Wollongong is ideally placed to develop the kind of recycling plants that could ease the crisis in the recycling industry, Greens city councillor Mithra Cox said.
Cr Cox wants Wollongong to tap the $20 million announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison for innovative recycling projects, and will move at Monday's meeting for Wollongong City Council to express its interest.
"Wollongong is an ideal location to develop a new recycling industry, given that we have a port, rail access, industrial land, and a skilled work force," Cr Cox said.
"Our own Economic Development Strategy has a target of 10,000 new jobs, and new projects like this would help us to achieve that target."
Cr Cox said the industry was in crisis, and with overseas countries unwilling to take Australia's recyclables, the only solution was to develop our own industry.
"We know that there is heaps of recyclable material that is being stockpiled in warehouses, that is not being sent overseas to be recycled," Cr Cox said.
"Because we don't have a domestic recycling industry, we are absolutely at the whim of other countries as to whether they will take it and recycle it or not.
"It is really important that we build a local recycling industry so we can recycle the stuff that people dutifully put in their yellow bins each week."
Cr Cox said innovative projects may involve a focus on higher-value materials such as recycling glass to make construction sand, safely recovering materials from lithium ion batteries, e-waste such as mobile phones, or even developing paper as a source of carbon for steelmaking.
Plastics would be less likely as there was fewer demand for recycled plastic, particularly as it degrades with each cycle.
"While local government is not eligible for the grant funding, the City of Innovation is in a unique position to indicate our willingness to be the site of one of these projects," Cr Cox said.