NSW’s local government sector has today launched a campaign to solve a worsening recycling and waste crisis – at no extra cost to taxpayers.
The Save Our Recycling Campaign, launched at the local government annual conference in Albury, calls on the State Government to re-invest the entire $727 million it collects from the waste levy each year in waste management and recycling.
Local Government NSW (LGNSW) President Linda Scott said it was critical that NSW develop its on-shore processing capacity for recycled materials, rather than shipping waste to countries such as China.
“NSW urgently needs a meaningful state-wide approach to collect, process and reuse recyclable material,” she said.
“Offshore processing of waste was never a good long-term option for NSW and our communities expect more.
“China’s tighter restrictions on what type of waste it will accept has brought the opportunity for a new approach into stark relief.”
Clr Scott said the crisis offered a real opportunity to create a circular economy by reusing more of our own waste, with the added potential of job creation in a modern, smart, homegrown environmental and recycling industry.
“Councils in NSW are already seeking support to develop markets for recycled glass, paper and plastics; working proactively to improve the quality of what’s in the recycling bin, and reducing recycling contamination levels,” she said.
“There is an immediate need for market development measures such as requiring recycled content in certain products: glass sand for pipe bedding, road base and asphalt, for example.
“We need more new and innovative recycling facilities, and packaging and products that are easier to recycle and reuse.”
Clr Scott said there was no need for these moves towards a circular economy to impose new costs on residents, ratepayers or business.
“A new statewide approach to recycling must be funded by the $727 million the state government currently collects through the Waste Levy, around $300 million of which comes from local government,” she said.
“At present, only 18% of that $300 million is reinvested in recycling and waste management, with the rest disappearing into the government’s coffers.
“Local government is not asking for more money, just for the money already raised as the Waste Levy to be used where communities expect: on better recycling and waste management.
Clr Scott said a number of studies had found the vast majority of residents supported the reinvestment of the waste levy into home-grown recycling and waste management.
“Residents across NSW are doing their bit by recycling household products, and we need to ensure these efforts don’t go – literally – to waste,” she said.
“That’s what this campaign is all about: calling on all candidates in the upcoming state election to commit to the full reinvestment of the waste levy in order to Save Our Recycling”.
Candidates, residents, business and anyone who supports the campaign can sign up at www.saveourrecycling.com.au