The federal government has made a $20 million commitment to support innovation and growth in Australia’s domestic recycling industry. The announcement comes following the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting earlier this month, during which local, state, territory and federal leaders agreed to a total ban on recyclable waste being exported overseas.
Despite the China Sword policy of 2018 briefly reducing overall exports of recyclables, Australia still exported close to 4.5 million tonnes of waste overseas during the ’18-’19 financial year. Recent months have seen the issue gain heightened attention as Southeast Asian countries including Malaysia and Indonesia look to follow in China’s footsteps and ban developed countries sending contaminated rubbish their way.
The government stated that whilst the primary aim of the funding is to protect our nation’s environment, it would also support building the capacity of our domestic industry to produce recycled products people want and need. It is hoped engaging industry and researchers in this process will help to cuts costs for businesses and, ultimately, create jobs.
Onshore plastic recycling will be a key focus of the funding, available through the government’s Cooperative Research Centres Projects (CRC-P) grants. These grants are worth up to three million dollars over a period of up to three years.