$9.5 million to blunt the Chinese Sword

The NSW Government is providing $9.5 million for better waste recycling projects to counter the effects of China’s National Sword policy, Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton announced today.

"China’s enforcement of its National Sword policy restricts the types of recycled material China will accept," Ms Upton said.

"As China is the largest importer of recyclable products from Australia, this policy threatens NSW’s kerbside recycling system and the options for recycled material currently produced in NSW."

Local councils should team up with industry to seek funding to improve and strengthen recycling in NSW, Ms Upton said.

"A new grant, called the Product Improvement Program, provides $4.5 million for projects that reduce the amount of unrecyclable material left at the end of the recycling process.

"Another $5 million is available for programs that identify new uses for recyclable materials and increase the production and use of recycled products.

This includes $2.5 million under the Civil Construction Market Program and $2.5 million under the Circulate Program, she said.

"The NSW Government has consulted with industry and local government to develop the grant programs and I encourage the state’s recycling sector to apply for this funding."

Ms Upton said the NSW Government is committed to working with councils and industry to improve and strengthen our recycling systems in NSW.

"An inter-government taskforce has been established to urgently progress a longer-term response to National Sword in partnership with industry and councils."


The support package is being funded by the Waste Less, Recycle More initiative and provides a range of short, medium and long-term initiatives to ensure kerbside recycling continues and to promote industry innovation, she said.

Applications are now open for the following grants through the NSW Environment Protection Authority:

  • Product Improvement Program, $4.5 million
  • Civil Construction Market Program, $2.5 million
  • Circulate Program, $2.5 million

The NSW EPA is also working with councils to deliver the rest of the funding announced as part of the support package through the Better Waste and Recycling Fund and the Recycling Relief Fund.

This funding aims to enable councils to off-set some extra costs associated with kerbside recycling collections, improve council tendering processes to increase the production and use of recycled products and fund community education initiatives to reduce kerbside recycling contamination.

A summary of the funding package and updated guidelines is available at: https://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/your-environment/recycling-and-reuse/response-to-china-national-sword.