NWRIC priorities confirmed for 2021

Members of the National Waste and Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC) met this week to confirm priorities for the year ahead and review the progress of national waste and resource recovery initiatives.

NWRIC CEO Rose Read said there was plenty on the agenda and members had a good discussion about the priorities for the organisation in 2021.

“NWRIC is focused primarily on two key areas for the coming year.”

  1. Building Australia’s Resource Recovery Sector, which will include activities that will:
  • Enable cleaner inputs
  • Upgrade resource recovery capacity and quality of material recovered
  • Take action on plastics
  • Focus on organics
  • Increase energy recovery
  1. Preventing Waste Crime by working with government to reduce waste crime and promote best practice across all segments of the industry.

NWRIC members were also provided with an update from each state affiliate on the progress of state-based activities and initiatives.

The federal Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources also provided an update on the Modern Manufacturing Strategy and soon to be released Recycling and Clean Energy Roadmap.  They also outlined that grants will be available for businesses to either translate research and ideas into commercial outcomes or to integrate their products and services into domestic and global value chains.  Funding would be 50:50 government and business.

Once the Roadmap is released publicly, NWRIC together with the department will host a number of information sessions for national and state affiliate members.  For more information about the Modern Manufacturing Strategy, roadmaps and funding visit the department’s website.


Fast Facts:  Creating 43 million tonnes of resources out of waste

NWRIC’s From Waste to Value- The Australian Waste & Resource Recovery Industry 2020 report provides an important snapshot of the materials recovered by the waste and resource recovery industry.

NWRIC CEO Rose Read said the Australian waste and resource recovery industry helps recover over 43 million tonnes of waste materials annually, channelling over half of all waste into productive use through recycling, composting and energy recovery.

“This returns some $2.9 billion worth of materials back into productive circulation,” Ms Read said.

The following table shows how Australia’s states and territories are performing when it comes to the levels of waste they are recovering.

Waste recovered per state/territory

NT 23%
WA 62%
SA 85%
TAS 45%
VIC 68%
NSW 68%
ACT 79%
QLD 45%

“There is still plenty of opportunity to increase the amount of materials being recovered, particularly as the waste export bans come into play.

“All jurisdictions need to recognise this potential and continue to create a policy and regulatory framework that rewards responsible resource recovery and stamps out illegal and inappropriate practices,” Ms Read said.

Some examples of what resources are being created from waste include:

  • Masonry waste from construction and demolition is reused as recycled concrete aggregate, road base, and other recycled construction materials
  • Food and garden waste, as well as timber waste and organic waste from agriculture and other industrial processes, is being composted or used for energy recovery through anaerobic digestion and creating biofertilizer as a by-product
  • Waste Textiles, leather and rubber can be reused and is being processed and made into new clothes, packaging, building materials, and a variety of other uses
  • Plastics waste from manufacturing, businesses and homes is being recycled into packaging, manufactured and construction products

The figure below from NWRIC’s From Waste to Value report shows the percentage of waste materials currently being converted into resources locally in Australia and how these resources are being reused in manufacturing, construction, packaging, products and energy generations.


AORA releases national 10-year strategy

The Australian Organics Recycling Association (AORA) this week released its 10-year national strategy for the Australian Organics Recycling Industry.

NWRIC CEO Rose Read said with organics comprising half Australia’s national waste stream, the strategy will be important in influencing the future direction of recovering organic waste.

“The National Waste Policy Action Plan has a target of halving the amount of organic waste sent to landfill by 2030, which equates to 2.7 million tonnes less each year.

“Australia currently recovers around 61% of organic waste and there is real potential for this to increase markedly given the right policy frameworks and investment in infrastructure,” Ms Read said.

According to AORA, the strategy provides a roadmap that is ‘designed to take the industry from a solid existing base to recognition as a world leader in the recycling of organics waste streams, for its innovative and efficient processing into desirable products, and for the relevance, quality, and economic and environmental value of these products.’

The strategy has focused on two key questions:

  1. How do we get to 80% recycling of organics by 2025 and 95% by 2030?
  2. How do we remove the obstacles?

AORA will be providing a detailed briefing to NWRIC national and state affiliate members in the coming weeks. For more information about AORA visit their website