The Government of Australia has announced a A$60m ($44.4m) funding stream to help process ‘problematic’ plastic crisp packets and bread bags by developing ‘advanced’ plastic recycling technology.
Announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, the investment takes the government’s Recycling Modernisation Fund (RMF) to a total of A$250m.
The RMF is intended to expand the country’s sorting, processing and remanufacturing of recycled materials such as plastic, paper, cardboard, tyres and glass.
Morrison said: “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 funding is expected to expedite access to advanced waste technology and help increase plastic recycling rates by expanding access to plastic feedstock.
It will also help Australia meet its target to make 70% of its plastic packaging recyclable or compostable and increase the average amount of recycled content in its packaging by 50% by 2025.
Australian Waste Reduction and Environmental Management Assistant Minister Trevor Evans “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.”
In a separate development, a coalition led by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has announced an initial investment of A$50m in CSIRO’s Ending Plastic Waste Mission.
The coalition also includes contributions from industries, government, universities and other organisations.
The funding will be used to develop technology designed to optimise the manufacturing, recycling and disposing of plastic in Australia.
Australians use one million tonnes of single-use plastics every year, 12% of which is recycled.
In addition, single-use plastics account for 75% of the plastic found along Australia’s coastlines.