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Environment, Energy and Science

Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy

Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy


NSW Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy cover pageNew South Wales is transitioning to a circular economy over the next 20 years. This means we will minimise what we throw away and use and reuse our resources efficiently, making them as productive as possible. We will end up with less waste, less emissions, less harm to our environment and more jobs. The move will boost innovation and help drive our economy.

We need to have the services and infrastructure in place to deal with our waste safely, to ensure it does not become a problem for future generations. We also need to work with consumers, industries and other governments to make the circular economy a reality.

The NSW Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy (PDF 2.1Mb) outlines the actions we will take over the next six years, the first phase of the strategy, to deliver on our long-term objectives.

These actions are backed by $356 million in funding to help deliver priority programs and policy reforms.

Some of our key reforms include:

  • phasing out problematic single-use plastic items
  • financial incentives for manufacturers and producers to design out problematic plastics
  • having government agencies prefer recycled content
  • mandating the separation of food and garden organics for households and selected businesses
  • incentivising biogas generation from waste materials
Our targets are:

  • reduce total waste generated by 10% per person by 2030
  • have an 80% average recovery rate from all waste streams by 2030
  • significantly increase the use of recycled content by governments and industry
  • phase out problematic and unnecessary plastics by 2025
  • halve the amount of organic waste sent to landfill by 2030
  • reduce litter by 60% by 2030 and plastics litter by 30% by 2025
  • triple the plastics recycling rate by 2030

Meeting our future infrastructure and service needs

As waste volumes grow, infrastructure and services need to keep pace. We need to ensure we have the capacity to meet our critical future needs, such as residual waste capacity, as well as stimulating investment in a pipeline of innovation.

Reducing carbon emissions through better waste and materials management

Transitioning to a circular economy means increasing our resource efficiency and reducing our carbon footprint. If we can make our materials more productive by improving their durability through design, reusing or repairing them, recycling and remanufacturing them or extracting their embodied energy, we can reduce our reliance on emissions-intensive virgin materials.

Building on our work to protect the environment and human health from waste pollution

Waste can cause enormous damage to our natural environment and threaten the health and well-being of our community if it is not properly managed. Littering, illegal dumping and mishandling of hazardous wastes costs NSW millions of dollars each year. We need to maintain strong regulations to help stop this waste pollution, and engage with businesses and consumers to drive positive behaviour change.

Frequently asked questions

Find out more about the strategy.

Waste Infrastructure Needs Guide (PDF 520Kb)

A guide to help strategically plan for the state's waste infrastructure and investment needs.

Circular economy

The key principles of a circular economy are to design out waste and pollution, keep products and materials in use and regenerate natural systems. This approach differs from the traditional linear economy model of 'take, make, dispose'.

NSW Plastics Action Plan

We have set out our plan to tackle plastic waste in the NSW Plastics Action Plan. The plan sits alongside this strategy and sets four long-term outcomes we will work towards