Recycling and resource recovery infrastructure in Victoria: International comparisons

Victoria has an opportunity to establish a more resilient, high-performing waste and recycling sector by learning from best-practice jurisdictions in Europe, Asia and interstate.

In a project for Infrastructure Victoria, AlphaBeta partnered with the UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures to assess leading waste management practices in Wales, Germany, South Korea, the Netherlands, South Australia and NSW.

The review considered the entire waste management value chain from collection to sorting, recycling and secondary processing of residual and organic waste. Leading countries were found to have very ambitious, long-term, multi-tiered approaches to managing their waste and recycling systems. Their key initiatives included:

  • ambitious long-term recycling strategies and goals;
  • national extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes that encourage manufacturers and retailers to avoid waste at the source;
  • greater separation of waste by households, usually into five or more types of materials with supporting information campaigns;
  • more standardised collection processes with audit mechanisms to ensure compliance;
  • plastics taxes and banning of single use plastics; and
  • the development of a strong framework and process for organics recycling.

Our analysis contributed to Infrastructure Victoria’s interim advice to government on recycling and resource recovery infrastructure in Victoria, which aims to address the state’s growing waste generation and recent changes to global recycling markets.

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