States partner with commonwealth to boost recycling infrastructure

By Shannon Jenkins

Wednesday January 20, 2021


The South Australian and Victorian governments will increase the capacity and capability of recycling infrastructure in their states by funding new projects under a deal with the commonwealth.

The federal and SA governments have committed $15 million each to boost recycling infrastructure in the state under the commonwealth’s $190 million Recycling Modernisation Fund (RMF).

Announcing the $30 million investment on Wednesday, federal environment minister Sussan Ley noted that expressions of interest are being sought from industry, local government and non-government organisations to commit at least one-third of the project cost. Applications close on February 26.

“The co-funding model gives everyone skin in the recycling game and will increase the supply of high-quality recycled materials available for business and industry,” Ley said in a statement.

SA environment minister David Speirs said the funding would go towards projects that explore new technology and equipment related to mixed plastics reprocessing, improve the recovery and separation of soft plastics, and increase glass re-manufacturing.

“Unlocking the potential in these materials and keeping resources circulating through our economy increases our resilience to supply chain challenges and creates local jobs while also benefiting our environment,” he said.

Read more: EPA to gain 70 staff to fight ‘waste criminals’

The announcement in SA has come two days after the Victorian government revealed it has signed onto a joint $46 million recycling infrastructure initiative, which Victorian environment minister Lily D’Ambrosio said would double Victoria’s domestic glass-recycling capacity.

The co-investment is also expected to increase the state’s plastic recycling by 40% and create 350 jobs.

Victoria has secured $8.1 million in first-round funding for seven glass and plastics projects under the RMF. The projects will redirect 205,000 tonnes of glass and 23,000 tonnes of plastic out of landfill every year, D’Ambrosio said.

“It means more jars, bottles and fibreglass made of recycled glass and plastic, which will also be used to build new roads and footpaths throughout Victoria,” she said.

“Our investment in this new infrastructure is a big step in the right direction, generating more local jobs and new value from what would otherwise be waste.”

The projects include a new metropolitan processing plant that will accept 140,000 tonnes of glass each year, and a regional facility to separate glass kerbside co-mingled material. Another project involves equipment to produce a new patented system for concrete slab foundations made from 100% recycled plastic, which will process 1,655 tonnes of plastic each year.

A further $38 million of RMF co-funding will be made available through a new round under the Recycling Victoria Infrastructure Fund, which opens for applications on March 22 and closes on May 7.

The RMF is expected to generate more than $600 million in infrastructure investment for Australia’s waste management and resource recovery sector.

Read more: Are NSW and VIC rubbish at recycling?


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