A $34.9 million package towards recycling reforms aims to help Victoria create a more stable and productive recycling sector, while improving the quality of recycled materials and developing new markets for them to be processed.
On June 2, the Victorian government announced the funding commitment, which Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio, said is an important step in planning for the future of the waste and recycling industry.
“Managing recycling and waste is a global problem and we need to act now to help the industry continue its transition following China’s import bans.
“It’s more important than ever to minimise the amount of waste we produce and ensure we’re recycling as many items as possible,” D’Ambrosio said.
A $14.3m Recycling Industry Development Fund was announced as part of the package to enhance Victoria’s domestic remanufacturing capabilities.
This funding will target secondary processing infrastructure for priority materials such as paper, cardboard and plastics.
An additional $13.8m program will provide incentives for new entrants to the Victorian recycling market, diversifying the sector and leading to more investment in equipment and infrastructure upgrades.
The package will support Victorian councils to negotiate new contracts for recycling services, to improve business performance and to put better contingency plans in place.
Education programs will be expanded to improve understanding of what can and can’t be recycled, to help reduce the contamination of kerbside recycling.
The Essential Services Commission will review recycling services in Victoria, to look at whether the sector should be regulated as an essential service, in the way that the water and energy sectors are regulated.
On Monday, the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR) announced its support for the Victorian government’s announcement of the review by the Essential Services Commission
WMRR CEO, Gayle Sloan, said the challenges of late have proven the sector is as important as water and energy.
“We’ve long advocated that our sector provides an essential service, playing a fundamental role in protecting human health and the environment,” she said.
Other states, such as Western Australia, have also committed to improving recycling processes.
In May, the WA government announced that not-for-profit organisation WA Return Recycle Renew will co-ordinate the state’s container deposit scheme (CDS).
WA Environment Minister, Stephen Dawson, said the CDS scheme will start in early 2020 with WA Return Recycle Renew ensuring it meets all objectives set by the state government.
Overseen by a board, the scheme co-ordinator will manage payments from manufacturers and importers of eligible beverage products, and will be responsible for establishing and implementing collection and logistics networks.