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Projects to transform Australia's recycling sector

2 January 2021

Joint media release with Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley MP

A project to turn food waste into biodegradable cling wrap and another using AI to sort plastic recycling are being supported by the Morrison Government, in an effort to grow the economy and help the environment.

The Government is investing $14.9 million into nine projects worth more than $40 million under Round 10 of Cooperative Research Centre Projects (CRC-P) initiative.

Great Wrap will use its $210,000 to convert food waste into a compostable plastic stretch wrap for use by both the food and shipping industries. It could remove up to 150,000 tonnes of food and plastic waste from landfill each year.

Advanced Circular Polymers will use its $2 million to develop and commercialise an AI-enabled autonomous sorting system for plastic recycling, which could increase Australia’s recycling capacity by 42,000 tonnes each year and divert almost 17,000 tonnes of plastic residue from landfill.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the projects demonstrate the great industry opportunities that come from taking care of the environment.

“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,” Minister Andrews said. 

“We know strong collaboration between industry and researchers is key to creating a resilient, competitive and highly skilled manufacturing sector and that’s exactly what these CRC-P grants are going to do.

“Not only will these projects deliver significant benefits by improving Australia’s waste management capabilities, they will also grow Australia’s capacity to generate high value recycled commodities.”

Waste Recycling and Clean Energy is one of six National Manufacturing Priorities in the Government’s Modern Manufacturing Strategy.

Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said that with the passing of the Morrison Government’s historic Recycling and Waste Reduction Act in Parliament, with its phased ban on the export of waste plastics, paper, glass and tyres from 1 January 2021, there has never been a more important time to support innovation in recycling technology and infrastructure.

“The first ever national waste and recycling legislation, and the development of new technologies will take us a step further to realising the full value of our waste, rather than losing that value to landfill,” Minister Ley said.

“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.

“This CRC support for remanufacturing and product innovation, along with our investments in new infrastructure through the Recycling Modernisation Fund are key to reaching our national target of an 80 per cent recovery rate across all waste streams by 2030.”

This round of funded projects will leverage a further $25.2 million of cash and in-kind contributions from 46 project partners.

The projects involve 32 Australian companies, including 27 small and medium businesses. Of the companies, approximately 20 per cent are located in regional areas.

A list of successful applications is available on http://www.business.gov.au/crc-p.

Media contact:

Minister Andrews' office: 02 6277 7070