The Australian government is allocating $20 million for “innovative projects” to boost the country’s domestic recycling industry, as well as establish a timeline to ban the export of scrap, according to a news release.
According to recent figures, only 12 percent of the plastic scrap generated in Australia each year is recycled with most of the scrap being shipped to Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam.
The government’s Co-operative Research Centres Projects grants will provide industry-led collaborations with matched funding of up to $3 million to develop “important new [recycling] technologies, products and services.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the funding is part of the government’s commitment to work with the states to establish a timeline to ban the export of plastic scrap, paper, glass and tires.
“We are committed to protecting our nation’s environment while also building our capacity to turn recycling into products that people want and need,” Morrison says. “By engaging industry and researchers we can make sure we’re seeing these changes introduced in a way that cuts costs for businesses and ultimately even creates jobs.”
Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews says the funding will create Australian jobs while reducing global plastic pollution.
“This funding will strengthen Australia’s recycling industry and help us achieve higher recycling rates,” Andrews says. “Boosting our onshore plastic recycling industry has the potential to create over three times as many jobs as exporting our plastic waste, ensuring a more sustainable and prosperous future.”
The government has also announced a $6.6 million financial relief package to help the 33 Victorian councils that had contracts with SKM Recycling, Coolaroo, Victoria. Following the liquidation of SKM, councils in the region had to redirect their recyclables to landfills while seeking new processors for the collected material. The government will also invest $4.7 million in infrastructure to improve the quality of the 100,000 tons of recyclables.