Further information about the market bulletin

Last updated: 7 September 2021

About the bulletin

Victoria is aiming to grow the recovery of resources such as cardboard, glass, metals, paper and plastics, and further increase opportunities for infrastructure investment.

The bulletins feature:

  • an overview of kerbside material flows
  • monthly flows to local and overseas markets
  • current commodity prices
  • commentary on changes to export markets for recyclables
  • implications for kerbside recyclables markets
  • opportunities for and developments by industry, government and others to improve kerbside markets.

These monthly bulletins are a 12-month pilot project to inform industry, government and the community about waste and resource recovery in Victoria.

Bulletins are produced in partnership with the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia. They are written by industry specialists Envisage Works, Sustainable Resource Use and Industry Edge for Sustainability Victoria and supported by DELWP and EPA. They do not constitute advice or government opinion.

The market bulletins are a series of regular bulletins that Sustainability Victoria (SV) is distributing to the community, industry and government to provide an overview of the kerbside recycling markets in Victoria.

Each bulletin includes updates related to the latest available ABS export data, and industry sourced pricing updates. The bulletins provide an up-to-date picture of the health of the markets, the ongoing challenges and opportunities, and action taken to improve the resilience and recovery performance of kerbside recycling. The bulletins are a synthesis of monthly updates of ABS export data and published market reports, and more in-depth quarterly updates informed by extensive consultation with industry, government and community stakeholders. Each bulletin includes a monthly update that includes: market overview and current developments export data and receiving country updates commodity price tracking kerbside quantity flow approximations market developments and activity updates. A deeper look at two special topics is provided.

Who the bulletin is for

This bulletin is for anyone with an interest in kerbside recycling in Victoria. It presents a holistic overview of material flows and related markets, through generation, sorting, reprocessing, re-manufacturing and end-product markets.

Bulletin #1 presents details of the stakeholders involved in kerbside recycling, and the roles that they can play in shifting kerbside recycling and markets to a more resilient and sustainable future.

Glossary and references

The glossary for all the terms used in the bulletin from the link below.

History and context

Across the past decade there have been downturns in the recycled materials market caused by the:

  • Global Financial Crisis (GFC) in 2009.
  • New Chinese regulations in 2011 aimed at reducing the imports of highly contaminated post-consumer materials.

Aggressive enforcement in 2013 by the Chinese of the 2011 regulations, through a campaign known as 'Operation Green Fence'.

Aggressive enforcement from the beginning of 2018 by the Chinese of the 2011 regulations, through a campaign known as 'National Sword'. Around half the world's kerbside packaging was received by China until the end of 2017 and the enforcement of these regulations has reduced these imports massively.

A key aspect of the latest Chinese restrictions is a maximum contamination threshold of 0.5 per cent for imported bales of post-consumer mixed paper & paperboard and mixed plastics. This threshold is very low and MRFs internationally, including Victorian MRFs, are not capable of meeting the 0.5 per cent contamination threshold.

Global coronavirus pandemic starting in early 2020, and still ongoing, hampering international freight movements and country level manufacturing activity.

See bulletin #1 for a more detailed outline of the history and context of the issues explored in these bulletins.

See all previous market bulletins