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Green grants to boost recycling infrastructure

Councils across the state may apply for the Remanufacture NSW Fund grants. Photo: Twitter/ NSW EPA

By ALLISON HORE

In a joint effort the NSW and Federal governments have announced a mammoth $35 million in grants supporting the remanufacture of recyclable goods.

The grants are part of the Remanufacture NSW Fund, a joint initiative between the NSW and Federal governments which was created in response to Council of Australian Governments’ ban on overseas waste export.

NSW Minister for Energy and the Environment, Matt Kean, said the grant money will prioritise new sorting technologies and materials recovery projects which boost the country’s ability to process mixed plastics, glass, paper and tyres.

“We know the people of NSW are keen recyclers, and this new program is all about supporting our waste industry to get more innovative large-scale projects that divert plastic, glass, paper and tyres from landfill, off the ground,” he said.

Grants of between $100,000 and $5 million will be dished out to fund eligible infrastructure projects, while eligible trial projects will receive between $50,000 and $1 million. Applications for grants are open to companies, government bodies, NGOs and research institutes as well as local councils.

Communities “should come first”

City of Sydney councillor and president of Local Government NSW (LGNSW), Linda Scott, said the funding announcement was “a significant step forward in putting recycling where it needs to be.” She said she hopes projects which benefit local communities are at “the front of the line” for funding consideration.

“We can no longer export our waste overseas, and with dwindling landfill on our own shores, we need clever recycling solutions that turn waste into a reusable product,” she said.

“We are literally throwing out hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of reusable product and we need to turn that around.”

LGNSW have been advocating for further funding for recycling programs for years. In 2018, the group launched the Save Our Recycling campaign urging the NSW government to fund councils to develop plans and build infrastructure for recycling.

Ms. Scott said the grants would not only be good for the environment and help reduce waste across the state, it would also assist in NSW’s post COVID-19 economic recovery.

“This will not only preserve our environment but boost our economy and create new jobs,” she said.

Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management, Trevor Evans, said the grants would play a key role in improving the country’s recycling technology. He said the government “must use the Fund to harness the latest science so we recycle more and then remanufacture those resources into valuable new products.”

“Recycling is becoming a boom industry for Australia by increasing both its wealth and jobs. Recycling creates nine jobs for every 10,000 tonnes of material recycled, compared to only three if that material ends up in landfill,” he said.

Applications for the grants will be open until the end of March.

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