New plan to build circular economy for Victoria

Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, the Hon. Lily D’Ambrosio, announced details of the Victorian Government’s $300 million waste and recycling initiative, Recycling Victoria: A New Economy; a ten-year plan to transform the waste and recycling sector.

Speaking at a CEDA event in Melbourne, Minister D’Ambrosio said the plan will improve and standardise Victoria’s household waste collection system and deliver infrastructure and industry development that will recover more resources, create thousands of new jobs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“Victoria’s population is set to double by 2046. By then we could be generating almost 40 per cent more waste than we did in 2017-18,” she said.

“That’s a problem, not just because of the potential pollution impacts of waste but because it’s a valuable resource from our economy.

“This decade-long policy will fundamentally transform our recycling system.

“It will further build our economy by turning waste and recycling from a problem to be managed into a jobs, business and environmental opportunity.

“Transitioning to a circular economy will create local industries and potentially boost our economy by up to $6.7 billion dollars by improving material efficiency and recycling.

“Our plan will support the creation of more than 3,900 new local jobs.”

Minister D’Ambrosio said Recycling Victoria has four goals; design products that last and can be repaired and recycled, change how Victorians use products to create more value, recycle more resources, reduce harm from waste and pollution.

“We will also measure our progress against four targets; divert 80 per cent of waste from landfill by 2030; cut total waste generation by 15 per cent per capita by 2030; halve organic material going to landfill by 2030; ensure every Victorian household can access food and garden organic waste recycling services or local composting by 2030,” she said.

“We will introduce a four-bin household waste and recycling system.

“Ultimately every Victorian household will have a bin or a service for food and garden organics, glass recycling, plastics paper cardboard and metals all in the one bin and the fourth for household residual waste.

“Over the coming months and years this will be rolled out in collaboration with local governments to meet local needs.”

Minister D’Ambrosio said the Victorian Government are investing $57.4 million to crack down on dodgy waste operators.

“We’re establishing a new waste crime inspectorate at the EPA to combat waste crime in Victoria,” she said.

“That means improving the way we share intelligence across relevant government agencies. When we have early information through that sharing of intelligence, we can take action early to avoid harm.

“And giving those same agencies the power they need to deal with unethical operators, tougher laws, new policy and better planning will help us put an end to questionable behaviour in Victoria’s waste and recycling sector.”

Minister D’Ambrosio said the Victorian Government will increase the Metropolitan Municipal and Industrial Landfill Levy to $125.90 per tonne, with regional MILL rates rising proportionately.

“It will go up from the 1 July this year by about $20 so it will be a gradual phasing in, until we get to that point where we get to $125,” she said.

“The funds from this change will be reinvested back into the sector, including through programs in Recycling Victoria, industry and infrastructure development.

“As a state Recycling Victoria: Our New Economy represents our latest action against climate change. It adds to our suite of legislation, strong policy and real investment targeting our warming climate.”

Sustainability Victoria Chief Executive Officer, Claire Ferres Miles, also spoke at the CEDA event and said a key part of the new policy will be an information/behaviour change campaign.

“There are many things that we need to think about doing before we even get to recycling,” she said.

“We can avoid, we can refuse, we can reuse, we can repair, we can share, so there is a whole suite of actions every person in Victoria can take before we get to recycle and repurpose.

“A great initiative that you can log onto now is It’s got the top five things to put into a recycling bin and the top five things not to put in a recycling bin.

“The top five things not to put in, so that you all know; nappies, textiles and clothing, polystyrene, plastic bags and soft plastics.”

Ms Ferris Miles said storytelling has a powerful role in the campaign.

“There’s some really good stories that have come out of Hume about their recycled plastic asphalt, from Wyndham with their recycled glass and plastic footpaths and concrete mix they’re trying,” she said.

“The more you can tell these stories about the circular nature of what happens at the beginning and where it ends up, I think that will generate more confidence in the community that it is worth making a little bit more effort because they know and they trust that it’s going into a circular system.”