Photo by Pawe Czerwiski on Unsplash

Recycling jobs in Australia could increase by 50 per cent if stakeholders embrace Australian Council of Recycling’s new plan for “rebooting” the nation’s “stagnant” recycling industry.

“Australia is currently ranked about 17th in the world for recycling, and recycling rates are stagnant. That also means stagnation in jobs that this industry contributes,” ACOR’s 10-point plan states.

The recycling sector currently employs 50,000 people, including in the regional areas.

The new plan outlines a pathway to a self-sufficient recycling sector that will lead to increased employment and less pollution.

“Independent reports show that domestically remanufacturing 50 per cent of the material formerly sent to China leads to some 500 jobs here and reduces greenhouse gases equivalent of 50,000 less cars,” ACOR said.

In the plan, the council backs increased landfill levies, bans on hazardous waste items such as e-waste, and greater producer responsibility for end-of-life plans, among other recommendations.

How likely is a reboot of the local recycling industry?

The local recycling industry has been in turmoil since China stopped taking substantial amounts of recyclable materials earlier this year.

Australian environment ministers responded in April with an “interim” commitment to make 100 per cent of all packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025, or earlier.

This week the Palaszczuk government announced a $100 million waste management program which it said will revolutionise Queensland’s recycling, resource recovery and biofutures industries.

And in earlier September, federal minister for the environment Melissa Price announced another series of national waste targets, including the phasing out of “problematic and unnecessary” single-use plastic packaging.

This was met with concerns from industry players and some state government leaders about how this transition would be funded.

In response, Ms Price reportedly said it’s “too soon for us to talk” about tax incentives or funding.

However, consumers are turning up the heat with the University of New South Wales releasing survey results last week that showed that two-thirds of Australians believe councils send much of the recycling in their bins to landfill.

The strength of the government’s commitment to reforming the recycling and waste industry will be clearer when the 2018 National Waste Policy is released later in the year.

A cursory look at SEEK found 19 recycling-related jobs that are currently live (there are more than 40 jobs in the waste industry currently listed on the first few pages of SEEK).

Here’s our pick of the best recycling and waste jobs for the week:

The City of Gold Coast needs a Coordinator Water and Waste Project Delivery to oversee the delivery of approved water, sewerage and waste capital works projects in one of Australia’s fastest growing cities.

The Rockhampton Regional Council needs an Education Officer Waste and Recycling to develop and deliver an education strategy, including deliverable plans, programs, awareness campaigns, communication materials and events for Rockhampton Regional Waste and Recycling.

Hays is recruiting for a Senior Waste Crime Investigator for a state government organisation that has been set up to disrupt and deter serious and organised waste crime in NSW. You will be working alongside full time staff as a contractor.

A new Project Manager – Water Recycling Systems is needed atW3 Associates, an Australian water recycling and wastewater treatment systems provider.

Got any thoughts of the future waste and recycling industry? Why not send us an email.