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Recycling Innovations Pushed by Offshore Waste Export Bans

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Australia’s states and territories have agreed to ban the export of waste by 2024, meaning the country must find ways to recycle, repurpose and dispose of waste onshore.

In New South Wales, the state government-funded body, NSW Circular, aims to work towards a zero-carbon circular economy by designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use, and regenerating natural systems.

“We need to retain waste material in our economy and not see it as a bad thing,” Professor Veena Sahajwalla, Director of the Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT) Centre at the University of New South Wales.

She went on to say, “it’s an innovative way of thinking — how our waste materials can be really useful and really valuable in many instances…tackling the growing waste problem means changing the way we view waste, and aligning the worlds of manufacturing and recycling.”

According to NSW Circular, we consume 38 tonnes of resources per person per year. There is a need for industry and government to come together to create an environment that promotes the use of recycled content.

The Morrison Government’s future waste commitments are made achievable through government research grants into onshore manufacturing processes and using artificial intelligence to sort resources and materials.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews stated, “by strategically investing in our waste management and recycling sector, we’re supporting Australian manufacturers to develop and commercialise cutting-edge technology that creates opportunities for new jobs and exports.” 

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