2021-22 Federal Budget – Organics, Food Waste and Product Stewardship

The waste and resource recovery sector will benefit from new funding announced in this week’s federal budget for 2021-22.

National Waste and Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC) CEO Rose Read said it was pleasing to see new funding announced for several initiatives.

“It was good to see new funding being committed to help divert organic food from landfill and importantly, put it back into agricultural soils.

“This is a key step to addressing the National Waste Policy Action Plan target of halving the amount of organic waste being sent to landfill and reaching the 80% resource recovery rate.

“It will also help reduce emissions and extend the life of landfills,” Ms Read said.

The budget allocated additional funds for product stewardship which Ms Read said was also a good outcome.

“These additional funds mean that the government can put more products on the Minister’s list such as textiles and problematic plastics, implement the outcomes of the Product Stewardship Review, including expanding the scope of the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme to include all electronics and electrical equipment, as well as ensuring battery recycling actually happens.

“There has also been an allocation of funds to help small and medium sized businesses adopt the Australasian Recycling Label, which is essential to clean up the contamination we are seeing in yellow recycling bins.”

Ms Read said the announcement of a significant spend on infrastructure should include the mandated use of recycled materials.

“This is a perfect opportunity to start significantly increasing the use of recycled construction materials including concrete, asphalt, glass, plastics and tyres by government specifying recycled materials in all tenders,” said Ms Read.

NWRIC backs WA’s Roads to Reuse program for national adoption

The Western Australian government’s Roads to Reuse program which enables greater reuse of recycled construction and demolition (C&D) products back into roads should be adopted nationally.

That’s according to National Waste and Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC) CEO Rose Read, who says the program has a great approach of bringing the supply chain together, ensuring certainty of supply and quality materials, as well as a competitive pricing model.

“The Roads to Reuse Pilot is an exemplar of how industry and government can work together to drive greater reuse of recycled materials in civil construction works.

“The wholistic approach of bringing the supply chain together, setting clear material specifications, construction standards and quality assurance is essential for the transition to greater uptake of recycled material use by the construction sector,” said Ms Read.

The Roads to Reuse program is a WA State Government initiative administered by the Waste Authority. Its objective is to encourage State Government organisations, local governments, regional councils, and the private sector to use recycled C&D products in civil applications, such as road construction. It does this by supporting the supply of recycled C&D products to market that meet a product specification, to protect human health and the environment.

Ms Read said that the material specifications in place as well as quality assurance processes were key to the Program’s success.

“By having agreed material specifications and a strong quality assurance process in place recyclers know what quality materials they must deliver, and the construction industry has confidence and certainty in both the quality of the material and its timely supply.”

A pilot project between the Waste Authority and the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, in partnership with Main Roads WA and with assistance from NWRIC state affiliate the Waste and Recycling Industry Association of WA, was completed in 2020.

“NWRIC will be promoting the nationwide adoption of this approach to other states and territories to drive greater recovery and reuse of construction and demolition materials back into civil works across Australia,” Ms Read said.

Energising resource recovery: the Australian opportunity

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) has released a new industry report claiming the resource and energy recovery sectors could drive up to $7.8 billion in new investment in Australia by 2025.

Highlights from the report, developed in conjunction with engineering and consultancy firm Arup include:

  • New and expanded infrastructure requirements for waste, recycling and bioenergy projects in Australia have the potential to generate between $4 billion and $7.8 billion in new investment in the period to 2025
  • There is potential to reduce emissions from landfill by as much as 60 per cent by substantially reducing, reusing and recycling materials before they enter the waste stream, in line with the waste hierarchy
  • Potential to create up to 9,000 construction jobs, 2,600 indirect jobs and as many as 1,400 direct and ongoing jobs, including in regional and rural areas.

National Waste and Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC) CEO Rose Read said the report was important in highlighting the areas of enormous potential in Australia’s waste and resource recovery sector.

“If we are to meet the target of 80% recovery rate by 2030, we must be looking at other opportunities including bioenergy, organics, and thermal energy as part of the solution,” Ms Read said.

Register here to attend a free webinar being held on Wednesday May 26 where the CEFC’s Mac Irvine and Joyanne Manning from Arup will explain the analysis featured in this new industry resource.

AORA Conference

The Australian Organics Recycling Association (AORA) will hold its annual conference from 15-17 June at the Crowne Plaza in the NSW Hunter Valley.

The conference theme is Pathways to sustainable growth and will include workshops, presentations, social events and an equipment demonstration day.

National Waste and Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC) CEO Rose Read said the conference was a must attend for anyone working in the organics industry.

“With the recent Federal Budget allocating funds to invest in new food organic and garden organic waste initiatives, the conference is a perfect opportunity to discuss how industry can get involved,” Ms Read said.

The AORA 2021 Annual Conference has been listed on the Schedule of Approved Business Events on Austrade’s website.

This means eligible businesses can apply for funding under the Business Events Grants Program to cover up to 50% of the costs of participating.