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Australian industry unites behind the circular economy

For the first time, waste and recycling leaders have met to discuss industry planning and infrastructure needs nationwide.

On April 11, the inaugural meeting of the National Waste and Recycling Industry Council (‘the Council’) was held in Melbourne. The meeting brought together companies representing the majority of the waste management and recycling industry from across Australia.

Attending the meeting were senior representatives from Alex Fraser Group, Cleanaway, J. J. Richards and Sons, Solo Resource Recovery, Sims Metals Management, Suez, Toxfree, Remondis, ResourceCo and Veolia. Also attending were delegates from State ‘Affiliates’, representing industry bodies in Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and the Northern Territory.

“The purpose of this Council is to create a single voice for the industry at a national level,” said Phil Richards, Chair of the Council.  “At the first Council meeting, we debated a number of key policy challenges, which we believe are holding back the development of improved waste and recycling services for all Australians.”

This first Council meeting resolved a shared commitment to move Australia towards a circular economy, where industry is encouraged to invest in new technology, improved infrastructure and new employee skills.

The Council also discussed the need for national harmonisation in relation to the laws and regulations governing the industry. “The current variation in the rules and regulations governing waste management between jurisdictions creates a cost to business with no environmental, social or economic dividend,” said Max Spedding, CEO of the Council.

“Finally, the Council discussed the need for improved infrastructure planning, to encourage private investment and innovation in the circular economy.”

At future meetings, members and delegates will be working to further refine Council policy positions. The next Council meeting is scheduled for June 13 in Sydney.