The Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) has called on the next Australian government to act urgently on Australia’s waste management crisis by increasing the amount of recycled products and developing new markets for recycled products.
Barry Calvert, WSROC president, said while waste collection is managed by local governments, international forces acting on the waste industry at present are far beyond their capacity.
“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,” 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. This delay has put extreme pressure on councils as they try and reduce impacts to local communities and ensure environmental outcomes are being met.”
According to the NSW EPA Draft Waste and Resource Recovery Infrastructure Strategy, by 2021, Sydney will experience a shortfall of more than 1.4 million tonnes of waste processing capacity due to population growth.
“This situation cannot continue. To meet that shortfall, we will need to build around 16 new waste facilities,” Calvert added.
“The same story can be seen repeated over and over again across the country.
“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.”