ACOR, NWRIC zero in on national waste action plan targets

The Australian Council of Recycling (ACOR) will develop a national accreditation/certification scheme to support resource recovery and the circular economy.

The project will receive funding from the federal Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment (DAWE) and be aligned to key targets in the National Waste Policy Action Plan.

Those action plan targets include reducing total waste generated, increasing the resource recovery rate, and significantly increasing the use of recycled content by governments and industries.

DAWE is also funding a related project by the Waste and Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC) to develop an up-to-date set of national performance standards for material recovery facilities (including sorting, primary and secondary processors).

NWRIC CEO Rose Read said specifications for plastics, paper, glass, metals, and organics coming through the municipal solid waste collection stream will be developed in consultation with end-users such as manufacturers, construction and farmers, and the recycling sector.

“The specifications will assist recyclers [to] meet market demands for recovered materials locally and overseas and improve the quality of recovered materials as tradeable commodities,” she said.

“Through the project, we are also looking to stimulate domestic reuse of recovered materials by improving market information, which leads to greater confidence in the quality of recovered materials,” Read said.

ACOR chief executive officer Suzanne Toumbourou said ACOR (partnering with Equilibrium) would deliver a comprehensive scheme for recyclers that considers economic, regulatory, and market impacts.

“For the recycling and resource recovery industry, a national accreditation or certification scheme will support continual improvement in recovery rates and improve stakeholder and investor confidence in their facilities,” she said.

ACOR’s scheme will include independently conducted facility audits to cover both compliance aspects and the quality of material handling at sites.

The NWRIC and ACOR projects are expected to be complete by October.