Turning China’s waste import ban into a positive for Australia

by Tiffany Paczek
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hands holding crushed cans

In the midst of the recycling crisis and the lead up to the 27 April meeting of Australia’s Environment Ministers, a new report commissioned from independent experts has found that hundreds of new jobs can be created in Australia by government investment in the domestic recycling sector.

“The report by the highly regarded MRA Consulting shows that domestically remanufacturing 50 percent of the material formerly sent to China leads to some 500 jobs here and reduces greenhouse gases by the same as taking 50,000 cars off the road,” says Pete Shmigel, ACOR’s CEO.

“To check the China challenge, we are ready to reboot recycling as a self-sufficient sector that enables employment and prevents pollution. Ministers can support this by agreeing to a National Circular Economy and Recycling Plan that makes a one-off investment in the three ‘i’s’ of recycling: infrastructure, improvement and innovation.

“The promise of recycling is that what punters put in the bin becomes new products not lumps in landfill. Our political leaders, through the policy targets they have set, are part of delivering on that promise and should continue to do so on April 27th,” Shmigel says.

“We need to make and buy more recycled content products here in Australia. Closing the loop is what’s needed for community confidence, job growth and environmental results.

“Other industries are regularly supported in transition or crisis. This sector – largely free-market based for decades – needs support now or services and jobs could go, including in country towns.

“While State governments have rightly focused on the system’s short-term survival, it’s time for all governments to jointly act for recycling’s future success,” Shmigel adds.

Projects under an investment injection of $150 million could include:

  • New technology to support more Australian reprocessing of mixed paper, mixed plastics and glass cullet
  • Enhanced methods and machinery at recyclate sorting centres
  • Support for government and corporate purchasing of recycled content products
  • A national centre for recycled content product development, and
  • Education to ensure what’s collected is clean enough for recycled content product making.

Image: 123RF’s tobkatrina © 123RF.com

Read more on corporate waste solutions in Australia here»

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