WMRR welcomes NSW's Cleaning Up Our Act papers

8 March 2020 

The Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR) welcomes the release today of two important documents for the NSW waste and resource recovery industry; papers that may assist with getting our essential industry back on track in the state.


“Nationally, this will be a big week for industry with discussions on an export ban scheduled at COAG on Friday and it is good to see that on a state level in NSW, through these papers, there is an understanding that business as usual is not the way forward and cannot continue,” WMRR CEO, Ms Gayle Sloan, said.


“Australia  absolutely needs to transition away from the current take, make, and dispose approach and recognise that valuable natural resources must be designed and used in such a way to manage out waste, and ensure the ability to re-use, repair and recycle. Unless this transition occurs, industry agrees with the government’s sentiment that we will never be able to achieve the targets set, or sadly, create the environment in which we want to live in.”


The two papers released in NSW today include a plastics plan aimed at managing plastic waste and pollution in the state, and an issues paper that will shape the long-awaited 20-year strategy.


“Plastics remain at the forefront of the community’s mind and it is encouraging that NSW is looking to align with other jurisdictions to design out unnecessary single–use items. It also appears that NSW is prepared to go  further, with mandated recycled content of 30% by 2025 and emphasis on designing out waste and making producers take greater responsibility for collecting and recycling in NSW, including the possible use of more extended producer responsibility schemes. These are all positive policies that may result in less reliance on councils and householders to meet the costs of these schemes.”


WMRR also acknowledges the papers’ discussions and plans for market development and infrastructure, both being vitally important particularly as NSW’s waste and resource recovery industry remains under immense pressure. WMRR continues to advocate that government, as both the regulator and procurer of services and materials, has a vital role in pivoting our essential industry to ensure it can grow with certainty, in turn investing in necessary jobs and infrastructure in NSW; these papers appear to be the right step forward in this regard.


“We look forward to working with the NSW government to develop mandated targets for government agencies that not only reduce the amount of waste generated but also increase the amount of recycled materials used in NSW,” Ms Sloan said.


“As we await the outcomes of COAG, we need governments in all states to also look at what they can do in their jurisdictions, from committing to funding for industry infrastructure including reprocessing, to real targets of government expenditure to buy recycled materials for government projects. We need on-shore markets now to couple with the impending export bans so we don’t simply see stockpiling or worse, landfilling. Simply re-writing a procurement guideline will do little to create the market demand that we need.”