25-26 Aug 2021
ICC SYDNEY

5 TAKEAWAYS | Opening forum and discussion on the Recycling Modernisation Fund

Nov 26, 2020 Recycling

The Recycling Modernisation Fund (RMF) aims to drive a billion dollar transformation of Australia's waste and recycling capacity.

The Recycling Modernisation Fund investment of $190M is expected to generate $600M of recycling investment, driving a billion-dollar transformation of the waste and recycling landscape. The majority of the fund will be spent on infrastructure intended to sort, process and remanufacture materials such as mixed plastic, paper, tyres and glass. This session discussing the RMF explored how it will divert several million tonnes of waste, redevelop infrastructure and create more than 10,000 jobs in the sector.

Below are some of the key takeaways from this session!

1. Recycling Modernisation Fund Update

The Recycling Modernisation Fund, which has been welcomed by the industry, is part of the Federal Governments recycling initiative aimed to generate $600 million of recycling investment and drive a billion-dollar transformation of Australia’s waste and recycling capacity.

According to the Hon. Sussan Ley, The Minister for the Environment, the RMF is taking big steps towards a better waste management system here in Australia. In the coming year there will be a strong focus on FOGO, especially in our rural and regional councils that may not be currently set up or equipped with processing capabilities for this.

A greater focus on paper recycling was highlighted as a key focus area by the minister as the looming ban on export recycling drives demand for a domestic solution to manage our waste.

With other focus areas for the fund including textiles and building demolition materials, Sussan was clear that there is still a lot of work to do, but all in a positive direction. CEO of Cleanaway, Vik Bansal, supported the minister is saying that he is a “big fan” of the recycling modernisation fund and the work going into it.

2. Procurement and Infrastructure

With the RMF designed to create more than 10,000 jobs and divert over 10 million tonnes of waste from landfill, a heavy emphasis was placed on the importance of investing in critical infrastructure both locally and nationally to better Australia’s recycling game.

Hon. Sussan Ley stated that the government need to act now in procuring new facilities and infrastructure that is going to create these jobs while also providing a solution to Australia’s waste system – “The focus on next years budget is based around jobs, this is the perfect time to invest”, she continued.

3. Our Targets

As part of the national policy action plan, ambitious targets have been set to reduce the amount of waste going into our landfill. By 2030, Hon. Sussan Ley outlined that one of the key targets is to reduce total waste by 10% per person, as well as a focus on phasing out wasteful plastics and having better sorting systems in place to phase out organic material going into landfill.

Vik highlighted that while the set targets may be ambitious they are “dobale”, however, continued by stating that we can’t achieve these targets without waste been accepted as a key priority by all, including the government.

4. A Push for a National Standard

Waste contamination continues to be the biggest driver for waste education when it comes to knowing what to recycle and where.

Vik supported the minister’s statement stating that reducing contamination comes from the “ground level”.  He believes that a national standard is well overdue to streamline the process, which would make education simple and easy to follow no matter where you were geologically located, “It’s as simple as ‘4 bins, 4 colours”.

He did commend states such as Victoria and Tasmania on their container deposit scheme and said its a step in the right direction for Australia.

5. Next Year

With so many key focus areas for the industry, Minister Ley did outline that in 2021 a national plastics plan will be launching as an important step to keeping our beautiful environment clean and as a drive to keep plastics out of our oceans.

Minister Ley said that plastics continue to be one of the biggest pain points for the industry and work can not stop in this area. Luckily, according to the Minister, the Prime Minister and federal government have a keen interest in the recycling industry and are prioritising its importance in the future of Australia.

 

Panellists

Rose Read, National Waste and Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC)

Hon Sussan Ley MP, The Minister for the Environment

Vik Bansal, Cleanaway

 

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