- Waste and recycling
SA recycling options for recovered paper and cardboard (2021)
Fibre (paper and cardboard) makes up the largest proportion of materials in comingled recycling bins (~50%). SA MRF’s separate this material and sell it to pulping facilities and paper mills in Australia and/or overseas. This is a key revenue stream for the MRFs. Selling fibre to be recycled keeps comingled recycling costs down and recycling rates up. As the Australian recycled fibre market is saturated, much of the fibre sold by these MRFs is sent overseas. In November 2019, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) decided that a range of waste materials not processed into a value-added material should be subject to an Australian export ban. This included recovered paper/cardboard. ‘Value-added material’ for paper and cardboard refers to paper pulp. This ban is scheduled for 1 July 2024 and if nothing is done, MRFs that rely on overseas markets for this product will have nowhere to send the material once the ban is in place.
This report explores three fibre re-processing options that may allow the ongoing sale of South Australian recovered fibre once the ban is in place.