In the lead-up to the Australasian Waste & Recycling Expo (AWRE), event organisers conducted a wide-ranging survey of stakeholders, which found that 85 per cent of respondents were planning investments of up to $500,000.
Of those surveyed, 12 per cent planned to invest more than $1million.
Organisations cited research and development, technology and innovation, and product development as their major investment priorities over the next three years.
While 49 per cent of respondents said they plan to increase staff over the next 12 months, 43 per cent said there would be no staff changes.
The respondents came from every state and territory representing various suppliers and customers.
The survey results show a growing waste industry, that is being backed by the Federal government, which has allocated $20m for innovative projects to boost domestic recycling.
AWRE, which is being held at ICC Sydney on October 30 and 31 will showcase companies that are growing the waste sector in Australia.
AWRE event manager Andrew Lawson said the survey revealed an overarching sense of optimism about the future, despite the short-term challenges following the loss of export markets.
“Fifty-four per cent of those surveyed said they were confident that new recycling technology, especially in energy generation, would transform the sector over the next one-to-three years,” Lawson said.
“Not surprisingly, there is still widespread concern about China’s National Sword policy, which dramatically cut Australia’s export of plastics, paper, metal and other waste materials to that market.
“However far from throwing Australia’s waste and recycling industries into crisis, most believe this presents an opportunity to develop home-grown solutions to the growing problem of waste,” he said.
A majority of respondents said this far neither federal nor state initiatives had helped their business navigate the challenging new landscape, so the Prime Minister’s recent focus on these issues will be welcomed by the industry, Lawson explained.
Asked to nominate the main drivers for bringing about radical changes to Australia’s waste and recycling sector, respondents nominated government policy, technology and international trends – with some also identifying climate change as a major influence on public policy and community attitudes.
The survey was conducted by Explori in August 2019, with 50 per cent from the Waste Reduction demand side and 50 per cent from the Waste Reduction supply side.