Joint media release: Paper waste no longer a 'pulp' fiction thanks to new technology

27 April 2021

The Hon. Sussan Ley MP, Minister for the Environment
The Hon. Lily D'Ambrosio, Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change
Senator Jane Hume, Senator for Victoria


Victoria will soon have the gold standard solution to the problem of mixed waste paper processing thanks to a $24 million joint investment from the Morrison and Andrews Governments and a $13 million investment from Visy Industries.

Federal Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said the purchase of the drum pulper technology, the first of its kind in Australia, will set a new standard for paper recycling, significantly boosting Victoria’s capacity for paper and cardboard sorting.

“The Morrison Government has placed waste firmly on the national agenda through the $190 Recycling Modernisation Fund and through our historic export bans on waste paper, plastic, tyres and glass,” Minister Ley said.

“Our export ban for waste paper starts in 2024 but we need to work on solutions now and where we have resources like paper that can be recycled, we need to get them out of landfill and into our waste facilities.

“Visy Industries, which has made a significant investment, will install the drum pulper at its Coolaroo Paper Mill, increasing its capacity to process an additional 95,000 tonnes of waste paper per year, which will produce a high-quality recovered material that can be manufactured back into new paper products.

“That means less paper in landfill, more jobs for Victorians, better and more recycled products and a better outcome for the environment.”

Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio said the new drum pulper was an Australian first, and will divert around 4000 semi-trailer truck loads of waste paper and cardboard each year from landfill and recycle it back into paper. This will create new products from pizza boxes to plasterboard lining used in construction.

“This Visy facility will create more than 100 jobs in construction, and when it’s completed, it will process around 60 per cent of Victoria’s curbside paper and cardboard recycling,” said Minister D’Ambrosio

“This expanded facility will see an increase of more than 40 per cent in the amount of paper and cardboard we recycle in Victoria. This will keep more waste out of landfill and keep our recycling solutions local, so more Victorian businesses can benefit.”

Senator for Victoria Jane Hume said the new technology will go a long way in absorbing the vast quantities of mixed paper waste that Australia has traditionally exported overseas.

“Recycling paper and cardboard waste reduces our greenhouse gas emissions associated with landfill and recycled paper uses up to 90 per cent less water and 50 per cent less energy than virgin materials,” Senator Hume said.

“I am delighted that Victoria will have the technology and infrastructure operational in time for the start of the ban on exporting unprocessed waste paper and cardboard in mid-2024.”

Member for Broadmeadows Frank McGuire said that this would be a game changer for the Visy facility in Coolaroo.

“This will not only create more local jobs, but it also means that locals can do their bit by sorting their household recycling, and know that it is going to be processed close to home. This makes the recycling system more efficient and ensures local businesses can benefit,” said Mr McGuire.

For more information on the RMF see https://www.environment.gov.au/protection/waste/how-we-manage-waste/rec…

For more information on the Recycling Victoria – Recycling Modernisation Fund, see https://www.vic.gov.au/recycling