The NSW Government must urgently invest in regional scale waste and recycling plans and a major education campaign to help restore ailing recycling services and create new markets for recycled products, according to a new report released today by Local Government NSW (LGNSW).
At the Crossroads: The State of Waste and Recycling in NSW was launched today by LGNSW President Linda Scott as part of a campaign to increase funding for recycling services.
The report paints a bleak picture for the recycling industry in NSW with more waste being generated, household recycling and waste diversion rates stagnating; and regulation that discourages innovation and new markets for recycled products.
Cr Scott said it was time for the NSW Government to lead and urgently invest in waste and recycling services, and in plans to encourage markets for recycled products to put the State back on track.
“Councils and communities are doing what they can to reduce waste and increase recycling,” Cr Scott said.
“But too often the system is working against us.
“The NSW Government is missing most of its major waste and recycling targets. Education campaigns, infrastructure plans and major waste strategies have been delayed or not delivered.
“Existing regional plans are based on small scale, contestable grants and are simply inadequate to meet the size of the challenges we face in managing our waste and recycling services.
“And procurement of recycled content in our roads and schools is not being prioritised. Industry and councils are being weighed down by regulation and red tape.”
The Save Our Recycling campaign calls on the NSW Government to work with councils and industry to deliver a new plan for the industry.
The plan focuses on three priority areas for the NSW Government:
- Education: Fund a large-scale state-wide education campaign to support recycling and markets for recycled products in NSW. It must fund and work with councils to activate this campaign; community by community.
- Innovation: Change the rules, regulations and planning system to rethink and resolve the recycling mess in NSW. The NSW Government needs to lead and use more recycled content to help create scale and then new markets, jobs and investment will follow.
- Investment: Develop regional plans that deliver the waste and resource recovery infrastructure and services that our cities and regions need. Local councils need to be put front and centre of these plans and provided with the funding to make sure they are delivered.
“The time to act is now,” Cr Scott said.
“Budget papers show the NSW Government will collect $800 million each year from the Waste Levy by 2022.
“But it’s investing less than one fifth of this money back into programs to help reduce waste, increase recycling and build a circular economy for NSW.
“The money is there, and the Government needs to urgently invest it back into better recycling services in our local and regional communities.”
A video featuring Year Six Sustainability Leader Monique Wassell was also launched today as part of the campaign, calling on the NSW Government to take urgent action on the issue.
Local Youth Councils, Mayors, Universities, industry bodies and waste and recycling businesses across the state will also be asked to join the campaign and support the plan.
Go to www.saveourrecycling.com.au to watch the video, read the report and join the campaign.