Nine South Australian councils have committed to buying back their rubbish.

In an Australian first, the councils have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to prioritise buying products made from recycled materials.

The MOU is the beginning of a circular procurement pilot project, led by the state’s local government association with the assistance of a $96,500 Green Industries SA grant.

The goal is to increase local demand for recycled materials, support the development of a circular economy in SA, and ultimately reduce waste and recycling costs for councils.

The participating councils include Adelaide Hills Council, City of Burnside, City of Charles Sturt, Mount Barker District Council, Rural City of Murray Bridge, City of Norwood Payneham & St Peters, City of Onkaparinga, City of Port Adelaide Enfield, and City of Prospect.

Through the MOU, the councils have committed to prioritising the purchase of recycled-content products through the procurement process, and tracking and reporting on recycled-content purchasing by weight.

Most also adopted a rolling target for the purchase of recycled plastic products, working towards eventually buying back recycled materials equivalent to half the weight of plastics collected in their council area.

Examples of products made of recycled materials that can be purchased by councils include road and construction materials, street furniture, bollards, office stationery and compost.

“China’s National Sword Policy has made waste and recycling significantly more expensive for South Australian councils,” says LGA SA President Sam Telfer.

“It’s vital we develop new markets for recycled materials in South Australia, and councils can support this by prioritising the use of recycled materials in their procurement processes.

“This MOU sends a clear message to industry about the types of products that councils want to purchase as part of their commitment to supporting the environment and improving their sustainability.”