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NSW waste levy hurting job prospects

A senior industry executive has called for a zero NSW waste levy on the scrap metal sector to boost jobs.

Waste Contractors & Recyclers Association of NSW executive director, Tony Khoury has told Inside Waste that the current NSW EPA waste levy is continuing to have a major detrimental impact on the state’s scrap metal recycling sector.

He described the extraordinary industry paradox where the levy acts as a cost impost, making scrap metal processing more expensive in this jurisdiction and as a result, makes exports of unprocessed material far more attractive.

Khoury said that metal shredder operators have reiterated their warning that the future recycling of marginal materials such as whitegoods (in terms of value of outputs) is being openly questioned.

“To avoid the NSW waste levy, many thousands of tonnes of unprocessed scrap metal is exported for overseas shredding. On the other hand, NSW steel mills have to import processed recycled steel to ensure there’s an adequate input of feedstock.

“These movements of scrap metal out of (and into) NSW have a major negative impact on the environment.

“To create more NSW jobs and to increase local recycling, the preferred option for the scrap metal sector is a zero NSW waste levy on the landfilling of floc waste residues,” he said.

Up until 2018, China was one of the largest importers and recyclers of scrap metal, not only for Australia but the US, the European Union and some Asian countries.