Strategic direction for waste in NSW

The NSW Government released the NSW Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy 2041 Stage 1 plan: 2021–2027 (the Strategy) in June 2021, which outlines the actions that will be taken over the next 6 years to move towards a circular economy.

This transition to a circular economy focuses on achieving a reduction in waste and emissions, reducing harm to our environment, and boosting innovation to help drive the economy.

This Strategy also contributes to the overarching principles within the NSW Net Zero Plan Stage 1: 2020–2030, which is to take action to reduce emissions and mitigate climate change impacts, building greater environmental and community resilience.

In alignment with the Strategy, the NSW Plastics Action Plan has been developed to specifically address all stages of the plastics lifecycle, from production and consumption to disposal and recycling. Although plastics can be a versatile and useful product, it can take years to degrade when disposed, and impacts our natural environment.

A key focus of our Strategy is ensuring we have the right infrastructure to process the material we expect to enter the waste stream over the next two decades. The NSW Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy: A guide to future infrastructure needs (PDF 543KB) will help to strategically plan for the state’s waste infrastructure and investment needs.

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

The EPA’s role in managing waste

The EPA plays a lead role not only in the regulation and management of waste across NSW, but also in the delivery of the Strategy and the NSW Plastics Action Plan.

These actions will contribute to addressing two of the five focus areas within the NSW EPA Strategic Plan, waste and climate change. They are key environmental challenges for NSW and taking action now is critical to protecting and enhancing the environment we live in today and into the future.

To provide more guidance and clarity to stakeholders on the delivery of these priority programs, and what that means for the future of waste, the EPA has developed the EPA Waste Delivery Plan.

EPA Waste Delivery Plan

The EPA Waste Delivery Plan (PDF 4.8MB) (the Plan) provides more detailed information on each initiative within the Strategy and the NSW Plastics Action Plan. It also includes a Program Development Timeline (PDF 115KB) outlining the associated deliverables for each initiative, and any stakeholder consultation opportunities up until July 2022.

Key focus areas for the Plan are:

  • reducing carbon emissions by building a resilient circular economy
  • managing the risks of problematic, harmful and unnecessary waste
  • supporting councils and communities to safely manage waste
  • improving our performance as a world class regulator.

Strategic Waste Infrastructure Group

The Strategic Waste Infrastructure Working Group was established in late 2022 and includes representatives from NSW Environment Protection Authority, Department of Planning and EnvironmentOffice of Energy and Climate ChangeGreater Cities CommissionRegional NSWInvestment NSW and Office of Local Government.

The working group discusses matters relating to waste and circular economy infrastructure planning and development, with a focus on delivering recommendations made in the NSW State Infrastructure Strategy 2022-2042 and the Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy 2041.

The working group provides a collaborative forum for NSW Government agencies to support, advise, share knowledge and guide the delivery of strategic planning for NSW waste and resource recovery infrastructure. The working group is not a decision-making forum.

The working group considers:

  • Waste Delivery Plan commitments to feasibility assessments of circular economy infrastructure to determine how we meet our critical infrastructure needs. The EPA is leading the first assessment that will address residual waste infrastructure needs.
  • Regional Plans, led by the Department of Planning and Environment
  • Six Cities Region Plan, led by the Greater Cities Commission
  • recommendations from the independent review of the NSW Resource Recovery Framework
  • actions to improve business continuity
  • other strategic planning and circular economy infrastructure matters.

For more information on the Strategic Waste Infrastructure Working Group, contact  

Working together

We’re continuing to engage with and understand stakeholder needs to ensure they are met through the design and implementation of the initiatives. The Plan has undergone a consultation process with key partners in delivering these initiatives, including local councils, industry, and other State Government departments.

This engagement will continue for various initiatives to assist in scoping and development phases, as outlined in the Program Development Timeline (PDF 115KB).

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