NT EPA recommends Chandler Hazardous Waste Facility approval

The Northern Territory Environment Protection Authority (NT EPA) has recommended approval of Tellus Holdings Ltd’s hazardous waste storage proposal.

The EPA said it follows a rigorous environmental impact assessment.

The proposal includes a temporary hazardous waste storage facility, an underground salt mine, a permanent disposal facility for hazardous waste (in the mined out, underground salt caverns), and associated infrastructure such as salt stockpiles, haul roads and access roads.

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The proposed site is approximately 120 kilometres south of Alice Springs and 25 kilometres from the nearest community, Titjikala.

NT EPA Chairman, Dr Paul Vogel, said the NT EPA identified potentially significant environmental impacts and risks associated with the proposal and made 19 recommendations to avoid and mitigate those impacts.

“The NT EPA’s assessment of Australia’s first national hazardous waste repository has been informed by the operation, regulation and learnings from other deep geological waste repositories internationally as well as ongoing discussions with the WA EPA who are also assessing a similar, but smaller proposal,” Dr Vogel said.

The EPA’s key recommendations focus on ensuring transparent, ongoing and rigorous regulatory oversight, including requirements for the public disclosure of any financial assurance or security held in respect of the proposal, as well as public disclosure of independent auditor and process safety oversight reports.

“This proposal comes with environmental and financial risks to the community and the Northern Territory Government,” Dr Vogel said.

“To address these risks the NT EPA has made recommendations consistent with the proponent’s commitment to ensure appropriate financial assurance provisions are provided upfront to the NT Government over the life of the proposal, should it be approved.

“A whole-of-project financial assurance would ensure that significant residual environmental impacts and risks are acknowledged, and financial risk to the NT Government is avoided, covering all financial obligations under an appropriate regulatory regime.”

The NT EPA supports the concept of a deep geological repository that can store and isolate hazardous waste and has identified further work required to demonstrate that the Chandler Facility is the best option for disposing of hazardous waste without unacceptable environmental impacts now or in the future.

The NT EPA has provided its assessment report to the Minister for Environment and Natural Resources, Lauren Moss, for consideration.

2017 WMAA Women in the Environment Award winner

The Waste Management Association of Australia (WMAA) has announced the winner of its 2017 WMAA Women in the Environment Award at its Victoria Branch Christmas Dinner – Jade Barnaby.

The award recognises the achievements of women in the environment industry. Two years ago, the award was opened nationally to all eligible women who have made a significant contribution to environmental sustainability in Australia over the past five years.

Jade Barnaby. Source: WMAA

WMAA said Ms Barnaby played a significant role in product stewardship issues at Sustainability Victoria, including helping to launch Paintback, the national scheme for paint waste and packaging collection/recycling, and managing the Victorian battery take-back program. Ms Barnaby also assisted in expanding the National Product Stewardship List to include photovoltaic systems. She is currently developing a verification process for cradle to grave tyre recycling in her role as National Accreditation and Compliance Manager with Tyre Stewardship Australia.

“It’s pleasing to see the depth and number of nominations reflecting the important role of women in changing the face of the waste management industry,” said Blue Environment’s Christine Wardle.

“Continued cooperation and collaborative work across all sectors of industry and Government, as well as trying different approaches and risking failure, is required if we are going to tackle the increasing complex challenges of waste management and other environmental and sustainability issues,” said Jade.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank WMAA and Blue Environment for supporting and recognising all the amazing women who are part of our exciting industry. My gratitude is also extended to all those inspiring and encouraging individuals, both male and female, who have been part of my journey to date and who continue to make a positive difference in our industry.”

SUEZ places bulk IVECO ACCO order

Waste management company SUEZ, has placed a record order of 110 IVECO ACCO compactors to service a new 16-year contract with Brisbane City Council.

SUEZ has held continuous collection contracts with the municipality since 2002, with the new agreement officially beginning in July 2018.

The new ACCO models include 104 6×4 units fitted with Superior Pak side loaders for curb side collection, with the remaining vehicles configured as 8x4s, featuring Bucher Municipal front loaders for high density, multi-dwelling collection.

“There were several main factors that influenced our decision to select ACCO models for this new Brisbane City Council contract,” said SUEZ Recycling & Recovery Australia Queensland State General Manager, Peter Hudson.

“SUEZ has a long an extensive history with IVECO and with ACCO – the ACCO is a staple of the waste industry particularly for side loader work.

“The ACCO has provided us with a great service history with over 95 per cent uptime and helped us service Brisbane City Council to a very high level – we achieve a bin miss rate of just .06 per cent, and this figure includes people that forget or place their bins out, or who bring them out late for collection,” he said.

While the truck performance itself was a key consideration in selecting ACCOs for the new contract, according to Hudson, it was IVECO’s ability to offer a full service and maintenance provision that also weighed heavily. Maintenance not only covers the truck cab chassis but the compactor bodies as well, with IVECO working closely with Superior Pak and Bucher Municipal to provide a complete maintenance service.

“Curb side collection work is notoriously tough on the trucks, there’s a lot of strain on the braking system, steering and tyres,” said Hudson.

“With IVECO we get a bumper to bumper maintenance solution – SUEZ doesn’t operate its own workshops, our preference is to concentrate on our core areas of business.

“We pay a fee and vehicle and maintenance is taken care of, there are KPIs set against vehicle performance so this provides the additional peace of mind of knowing that the trucks are maintained to the highest levels and will perform for us,” he said.

The large majority of the new ACCO fleet will likely see service for around eight years, over this time the trucks will cover between 400,000 and 500,000 kilometres, accrue around 18,000 hours and log average speeds of approximately 25 kilometres per hour, proof of the demanding start and stop nature of the work.

An additional benefit of SUEZ’s long association with IVECO according to Hudson, is having an excellent relationship which greatly assists should any unforeseen challenges arise.

“Having IVECO based in Australia and having worked in partnership with the company for many years, it’s easy to pick-up the phone if extra support is needed or if something comes up that needs attention,” he said.

“There’s never a problem in dealing with them and they can also offer additional flexibility during the truck build process, the 8×4 front lift ACCOs for example will have a non-standard wheelbase. We’ve specified a shorter wheelbase to get an improved turning circle for servicing the multi-dwelling locations where space is tight.

“One option may have been to go for a 6×4 front lift but then we’d be losing considerable payload, IVECO was happy to customise the wheelbase and work with Superior Pak on the body requirements.”

With all needs for the Brisbane City Council contract having been ticked at a corporate level, SUEZ also sought feedback from drivers during a consultation process and overwhelmingly their familiarity with the ACCO product saw it rate well according to Hudson.

“Most of our drivers have spent many years – and for some, their whole working life – using an ACCO, so they’re very familiar with the vehicles,” he said. “This means a seamless transition from the older vehicles into the new ones.”

IVECO Australia National Key Account Manager, Scott Slater, said this latest supply of refuse collection trucks to SUEZ marked a long collaboration between the two companies.

“IVECO is extremely pleased to have supplied the locally-manufactured ACCO product to SUEZ for many years now,” said Slater.

“It’s a strong endorsement of the ACCO range from one of Australia’s leading recycling and recovery companies. More broadly this ongoing partnership also says a lot about IVECO as a company and our ability to closely meet the needs of SUEZ and of Brisbane City Council.

“The ACCO’s proven history of efficient and reliable performance in this industry and IVECO’s ability to collaborate and manage third party body builders to deliver a turn-key solution certainly put our company in a strong position to win this tender,” he said.

The new fleet is expected to be complete and ready for delivery to SUEZ throughout May and June before gradually taking over collection duties from 1 July 2018.

IVECO launched its 2017MY Daily van and light truck range in November.

Cleanaway agrees to acquire Tox Free Solutions

Cleanaway has agreed to acquire Tox Free Solutions (Toxfree) for about $671 million.

Cleanaway is offering $3.425 for each Toxfree share and the integration of the business is expected to deliver about $35 million in annual synergies over a two-year period. Toxfree shareholders will be able to receive a 5c a share interim dividend.

To fund the acquisition, Cleanaway will launch a fully underwritten $590 million 1 for 3.65 pro rate accelerated entitlement offer and draw down debt from a new multi-tranche facility.

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In a statement, Toxfree board of directors reportedly unanimously recommended that shareholders vote in favour of the scheme, and will vote the shares they own or control in favour of it, in the absence of a superior proposal.

Cleanaway Chief Executive Officer Vic Bansal said acquiring Toxfree will consolidate Cleanaway’s position as Australia’s leading waste management company, balancing and re-weighing its integrated waste model.

“The acquisition will accelerate the implementation of our Footprint 2025 strategy by adding prized infrastructure assets across the country, as well as contributing an exciting new business in the form of a leading, vertically-integrated provider of healthcare waste management products and services, including collection, transport and treatment of sharps, clinical and related waste,” he said.

The scheme consideration values Toxfree’s fully diluted equity at approximately $671 million. The transaction will be subject to standard regulatory conditions, including Australian Competition and Consumer Commission approval. A scheme booklet, independent expert’s report, reasons for the directors’ recommendation and details of the scheme will be prepared and provided for review to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission for review, expected in February 2018.

Toxfree expects to update the market on an indicative timetable in January 2018.


Two million drink containers returned in seven days: NSW CDS

NSW’s Container Deposit Scheme, Return and Earn, has already seen more than two million drink containers returned in a single week.

Reverse vending machines in Mayfield, Casula, Medowie, Spring Farm, Granville and Emerton have all received more than 60,000 drink containers each since Friday, 1 December.

The number of returns is increasing with Wednesday and Thursday recording the highest returns for the week. The peak time for returns has also been around lunch time each day.

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The breakdown of drink containers returned to reverse vending machines by their material are:

  • Aluminium – 53 per cent
  • Glass – 24 per cent
  • PET Plastic – 21 per cent
  • Liquid Paperboard – 0.7 per cent
  • High density poly-ethylene (HDPE) – 1.2 per cent

About 83 per cent of people are choosing the payment option for a receipt for cash at a local retail partner or an in-store credit from a local retail partner, about 17 per cent are using PayPal as an electronic transfer and about 0.5 per cent are donating the refund to selected charities on the reverse vending machines.

“This is just the start – I expect the scheme to take off even further once community groups and charities get more involved in Return and Earn,” said NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton.

Most drink containers between 150mls and three litres will be eligible for a refund. Eligible drink containers have been selected based on those most commonly found in the NSW litter stream and to align with schemes in SA and the NT.

For more information and a list of eligible drink containers, visit Return and Earn.

TechCollect prepares for Waste Not, Want NotDay

TechCollect is calling on all Australian businesses to help reduce electronic waste to landfill ahead of its annual Waste Not, Want NotDay on 13 December.

Carmel Dollisson, Chief Executive Officer of TechCollect, a national, not-for-profit industry-funded, e-waste recycling service, free to households and small business, said it’s crucial business owners ensure responsible waste management practices are in place not only for the environment, but to meet changing employee and customer expectations around this important issue.

“With Waste Not, Want Not Day approaching, we encourage all businesses and employees to mark 13 December in the calendar, get their old electronic devices out of the cupboard or company storerooms, and ensure they’re responsibly recycled,” she said.

“TechCollect ensures that at least 90 per cent of the valuable resources in those devices are put back into the manufacturing process to be reused in new products, a far better outcome for the environment then creating new products from virgin materials.”

The 2013 Green Pulse Report, prepared for Planet Ark, highlights how workers and the public are embracing organisations who take recycling seriously, with 82 per cent of employees wanting to see more e-waste recycling in their workplaces.

Additionally, three out of four businesses agree that good waste management improves public perception of the business, according to a 2013 study, A behavioural study in the food & beverage sector to identify barriers to waste minimisation.

“Businesses who put sustainability at the top of their agenda report higher recruitment and staff retention rates, and an overall increase in employee engagement and productivity,” Ms Dollisson said.

“While there are many businesses doing a good job at recycling other items such as cardboard and paper, there is much more work to be done in the corporate sector in electronic waste recycling. We need to create an environment in which responsibilities are more evenly shared, encouraging businesses to become active players in the management and recycling of the electronic waste they’re responsible for, which will also encourage their employees to do the same at home.”

New e-waste processing centre to open in Victoria

The Victorian Government has invested in a new e-waste processing centre in Melbourne’s outer south-east.

The new facility, located in the suburb of Officer, is expected to process 1000 tonnes of e-waste in the first year with capacity to divert 5000 tonnes from landfill.

The state government has provided $500,000 to Social Enterprise Outlook Environmental to build a new 1,000 square metre shed on land bought from Places Victoria.

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E-waste includes everything from old mobile phones, computers and related equipment, audio devices, refrigerators and other white goods, hair driers, TVs, heaters, and air-conditioners.

The new facility will receive discarded electronics, which are stripped of components for reprocessing into new technology or sold on the second hand goods market.

Moving Outlook’s e-waste operations to Officer from Pakenham expands its operation from existing facilities at Mornington, Darebin and Hampton Park.

In 2014 around 109,000 tonnes of e-waste entered Victoria’s waste and recovery system, with projections it will be more than 250,000 tonnes by 2035.

The Victorian Government plans to ban e-waste from landfill and submissions can be made on its website.