The Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) says delays in establishing a national waste policy are causing a processing capacity shortfall in NSW.
WSROC President Barry Calvert said the next elected government must act to stimulate local recycling capacity, ensure more products are recycled and develop new markets for recycled products.
In the lead up to the election both major parties committed to upgrading recycling infrastructure, establishing local markets for recycled content and dealing with plastic pollution.
Neither the Labor or Liberal Party has committed to developing a national regulatory framework for waste management in the country however.
“Waste collection is managed by local governments, however international forces acting on the waste industry at present are far beyond the capacity of local communities to address,” Mr Calvert said.
“The introduction of the China National Sword Policy in 2017, and the rise and fall of international commodity markets have created an unsustainable situation for Australia’s waste management sector.”
Mr Calvert said without federal action the cost of managing Australia’s waste will increase, and environmental outcomes may be compromised.
“Since China’s recycling ban, we have seen much discussion around amendments to Australia’s National Waste Policy but very little action,” Mr Calvert said.
“This delay has put extreme pressure on councils as they try and reduce impacts to local communities and ensure environmental outcomes are being met.”
Mr. Calvert said by 2021 Sydney will experience a shortfall of over 1.4 million tonnes of waste processing capacity due to population growth.
“To meet that shortfall we will need to build around 16 new waste facilities,” Mr Calvert said.
“We need to stimulate local recycling markets to ensure we have the capacity to responsibly manage our own waste, which would create opportunities for new jobs and positive outcomes for the environment.”