The Morrison Government is investing $1 million in the establishment of a new Product Stewardship Centre of Excellence that will play a key role in driving Australia’s circular economy towards an eighty per cent recovery rate across all waste streams by 2030.
As part of its unprecedented campaign to reduce pressure on the environment and create jobs by placing waste and recycling on the national agenda, the Morrison Government will bring together research and industry groups to foster innovation.
Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said the new Product Stewardship Centre of Excellence would provide mentoring and best practice guidance, educate and engage business, and facilitate industry linkages to support national industry-led schemes.
“Product stewardship needs to be part of the way we do business, influencing the ways we design and manufacture, and the ways we collect and recycle components at the end of a product’s life,” Minister Ley said.
“Already our $20 million National Product Stewardship Investment Fund is considering the potential of more than 100 schemes from solar panels, to electrical and electronic products, batteries, carpets and mattresses, office furniture, agricultural equipment, vehicles, and entire waste streams such as plastics, carbon fibre composites and food industry waste.
“As we determine funding for individual Product Stewardship Schemes, the Centre of Excellence will be there as an expert body to provide mentoring and deliver wider industry support to both the new and expanded existing schemes.”
The $1 million grant is provided under the National Product Stewardship Investment Fund as seed funding, bringing together the University of Technology Sydney’s Institute for Sustainable Futures, the Australian Industry Group and Cox Inall Communications.
Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management, Trevor Evans, said that Centre of Excellence would lead to a significant increase in the number of industry-led schemes that seek and achieve government accreditation.
“As the Morrison Government’s advances its new recycling and waste reduction legislation, and as we prepare for the release of a national plastics plan later this year, the Centre of Excellence will be there to help industries and companies step forward,” Assistant Minister Evans said.
“Product stewardship is one of the most successful strategies to ensure waste is valued as a resource. The new Centre for Excellence will significantly improve overall recycling rates by supporting both existing and new product stewardship schemes.
“We want to see the number and scale of industry-led product stewardship initiatives accelerated as we turbo-charge a $1 billion transformation of the Australian recycling industry.”
Deputy Director of UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures, Professor Damien Giurco, said: “As a university focused on delivering impact for society, UTS is delighted to be co-hosting the Product Stewardship Centre of Excellence in collaboration with the Australian Industry Group and Cox Inall. The Centre will engage and equip new industries to adopt product stewardship and support excellence in existing product stewardship schemes and programs.”
Chief Executive of the national employer association Australian Industry Group, Innes Willox, said: “Better management of waste as a resource helps build not just a sustainable community, but more competitive industry supply chains. Ai Group is pleased to be working on this initiative to lift industry capability, and we look forward to connecting businesses to it when it launches in early 2021”.
The government will also be releasing a National Plastics Plan before the end of this year.