Australia ReMade – well-intentioned campaign supported

6 December 2021

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s announcement today of a new campaign – ReMade – that encourages Australians to buy products manufactured in Australia with Australian recycled content has been hailed a positive step. The campaign builds on the ongoing support for our essential waste and resource recovery sector, with the current federal government having already invested more in the industry than any other Australian government to-date.

“The federal government is to be congratulated for continuing to meet its demonstrated commitment of ensuring Australians take ownership and responsibility for the products we consume. Positive actions to-date include the waste export bans that came into effect this year and the subsequent joint funding with states and private industry that has stimulated investments of more than $1 billion across Australia,” Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR) CEO, Ms Gayle Sloan, said.

“We absolutely support the government’s ReMade campaign that seeks to encourage consumers to buy products that use Australian recycled materials. The prime minister is spot on when he says doing so will create more jobs, grow local economies and industries, and ensure our recycling efforts deliver real outcomes domestically.

“It is now vital that the government rolls out real funding and the details of this campaign to ensure its success, from developing a clear and consistent label nationally that enables consumers to easily identify whether, and how much, recycled content is used in the product and its true recyclability, as well as setting recycled content targets that manufacturers must adhere to.”

The government’s positive actions are acknowledged and supported but it is hoped that they will not rest on their laurel, and instead consider what more needs to be done to ensure sustained success.

“Product design that enables re-use and repair, genuine recovery and recycling at end-of-life, and remanufacturing will have a significant impact of mitigating carbon emissions and lowering energy consumption. An important piece of work the government should undertake is a review of how the WARR sector can contribute to mitigating carbon emissions by calculating the CO2-e and energy savings that come from using recycled materials, so that we can scale up value chains,” Ms Sloan, adding, “there is a need to increase incentives and mechanisms that enable the valuable work our sector does in carbon abatement.

“Further, now that three (3) of the four (4) export bans, which are supported by industry, have commenced, the government must commit to a tangible target for recycled procurement itself, as well as work with the states to fast-track planning development of these facilities; it still takes longer in NSW, for example, to have a WARR facility approved and licensed when compared with a mine.

“We also call on the next tranche of materials to be included in the export bans. A material that is primed for consideration of an export ban is scrap steel, given there is strong demand for this material by steel manufacturers in Australia, and this would have a huge economic and environmental benefit to Australia through domestic recovery, recycling and remanufacturing.

“We look forward to what the federal government has in store for the sector in 2022 and will continue our positive engagement with the government as it pushes forward with its circular ambitions,” Ms Sloan concluded.