$356 million invested to build circular economy in NSW

By Rachael Ridley  July 16th, 2021

The NSW Government will invest $356 million over five years to tackle waste and phase out single-use plastics.

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The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment’s Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy aims to build a circular economy in NSW over the next 20 years. Key reforms of the strategy include phasing out problematic and unnecessary plastics by 2025, with financial incentives provided to manufacturers and producers, and the roll out of food and organics bins for households across the state.

The strategy, which will receive funding from July 2022, has also set targets for waste reduction and recovery including:

  • 10 per cent reduction in total waste generated per person by 2030

  • 80 per cent average recovery rate from all waste streams by 2030

  • 50 per cent reduction in organic waste sent to landfill by 2030

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the investment aims to reduce waste, boost recycling and drive job creation and innovation. 

“The community has high expectations, and we need to make sure we put in place the best plans for the future while also giving businesses and councils enough time to adjust to the phase-outs and find sustainable alternatives,” said the Premier

The popular Bin Trim program will receive $15 million to continue providing NSW businesses with access to free waste assessments and advice. NSW businesses send more than 1.8 million tonnes of commercial waste to landfill each year when an estimated 70 per cent of it could be reused or recycled. Bin Trim offers advisory services, rebates, and grants for small and medium enterprises to manage their waste more efficiently and reduce their carbon footprint.

As part of the NSW Plastics Action Plan, the government will also invest $10 million towards establishing a Circular Materials Fund to provide a financial incentive for producers to design out or replace carbon-emissions-intensive virgin plastic with lower-carbon-intensity recycled materials. 

Encouraging the use of recycled content in new products closes the recycling loop and keeps materials in use for longer, reducing reliance on virgin resources and the greenhouse gas emissions emanated during their extraction and production. Research into new technologies and uses for recycled material will be supported by the Circular Innovation Fund, which will also provide opportunities to pilot the technologies in government projects.

Other funding commitments under the strategy include:

  • a Carbon Recycling and Abatement Fund to support innovative circular economy approaches that manage waste and materials more efficiently and reduce emissions

  • a $16 million investment in a new joint procurement facilitation service to make it easier for local government to collectively procure waste services

  • $65 million to support the rollout of new organics collection services and an additional $4 million for food donation infrastructure and equipment

  • $15.6 million in funding for local government collaboration through regional organisations of councils, council groups, joint organisations, and voluntary regional waste groups

  • litter prevention programs to protect our environment and waterways 

To find out more about other circular economy policies around Australia, visit the ACE Hub

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Rachael Ridley

Rachael joined Planet Ark in early 2019 after eight years working in media and publishing as a producer, editor and writer. Rachael loves using her skills in content creation and communication to instigate positive environmental behaviour change. Outside of work, Rachael enjoys spending time in nature, listening to music and patting dogs.

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