Australia, Industry News, News

Australian recycling accreditation program takes next steps

The Australian recycling industry is in the next stage of developing a voluntary Recyclers’ Accreditation Program (RAP) through the Australian Council of Recycling (ACOR).

Having started the accreditation scoping process in January 2019 with industry discussions, ACOR’s board are now commissioning a detailed analysis of the program.

Announced in late July, ACOR CEO Pete Shmigel said the recycling industry has a long history of innovation, continual improvement, and collaboration along supply chains, and with governments and the community.

“RAP is the next logical step and we look forward to working government and other partners to make sure it is accepted and drives performance and confidence.”

RAP will aim to ensure high standards of operational performance and accountability in Australian recycling activity, stakeholder, community and investor confidence in Australian recycling activity, complementary arrangements to policy directions and regulatory obligations for Australian recycling activity, and continual improvement in recovery rates from Australian recycling activity.

RAP will aim to cover the following areas of recycling activities:

  • The collection and transport of recyclable materials from the Australian domestic, commercial and industrial, and construction and demolition sectors;
  • The sorting, pre-treatment and storage of collected recyclable materials from those sectors;
  • The remanufacture of collected material into recycled content products (RCPs); and
  • The management of supply chain relationships including with export partners.

RAP will have reference to international leading practices in accreditation and performance standards for the recycling industry, including existing and emerging schemes.

It will also use existing and/or overlapping Australian schemes such as for tyre recyclers and e-waste recyclers, as well as product stewardship schemes, and the “proximity principle” in relation to waste management and the establishment of industry benchmarks for the purposes of the Queensland waste disposal levy’s concessional arrangements for recycling residuals and other potential public policy arrangements.

RAP will be based on the following and additional design principles:

  • Involvement of independent third parties in determining accreditation achievement and its maintenance;
  • The inclusion of both regular non-notified and notified inspection audits in facilities;
  • The review, where applicable, of export documentation and supply chain provenance arrangements;
  • Material mass balance calculation and analysis;
  • Extensive co-design with the recycling sector;
  • Good RoI for participating companies as opposed to any potential ‘free-riders’;
  • Potential alignment with an accreditation services provider, and;
  • Regular public reporting of accreditation scheme results and achievements.

The accreditation initiative was initially approved as part of ACOR’s Agenda 19 workplan of projects together with developing a publicly available app to improve the quality of community participation in kerbside recycling and recycled content products (RCP) directory to foster domestic demand and markets for collected recyclate.