Australia’s waste and recycling sector is set to back Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s $20 million funding with greater investment in research and technology, according to an Australasian Waste & Recycling Expo (AWRE) survey.
AWRE Event Manager Andrew Lawson said the survey found 85 per cent of respondents were planning investments of up to $500,000, while 12 per cent planned to invest more than $1million.
“Organisations cited research and development, technology and innovation, and product development as their major investment priorities over the next three years,” Mr Lawson said.
“While 49 per cent of respondents said they plan to increase staff over the next 12 months, 43 per cent said there would be no staff changes.”
Mr Lawson said the survey revealed an overarching sense of optimism about the future, despite the short-term challenges following the loss of export markets.
“Not surprisingly, there is still widespread concern about China’s National Sword policy, which dramatically cut Australia’s export of plastics, paper, metal and other waste materials to that market,” Mr Lawson said.
“However, far from throwing Australia’s waste and recycling industries into crisis, most believe this presents an opportunity to develop homegrown solutions to the growing problem of waste.”
According to Mr Lawson, 54 per cent of those surveyed said they were confident that new recycling technology, especially in energy generation, would transform the sector over the next one-to-three years.
“A majority of respondents said this far neither federal nor state initiatives had helped their business navigate the challenging new landscape, so the Prime Minister’s recent focus on these issues will be welcomed by the industry,” Mr Lawson said.
“Asked to nominate the main drivers for bringing about radical changes to Australia’s waste and recycling sector, respondents nominated government policy, technology and international trends – with some also identifying climate change as a major influence on public policy and community attitudes.”
AWRE will run 30-31 October at ICC Sydney in Darling Harbour.