Councils commit to buying back their rubbish
In an Australian first, nine South Australian councils have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to prioritise buying products made from recycled materials.
This MOU is the beginning of a circular procurement pilot project, led by the LGA with the assistance of a $96,500 Green Industries SA grant. The goal is to increase local demand for recycled materials, support the development of a circular economy in SA, and ultimately reduce waste and recycling costs for councils.
The participating councils include Adelaide Hills Council, City of Burnside, City of Charles Sturt, Mount Barker District Council, Rural City of Murray Bridge, City of Norwood Payneham & St Peters, City of Onkaparinga, City of Port Adelaide Enfield, and City of Prospect.
Through the MOU, these councils have committed to prioritising the purchase of recycled-content products through the procurement process, and tracking and reporting on recycled-content purchasing by weight.
Most also adopted a rolling target for the purchase of recycled plastic products, working towards eventually buying back recycled materials equivalent to half the weight of plastics collected in their council area.
Examples of products made of recycled materials that can be purchased by councils include road and construction materials, street furniture, bollards, office stationery and compost.
The MOU was signed on-site at Advanced Plastic Recycling (APR) – a leading manufacturer and designer of recycled wood plastic composite products made from 100 percent post-consumer waste. Products produced by APR include bollards, boardwalks, fencing, and street furniture.
Comments to be attributed to LGA President Sam Telfer
“China’s National Sword Policy has made waste and recycling significantly more expensive for South Australian councils.
It’s vital we develop new markets for recycled materials in South Australia, and councils can support this by prioritising the use of recycled materials in their procurement processes.
This MOU sends a clear message to industry about the types of products that councils want to purchase as part of their commitment to supporting the environment and improving their sustainability.”
Comments to be attributed to the Hon David Speirs MP, Minister for Environment and Water
“Improved recycling and resource recovery reduces the amount of waste sent to landfill which is not only good for our environment but good for the economy.
This project will help drive local demand for recycled materials, supporting local reprocessing and remanufacturing opportunities here in South Australia.”
Comments to be attributed to Advanced Plastic Recycling CEO Ryan Lokan
“Using materials sourced locally from kerbside recycling, APR prevent 1,500 tonnes of plastic and 1,500 tonnes of wood from entering landfill each year.
The greatest benefit coming from mandatory buy back is the demand created. Demand drives innovation and it is companies like ours that will rise to the challenge to meet the requirements for recycled material.”
Comments attributed to City of Onkaparinga Mayor Erin Thompson
“This circular procurement pilot project is yet another way councils are working together to find positive and long-term solutions to issues facing recycling in South Australia and across the country.
This announcement builds on our plans – and those of other SA councils – to establish new material recycling facilities in our communities.
Exciting projects like this help us become more self-sufficient, create circular economies and reduce our reliance on recycling companies, delivering major benefits to the environment and local economy.”
Comments to be attributed to Adelaide Hills Council Acting Mayor Nathan Daniell
“The program will lead to improved knowledge and understanding of circular procurement through the increased purchase of products with recycled content. This will in turn provide stability and ongoing markets for recyclable material placed in the kerbside recycling bin.
Adelaide Hills Council is committed to providing leadership in transitioning to a sustainable future that prioritises the use of recycled material.
It’s essential that we continue to look at ways to reduce the amount of waste we send to landfill. The pilot project aligns with our broader commitment to reducing waste to landfill and improving recycling outcomes.
Council hopes the pilot project will help develop local markets for recyclable materials by increasing market demand for recycled content products and materials.”
Comments to be attributed to Mount Barker District Council Mayor Ann Ferguson OAM
“Mount Barker District Council is proud to be part of the Circular Procurement Project to help achieve a sustainable future for our growing community.
Council acknowledges that the time has come where ambitious targets and actions are required to achieve real change.”