Green tape might be on the way out, but the New South Wales government has invited councils to apply for grant money to help build new infrastructure to process recyclables, sort organic waste and reduce rubbish going to landfill.
The cash offer has come in the form of a ministerial circular to councils from state Minister for Local Government Don Page and says that councils can apply for a share of first round funding grants worth more than $85 million.
The grants from the state government stem from a program called the Waste Less, Recycle More initiative. The program a $465.7 million investment in the waste industry over the course of five years.
The funds for Waste Less, Recycle More are collected through the NSW Waste and Environment Levy and then funneled back to local government and to industry for waste, resource and recovery initiatives.
Waste Less, Recycle More was initiated to “deliver innovative waste avoidance and recycling programs” and to address the problem of illegal dumping and to reduce littering.
It stems from the NSW government’s commitment to achieving the 2014 recycling targets in its ten-year economic plan NSW 2021: A plan to make NSW number one.
This plan identified the review of the waste levy as a priority to assist in increasing recycling and “conserving valuable landfill space”.
The grants are spread across two programs under the Waste Less, Recycle More initiative called the Major Resource Recovery Infrastructure program (MRRIP) and the Organics Infrastructure (large and small) program.
According to the circular to councils, the MRRIP is valued at $43 million and councils can obtain grants of between $1 million and $10 million to construct facilities that can process recyclables from household and business waste.
The Organics Infrastructure (large and small) program is valued at $41.7 million and councils have been invited to apply for grants between $25,000 and $5 million.
The circular from Mr Page said this program will provide grants for large infrastructure projects to sort and process organic waste as well as funding for smaller council initiatives such as compost bins and worm farms “to enhance general waste management and home compost projects”.
The state government’s funding plan has been backed by the Waste Contractors and Recyclers Association of NSW, whose executive director Tony Khoury said the government is trying to encourage processing facilities to “get better waste management outcomes”.
“It’s giving incentives to both local government and to business to invest in waste management,” Mr Khoury said.
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