A message from the WMRR’s Chief Executive Officer

The Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR), the peak national body for the essential waste and resource recovery industry, is pleased to support The Resourceful Waste Newsletter.

The waste and resource recovery industry is at the cusp of vital systemic change, and as we prepare for the COAG waste export ban that will commence in a phased roll-out from mid-2020, it is crucial that stakeholders continue to engage and collaborate with each other.

The quarterly Resourceful Waste Newsletter is one of several platforms that could enhance collaboration by connecting stakeholders, including the waste and resource recovery industry, government, and academia, and provide them with information that could assist in decision-making as it seeks to provide insights into projects across the ACT, challenges and opportunities, and solutions to drive waste avoidance and reduction and increase resource recovery.

This newsletter will also play a role in informing and engaging readers as Australia starts to make the shift to a circular economy as we focus on design, re-use, and repair.

Thus, WMRR would encourage you to actively participate in this project, which is a joint initiative by the ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science, ACT NoWaste, and WMRR, by subscribing to the newsletter, providing feedback, and/or sharing your stories with the ANU team who is driving this forward.

2019 has been a challenging year for the waste and resource recovery industry as we continue to deal with existing issues, including the impacts of the closure of export markets for recyclable commodities, and the slow pace of change required to roll out known solutions needed to drive domestic remanufacturing and reprocessing of recyclables as well as end markets for recycled products.

However, our essential industry remains high on the agenda, as evidenced at the 9th Meeting of Environment Ministers held on 8 November 2019 where Ministers recognised the opportunity for significant (and much-needed) reforms in our sector. Moreover, we have, for the first time in our industry’s history, two more federal ministers with a role in our portfolio – Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction, Trevor Evans, and Energy Minister Angus Taylor. Even the Prime Minister has a keen interest in the sector, making a personal commitment to tackle the challenges we’re facing and announcing at the August 2019 COAG meeting a ban on waste exports.

We now have a timeline for the roll-out of the ban and a commitment to further develop the new National Waste Action Plan. But these commitments alone are not enough without real action and real funding, and the road ahead is a long and challenging one.

WMRR will continue to urge Ministers to develop strong, enforceable requirements around, and commitments to, market development, investment in post-consumer recyclate, and ensure manufacturers of products are made responsible for their materials at end-of-life. We will also continue to educate and inform all players in the supply chain, including the community, about what a true circular economy is; it is one that that focuses on material design, avoidance of the creation of waste, and ensuring that polluters/ generators are both responsible for some of the cost of managing their materials at end-of-life and reusing post-consumer recyclate in product design.

As we do so, we will share our work and progress through The Resourceful Waste Newsletter and we hope that you will join us, and your peers, as we drive Australia’s vision of transitioning to a circular economy.

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