National Recycling Week highlights need for urgent NSW waste reform

While up to 90 per cent of Australians are keen to recycle, only around 42 per cent of NSW household waste is currently recycled – the rest gets sent to rapidly diminishing landfill.

Local Government NSW (LGNSW) President Linda Scott said this week’s National Recycling Week (November 11-17) underlined the need to create an economy where waste is seen as a product, not a problem.

“National Recycling Week highlights the willingness of local communities to get behind recycling efforts, with a range of events organised across the country to promote more effective resource recovery,” Cr Scott said.

“The event not only demonstrates the need for recycling but the opportunities that are going begging in NSW due to a lack of government investment and effective waste and recycling regulations.

“According to an Ernest and Young Oceania report released in September, Australia is missing out on up to $324 million that could be extracted from the waste of our kerbside bins each year.”

Cr Scott said councils across NSW were already doing their bit to promote and support recycling.

“Currently, almost 2.5 million tonnes of NSW domestic waste collected by councils goes to landfill every year, and that figure is rapidly increasing.

“Much of it could be recycled into useful product,” she said.

“That’s why LGNSW and councils across NSW are running the Save Our Recycling campaign, which calls on the NSW Government to reinvest the Waste Levy – designed as a disincentive to landfill – in the purpose for which it is collected.”

The campaign calls for the Waste Levy to be reinvested in:

  • Increasing local and state government procurement of recycled goods made with domestic content;
  • Delivering a state-wide education campaign on the importance of recycling to encourage the right way to recycle, the purchase of products with recycled content, and promoting waste avoidance.
  • Funding councils to develop regional plans for the future of waste and resource recovery in their regions
  • Priority infrastructure and other local projects needed to deliver the regional-scale plans, particularly where a market failure has been identified.

“Waste and recycling is an issue for all of us,” Cr Scott said.

“Just last week I attended the COAG meeting of Environmental Ministers to discuss the implementation of a ban on some waste exports, announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

“Local government supports the bans, and our four-point plan is designed to ensure once they come into effect recycling that would have previously been shipped offshore can be dealt with here at home, creating jobs and boosting local economies.

“We want to make waste a product, not a problem, and what better week to promote that message than National Recycling Week.”

/Public Release. View in full here.