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The Loddon Mallee regional circular economy plan sets out the region's aspirations to 2030 for a sustainable and thriving circular economy.

Representatives from 52 organisations contributed to the plan, including:

  • local government
  • businesses and business associations
  • manufacturers
  • social enterprise
  • the waste and resource recovery industry
  • research and education institutions
  • and the Victorian Government.

They participated in robust discussions and workshops facilitated by the Victorian Government designed to encourage strategic thinking about their region, where they are now, where they want to be by 2030, and how they can work together to get there.

Map of Loddon Mallee region. Mallee - Mildura, Swan Hill, Bulake, Gannawera, Buloke. Loddon - Loddon, Bendigo, Mount Alexander, Macedon Ranges. Insert top right hand Loddon Mallee region shaded yellow showing where in State of Victoria map.

Aspirations to 2030

Loddon Mallee’s five circular economy aspirations to 2030 are detailed below, along with six important changes, or ‘key enablers’, that have been identified to help realise these aspirations.

By 2030, in Loddon Mallee

1. Resource recovery is the primary focus, not waste

New entrants and existing resource recovery managers have transitioned from a waste to resource recovery focus.

2. Product stewardship is paramount

Products and materials are created within Loddon Mallee with an understanding of their lifecycle. Locally produced items are easy to repurpose or recycle, and retailers and manufacturers are accountable for the full product life.

3. Better use of plastic to support the circular economy

In the Loddon Mallee region, we actively avoid the use of plastic. Where it is used, we choose recycled plastics, or easily recycled materials to keep plastic materials in the recycling loop.

4. Consumers are supported to engage in the circular economy

In the Loddon Mallee region, consumers are equitably supported to avoid use where possible and maximise the reuse and recycling of products.

5. Loddon Mallee is recognised a leader in the circular economy in Victoria

We have a proud reputation for the design, manufacture and use of recycled materials and products for the construction, agricultural and health sectors.

Key enablers

Loddon Mallee key enablers

Regional circular economy plan Loddon Mallee key enablers
Loddon Mallee key enablers

Key enablers

Important changes to strengthen our circular economy

Improved infrastructure 16% of priorities.

Developing end use markets 19% of priorities

Improved collaboration and communication 7% of priorities

Behaviour change (industry and consumers) 19% of priorities

Legislation, regulations, or standards reform 19% of priorities

Other key changes including research and development, reskillling and job training 19% of priorities.

* Percentage rounded to the nearest whole percentage. The rounded percentages add to 99%.

Download Loddon Mallee key enablers

Priorities to achieve our aspirations

Loddon Mallee has developed 31 priorities to achieve their circular economy aspirations to 2030. Each priority has been identified as contributing to one or more aspiration and has been grouped by Key Enablers. Many of the priorities align with current Victorian Government policy, whilst others will be for future consideration.

Improved infrastructure, developing end use markets

Regional circular economy plan Loddon Mallee priority table 1. Improved infrastructure, developing end use markets
Improved infrastructure, developing end use markets

Key to tables
Aspirations
1 Resource recovery is the primary focus, not waste
2 Product stewardship is paramount
3 Better use of plastic to support the circular economy
4 Consumers are supported to engage in the circular economy
5 Loddon Mallee is recognised a leader in the circular economy in Victoria
Aligns with Victorian Policy
Aligns Icon symbol of two arrows pointing upwards in a green circle with a line above representing Aligns
For future consideration Icon symbol of one arrow in a circle with a line in an orange circle representing for future considerations

Aspirations Improved infrastructure Aligns with Victorian Policy
1 2 3 4 5
1 5 Long-term investment strategy that allows business, councils, researchers, and resource recovery operators to invest with confidence in the next 10 years, with a periodic review. Aligns
1 3 5 Planned investment in processing and local feedstock storage facilities to take advantage of manufacturing potential and reinvest industry collected levies back into regional need. Aligns
1 5 Invest in initiatives to reduce the cost of travel, e.g., hydrogen powered trucks, cost sharing, moving freight onto rail, electrical vehicle, upgrade roads (the circular economy intent of this was questioned). Aligns
1 3 4 5 Invest in collection, reprocessing, and manufacturing technologies to improve access to collection services, and sorting and cleaning of commercial, commingled plastics, polystyrene, household soft plastics and agricultural plastics throughout the region. Aligns
1 Incentivise set up costs through a scheme to recoup upfront capital costs through solar energy savings that are not dependent on transmission network upgrades. For future consideration
Aspirations Developing end use markets Aligns with Victorian Policy
1 2 3 4 5
1 3 5 Work with local research and educational providers and industry to map current and predicted material availability and provide a brokerage service to businesses to stimulate demand for these materials. Aligns
2 5 Build-in pricing that factors in the whole of product life cycle cost to incentivise the use of recycled products and materials, when taking a longer-term view. For future consideration
1 2 3 5 Conduct research between educators, manufacturers, and industry to understand the waste profile and potential uses for product. Aligns
3 5 Attract and support plastic manufacturers that use recycled materials (e.g. Plastech) to establish in the region. For future consideration
3 4 5 Establish partnerships between councils and industry to support trials of new recycled products. Aligns
2 3 5 Invest in pilot projects within regional centres to demonstrate local circular economy solutions and to promote the quality and range of recycled materials and product use. Aligns

Download Improved infrastructure, developing end use markets

Improved collaboration and communication, behaviour change industry and consumers

Regional circular economy priority table 2. Improve collaboration and communication
Improved collaboration and communication, behaviour change industry and consumers
Aspirations Improved collaboration and communication Aligns with Victorian Policy
1 2 3 4 5
1 3 Facilitate conversations between commercial and council operations to determine the drivers and priorities for waste management and end uses. Aligns
2 3 5 Share and promote the success of pilots and trials to encourage more uptake and innovation. Aligns
Aspirations Behaviour change (industry and consumers) Aligns with Victorian Policy
1 2 3 4 5
3 5

Engage with residents about sorting of plastics and polymer types and recycling symbols to reduce contamination and increase collection.

Aligns
2 3 4 5 Deliver ongoing social marketing and behavioural campaigns involving councils, government agencies and industry associations to communicate the value of circular economy and show communities how to be a driving force for change, provide the public with a better understanding of the value and lifespan of all resources. Aligns
2 3 4 5 Establish a program, coordinated between councils and other government agencies, to encourage community to purchase good quality long term products or second-hand items Aligns
2 4 5 Establish an education and training program for consumers and business to support a transition to a circular economy to combat waste and climate change challenges and market development. Aligns
3 4 5 Promote Sustainability Victoria’s Buy Recycled directory for councils to encourage the use of recycled materials. Aligns
2 3 4 5 Support retailers and manufacturers to implement initiatives that encourage recycling, reuse, and repair of consumer products (including funding take back programs and regulation). Aligns

Download Improved collaboration and communication, behaviour change industry and consumers

Legislation, regulations or standards reform and other key changes

Regional circular economy plan Loddon Mallee priority table 3. Legislation, regulations or standards reform. Other key changes research and development, reskilling and job training
Legislation, regulations or standards reform and other key changes
Aspirations Legislation, regulations or standards reform Aligns with Victorian Policy
1 2 3 4 5
2 3 5 Advocate for a change to government regulations to influence product design and manufacturing to encourage the avoidance, recycling and reuse of products and materials. Aligns
2 3 5 Advocate for the development of standards to improve the design of products and opportunities to add value through recycling and reuse of materials. Aligns
3 5 Advocate for legislative change and support agriculture, manufacturers, and industry to avoid (single use) plastics, and where required preference the use of recycled plastics materials (e.g. ban plastic fruit labels, colour coding plant and plastic based plastics for sorting and separation and single plastics use). Aligns
3 5 Introduce standards and set targets on the use of recycled materials and products within local government infrastructure contracts and construction industries. Aligns
4 5 Invest in new circular economy alternatives for the recycling and treatment of contaminated soil and other hazardous waste that will help address historical land use issues in the region i.e. contaminants such as arsenic, lead and asbestos. For future consideration
1 Adapt grant funding rules to be more flexible, including grants to support projects that have already commenced. Aligns
Aspirations Other key changes including research and development, reskillling and job training Aligns with Victorian Policy
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 5 Undertake research and trials into innovative recovery solutions for commercial outcomes, understanding the market opportunities, capabilities to support businesses to relocate or establish in the region. Aligns
1 5 Undertake research with industry and industry associations to determine the factors that encourage new market entrants to establish in the region, particularly operators aligned to our environmental values (e.g. availability of staff and support services). Aligns
1 2 3 5 Undertake coordinated research and development to identify alternative materials that retain higher value during the material life cycle and identify end use markets to increase demand for recycled plastic materials (e.g. showcase products and provide training in use). Aligns
1 5 Partner with industry and education providers to create training pathways, and short courses to invite innovation and interest from outside the region. Aligns
1 5 Explore opportunities to connect with Asia-Pacific countries to develop waste solutions across the region. For your consideration
4 5 Deliver programs that are contextualised to the SEIFA index and characteristics of the region (e.g. look at best practice examples across energy and water sectors to apply to the waste industry). For your consideration

Download Legislation, regulations or standards reform and other key changes

Loddon Mallee today

Lodden Mallee today

Loddon Mallee today
Lodden Mallee today

Loddon Mallee Today

icon image population, 292,721 current population 2020
icon image square blocks, $17 billion gross regional product 2020
icon image rubbish bin, 27,391 tonnes. Kerbside recycling collected 2019 -2020

Loddon
icon image population, 200,818 current population 2020
icon image square blocks, $11.7 billion gross regional product 2020
icon image rubbish bin, 18,791 tonnes kerbside recycling collected 2019 -2020

Mallee
icon image population, 91,903 current population 2020
icon image square blocks, $5.3 billion gross regional product 2020
icon image rubbish bin, 8,600 tonnes kerbside recycling collected 2019 -2020

*Current Population (2020) - Australian Bureau of StatisticsExternal Link
Gross Regional Product (2020) - Regional Economic Development Strategies (REDS) - Regional Development VictoriaExternal Link *The Central Goldfields and Campaspe local government areas are included in this figure.
Kerbside Recycling Collected (2019-20) - Victorian Local Government Area Survey - Sustainability VictoriaExternal Link

Download Lodden Mallee today

Loddon Mallee representatives developed the region's circular economy aspirations and priorities. The representatives brought a local understanding of the region’s strengths and challenges. They considered ‘where we are today’ as a region, before projecting forward to ‘where we want to be’ in 2030 and beyond.

The process identified the region's key strengths. These strengths will help the region work towards their 2030 aspirations.

The region covers a large geographical area. This includes the sub-regions of Loddon and Mallee.

The region has a broad mix of industries including horticulture, dairying, broad acre cropping, mineral sand and rare earth mining, renewable energy, and tourism sectors.

Strong transport network links the region to other regions in Victoria, as well as New South Wales and South Australia. This supports the movement of recycled materials to processing facilities and end markets.

Refer to Victoria's Regional Economic Development Strategies (REDS)External Link for in-depth economic analysis.

Strengths

  • Strong transport network links between Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia to move recyclables to processing facilities and products to end markets, predominantly in areas closer to peri-urban Melbourne.
  • Innovation – investment and trials are already underway to increase recycling rates and manufacturing’s use of recycled content.
  • Reducing complexity in recycling organics and access to appropriately cited land, to make it more attractive for farmer involvement.
  • Education and training – existing local educators providing training in skills required by new processing and manufacturing industries, less so in rural and remote areas.
  • Local circular economy projects to draw upon and promote, such as local biochar production where wood waste is converted for use in agriculture.
  • Population – population growth will ensure the availability of recyclable materials and demand for products manufactured with recycled content.
  • Natural assets – sufficient land availability to co-locate sorting, processing, and manufacturing precinct, with enough of a buffer from residential growth.
  • Economic – the price parity of recycled material use is becoming more attractive.

Loddon Mallee in 2030

Loddon Mallee in 2030

Regional circular economy plan Loddon Mallee in 2030
Loddon Mallee in 2030

Loddon Mallee in 2030

icon image project population, 329,003 projected population 2031
income image projected percentage change 2021 to 2031, 12% increase

Loddon

icon image project population, 232,392 projected population 2031
income image projected percentage change 2021 to 2031, 16% increase

Mallee

icon image project population, 96,611 projected population 2031
income image projected percentage change 2021 to 2031, 5% increase

Download Loddon Mallee in 2030

Loddon Mallee's representatives also considered the region’s challenges. They developed the region’s circular economy priorities to mitigate these challenges.

Loddon Mallee covers a large geographic area. Circular economy opportunities vary between rural and per-urban areas. It can cost more to access local processing facilities than transporting to larger facilities in Melbourne. Lack of resources can also be a barrier for some councils to be able to progress circular economy outcomes.

By 2030, the Loddon Mallee region forecast to be home to 329,003 people, increasing by 12% from 2021 to 2031. The Loddon sub region is forecast to grow faster than the Great South Coast, increasing by 16 percent compared to 5 percent.

Higher rates of waste and recyclable materials are likely where populations increase. This will increase demand for sorting, processing, and storage infrastructure. Increased material transport out of the region will place added pressure on regional roads.

Some areas that are not forecast to increase their populations may continue not to need household collection. This could present a challenge for local councils and industry aiming to divert materials from landfill.

Refer to Victoria's Regional Economic Development Strategies (REDS)External Link for in-depth economic analysis.

Challenges

  • Large geographic area where circular economy opportunities vary greatly between rural and peri-urban areas.
  • Transports networks, while a strength in some regions remain a challenge in rural and remote areas.
  • Traditional metrics to evaluate investment business cases for waste and recycling infrastructure don’t consider the other social, environmental, and economic benefits.
  • Councils don’t have the resources, capability, and capacity to approach resource recovery through a circular economy lens.
  • Current council procurement preferences discourage use of recycled materials and products.
  • Grant funding is insufficient and/or not aligned to council budget time frames to be useful for many recycling projects and trials.
  • Cost of accessing local processing facilities is, in some instances, greater than transporting to larger facilities in Melbourne.
  • Low economies of scale of some waste streams and the high relative costs of small processing facilities reduce the cost effectiveness of recycling.
  • Recycling costs are not factored into projects, products, and materials and this disproportional cost profile discourages investment and uptake.
  • Limited demand and end markets for the high volume of recyclable material.
  • Tension between avoidance and waste generation as a resource. More clarity needed on future avoidance plans to give commercial operators confidence.
  • Seasonality of some significant waste streams affects feedstock supply.

Loddon Mallee regional circular economy plan

Engagement program summary report

For more information on the Engagement Program refer to the Regional circular economy plans engagement summary report.

Reviewed 05 December 2022

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