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Regrowth research: AORA

AORA is undertaking original research to identify the infrastructure required to underpin growth in the organics recycling sector, writes National Executive Officer Peter Olah.

In March, the Australian Organics Recycling Association (AORA) released a report that revealed the organics recycling industry’s significant macroeconomic contribution to the Australian economy.

The report, The Economic Contribution of the Australian Organics Recycling Industries, showed that our industry provides over 4845 jobs, $366 million in wages and salaries, $1.9 billion in supply chain opportunities and $724 million in industry value add to the nation’s economy.

We recently delivered a national series of webinars to AORA members and governments to detail the report’s findings – thanks to all those who attended.

The report modelled what the economic and environmental contribution would be if current organics recycling rates were increased under four different scenarios: 70, 80, 90 and 95 per cent.

Under the 95 per cent scenario, the report found that organics recycling businesses would generate an extra $1.7 billion in sales.

And in doing so, provide an additional $1.6 billion in supply chain opportunity, with an extra $612 million in industry value add towards the Australian economy.

Additionally, with a 95 per cent increase in recycling rates, the organics industry would provide 4094 extra jobs, paying $309 million in livelihood to everyday Australians.

A further 3,208,451 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions would also be saved, which is equivalent to 4,797,587 trees planted and 741,524 cars taken off the road each year.

This enormous economic and environmental benefit is not only contingent upon the right policy settings from governments. It also relies upon the industry’s capacity to take up the opportunity.

To achieve a 95 per cent recycling rate, the industry would need to increase its processing capacity by 6.4 million tonnes – from its current 7.5 million tonnes to 13.9 million tonnes – each year. And that’s just the increase based on 2019 figures.

As the organic waste stream grows over the next 20 years, industry will have to capture a greater tonnage year-on-year just to stay level, let alone get to a 95 per cent capture rate.

This is why AORA has commissioned a second study from Australian Economic Advocacy Solutions (AEAS), which prepared the previous report.

The second report will examine the organic recycling industry’s existing and potential capacity. And provide independent and robust assessment of the industry’s ability to step up as a provider of economic, employment and environmental benefit.

The project will deliver an overview of current recycling rates and tonnes processed, and modelled tonnes needed to achieve a 70, 80, 90 and 95 per cent recycling rate of organics material.

It will also profile the capabilities of existing organic recycling businesses state-by-state, including identification of organic recycling businesses in each state; product/service range within each state; expertise and skill levels and key areas of strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats within the organics recycling industry.

Furthermore, the AEAS report will provide a quantitative estimation of current and future capacity – in tonnes and value – of the organic recycling industry by state, including capacity for storage of materials and products.

AEAS will also identify the soft and hard infrastructure required to underpin growth, and potential gaps for future growth of the organics recycling sector, while analysing emerging markets or current market gaps for an expanded industry.

The second AEAS report will provide analysis that is specific to the unique capabilities of the organics recycling industry and will provide an understanding of industry capacity trends.

In turn, this will act as a foundation of increased recycling, economic and environmental benefit through the further development of the Australian organics recycling industry.

The information provided to AEAS will be held by them in the strictest confidence and will not be given to AORA or any other industry player.

It will be used for the final report only in an aggregated and de-identified format, and the original data will be destroyed once the project is finalised.

I look forward to your contribution to this vital piece of work, and to presenting its outcomes to AORA members and governments in the coming months.

For more information click here

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