- Reuse Recovery and Recycling
COAG Export Ban - Addendum (2020)
Recycling and resource recovery contribute significantly to employment and the South Australian economy. The history of leadership in the sector has led to the attraction of investment and expertise to the state. This investment has not only been in resource recovery activities but remanufacturing outputs into new products. The Australian Federal Government has committed to phasing out the export of non-value-added materials from Australia.
Business as usual models are not sustainable, and Australia must fast track the development of its local resource recovery and remanufacturing industry. South Australia is well positioned to expand its resource recovery and remanufacturing experience and expertise. With the requisite skills, knowledge and commitment, investing in the SA resource recovery industry will bring about national economic and environmental benefits. Fibre - The fibre stream (mixed paper and cardboard) is the most sensitive to the proposed export ban.
An estimated 229,700 tonnes are recovered for recycling. An estimated 60,000 to 70,000 tonnes are mixed paper and cardboard materials. SA relies on sorting and baling fibre for export given there is no local infrastructure to remanufacture this fibre. Exports are 99 per cent of the recovered fibre products (50% sent interstate and 49% overseas). Interstate paper mills already receive enough recycled fibre to meet their needs. The ban must be accompanied with investment in recycling infrastructure and local market development.
There are no foreseeable negative impacts of the ban on mixed plastics for South Australia. Only 2,100 tonnes of mixed plastics were exported in the 2018/19 FY. These volumes are expected to be able to be managed via existing processors in the State. Similarly, processing of single polymers can be managed through current infrastructure. SA is well placed to become a national recycling hub for recovered plastics, with experienced processors and additional processing capacity. Glass - Banning the export of glass will have little to no impact on South Australia.
There are no known tonnes exported overseas, and only a small volume is exported interstate (15,000 tonnes) The opportunity for glass re-manufacturing is further improving systems to recover glass and improving transport efficiencies to make more recycled cullet available for re-manufacturing.