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.
LGA president Sam Telfer said 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.”
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.”
The taskforce, which includes representation from 15 different organisations ,has been asked to consider what impacts legislation might have to businesses and the community and to provide advice on what a phase out of single-use plastic straws, cups, drink stirrers and food service items might look like.
A wide range of members from interested stakeholders make up the taskforce, including environmental groups, business representatives, the hospitality industry as well as disability advocates.
The Parade Norwood, the Adelaide Central Markets, Jetty Road Brighton and all 21 Surf Life Saving Clubs are part of the plastic free precincts trial announced last month.
The first business in South Australia to officially achieve ‘Plastic Free Champion’ status under the Plastic Free Precinct partnership being run by Green Industries SA and Boomerang Alliance is also set to be announced in the coming weeks.
Legislation banning single-use plastics in South Australia is expected to be introduced into Parliament in the first half of 2020.
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