NWRIC CEO Week in Review

introduced into Commonwealth Parliament

On 27 August the Hon Sussan Ley MP, Minister for the Environment introduced the Recycling and Waste Reduction Bill 2020 into Parliament.

The Bill sees the implementation of the export ban on waste plastic, paper, glass and tyres agreed by Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments in March this year as well as refinement of the current product stewardship act to further incentivise and encourage companies to take greater responsibility of the products they make and for the products and materials at their end of life.

The NWRIC considers the introduction of this Bill as a significant element of the reform process that can contribute to achieving a circular economy. Most importantly this step by the Australian Government acknowledges that waste and recycling services are an essential service. In addition, they constitute a vital resource industry that makes a substantial economic contribution to the nation. It is an industry that has great potential to strengthen Australia’s resource security, generate clean energy, create jobs and protect the environment.

The raft of measures and initiatives currently in play is creating much needed momentum for positive systemic change. The Commonwealth’s Recycling Modernisation Fund, the National Waste Policy Action Plan, the National Product Stewardship Investment Fund and CRC-P funding for R&D, are collectively shaping a more coherent approach to how waste management and resource recovery should be planned and managed in Australia.

The NWRIC is still reviewing the details of the Bill within the context of feedback it provided on the draft bill in July, especially in regard to definitions, objects, charges and the Minister’s Priority Product List. The NWRIC is eager to see evidence that industry’s views are being understood, acknowledged and acted upon. To view the Bill and its progress click here.

The NWRIC advocates for stronger national leadership and coordination across several key areas of activity, including market development, infrastructure planning, product stewardship harmonisation of state waste and recycling regulations, plus increased investment of landfill levies back into the waste and recycling infrastructure, education and compliance.

The actions of the current Commonwealth Government, in particular Assistant Minister Evans, Minister Ley and the Prime Minister, have gone a long way to demonstrating national leadership and state coordination.

Nonetheless, there are still some key aspects of the reform process that demand detailed attention and completion including; creating markets for recovered materials through government procurement and requiring companies to increase recycled content in products and packaging, including imported goods.

Greater coordination of waste and recycling infrastructure planning across all levels of government and investment of the $1.5 billion state landfill levies collected annually, is also an outstanding area of work needing further development. Cleaning up what is collected by harmonising collection bin contents, urgently establishing a regulated battery recycling program and removing hazardous substances like PFAS from products, are obvious imperatives at this time. Focused action is also required to harmonise waste and recycling data, definitions, movement tracking, landfill levies and licensing.

The Recycling and Waste Reduction Bill 2020 is a key element to building a circular economy. Its success and sustainability will require commitment to timely and efficient implementation. The NWRIC looks forward to working closely with the Australian Government to deliver practical action over the coming months and years.

NWRIC CEO takes out Industry Advocacy Award

Congratulations to National Waste and Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC) CEO Rose Read who has been awarded the Industry Advocacy Award at the 2020 Women in Industry Awards.

The awards recognise and reward the achievements of women working within the mining, engineering, manufacturing, process control industries and commercial road transport industries, and aims to raise the profile of women within industry, as well as promote and encourage excellence.

Chair of NWRIC, Phil Richards of JJ Richards and Sons said Ms Read’s recognition was well deserved.

“Rose works tirelessly for Australia’s waste and recycling industry. Her knowledge, leadership and professionalism has made an enormous and positive impact on our ability to advance waste and recycling services across Australia,” Mr Richards said.

Ms Read said she was honoured to receive the award.

“To be singled out and recognised in such an esteemed group of finalists is a real privilege.

“My role at NWRIC enables me to really focus on advocating for moving materials up the waste hierarchy, helping create a circular economy, turning waste into resources where possible and ensuring the safe treatment and disposal of materials that cannot be recovered.

“There is great potential in Australia’s waste and recycling industry and it’s rewarding to have a role in representing good policy to government as well as advocating for those businesses that are prepared to invest in sustainable solutions.

“Thank you to the judges and also the sponsors for this year for supporting this initiative- BOC South Pacific, BAE Systems Australia and Atlas Copco, it is a real honour to be recognised,” Ms Read said.

Australia’s waste and recycling capability a focus for new round of grants

The Federal Government has announced $10 million in funding is on offer in round 10 of grants available for Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) Projects where research collaborations focus on plastics, paper, glass and tyres.

Applications for CRC Projects Grants that focus on the development of a new technology, product or service as part of Australia’s waste and recycling capabilities are now open, with grants of up to three years and matched funding of between $100,000 and $3 million.

The Grants are for an industry-led research collaboration with at least two Australian industry organisations, (including at least one small to medium-sized enterprise) and one Australian research organisation.

Projects must:

  • develop a product, service or process that will solve problems for industry and deliver real outcomes
  • benefit small to medium enterprises (SMEs)
  • include education and training activities

Applications close on 1 October 2020.

/Public Release. View in full here.