“We want to see industry step up and be part of the solution. And government must be part of the solution as well.”
Mr Morrison will pledge to change Commonwealth guidelines to make sure every procurement undertaken by a government agency considers environmental sustainability and use of recycled content as a factor in determining value for money.
“We’ve used Commonwealth procurement policy to energise our Indigenous businesses and had tremendous success – and we will do the same with Australian recycled product,” he will say.
“In any market, you increase demand and industry will respond. And respond in ways you never imagined.”
The global recycled plastics market is expected to grow at 7.9 per cent annually over the next decade – and be worth almost $67 billion in 2025.
In addition, Mr Morrison will flag ahead of the budget that the federal government will work with states and territories to identify and unlock the critical upgrades to infrastructure that will lead to a step change in their recycling capacity.
The waste sector in Australia employs around 50,000 people and generates more than $15 billion per year, with estimates that 9.2 direct jobs would be created by recyling every 10,000 tonnes of waste sent to landfill.
Last financial year, Australia exported close to 4.5 million tonnes of waste overseas — mainly to Asian nations — at a cost of about $2.8 billion to state and territory budgets
Australia only recycles 12 per cent of plastics, with the rest going into landfill.
State and territory leaders will meet at the Council of Australian Governments in two weeks to finalise the details and timeline for the ban on export of waste plastic, paper, glass and tyres.
Among the attendees at the summit will be the New Zealand Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage, federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley, her state and territory counterparts, and Director-General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, Kosi Latu.
Food giant Nestle and Australian recycler iQ Renew will also use the summit to announce a trial which aims to see soft plastics collected from more than 100,000 homes through kerbside recycling and diverted from landfill.
Nestle Australia chief executive Sandra Martinez said the company wanted to find sustainable paths to recycle packaging.
“While we are working to make all our packaging recyclable, we know that soft plastics is an area that needs greater focus and collaboration. We need to find ways to drive more recycling here,” Ms Martinez said.
“As plans to reduce our virgin plastic use and increase the amount of food grade recycled plastic packaging we use, we need plastic to be collected. Given the low amount of soft plastic collected from consumers today, we hope this trial can unlock the significant potential for soft plastic packaging to become a resource.”
Rob Harris is the National Affairs Editor for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, based at Parliament House in Canberra