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Coalition of councils set target of recycling 45 million glass bottles annually

The Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (SSROC) is setting itself a goal to recycle 45 million glass bottles each year to leverage purchasing power to drive a circular economy.

The 11 member councils signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that sets out how they will work together to develop a framework for regional procurement of recycled material to drive investment in regional infrastructure.

The councils include Bayside, Burwood, Canada Bay, Canterbury Bankstown, City of Sydney, Georges River, Inner West, Randwick,

With the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) set to ban the export of recyclable materials, there is a greater need to develop domestic markets for these materials.

Mayor of Burwood Council and SSROC president John Faker said the signing of the MoU is a significant step towards solving the recycling crisis.

“We know how important recycling is to the community, which is why our councils are taking the lead to ensure our recyclables are put to good use and kept out of landfill. This is a win-win for everyone,” Faker said.

SSROC general manager Namoi Dougall said the move, in collaboration with key players in industry, government and academia, will create sufficient demand to influence market development beyond what councils can do alone.

“Not only will it allow councils to procure safe, affordable, and high-quality materials, but this model can be rolled out across the Sydney metropolitan area and indeed the entire state.”

Minister for Environment Matt Kean said the all levels of government and industry must work together and embrace initiatives like this one to tackle waste in NSW.

“The NSW government is releasing a comprehensive plastics plan at the end of the year to holistically address plastic waste and pollution entering our environment. We look forward to working closely with councils and industry so that together we safeguard the future of NSW.”

Councils will first focus on introducing more recycled content in road-making materials, including glass and reclaimed asphalt pavement. SSROC demand for recycled glass in civil works is about 10,000 tonnes per year.

Since 2018, SSROC has led a series of workshops and collaborations with engineers, procurement experts, and specification bodies to develop the recognised performance standards for adopting a range of recycled materials in civil works.

This has enabled this innovative process to be done in a safe and cost-effective way.

The next phase of this project will investigate applications for a range of other recycled materials, such as plastic, tyre crumb, and textiles.