The Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR) is calling on major political parties to commit to five policy priorities to transition Australia to a circular economy to ensure the nation moves to a net zero future. Read more
Three new grants from the Federal Government will aim to increase recycling of components in motor vehicles, commercial furniture and resilient floor coverings. Read more
The Australian Council of Recycling (ACOR) has called for a dedicated Minister for Resource Recovery and the Circular Economy to drive a whole-of-government approach to circular economy outcomes, including product stewardship, sustainable procurement, resource recovery, recycling and remanufacturing. Read more
Education is key to increasing recycling rates of organic waste, says Biomix Chief Executive Mike Robertson. Read more
The Federal Government is calling on “waste warriors” to download the ‘Recycle Mate’ app, in an effort to increase the apps product catalogue for users. Read more
The Federal Government’s new $190M Recycling Modernisation Fund will generate $600 million of recycling investment and drive a billion-dollar transformation of Australia’s waste and recycling capacity.
Wastech Engineering has welcomed the Federal Government’s $20 million commitment to grow Australia’s domestic recycling capabilities.
Funds are available through round eight of the Cooperative Research Centre grants program, which opened 13 August.
Wastech Managing Director Neil Bone said the grants are a step in the right direction, following the Council of Australian Governments export ban announcement on 9 August.
“Companies such as Wastech are ready and well prepared to assist local government and industry, with a wide range of solutions and products that will meet the desired outcomes of converting waste products into useful products for the Australian consumer,” Mr Bone said.
“This is a fantastic initiative by the Federal Government, and allows any organisation with an interest in diverting waste from landfill to apply for the grant and start minimising its environmental footprint.”
Mr Bone said in addition to reducing waste, the program will likely spark job creation and further recycling sector growth.
“With Wastech’s proven industry capabilities and equipment range, we can offer turn-key solutions for material recovery, including co-mingled recyclables, municipal solid waste, construction and demolition, commercial and industrial, waste to energy and e-waste,” Mr Bone said.
“Wastech personnel can also assist interested parties in applying for these grants.”
Consistent labelling and increased industry capacity would help councils identify the correct pathways for recyclable plastics, writes Australian Local Government Association President David O’Loughlin. Read more
A new strategy commissioned by the Federal Government aims to help maximise Australia’s potential as a world powerhouse in lithium-ion battery manufacturing.
Trade, Tourism and Investment Minister Simon Birmingham launched Austrade’s new Lithium-Ion Battery Value Chain: New Economy Opportunities for Australia strategy on 11 December.
He said Australia was well positioned to become a world-leader in this developing market.
“Lithium-ion battery technology has enabled the mobile device revolution and is driving innovation and a global shift in energy storage solutions.
With growing global demand for lithium-ion batteries, this report recognises that Australia has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform into a major processing, manufacturing and trading hub for lithium-ion batteries,” Mr Birmingham said.
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“At the moment Australia produces about half of the world’s lithium, but once it’s mined out of the ground, it’s shipped offshore, with all of the value-creation activities such as processing and battery manufacturing occurring overseas.
“Australia is uniquely blessed with numerous rare earths, that are increasingly important both economically and strategically across the globe. Our ambition is to drive enhanced investment across the value chain of commodities like lithium,” he said.
“Now is the time to accelerate the development of a high-tech lithium manufacturing sector in our own backyard. Through Austrade’s Resources team we are ramping up our activities overseas to attract investment and highlight our significant comparative advantage such as our strong economic conditions, skilled workforce and well-established resources infrastructure network.”
Resources Minister Matthew Canavan said it was time Australia took advantage of the booming lithium industry.
“Lithium prices have tripled since 2010 and global battery consumption is predicted to increase five-fold in the next 10 years, driven by a global shift to electric vehicles in some markets and off-grid storage to support renewable energy development.
“As the world’s largest producer of lithium and with mineral reserves covering 90 per cent of the elements required in lithium-ion battery production, we have an enormous opportunity to leverage of this rapidly-growing industry,” said Canavan.
“Our Resources 2030 Taskforce report highlights the importance of developing new strategies to develop competitive downstream industries, including value-adding for prospective battery and critical-minerals industries.
Mr Canavan said it is a roadmap for how we can put Australia in the best position to make the most of investments in the lithium supply chain.
“With the right policies we can advance our industry further up the value chain to become the world’s leading supplier of high grade lithium components including ion-batteries – creating new jobs and opportunities for Australians,” he said.
The Lithium-Ion Battery Value Chain: New Economy Opportunities for Australia report is available on the Austrade website.
The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) has called for continued national leadership from the Federal Government to ensure waste management and resource recovery policies are consistent across all levels of government.
It follows the endorsement of the new National Waste Policy at the eighth Meeting of Environment Ministers in Canberra last week.
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After the Federal Government’s Department of the Environment and Energy issued a statement indicating a consensus was reached on a national action plan for the National Waste Policy, Environment Minister Melissa Price issued a statement last week claiming state and territory ministers “walked away from solid targets on Australia’s recycling and waste”.
“The Federal Government expected to formalise the targets, after months of negotiations and consultation and endorsement at state and federal official level,” Ms Price said in the statement.
“Instead the state and territory governments refused to endorse aspects of our National Waste Policy.
“This is an incredibly disappointing outcome for the nation that simply deprives Australia of a policy that would ensure we have a responsible and environmentally sensible approach to managing waste in the future.”
The minister went on to say that the Federal Government will continue to press forward with an action plan on reducing waste and increasing recycling.
ALGA President, Mayor David O’Loughlin attended the meeting and said there is more work to be done on the issue.
“The new policy may be full of good intentions and strong principles, but has as much backbone as you’ll find in the average plastic shopping bag,” Cr O’Loughlin said.
“Urgent action is needed as ministers themselves have acknowledged. Industry and communities need to see real on-ground action and there is a critical need for national leadership to maintain a unified approach.
“Dedicated and nationally-coordinated action on recycling will give industry the signal it needs to increase investment in sustainable resource recovery and support the nation’s move towards a circular economy,” he said.
Cr O’Loughlin said it is essential that all levels of government increase their procurement of goods and infrastructure that incorporate recycled materials, such as those used in road bases, to help reduce items entering the waste stream. He adds that state and territory governments need to take the necessary steps to help the recyclate industry sector go further.
“89 per cent of Australians have indicated that they want recycled content included in government procurement,” he said.
“There is more than $1 billion sitting in state waste levy funds that could be invested in industry innovation, pilot projects and financially supporting transitions from virgin product feedstock to recycled feedstock.
“There’s another $1 billion to be collected next year, but the meeting achieved no strong policy commitment, no agreement on concrete targets or timeframes, miniscule investment and little progress,” Cr O’Loughlin said.