Recycling Modernisation Fund receives $60m boost

Investment to go towards advanced plastic recycling technology that will tackle hard-to-recycle plastics.

The Federal Government has announced a $60 million new funding stream to the Recycling Modernisation Fund.

This investment, which now brings the fund up to $250 million total, will go towards boosting advanced plastic recycling technology that will tackle hard-to-recycle plastics like bread bags and chip packets.

The investment, included in this month’s Federal Budget, builds on the $190 million RMF which is driving a $1 billion transformation of the waste and recycling sector.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the government is committed to stopping harmful plastics from entering our oceans, choking up our waterways and destroying our marine life.

“This new funding stream, dedicated to helping solve the problem of hard to recycle plastic waste, demonstrates our determination to invest in Australian industry, to growing the recycling sector and to creating a stronger economy and stronger future for Australia,” the Prime Minister said.

Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said the new round of funding will fast-track access to new innovative waste technology, supporting a pipeline of plastic products ReMade in Australia.

“The time to act on hard to recycle plastics is now – fast-tracking advanced recycling infrastructure will help the industry recycle more of the 1 million tonnes of plastic packaging waste we generate every year -creating valuable new products while keeping problematic waste out of landfill,” Minister Ley said.

“Australia has set a high bar as the first country in the world to ban the export of waste plastic, we will continue to take strong action on plastics in our own backyard by investing in technology, manufacturing capability and jobs.”

Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management Trevor Evans said the new round of funding will help increase plastic recycling rates with more access to plastic feedstock.

“The latest round of funding under the Recycling Modernisation Fund will create new demand for recycled materials, giving consumers the confidence that the products they buy are made from recycled content,” Assistant Minister Evans said.

“It will also help drive progress on our targets to have 70 per cent of our plastic packaging recycled or composted and 50 per cent of average recycled content in packaging by 2025.”

The Australian Council of Recycling (ACOR) has welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement.

“As the first country in the world to ban the export of waste plastic, Australia moved early in prioritising onshore recycling capacity. The Recycling Modernisation Fund has been essential to this endeavour.  But a move to integrated circular economy outcomes is much broader than resource recovery and recycling: it requires a concerted effort across Australia’s manufacturing, technology and innovation sectors,” said ACOR CEO Suzanne Toumbourou.

“To see the full potential of funding as such as this, we should be pursuing another world first – the appointment of a Minister for Resource Recovery and the Circular Economy. It makes perfect sense to create a new ministerial role that can work across all these relevant portfolios. With unprecedented government and industry investment and overwhelming public support for resource recovery and recycling, now is the time to unleash the full potential of a circular economy through these policy measures.”

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