The NSW Government will release a one-off package of up to $47 million to support local government and industry to respond to China’s National Sword policy, Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton announced today. “NSW has a strong kerbside recycling system and the Government, councils and recycling industry are committed to working together to ensure it continues,” Ms Upton said.
“I have met with industry and government stakeholders to hear first-hand about how we can address the current global challenges to the recycling market in NSW.” The one-off package responds to China’s enforcement of its National Sword policy which restricts the types of recycled material China will accept. As China is the largest importer of recyclable products from Australia this policy threatens NSW’s kerbside recycling system and the options for recycled material currently produced in NSW.
The support package is being funded by the Waste Less, Recycle More initiative and provides a range of short, medium and long term initiatives to ensure kerbside recycling continues and to promote industry innovation.
The funding will:
· enable councils to off-set some extra costs associated with kerbside recycling collections subject to guidelines
· improve council tendering processes to increase the production and use of recycled products
· fund community education initiatives to reduce kerbside recycling contamination
The package also includes $9.5 million for industry and local government to co-invest in infrastructure projects to identify new uses for recyclable materials and to improve the quality of recycled products and reduce the amount of unrecyclable material left at the end of the process.
Applicants seeking funding will need to meet certain guidelines to ensure that initiatives best address the China National Sword issue, represent better value for money and demonstrate clear benefits to the community such as increased levels of service.
Recycling facilities can also apply to the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) to temporarily vary their stockpile limits. The facilities will be assessed to demonstrate that appropriate safety measures will remain in place. “The short-term need for increased stockpiles of recycled material during this critical time must be balanced with the safety of the community and the environment,” Ms Upton said.
An inter-government taskforce is also being established to urgently progress a longer-term response to National Sword in partnership with industry and councils. The impact of China’s National Sword policy is being felt around Australia and globally. “I have also written to the Federal Environment Minister to urgently progress the work on this issue and the long-term solutions at a national level,” Ms Upton said.