ACOR comments on MRA’s ‘China National Sword: The role of Federal Government’ discussion paper

By MRA Consulting Group


The Australian Council of Recycling (ACOR) believes that China National Sword offers a once in a generation opportunity to ‘reset’ Australia’s recycling systems to achieve improved resource efficiency and enhanced economic outcomes. ACOR has summarised its approach under three key focus areas: investment, improvement and innovation.

ACOR commissioned MRA to prepare a discussion paper, critically reviewing the role of the Federal Government and identifying relevant priority actions (based on the ACOR approach) to respond to China National Sword and the impending crisis in domestic recycling.

MRA’s report (available to download here) estimated the cost of the priority actions and indicated that domestically remanufacturing the material formerly sent to China would grow domestic jobs, contribute to economic growth and reduce GHG emissions whilst making Australia less reliant on overseas markets.

Commenting on the paper in a media release, ACOR’s CEO, Pete Shmigel, focused on the potential for job creation and pollution reduction of a stronger domestic recycling sector and urged the ministers to support a National Circular Economy & Recycling Plan.

Full ACOR media release follows:


  • Experts: Investment in Oz-based recycling = 500 more jobs and 50,000 less cars of greenhouse gases
  • Ministers to consider National Plan next week

In the midst of the recycling crisis and the lead up to the April 27th meeting of Australia’s Environment Ministers, a new report commissioned from independent experts has found that hundreds of new jobs can be created in Australia by government investment in the domestic recycling sector.

The report by the highly regarded MRA Consulting shows that domestically remanufacturing 50% of the material formerly sent to China leads to some 500 jobs here and reduces greenhouse gases by the same as taking 50,000 cars off the road,” Pete Shmigel, ACOR’s CEO, said.

“To check the China challenge, we are ready to reboot recycling as a self-sufficient sector that enables employment and prevents pollution. Ministers can support this by agreeing to a National Circular Economy & Recycling Plan that makes a one-off investment in the 3 ‘i’s’ of recycling: infrastructure, improvement and innovation.

“The promise of recycling is that what punters put in the bin becomes new products not lumps in landfill. Our political leaders, through the policy targets they have set, are part of delivering on that promise and should continue to do so on April 27th.

“We need to make and buy more recycled content products here in Australia. Closing the loop is what’s needed for community confidence, job growth and environmental results.

“Other industries are regularly supported in transition or crisis. This sector – largely free-market based for decades – needs support now or services and jobs could go, including in country towns.

“While State governments have rightly focussed on the system’s short-term survival, it’s time for all governments to jointly act for recycling’s future success,” Pete said.

Projects under an investment injection of $150 million could include:

  • New technology to support more Australian reprocessing of mixed paper, mixed plastics and glass cullet;
  • Enhanced methods and machinery at recyclate sorting centres;
  • Support for government and corporate purchasing of recycled content products;
  • A national centre for recycled content product development;
  • Education to ensure what’s collected is clean enough for recycled content product making.

For more info and full report: Pete Shmigel 0419 541 531

The ACOR media release has been covered by the following media outlets: