Why QLD is Emerging as Waste Recycling Hub After $174M Investment

More than 220,000 tonnes of waste paper and cardboard will be converted into pulp and exported to Asian markets

Sat 11 Nov 23


One of Australia’s largest paper recycling facilities will rise in South East Queensland, with plans to turn 220,000 tonnes of waste paper and cardboard into pulp and exported to Asian markets.

Announced Thursday, AusWaste Recycling will build the $137m facility in Brendale, Brisbane, with support from the Australian and Queensland State Governments.

By providing the capacity for waste paper processing at scale, “it will create a market for waste paper and recognition that it’s a valuable resource in the global circular economy,” according to Queensland Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Leanne Linard.

It will be part of a national approach, which, according to AusWaste Recycling Director Vincent Liang, “uses an existing global supply chain to achieve the scale needed to create a meaningful impact on how Australia manages waste and recycling.”

He said AusWaste’s core business is commodities like processed pulp from waste paper, with the new plant now “processing and manufacturing a higher-value product.”

Wood Central understands that construction on the new facility will commence in mid-2024 and be completed twelve months later in mid-2025. 

Known as the “Australian Recycled Pulp and Paper Project”, it is part of the country’s push to become a global leader in waste and recycling and help drive Queensland’s waste recovery and recycling targets.

According to Australian Minister for the Environment and Water, Tanya Plibersek, a key investment in Australia’s commitment to become fully circular by 2030.

The new facility will process paper and cardboard waste, like egg cartons and cereal boxes, and export recycled pulp to meet the surge in global demand for paper-based products.

It is one of 24 recycling projects funded by the Australian and Queensland Governments, which, according to the Australian Minister for Environment, Tanya Plibersek, “will process an extra 364,000 tonnes of waste.” 

“That’s the equivalent to over 27 Story Bridges of waste being kept out of landfill every year,” Minister Plibersek said.

In addition, it is vital to deliver on the country’s ambitious climate commitments, with Australia last year announcing that it plans to be “fully circular by 2030.”

“A circular economy will create jobs while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, pollution and the amount of waste we put into landfills,” Minister Plibersek said in a statement last year.

According to Queensland Acting Premier and Minister for State Development Steven Miles, the new investment will see “waste-paper processing and recycling on a scale never before seen in Queensland.”

It is part of a push to become a leader in waste management and paper-based recycling, “boosting local manufacturing and exports by turning waste paper into a valued resource that’s in demand globally by paper mills that rely on recycled inputs.”

The funding is part of an Australia-wide AU $1 billion boost in recycling infrastructure. Minister Plibersek said, “will supercharge recycling in Queensland and across the country,” adding “over one million tonnes of processing capacity across the country annually.”

Queensland Acting Premier and Minister for State Development Steven Miles said the new plant will see “waste-paper processing and recycling on a scale never before seen in Queensland.”

The new plant is the latest Queensland investment in recycling and waste management. Last month, paper giant Visy opened a new corrugated box facility in Brisbane as part of its commitment to invest $700m in Queensland to reduce landfills, cut emissions and create thousands of “green collar” manufacturing jobs.

Visy Industries Executive Chair Anthony Pratt announced it invested $500m to build a new glass, food, and beverage container facility at Yatala. It spent $48m to upgrade its Material Recovery Facility (MRF) at Gibson Island.

Mr Pratt states the new facility “is the country’s most productive and technically advanced corrugated box-making facility.”

Instead of going to landfill or export, Visy recycles mixed paper and cardboard from Queensland businesses and households at its Gibson Island recycling facility and re-manufactures it into 100 per cent recycled paper.


  • Jason Ross

    Jason Ross, publisher, is a 15-year professional in building and construction, connecting with more than 400 specifiers. A Gottstein Fellowship recipient, he is passionate about growing the market for wood-based information. Jason is Wood Central's in-house emcee and is available for corporate host and MC services.


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