Around 67 million tonnes of waste was generated in Australia in 2018, of which 37 million tonnes (55%) was recycled. This is below the target recycling rates (of 70%) set out in the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2014-21.
Constraints on the collection and processing of recyclable waste led to recyclable waste ending up in landfill, contributing to the shortfall. These constraints include:
lack of space for transfer facilities
the ability of material recovery facilities to process and sort co-mingled, highly contaminated waste (particularly for communities in remote and regional Australia)
under-developed domestic reuse markets as a result of previous over-reliance on the export of waste to international markets.
The environmental costs of greenhouse gases and leachate from recyclable waste entering landfill are significant and are set to rise with a growing population.
In addition, limited landfill capacity and sorting facilities are increasing logistics costs as waste is being transferred greater distances for processing and disposal.
The initiative involves a coordinated strategy between all levels of government and the market to identify a program of investment in new waste recovery and reprocessing infrastructure.
This aims to meet the long-term needs of Australians and to foster innovation and adoption of emerging technologies.
Proponent(s) to be identified.