Funding to boost soft plastic recycling in Australia

The Albanese Labor Government is launching a new $60 million fund for hard-to-recycle plastics, including soft plastics like shopping bags, bread bags, cling wrap and chip packets.

The funding will support new or upgraded recycling infrastructure projects such as:

  • advanced recycling to turn plastic back into oil for re-use in food-grade packaging
  • commercialisation of trial technology targeting ways to keep hard-to-recycle plastics in use
  • extraction and processing of plastics from e-waste into valuable products
  • diverting more plastics from landfill using advanced sorting, separation and de-contamination technology such as optical or robotic machinery

These projects will help speed up the shift away from virgin plastics, towards a circular economy where materials are kept in use for as long as possible.

Combined with contributions from state and territory governments and industry, the funding will add to the more than $600 million of combined investment in recycling infrastructure the Government is already delivering.

The Albanese Labor Government has already funded 57 additional plastic recycling facilities, 12 of which are up and running.

For more information on how to apply for grants of between $1 million and $20 million visit: The RMF Plastics Technology stream - DCCEEW

Quotes attributable to the Minister for the Environment and Water, the Hon Tanya Plibersek MP:

“Australians use about 3.8 million tonnes of plastic a year and dispose of about 2.7 million tonnes,  that’s about 50 times the weight of the Sydney Harbour Bridge being thrown out each year. 

“And we’re only recycling about 13 per cent of it. 

“We can do better. That’s why we’re investing $60 million to boost Australia’s recycling and recovery rates for hard-to-recycle plastics. 

“The funding will invest in exciting technologies that could help solve challenges in recycling plastic waste like soft plastics going into landfill.

“Labor is driving the transition to a circular economy by 2030. It’s good for the economy and great for the environment.”