Local Government NSW (LGNSW) has warned the NSW government that it must act if we are to maintain and improve kerbside recycling options and drive down the amount of waste going to landfill.
LGNSW President Cr Linda Scott said Victoria had acknowledged the importance of investing more into recycling and the domestic recycling market by announcing a $96.5 million package this week to help support its state’s waste industry. NSW cannot afford to be left behind.
“Local governments are working together for a more sustainable future, but we cannot do this alone,” Cr Scott said.
“Local Government NSW, alongside councils across the state, has been advocating for the NSW Government to reinvest the NSW Waste Levy in recycling for over a year.
“Councils are still waiting on the long-promised state waste strategy. Meanwhile, NSW is generating more waste than ever; household recycling and waste diversion rates are stagnating; and existing regulation and procurement policies continue to stymy innovation and the development of new recycled products and markets.
“The NSW Government must act now and agree to reinvest the Waste Levy back into local governments if we are to set the industry on a new course: where recycling is actively encouraged and supported, and innovation leads to increased recycling services and reusable products and reduced landfill.
“With export bans on waste material quickly approaching and stockpiles of recycled resources growing in NSW, it is critical for more effort to be made to support the recycling industry to improve waste management practices and boost markets for recyclable materials.
“We know saving recycling is possible. Local governments are leading the way.
“Councils throughout the state, such as those in the Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (SSROC), are already establishing partnerships to develop and trial practical uses for recycled products locally, including asphalt containing crushed recycled glass as an alternative road making material.
“But more needs to be done to support a circular economy in NSW. It’s time the State also mandated the procurement of recycled goods and services, boosting its spend on recycled materials for public projects.”
LGNSW, with the support of NSW councils, is calling on the NSW Government to Save Our Recycling by reinvesting the Waste Levy to:
- allow councils to develop regional waste plans and deliver priority infrastructure;
- increase procurement of recycled goods made with domestic content;
- deliver statewide education campaigns to promote waste avoidance and recycling; and
- introduce producer responsibility schemes for problematic materials.
Cr Scott said this four-point plan was also designed to ensure recycling that would have previously been shipped offshore could be dealt with at home, creating jobs and boosting local economies.
“Councils know waste is a product, not a problem, and we call on the NSW Government to deliver the changes needed to ensure this becomes a reality in NSW,” she said.