The nation’s rubbish will be distributed to Australian companies to create roads, furniture and clothing in a “once in a generation” revamp of Australia’s recycling system that will create more than 10,000 jobs.
The Federal Government will invest $190 million into the Recycling Modernisation Fund (RMF), which is also expected to help divert 10 million tonnes of waste away from landfill.
States and industry leaders are also expected to contribute to the fund, which would make it a billion-dollar powerhouse.
Environment Minister Sussan Ley said the states would approach the Federal Government with projects after speaking with industry, and funds would be distributed that way.
“Think about a new materials recovery facility,” she said on ABC 24 on Monday morning. “So big conveyor belts, a lot of sorting, clean streams of waste, better than it is done now.
“You can send the plastics to make new plastic bottles and send the paper to be manufactured. You can pull out the glass and put it in road base and disassemble cars and turn the car seats into carpets. You can create green steel from the hard plastic that you see around perhaps your printers, the cartridges, the toner.”
Ms Ley estimates the fund will create more than 10,000 jobs over the next 10 years and help the nation recover from the economic blast of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new system will also include new legislation to formally enact a waste export ban and encourage companies to take greater responsibility for the waste they generate.
“As we cease shipping our waste overseas, the waste and recycling transformation will reshape our domestic waste industry, driving job creation and putting valuable materials back into the economy,” Ms Ley said in a statement.
Exporting waste overseas will be banned as part of bid to reach a national resource recovery target of 80 per cent by 2030.
Previously, Australia diverted much of its recyclable waste to countries like China and India, but about two years ago China’s government brought in the National Sword Policy, which stopped the importation of two dozen kinds of solid waste.
Under the policy, about 1.3 million tonnes, or 4 per cent, of Australian waste, was banned.
Other governments are starting to follow China’s lead, making it extremely important for Australia to develop its own facilities for recycling waste.
Originally published as How recycling will create 10,000 jobs