Councils hope to benefit from $35m recycling fund

A $35 million funding boost to support the remanufacture of recycled goods in NSW should target frontline council efforts, their peak body says.

Linda Scott

The NSW and federal governments last Friday announced the grant round for recycling companies that are ready to invest in new projects via the newly created Remanufacture NSW Fund.

The grants are co-funded by the federal government’s $190 million Recycling Modernisation Fund announced last year, and will be allocated through two streams – infrastructure and trials.

LGNSW president Linda Scott says NSW councils play a key role in waste management and recycling and should get priority in funding decisions.

They should also be closely involved in helping identify worthy projects for funding, she says.

“Councils are best placed to know the recycling gaps and needs of their areas and what projects will work best in their local settings,” Cr Scott said.

“They need to be part of the decision-making process in the development of statewide and regional recycling plans to ensure the most bang for buck and best outcomes for local environment and communities, not just pure profit.”

Waste as an asset

Environment minister Sussan Ley says the funding will aid both the economy and the environment.

“We are working with NSW to create jobs and boost recycling capacity as we phase in our waste exports ban and move further towards a circular economy that sees ‘waste’ as an asset,” she said.

Her NSW counterpart Matt Kean says the grants will prioritise new sorting technologies and material recovery projects that increase the ability to process mixed plastics, glass, paper and tyres, and boost capacity to process single stream plastics.

The Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR), says the next step is to look at how the state’s regulatory and planning policy landscape can support the vision.

“NSW stands the best chance at driving innovation and transitioning to a more circular economy if these plans and funding are supported by a robust regulatory and planning regime that drives market demand,” WMRR CEO Gayle Sloan said.

“While funding is great, it is not the be all and end all. The NSW government will now need to urgently consider how it can grow sustainable procurement and support these trials.”

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