrappers from around 10 per cent to 65 per cent by 2030. These are the sorts of practical outcomes that will boost consumer confidence when they recycle.”
In addition to AFGC’s grant, the Federal Government has awarded MobileMuster $373,200 to develop a business case to expand the scope of its e-waste collection to include electronic products not currently covered by other programs.
Equilibrium’s SeatCare project has received $930,000 to finalise a design and implement a product stewardship scheme for old, unwanted or obsolete child car safety seats.
Dairy Australia Limited has been awarded $965,400 to assess the requirements for a silage wrap product stewardship scheme, and if feasible, run regional pilots before moving to national implementation.
Additional projects funded include the Australian Bedding Stewardship Council’s mattresses and bedding scheme, the Australasian Circular Textile Association’s Circular Threads project and RM Consulting Group’s National Non-Packaging Agricultural Plastics Stewardship Scheme.
APCO has also received funding for a comprehensive product stewardship framework for plastic oil containers, and a polypropylene plant packaging recycling program supported by Greenlife Industry Australia.
It is projected that the 15 projects will see 1.5 million tonnes of waste diverted from landfill, with more than 560 jobs created.
Assistant Waste Reduction and Environmental Management Minister Trevor Evans said the Federal Government’s seed funding, along with reforms in its Recycling Act, will empower industry and product experts to take more responsibility for their products.
“The grants were six-times oversubscribed which clearly shows the appetite in Australia for putting the power of recycling into the hands of businesses and consumers,” he said.
“There will be further opportunities for funding, and I encourage everyone to work with the new Product Stewardship Centre for Excellence to progress their ideas.”