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Resource recovery

The Queensland Government has developed a comprehensive Waste Management and Resource Recovery Strategy which aims to promote more sustainable waste management practices that reduce the amount of waste produced by business, industry and households.

Resource recovery aims to divert useful waste and end-of-life materials away from landfill so they can be used to create new products.  The resource recovery industry includes local governments and businesses involved along the entire supply chain – from designing waste management systems to collection, transfer, sorting and remanufacturing.

Queensland is moving toward a circular economy and the Queensland Government is committed to working with the resource recovery industry to harness the potential value of resources traditionally discarded and improve sustainability.

Our Queensland Resource Recovery Industries 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan (PDF icon1.8 MB)  provides a framework to accelerate this transition and develop our state's resource recovery industries. A major initiative is the Resource Recovery Industry Development Program (RRIDP),  which has supported our recycling, resource recovery and biofutures industries by funding projects and initiatives that divert waste from landfill, reduce stockpiling and create jobs.

Read more about RRIPD success stories, under the 'Resource recovery' category.

Queensland generated 11.4 million tonnes of waste in 2018 – 2019, with 52% going to landfill. Since the launch of the RRIDP in September 2018, 29 businesses and local government projects have received funding diverting 1.3 million tonnes of waste per annum from landfill, delivering an additional $193.8 million in capital investment and creating more than 360 jobs across Queensland.  This program is now closed to new applications.

National waste export ban

In late 2019, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed that Australia should ban the export of unprocessed waste plastic, paper and cardboard, glass and tyres while building Australia's capacity to generate high value recycled commodities and associated demand.

The National Waste Policy Action Plan 2019 (NWPAP), agreed to by all Australian Governments, created seven targets and actions to guide investment nationally.  To support the waste export ban and the other NWPAP targets, the Australian Government is providing $190 million through the Recycling Modernisation Fund, with capital investment jointly provided by the Australian, State and Territory governments.

In May 2021, the Queensland and Australian Governments signed a National Partnership Agreement on Recycling Infrastructure.  The agreement commits to $40 million in co-investment to fund a new program to boost Queensland’s recycling industry.  It also supports legislation introduced by the Australian Government banning the export of waste glass, plastic, paper and tyres.

The Queensland Recycling Modernisation Fund (QRMF) will build on the success of RRIDP by funding projects that will improve the sorting, processing, recycling and remanufacturing of waste materials.

The program aims to divert waste from landfill, reduce stockpiling, create jobs and deliver economic development opportunities—particularly in regional areas—by building a stronger onshore recycling industry.

This program is now closed to new applications.

Frequently asked questions

  • Resource recovery aims to divert useful wastes and end-of-life materials away from landfill so they can be used to create valuable new products or outputs.

    The 'waste hierarchy' in the Waste Reduction and Recycling Act 2011, gives an order of preference for managing waste:

    • AVOID unnecessary resource consumption
    • REDUCE waste generation and disposal
    • RE-USE waste resources without further manufacturing
    • RECYCLE waste resources to make the same or different products
    • RECOVER waste resources, including the recovery of energy
    • TREAT waste before disposal, including reducing the hazardous nature of waste
    • DISPOSE of waste only if there is no viable alternative.
  • The resource recovery industry includes local governments and businesses involved in designing, collecting, transferring, sorting, converting, remanufacturing and producing valuable new products from waste.

  • Resource recovery creates many long-term benefits for the economy and environment, including sustainable new resource recovery industries for Queensland, economic growth, new jobs and reduced need for new landfills.

  • A circular economy aims to ensure that products are designed to eliminate waste and pollution, and that products and materials keep circulating in the economy at their highest value for as long as possible. Value can be gained from material otherwise destined for landfill when there are increased options for reuse, recycling and recovery of resources.

  • A zero-waste society is one where waste is avoided, reused and recycled to the greatest extent possible before it is disposed of. Zero-waste means that the only waste that goes to landfill is waste for which there is no alternative environmentally, socially or economically viable solution.

Last updated: 26 Nov 2021