Australia’s recycling sector is experiencing a jobs boom, according to the country’s environment minister Tanya Plibersek, which is seen as a silver lining for a country struggling to improve its recycling rates.
Employment is on the rise, the Sydney Morning Herald reports, with the industry generating three jobs for every job in landfill. An estimated 2 800 new jobs have been added since last year, Plibersek points out.
The minister is now fighting for legally binding recycling targets to boost rates, emphasising that Australia’s performance has been stagnating for years.
She says the recycling rate for plastics is especially low. Around 13% of plastics is diverted from landfill each year, compared with 81% of building materials, 58% of organic materials and 62% of paper and cardboard.
Last year, Plibersek launched an AU$ 250 million (EUR 152 million) Recycling Modernisation Fund in support of the International Coalition to End Plastic Waste. AU$ 118 million has been spent on new waste processing facilities or expanding existing ones across 126 projects. Doing so generated one million tonnes of extra recycling capacity for all waste.
Sixty of the projects target plastic scrap, another 34 focus on multi-materials, 16 end-of-life glass, and 12 aimed at used tyres.