The Federal Government has set up a new recycling fund to support the local industry. Importantly, the fund of $20 million will be made available to ensure the industry is future ready with innovative recycling technology. Creating new jobs is an important consideration for the industry. Even more vital is the need to divert material from landfill and away from overseas waste exports.
Improve rates of plastic recycling
Australia needs to increase its plastics recycling rate which is currently only 12%. The new funding will be available through the federal government’s Co-operative Research Centres Projects grants. The scheme reflects a $1 for $1 approach and will therefore motivate greater levels of industry involvement. The Federal Government, as a result, will match approved investments from the private sector for up to $3 million.
The government is confident that the new recycling fund will strengthen Australia’s recycling industry and achieve higher recycling rates. In the plastics industry alone appropriate investment can create three times as many jobs as exporting plastic waste. The aim is to reduce the nation’s dependence on landfill, and hence the impact of plastics on our environment. Other benefits include, supporting Australian businesses, and their research efforts, to develop new markets and design products for recycled plastics.
Meanwhile, in Victoria the collapse of Melbourne based waste exporter SKM Recycling has created major problems for local councils. This has led to the announcement of a $6.6 million state government aid package to assist 33 affected councils, left with waste. Similarly, Victoria has allocated an additional $4.7 million to assist in improving the quality of 100,000 tonnes of recycled materials.
Overseas we are seeing new initiatives designed to improve recycling of plastic bottles. One recent scheme introduced in Rome sees recycled plastic bottles returned to central points in the city, where monetary credits for free rides on the city’s public transport system can be earned.
Recycal has continued to invest in state- of-the-art technology and is a regular visitor to Europe to meet and discuss the current thinking on recycling of all forms of waste.