Waste export ban drives rubbish research into local manufacturing
Innovative ideas like turning food waste into biodegradable cling wrap and using artificial intelligence to sort plastics for recycling are the focus of the Morrison government's latest round of federal research funding to help boost local manufacturing.
Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the research grants would help meet the Morrison government's commitment to phase out exports of unprocessed waste by 2024 and recycle 80 per cent of waste by 2030.
The federal government is funding research by local waste and recycling businesses to help Australia meet a looming deadline on waste exports.Credit:Bloomberg
"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," Ms Andrews said.
The federal government announced $15 million in grants for nine projects in plastics, paper, glass and tyres which is expected to generate $40 million in co-investment from private companies.
Waste recycling and clean energy is one of six national manufacturing priorities in the government's modern manufacturing strategy. The lastest funding is being delivered under round 10 of the Commonwealth's Cooperative Research Centre grants.
Advanced Circular Polymers received $2 million in funding for an autonomous system for plastic recycling which uses artificial intelligence to sort items.
Another company, Great Wrap, is developing technology to convert food waste into a compostable plastic cling wrap which can be used with food or by the freight industry to secure pallets of goods.
The federal government passed its Recycling and Waste Reduction Act in Parliament last year to phase out export of waste plastics, paper, glass and tyres from 1 January, 2021.
"Cutting-edge recycling technology is critical in building the waste and recycling industry’s capacity, in creating new markets for recycled materials, and with it new jobs," Ms Ley said.
The federal government will contribute $190 million to a fund expected to attract more than $600 million in total – with a further $190 million from state governments and about $200 million from the recycling industry.
Glass exports will be prohibited from January 1 this year, export of whole new tyres will be banned by December 1, unprocessed single resin/polymer plastics will be banned from July 1, 2022, and export of mixed and unsorted paper and cardboard will be banned from July 1, 2024.
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