Western Australian Environment Minister Albert Jacob recently announced that the WA Government would invest $10 million in a short-term incentive scheme known as the Construction and Demolition (C&D) Product Procurement Incentive Program.
The program was introduced to increase local councils’ use of recycled C&D materials in civil engineering projects such as in the construction of roads, car parks and drains, and to reduce the amount that ends up in landfill.
According to the WA Government, the western state’s use of recycled C&D materials is significantly lower than in other Australian states, with two million of the three million tonnes of C&D waste generated annually going to landfill.
“WA has a poor record in the use of recycled construction and demolition materials,” Jacob stated. “This waste makes up about half of all materials sent to landfill in WA, while the products it could replace, such as limestone, are getting harder to source close to the metropolitan area.”
The funding will be drawn from the state government’s Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Account in two streams over a period of three years.
The first stream will provide up to $8 million in pre-allocated, non-competitive payments for all metropolitan local governments that use recycled C&D products, with councils that permit and promote the materials’ use to be awarded a larger sum. Up to $3.2 million will be available for this stream in the first year.
The second stream will involve competitive funding rounds that will be open to the private sector and metropolitan local governments as well as state government entities, with at least $1 million to be made available in the first year.
A WA Department of Environment Regulation spokesperson told Quarry the competitive rounds would be publicly advertised and operate in a similar way to its grant programs, adding that the state’s Waste Authority would be responsible for deciding on the allocation of funds.
The spokesperson said the program would prioritise the use of road base, but that it would also support recycled drainage aggregate and recycled fill sand.
It was also noted that the program would likely rely on existing recycling operators in the first instance due to the scheme’s primary focus on making better use of established C&D waste recycling facilities. However, the spokesperson noted that the program “does not preclude the involvement of new operators”.
“It’s our aim to see all metropolitan local governments using recycled C&D products and experiencing the benefits,” Jacob said. “Increased use of these products is likely to see the prices of recycled C&D waste fall further, and a range of information and awareness measures will ensure the community better understands the benefits of using these materials.”
The details of the incentive scheme are currently being finalised, with first applications expected to be open before the end of this year.