$20M for NSW AWT industry and councils affected by MWOO

Councils and the alternative waste treatment (AWT) industry can apply for $20 million in funding from the NSW Government to improve kerbside waste recycling.

According to Environment Minister Matt Kean, the funding is part of the state government’s $24 million AWT transition package, designed to help councils and industry achieve better food and organics waste separation and innovate how they recycle.

The funding follows the NSW EPA’s 2018 decision to restrict the use of mixed waste organics outputs (MWOO).

“It aims to support councils and the industry to plan and introduce separate food and organics waste services at the kerbside, making the most of the valuable resource that is household food and garden waste,” Mr Kean said.

“This is about the government supporting innovative, sustainable resource recovery of general waste that will be environmentally, socially and economically beneficial.”

Available funding includes $12.5 million via the Organics Collections grants program, $5 million in Local Council Transition grants and $2.51 million in Research and Development grants for new or alternative uses for general waste.

Local Government NSW President Linda Scott said councils want to work with the NSW and Federal Governments to save recycling, minimise waste and build a circular economy.

“This much-needed funding will assist councils and council-led AWT industries to help keep food and garden waste out of landfill – a goal that we share with Environment Minister Matt Kean to support our environment,” she said.

“I welcome this new NSW Government funding to support recycling in our communities, as only in partnership can we ensure we save recycling in NSW.”

The Organics Collections grants program aims help councils impacted by MWOO regulatory changes switch to garden only or food and garden organics collection services, with individual grants of up to $1.3 million.

A total of $16 million is available under this funding round, with an additional $3.5 million available to non-affected councils.

Similarly, Local Council Transition grants aim to support councils impacted by MWOO regulatory changes with a range of project options, including strategic planning, options assessment, community engagement, rolling out new organics collection services or improving their existing organics services.

Research and Development grants are designed to support initiatives to develop alternative end markets or new products for general waste, either to accelerate or enhance existing projects or fund new research and development.

An additional $3.75 million for processing infrastructure is scheduled to open for applications next month through the Organics Infrastructure Large and Small program.

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New ReachTel poll shows strong support for red bin recycling

A NSW ReachTel poll has shown strong support for red bin recycling, with 93 per cent supporting the recycling industry and 79 per cent supporting the use of organics on farm use.

The poll, conducted in mid-February with 1546 representative respondents, affirms the NSW Government’s move to protect the future of the alternative waste treatment (AWT) industry, according to the Australian Council of Recycling (ACOR.)

The poll comes months after the NSW EPA announced it was stopping the restricted use of mixed waste organic material on agricultural land after comprehensive independent studies into potential health risks.

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Media reports indicate that NSW Government Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton wrote to the state’s major recycling companies to reveal the government was awaiting expert advice to determine the future use of mixed waste organics.

The poll shows that 92.8 per cent agree that reducing waste and recycling products into new products and uses is important, 78.6 per cent support the use of “organic material for farm use and land rehabilitation,” and 87.3 per cent support “increasing recycling and reducing landfill by processing food and garden material from rubbish bins into useful products.”

ACOR CEO Pete Shmigel said the community overwhelmingly supports the treatment and recovery of household residual material and its diversion from landfill.

He added that this has been the practice by AWT operators in NSW for 18 years prior to a pre-emptive government decision to delete the practice, alluding to the ban on mixed waste organic outputs.

“It’s pointless to send valuable material to landfill and to miss out on the benefits to farms, mine sites, the environment, and jobs,” Mr Shmigel said.

The results show participants were primarily concerned with increased landfill and pollution in the environment.

Mr Shmigel said the next step after the NSW election is for the government and the EPA to collaborate with industry on the details and delivery of a revived AWT sector.

 

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