The recycling industry is urging the NSW Government to mandate the use of recyclables in public roadworks ahead of the state election this week.
There are mounting calls for the use of recycled glass to be mandated in public roadworks, following a plea last week from the state’s councils for the premier to redirect the more than $800 million generated per year from the waste levy into the creation of a circular economy.
On Wednesday the executive director of the Waste and Recyclers Association of NSW Tony Khoury called on the state and local government to bolster recycling efforts, urging the state government to prescribe the use of recycled glass materials in roadworks and for councils to mandate purchasing of recyclable materials in procurement.
“The NSW Government at the very most senior levels should show leadership and mandate crushed recycled glass content in [roadworks] so that all the councils and peak users in civil projects will know.. and the recycling industry can gear up for that,” he told Government News at the Total Facilities Expo in Sydney.
In an interview with Government News Mr Khoury said that recycling glass will go a long way in addressing the sheer scale of waste in NSW, as it forms a substantial part of the content of recyclables.
But despite the pure volume of glass recyclables, Mr Khoury said there is minimal demand for it, making the reuse of recycled glass a pivotal stepping stone in tackling waste head on.
“Every bin with a yellow lid that goes out for collection has a piece of glass in it and as a country… there really is a very minor manufacturing appetite for crushed glass. The only avenue for crushed glass I can see is for it to be used in road based making materials or aggregates,” he said.
Councils take the lead
Some councils, like Lake Macquarie, have been leading the way in the use of glass in roadworks, and City of Canterbury Bankstown recently announced it would investigate the use of recycled glass in road base after being awarded a $179,000 recycling grant from the NSW EPA.
Mayor Khal Asfour said the project, potentially using the 8,500 tonnes of glass recycled in Canterbury-Bankstown area each year, could be a game changer for construction, waste management and all levels of government.
“Glass is used in the production of concrete and asphalt,but developing it into a base and sub-base is something that has never been fully explored,” he said.
“The exciting part of this project is whether the glass we recycle can be used in a mix to achieve the consistency and strength required. We’re quietly confident it can be achieved.”
Mandate green procurement: industry
Local councils across NSW should also mandate purchasing of recycled materials in their procurement processes to lift demand for recyclables, Mr Khoury said.
Including the use of recyclables in procurement policies will help to strengthen the recycling industry by giving the industry greater demand, he says.
“Council in their procurement policies should always be buying materials that contain recycled content. They can use [this material] for furniture for parks and gardens, traffic barriers, artificial turf in playgrounds. They’ve got to start thinking of more innovative ways to buy and mandate recycled content,” he said.
During an industry panel, Mr Khoury also urged the NSW Government to reinvest the $2.1 billion set to be generated from the waste levy over four years to bolster onshore recycling efforts.
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