Federal government looks to boost demand for recycling
3 March 2020 at 5:06 pm
The move has been welcomed by social enterprise advocates
Commonwealth agencies will need to consider environmental sustainability and the use of recycled content when awarding government contracts, under new procurement rules revealed by the federal government.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a plan to build demand for recycled plastics at the national plastics summit in Canberra on Monday.
He said the government would not take a “top-down, tax and punish” approach to this, but rather would support recycled products to compete in the market.
“We want to see industry step up and be part of the solution which they want to do also. And government must be part of that as well,” Morrison said.
“We will be strengthening the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines to make sure every procurement undertaken by a Commonwealth agency considers environmental sustainability and the use of recycled content as a factor in determining value for money.”
The PM said the government’s Indigenous Procurement Policy – introduced in 2015 – had been a tremendous success boosting the Indigenous business sector.
He said it held true that if you increased demand for a product, the industry would respond.
“Across Australia we are seeing tremendous innovation – recycled fence posts, crash barriers and noise walls built from recycled materials, and so much more,” he said.
“These are all things that governments actually get involved in buying and procuring which can underwrite, effectively, the market.”
The move has been welcomed by Social Traders managing director David Brookes, who told Pro Bono News it highlighted the government’s significant procurement power to make a social and environmental impact.
He said he would like to see the Commonwealth and other levels of government continue to take the lead around social procurement policy.
“Social Traders would specifically like to see buying products and services from social enterprises included in procurement policy as another positive and tangible way of generating positive social impact,” Brookes said.
“Many social enterprises provide waste and recycling services and stand to potentially benefit from this commitment.”
Brookes added that he hoped governments would follow the example of Victoria, which introduced a social procurement framework in 2018.
“[This] provides a good model for other governments to follow, which would see a broader and more extensive economic, social and environmental outcomes being achieved,” he said.