The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) met the with Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management Trevor Evans yesterday to discuss the impacts of the waste export ban and how the industry can help keep Australia’s waste paper out of landfill.

CEO of AFPA Ross Hampton said, “The announced ban poses a significant challenge for all of the Australian waste and recycling sector, however Australia’s pulp and paper industry is well placed to assist.”

“While the ban may be an understandable response to a growing waste problem, the move needs to be matched by an upsurge in investment in domestic sorting and remanufacturing to utilise Australia’s own waste paper feedstock. Without it, Australia’s landfills will fill up with contaminated paper.

“The industry welcomes the Government’s $100 million Australian Recycling Investment Fund to support the manufacturing of lower emissions and energy-efficient recycled content products and other related policy announcements, however more can be done.

“With the right policy settings such as investment facilitation in new sorting technology, emission avoidance credits, and government support for recycling manufacture, domestic recovery and recycling of paper and paperboard will grow, along with all of the local jobs and economic benefits that a larger industry will provide.

“Industry leaders presented the Assistant minister with a proposal for government supported $10 million National Biofutures Industry Development Fund, and $10 million National Biofutures Commercialisation Fund to underpin early stage commercialisation of leading-edge bio-based technologies. This initiative will help drive the development of high value uses for domestic waste paper.

“There are many waste materials that are currently not able to be recycled and are disposed of in landfill. Approximately 20 million tonnes of garbage each year makes its way to landfill, which represents about 40 per cent of total waste generation in Australia.

“We are calling on the government to support proven, low emission waste to energy technologies, which should be recognised as a crucial part of the waste management infrastructure required to support the Australian governments’ proposed export ban.”

Energy from Waste is recognised globally as a proven and reliable technology used in Europe, North America and Japan for decades. Countries such as Germany, Austria and Sweden utilise Energy from Waste as a key component in the waste management hierarchy, reducing their landfill to almost zero.

“The waste management issue in Australia is complex, and will take considerable policy change, government investment and community and industry engagement if it is to be successful. If given the required support, the Australian pulp and paper sector will be a key part of the solution,” Mr Hampton concluded.