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How the NSW EPA is using recycling grants

Seven projects across NSW have received support in the latest round of grants of more than $700,000 to help reduce waste and promote recycling.

Environment Protection Authority (EPA) director Circular Economy Programs Kathy Giunta said the funding supports NSW businesses which are innovating and finding new ways to recycle and repurpose materials which would otherwise end up in landfill.

Among the grants is $134,500 awarded to Newcastle-based recycling project A Plastic Blueprint which gives businesses the tools to run their own soft plastic reduction and recycling program.

“This is the circular economy in action and displays how NSW businesses are innovating by finding new and exciting uses for plastic waste. We all want to see waste plastic recycled or repurposed, so it doesn’t end up in landfill and projects like this – supported by the NSW Government – are helping achieve that goal,” Giunta said.

Largest funded program

The Circulate Program is part of the NSW Government’s Waste Less Recycle More initiative, the largest waste and recycling funding program in Australia, managed by the NSW Environment Protection Authority.

A total of $731,300 has been awarded through the current intake of the Circulate Program to seven projects to repurpose or recycle materials, including plastics, textiles and food from commercial sites and turn them into new products.

“The innovation shown by the projects receiving funding is remarkable and shows the success we can have in growing the circular economy,” Giunta added.

“Other projects will promote glass recycling, repurpose old textiles and help reduce food going to landfill.”

Under the Waste Less, Recycle More extension, a total of $2.5 million in funding was allocated to the Circulate Program to fund eligible projects.

Since 2015, the program has diverted more than 73,000 tonnes of commercial, industrial, construction and demolition waste from landfill.

The seven projects awarded grants under the current intake are:

  1. Circular Hub – A Plastic Blueprint – Newcastle, Sydney and regional NSW – $134,500

The Plastic Blueprint is a digital platform that will enable businesses to access a step-by-step guide, resources and all the tools needed to implement an effective soft plastics reduction and recycling program within their organisation.

  1. Edge Environment – Paving the way for glass recycling – Orange, Parramatta – $40,800

This project will demonstrate the environmental benefits and address barriers to the uptake of recycled glass in infrastructure projects. Funding will support the development of an Environmental Product Declaration for the use of recycled glass fines as a replacement for virgin sand as a raw material in State Significant Infrastructure projects.

  1. Yume Food – Eliminating food waste in manufacturing – Various NSW locations – $100,000

Funding will assist Yume Food, a social enterprise, to extend its online marketplace connecting suppliers of quality surplus food with buyers. Edible food will be repurposed, providing a permanent diversion of food waste from landfill.

  1. Circular Centre – Circular Textile Waste Service – Ballina, Orange, Sydney locations – $150,000

This project provides a value chain of partnerships that capture, sort, dismantle and repurpose denim and PPE textiles many times over. Textiles will be redesigned into new clothing and remanufactured into other new products in the auto, architectural, building, fashion and interiors industries.

  1. Valera Recycling – Recycling contaminated hard plastics – Central Coast, Illawarra, Sydney locations – $146,000

This project will see the recycling of 600 tonnes of contaminated hard plastics using specialist plastic washing and shredding systems.

  1. WildBlueGlobal Consulting – Recycling in the hydroponics industry – Central Coast, Dungog, Lake Macquarie – $80,000

Working with a major vegetable grower, this project will involve the recycling of the rockwool growing medium and plastic packaging from hydroponic cropping.

  1. Textile Recyclers Australia – Textile recycling – Liverpool – $80,000

This project will help three Australian companies, Sheridan, Manrags and Uniqlo keep unwanted textiles out of landfill via recycling.