Recycling Industry Strategic Plan
Australian local councils are currently going through a difficult time with recycling, especially in the wake of previous customers of the raw materials (mainly China), no longer taking anything in. The waste and resource recovery industry is important to the Victorian economy. It has an annual turnover of $4 billion, provides 12,000 full-time equivalent jobs and involves more than 590 businesses.
The Victorian Government has invested over $100 million over the last four years to address waste and resource recovery issues, including developing the Recycling Industry Strategic Plan.
What is the Recycling Industry Strategic Plan?
With the current issues surrounding recycling, the $37 million plan is a long-term overview of a sustainable recycling system in Victoria. Main features of the plan include:
- Spending an additional $8.3 million to boost the Resource Recovery Infrastructure Fund to more than $21 million. These projects will divert at least 500,000 tonnes of material from landfill every year
- $2 million expand markets for recycled materials, increasing the customer base
- $3.3 million for an education program to help the community recycle effectively. (Nationally, just 11.8 per cent of plastics were recycled in Australia in 2016-17)
- $13 million to help councils and industry in the short term, which followed China’s decision to stop importing low-quality recyclable materials.
The plan has four goals designed to deal with immediate issues. The goals are:
- Stabilise the recycling sector
- Increase the quality of recycled materials
- Improve the productivity of the recycling sector
- Develop markets for recycled materials
The collapse of the price received for recycled materials is staggering. Previously, the average price for mixed paper was $225 per tonne. It is now $50 per tonne. Mixed plastics, which are the main recycled export (about 50% going to China, previously), has fallen from $250 a tonne to basically $0.
All Torque Transmissions is heavily involved with clients throughout the recycling industry. We will continue to work with them as new initiatives come to fruition, and the recycling industry evolves.