The state’s waste management journey began with legislative and policy actions in the 1970s that paved the way for ongoing action and reform.
In 2016, Green Industries SA examined the potential benefits of a circular economy for South Australia. The review confirmed the state’s achievements in resource recovery and highlighted the broader opportunities in employment, the economy and environmental benefits associated with moving to a circular economy.
The success of the next waste strategy relies on an understanding of what has been achieved since 2004. A timeline can be viewed in the draft Waste Strategy 2020-2025.
Green Industries SA has invested more than $120 million from waste levy funds into the waste management and resource recovery industry over more than a decade. This has contributed to increased capacity and improved markets, and assisted the development of new products and skills. It has leveraged considerable investment by industry and local government.
The industry is a significant part of the South Australian economy. The state diverts more than 80% of the waste it generates (Rawtec, 2019) and its resource recovery industry has an annual turnover of around $1 billion, contributing more than $500 million to Gross State Product (directly and indirectly) and employing about 4,800 people (Resources and Waste Advisory Group, 2014).
The value of the resources recovered each year is also significant: in 2017-18 it was estimated to be $356 million (Rawtec, 2019).
South Australia has undertaken significant steps to facilitate this shift towards a circular economy but it requires continued effort to keep materials and resources in use, or ‘circulating’, for as long as possible, while creating local solutions to our waste and recycling issues and expanding the sector.
About Green Industries SA
Green Industries SA is an enabler and driver of change, supporting the development of the circular economy through diverse collaborations which improve productivity, resilience, resource efficiency and the environment.
It aims to transform how South Australians use and value resources. Its objectives under the Green Industries SA Act 2004 are to:
- promote waste management practices that, as far as possible, eliminate waste or its consignment to landfill; and
- promote innovation and business activity in the waste management, resource recovery and green industry sectors, recognising these areas present valuable opportunities to contribute to the state’s economic growth.
The Green Industries SA Act 2004 requires Green Industries SA to develop a waste strategy for the State at least every five years. Green Industries SA has developed three waste strategies for the periods 2005-10, 2011-15 and 2015-20.