The local government sector has welcomed a funding announcement that will see $115,000 invested to help divert disposable coffee cups from landfill, and urged the NSW Government to go further.
Local Government and Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton announced the funding – to coffee cup recycler Closed Loop Environmental Solutions Pty Ltd – would help divert about 11 million cups from landfill within a year.
Local Government NSW President Linda Scott said the announcement was great news, and an example of what can be achieved by focusing on recycling in NSW.
“If $115,000 can divert 11 million disposable cups from landfill, imagine what $727 million could do,” Clr Scott said.
“LGNSW’s Save Our Recycling campaign calls on the NSW Government to re-invest the hundreds of millions it collects via a Waste Levy imposed on business, councils and individuals into waste management and recycling,” she said.
“In 2017-18, the total take from the Waste Levy was $727 million, $300 million of which came from councils.
“Only about 18% of that $300 million is reinvested in recycling and waste management, with the rest disappearing into the government’s coffers.”
Clr Scott said it is critical that NSW develop its on-shore processing capacity for recycled materials, rather than shipping waste to countries such as China.
“Offshore processing of waste was never a good long-term option for NSW and our communities expect more,” he said.
“We have a real opportunity to create a circular economy by reusing more of our own waste, with the added potential of job creation in a modern, smart, homegrown environmental and recycling industry.
“Councils in NSW are already seeking support to develop markets for recycled glass, paper and plastics; working proactively to improve the quality of what’s in the recycling bin, and reducing recycling contamination levels,” she said.
“There is an immediate need for market development measures such as requiring recycled content in certain products: glass sand for pipe bedding, road base and asphalt, for example.
“We need more new and innovative recycling facilities, and packaging and products that are easier to recycle and reuse.”
Clr Scott said there was no need for these moves towards a circular economy to impose new costs on residents, ratepayers or business.
“Local government is not asking for more money, just for the money already raised as the Waste Levy to be used where communities expect: on better recycling and waste management,” she said.
“That’s what this campaign is all about: calling on all candidates in the upcoming state election to commit to the full reinvestment of the waste levy to Save Our Recycling”.