Skip to Content Skip to Content

Policy and behaviour changes needed to reduce waste and recycle more in Victoria

Infrastructure Victoria has handed the Victorian Government its early findings on how to build a better recycling and resource recovery industry for the state.

As an independent agency, Infrastructure Victoria has been asked by government to provide advice on the sector, focusing on the role of infrastructure and government to support the industry as it goes through a period of significant change.

Victorians nearly doubled the total waste generated between 2000 and 2018 from 7.4M tonnes to 13.4M tonnes each year and waste stockpiling and illegal dumping are significant problems.

Releasing its early findings for public comment, Infrastructure Victoria CEO Michel Masson said after a thorough investigation of the recycling and resource recovery sector, exciting opportunities exist for investment, new processes and community action.

“To waste less and recycle more, governments, communities and businesses all need to play their parts. We have all learnt to use less water and power, now we have to apply the same principles to waste,” Mr Masson said.

Two waste sources make up the bulk of all waste going to landfill – businesses generate 33% and food makes up 20%. These are areas where rapid improvement can and should be made.

Food and garden waste going into landfill is a big contributor to climate change. Infrastructure Victoria has identified it should go to more high quality composting facilities, which would need to be supported by a rollout of household organics collection services. Infrastructure Victoria’s consumer research demonstrates 90% of households surveyed are open to changing how they sort their waste.

The commercial and industrial sector can also improve their resource recovery and recycling. Incentives and price signals need to be examined to improve performance across the board, from manufacturers to retail.

Other possible actions include:

  • developing a clear, overarching policy framework including recycling targets and waste-to-energy
  • supporting councils to implement more consistent approaches to sorting and collecting waste, helping to reduce contamination in household recycling collection
  • better planning, locating and protecting waste management sites
  • working with the Commonwealth and other states to reduce packaging and single use plastics
  • increasing the use of recycled materials by eliminating barriers and updating government procurement guidelines.

Infrastructure Victoria is continuing work on collection and reprocessing infrastructure requirements for metropolitan and regional Victoria, waste-to-energy and priority end markets for development.

A copy of the report can be found at infrastructurevictoria.com.au and feedback should be submitted by Friday 13 December.

Infrastructure Victoria will deliver its final report on recycling and resource recovery infrastructure in April 2020.

Contact: Julie Browning 0419 003 063 or julie.browning@infrastructurevictoria.com.au