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Australian Recycling Investment Fund

Australian Recycling Investment Fund

Australia’s waste sector is undergoing an important transition, requiring significant investment in infrastructure and equipment, including upgrades to existing assets, as well as the installation of new assets.

Through the $100 million Australian Recycling Investment Fund, the CEFC has a particular focus on large-scale projects which use clean energy technologies to support the recycling of waste plastics, paper, glass and tyres.

The Australian Recycling Investment Fund draws on existing CEFC finance. In line with the CEFC Act, eligible projects under the Australian Recycling Investment Fund are required to draw on renewable energy, energy efficiency and low emissions technologies and to contribute to emissions reduction.

The CEFC expects to provide either debt and/or equity finance to eligible larger-scale commercial and industrial projects through the Fund – typically requiring $10 million or more of CEFC debt or equity capital.

Smaller-scale projects, from $10,000 to $5 million, may be eligible for debt finance through the CEFC’s specialist asset finance programs.

As with all CEFC investments, projects seeking finance through the Australian Recycling Investment Fund must be commercial, reflecting the CEFC’s requirement to deliver a positive return for taxpayers across the portfolio.

In addition to investments through the Australian Recycling Investment Fund, the CEFC will continue to invest in large-scale energy-from-waste projects. It is not expected that these projects will be financed through the Australian Recycling Investment Fund.

Investing in the circular economy

Waste is responsible for some two per cent of Australia’s emissions, largely from methane gas produced by decaying organic waste in landfills. According to Australia’s National Waste Policy, each year, Australians generate 2.7 tonnes of waste per head, including plastics, paper, glass, metals, textiles, masonry, and food and other organic materials.

With investment in proven technologies, the CEFC works with companies to turn urban and industrial waste into new energy sources and valuable products, creating an important revenue stream while also reducing landfill gas emissions.

CEFC investment commitments through the Australian Recycling Investment Fund align with the principles of the circular economy. CEFC waste-related investments focus on effective waste management investing in proven clean energy technologies to reuse, recycle or reprocess waste, including as compost and alternative fuels.

The Australian Waste Policy describes the five key elements of the circular economy as:

  1. Avoid waste: Prioritise waste avoidance, encourage efficient use, reuse and repair; resign products so waste is minimised, they are made to last and we can more easily recover materials
  2. Improve resource recovery: Improve material collection systems and processes for recycling; and improve the quality of the recycled material we produce
  3. Increase the use of recycled material: and build demand and markets for recycled products
  4. Better manage waste material flows: to benefit human health, the environment and the economy
  5. Improve information: to support innovation, guide investment and enable informed consumer decisions.

The Council of Australian Governments has agreed to ban the export of waste plastic, paper, glass and tyres, while building Australia’s capacity to generate high value recycled commodities and associated demand.

In addition to investments through the Australian Recycling Investment Fund, the CEFC will continue to invest in large-scale energy-from-waste projects. It is not expected that these projects will be financed through the Australian Recycling Investment Fund.

Read our fact sheet for more information.

Investing in waste and recycling

Second life for kerbside waste

Melbourne’s South Eastern Organics Processing Facility is on track to convert around 12,000 truckloads of household garden and food waste, drawn from council kerbside green waste collections, into up to 50,000 tonnes of high-grade compost each year. By treating the organic waste produced by eight Melbourne councils, the plant is expected to abate more than 65,000 tonnes of carbon emissions annually. The Sacyr Group opened the plant in May 2019, drawing on $38 million in CEFC finance. The fully enclosed in-vessel aerobic composting and maturation plant is expected to operate for 15 years. It will produce compost for use in local parks and gardens, as well as in horticulture, landscaping and agriculture, substantially reducing landfill and emissions.

Fast tracking landfill solutions

Leading Australian waste management company Cleanaway is accelerating its best practice sustainable waste management activities with an array of projects drawing on a $90 million corporate loan from the CEFC. Cleanaway operates a national network of waste collection, processing, treatment and landfill assets from more than 260 locations. The company is fast tracking a range of eligible projects, including facilities for organics processing and resource recovery, as well as landfill gas projects, to achieve better environmental, social and economic outcomes.