Australia’s Victoria Government has announced a A$34.9m package of recycling reforms in an effort to reduce plastic pollution and support the recycling industry.

This funding complements the A$37m Recycling Industry Strategic Plan introduced in July last year, bringing the total investment made by the government in the waste and resource recovery industry to more than A$135m.

The government will use a A$14.3m Recycling Industry Development Fund to improve the state’s domestic remanufacturing capabilities, with a focus on secondary processing infrastructure for priority materials such as paper, cardboard and plastics.

The remaining A$13.8m will be used to offer incentives for new companies entering Victoria’s recycling market, which is expected to diversify the sector and attract more investment in equipment and infrastructure upgrades.

According to Victoria Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio, the government aims to create a more stable and productive recycling sector, enhance the quality of recycled materials and develop new markets.

D’Ambrosio said: “Managing recycling and waste is a global problem and we need to act now to help the industry continue its transition following China’s import bans.

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“It’s more important than ever to minimise the amount of waste we produce and ensure we’re recycling as many items as possible, and these new initiatives are an important step in planning for the future of the waste and recycling industry.”

In addition, the funding supports Victoria’s councils to establish contracts for recycling services, improve business performance and create contingency plans.

The government will improve education programmes to create awareness on what can and cannot be recycled in order to reduce the contamination of kerbside recycling.

The Essential Services Commission will conduct a review of recycling services in the state to determine whether the sector should be regulated as an essential service.

The government will review the Landfill Levy to consider current and future effectiveness to influence waste management practices, such as reducing waste to landfill.