Industry News, Latest News

SA government to improve environmental outcomes with $12m recycling transition package

The South Australian government will improve environmental outcomes and generate more than 200 ongoing waste industry jobs thanks to a new $12 million recycling transition package.

The 2019-20 State Budget will deliver $12m of new funding over four years to the Waste and Resource Recovery Modernisation and Council Transition Package.

The package aims to boost recycling and resource recovery, while keeping waste out of landfill through investment, infrastructure, education and modernisation of council and industry collection services.

The funding is on top of the $12.4 million support package announced in 2018 to help the recycling industry and local government in response to China’s National Sword Policy.

Of the $12 million waste management package, $10 million will be provided through Green Industries SA, of which:

  • $5.5 million will be provided to councils and industry to upgrade and standardise waste collection and recycling services, as well as expand education aimed at improving recycling knowledge in the community;
  • $4 million of grant funding will be available to councils and industry to enable investment in modern infrastructure to improve processing, which will increase efficiency and boost jobs; and
  • $500,00 will be available to help local governments implement new waste management strategies.

The EPA will receive the remaining $2 million – $1.6 million for compliance and audit to ensure the integrity of the waste and resource recovery sector and $400,000 to enable a review of the container deposit scheme (CDS).

Minister for environment and water David Speirs said the funding will help councils modernise their waste management practices and reduce the amount of rubbish sent to landfill.

“This funding package will lead to less waste sent to landfill, a reduction in emissions, and will also provide vital stimulus to our world-leading waste management and resource recovery sector, leading to more than 200 jobs here in SA,” Speirs said.

“We know that landfill is one of the most significant contributors to greenhouse gas emissions that are incredibly harmful to our climate and that councils and industry need to have the tools to divert more for resource recovery and continue moving SA towards a truly circular economy.

“The waste management and resource recovery industry is a major player in SA’s economy with approximately 4,800 people employed and we want this number to grow. For every 10,000 tonnes of waste recycled there are 9.2 full-time jobs created compared to 2.8 jobs when sent to landfill.

According to Speirs, as much as 40 per cent of the material in the state’s household waste bins sent to landfill is food and organic waste, which could be diverted through the organics bin.

“When organic material gets sent to landfill it generates Methane. Methane is up to 25 times worse as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide when it comes to global warming. Every 1,000 tonnes of organic material diverted from landfill can save 600 tonnes in greenhouse gas emissions,” Speirs added.

“Through better collection systems, infrastructure and education, by 2020 we want to see a 35 per cent reduction in waste to landfill on 2003 numbers.

“China’s National Sword Policy has provided the industry with a challenge, but this funding package on top of support already provided in last year’s State Budget will help modernise and transition our resource recovery sector.”

The Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR) has welcomed the SA government’s waste management package announcement.

“WMRR welcomes the announcement and commends SA for once again leading the pack alongside Victoria in driving our sector forward. SA gets it – the government gets that waste and resource recovery is not just about protecting the environment, which is vitally important, it is also a sector that creates jobs and is an engine of economic growth,” said Gayle Sloan, WMRR CEO.

“We are confident that the SA government will continue to drive our industry forward, playing a leadership role on key issues including building a sustainable domestic remanufacturing base, regulating the use of single-use plastic, and enhancing the state’s 40-year-old CDS.

“WMRR looks forward to continued engagement and collaboration with the government as it works to meet its 2020 goals and commits to building better collection systems, infrastructure and education, as well as realising the vision of SA going circular.”