The Morrison Government is delivering on its commitment to turbo-charge Australia’s recycling industry, today announcing its partnership with the ACT Government to deliver a major upgrade to the ACT’s Material Recovery Facility under the Australian Government’s $190m Recycling Modernisation Fund.

Federal Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley joined ACT Minister for Recycling and Waste Reduction Chris Steel to announce the partnership between the Australian and ACT Governments to provide $21 million to the ACT MRF, to better separate and process recycling streams such as paper, glass and plastic.

Minister Ley said the upgrade will create a higher quality recycled product that adds value and reduces the amount of waste ending up in landfill.

“Our Recycling Modernisation Fund is turning waste into a product of value – no longer are we going to see rubbish as a problem that needs to be solved or put into the ground – but as an important resource,” Ms Ley said.

“The upgraded facility will have the capacity to improve the quality and marketability of 23,000 tonnes of paper and mixed cardboard, 1,800 tonnes of mixed plastics and 14,000 tonnes of glass from the ACT and five regional NSW councils annually.

“Today’s announcement will also see the creation of around 100 direct and indirect jobs for the ACT and surrounding regions, which will deliver an economic lifeline to local economies.”

ACT Minister for Recycling and Waste Reduction Chris Steel said that Governments were stepping up to take responsibility for waste and its impact on the environment, with investment in the latest technology to generate cleaner recycling in the ACT and the Canberra Region.

“When Canberrans put material in their yellow bin they should trust that is sorted and processed locally so that It has as much value as possible for re-use and remanufacturing,” Minister Steel said.

“These upgrades to our Materials Recovery Facility will deliver better separation of recycling streams such as paper, glass and plastic, reducing contamination rates and providing better quality recycled material.”

“This is the local waste processing infrastructure that our region needs to be ready for the waste export ban, and so that we can effectively eliminate mixed plastics as a waste stream in the ACT.”

Senator for the ACT Zed Seselja welcomed the announcement.

“Today’s announcement will see better recycling outcomes for the ACT and surrounding areas, encourage local businesses to use recycled materials, provide local job opportunities and support the generation of thriving regional industries. It will also mean we will have the required infrastructure to meet the challenges of the waste export bans,” Senator Seselja said.

“This announcement builds on more than $1 billion in new investments announced in the ACT by the Federal Government in the past two years, boosting our Canberra economy,” Senator Seselja concluded.

The upgrades to the facility will include:

  • optical scanning equipment to identify and separate different types of plastics
  • Better screening technology to reduce contamination in paper and cardboard recycling
  • glass washing facilities to provide better quality crushed glass ‘sand’ products that can be used in a wider range of products
  • plastic washing and ‘flaking’ facilities—the flaking process breaks the washed plastic into small pieces, providing a clean product ready for local markets.

Work is expected to begin later this year with the upgrades conducted in stages and completion largely achieved in 2021–22.