Regional and remote councils urged to seek recycling grants

An ongoing campaign to boost recycling and build a circular economy is paying dividends across NSW, with local councils urged to apply for funding under Round Two of the Remanufacture NSW Program.

Local Government NSW (LGNSW) President Linda Scott said the program, part of the Australian Government’s Recycling Modernisation Fund, was open to regional and remote waste and recycling projects.

“There is no doubt that regional and remote areas face additional challenges when it comes to recycling and waste management,” Cr Scott said.

“This funding round, which offers grants of up to $1 million, is designed to help overcome those challenges and put our entire state on a more even playing field.

“Recycling projects mean local jobs and an injection into local economies, as well as offering a clever solution to Australia’s growing waste problem now waste exports to China and other destinations are no more.

“Meanwhile, metropolitan councils are already working with the State Government to drive end markets for recycled materials, creating a ‘virtuous cycle’, in which they send recycling materials such as glass to regional facilities and buy the recycled product.

“For example, the South Sydney Region of Councils Paving The Way program aims to take one-third of council glass collections – about 93 million bottles per year – and use the reprocessed product to replace sand in asphalt, non-structural concrete and pipe bedding.

“It’s clear that the benefits are very broad and long-lasting, with real potential for regions seeking to transition away from old-school industry to become centres of innovative clean and green jobs.”

Round One of the Program awarded more than $24 million to a range of projects, increasing NSW’s recycling capacity by an estimated 120,000 tonnes each year. The NSW Government has said Round Two is designed to push the state closer to its 80% average recovery target across all waste streams by 2030.

However, Cr Scott warned that the federal-state funding available in Round Two was limited to around $7 million, making it imperative that councils did not miss out.

“NSW councils play a lead role in their communities’ waste management and recycling efforts and should be given priority in funding decisions,” she said.

“Now, in National Recycling Week 2021, it is clear that there is still so much more to be done.

“According to a NSW Parliamentary Inquiry in 2018, about 13 per cent of the NSW Government’s Waste Levy revenue was reinvested in waste and regulatory programs, while a further 13 per cent went to environmental programs,” Cr Scott said.

“Imagine what we could do if this funding was supplemented by the full $800 million collected by the Waste Levy each year was targeted towards the purpose it is raised for!”

Grant Applications for the Regional and Remote recycling Modernisation Fund are open until 6 December, with guidelines available on the Environmental Trust website.

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