National Plan for PFAS released to protect environment and health

The heads of all state and territory EPAs and the Federal Government have released a National Environment Management Plan for PFAS (per-and poly-fluoroalkyl substances) to help protect the environment and human health.

PFAS are a group of manufactured chemicals which have historically been used in firefighting foams and other industrial and consumer products for decades, according to EPA Victoria. PFAS can also be found in soil, surface water and groundwater in urban areas, and some PFAS are being phased out around the world as they may pose a risk to human health and the environment.

Related stories:

The National Environment Management Plan for PFAS describes how to properly deal with and clean up contaminated sites, how to best treat soil and waste, and methods for safely destroying the chemicals.

PFAS can make products heat resistant, non-stick, water repellent, and weather and stain resistant.

Prior to the plan, there was no consistent guidance or direction for communities that had been affected by PFAS.

Environment Protection Authority Victoria’s Executive Director Assessments, Tim Eaton, said PFAS chemicals have been used in a range of products in the past, including pesticides, stain repellents and fire-fighting foams.

“PFAS compounds have had a wide range of uses because they resist heat, chemical and biological degradation, and are very stable,” Mr Eaton said.

“There is now growing concern worldwide about the effects of PFAS on our health and on animals and plants, because of that chemical stability and the fact that they easily enter the environment, moving into soil, creeks, rivers and lakes. We know there are sites with PFAS contamination, so we are working collectively to manage them.”

The plan can be read here.

New recycling technology processes tyres into resources

Tyre processing company Pearl Global has begun commissioning its first production plant to recycle tyres into valuable secondary products.

The technology uses an applied heating process called thermal desorption, which converts waste tyres into liquid hydrocarbon, high tensile steel and carbon char, and can be sold separately or processed further.

Related stories:

Pearl has constructed its first production plant, with two thermal desorption units (TDUs) in Stapylton, Queensland and initial commissioning under way. The second TDU is owned by Pearl’s intellectual property licensor and contracting partner Keshi, and will be purchased by Pearl as soon as practical.

Each TDU can process approximately 5000 tons (4536 tonnes) of shredded rubber at full production, equivalent to 50,000 car tyres. On average, this equates to a weekly output 1.5 million litres of raw fuel.

“This is the first plant of its type in Australia and we expect to be ramping up to full production over the coming months,” Pearl Executive Chairman Gary Foster said.

The materials are being developed into potential commercial products, including a degreaser product.

With assistance from The Centre for Energy at the University of Western Australia, Pearl’s degreaser products have been tested and compared to existing commercial degreasers and have surpassed the standards required for commercial degreasers, with one of them showing the best performance of all the degreaser products, according to the company.

Over 51 million used tyres get discarded in Australia a year, but only five per cent are recycled. Pearl’s technology focuses on extracting the resources from tyres instead of using them for constructing children’s playgrounds or exporting. Pearl (formerly Citation Resources Limited) in February rejoined the ASX following a reconstruction and a $5 million capital raising.

Pearl recently received planning approval from the Gold Coast City Council and has approval from Queensland’s Department of Environment and Heritage. It already holds an environmental licence from the Western Australian Government Department of Environment Regulation.

“This is a turning point for used tyre processing in Australia. We are the first company in Australia to receive licenses for the thermal treatment of rubber, to reclaim and recover valuable products for resale,” Mr Foster said.

“Our technology is a significant advancement on other methods of processing waste tyres because it has low emissions, no hazardous by-products, requires no chemical intervention and is the only process that meets the standard emissions criteria set by the Australian regulators for this type of technology,” he said.

Mr Foster said the technology will help Australia handle a serious global environmental problem.

“We believe there is great potential in Australia to immediately deploy our technology at sites close to where tyres have been stockpiled,” Mr Foster said.

“With governments seeking or mandating solutions for waste, Pearl is well placed to offer a solution that is both environmentally sound and commercially viable.”

Pearl has applied to be an accredited member of Tyre Stewardship Australia.

Almost 100 million containers collected by NSW Return and Earn

Almost 100 million containers have been returned since the NSW Return and Earn scheme began in December last year, according to the official website.

Reverse vending machine technology, alongside over-the-counter and automated depots have helped NSW reach this goal. As of Monday, the website showed more than 98 million containers collected.

Related stories:

NSW Minister for Environment, Gabrielle Upton said more than five million drink containers had been returned over the second weekend of February.

Nepean Distributors, a drinks product supplier to schools and sporting club canteens, have been supporting the scheme and having a positive impact on the local community, according to EPA NSW.

In two months, Nepean Distributors has processed 133,034 containers, with over record of 11,879 in a day.

“It is making people, especially kids and teenagers, think about recycling. We want to help change their mindset to think about their environment and cleaning up their local park,” Managing Director of Nepean Distributors, Anthony Morrissey said.

They have also teamed up with local sports groups such as Macarthur BMX to help fundraise for the club and encourage locals to donate their refunds to charities like the African AIDS Foundation.

Worldwide events planned for first ever Global Recycling Day

The world’s first Global Recycling Day will take place on 18 March, with cities across the globe signing on to hold events.

London, Washington DC, Sao Paolo, Paris, Johannesburg, Delhi, and Dubai will host events to encourage people to change their habits when it comes to recycling.

Related stories:

The Bureau for International Recycling (BIR) hopes to change the way people around the world think about recycling, changing their mindset from waste to resource.

Individuals attending the events will be invited to pledge to change their habits in at least one way and to sign the BIR’s petition for the day to be recognised by the United Nations.

The hashtag #GlobalRecyclingDay will let people on social media get involved to help people share video and pictures of them celebrating recycling.

Global Recycling Day aims to showcase how critical recycling is to people’s day to day lives.

BIR President Ranjit Baxi said the first global recycling day is a vitally important new date in the global calendar and a joint responsibility for individuals, communities, businesses and leaders.

“To truly harness the power of recycling we must adopt a global approach to its collection, processing and use, and this Day recognises the global nature of the industry and the issue.  It is time we put the planet first and all commit to spend 10 more minutes a day ensuring that materials are disposed of properly,” Mr Baxi said.

“Global Recycling Day is also a wakeup call to all of us, wherever we live,” he said.

“We must unite with those involved in the industry – from workers on waste mountains to the world’s largest businesses – to help them to make the best use of what we dispose of, to make recycling easier, inherent even in the design of products, and to stop expecting countries to simply accept recyclables which are difficult and costly to process.”

VISA Global Logistics joins MEGATRANS2018

Award-winning Australian international logistics company and freight forwarder, VISA Global Logistics, is joining inaugural supply chain event, MEGATRANS2018, to showcase its service offerings.

VISA Global Logistics CEO, Simon Hardwidge, said that MEGATRANS2018 is not just about equipment suppliers, it embraces the entire freight and logistics chain.

Related story:

“As a global enterprise with dealings with importers, exporters, retailers and manufacturers, VISA Global Logistics is seizing an important opportunity to represent at MEGATRANS2018 to demonstrate how we add value to our clients,” said Hardwidge.

“As one of Australia’s largest privately-owned international freight forwarding companies, we have an extensive global network that continues to grow.

“Last year alone, the company acquired offices in India, Spain and the Netherlands while opening new facilities in Italy. In order to remain competitive, and to look to the future, it is vital for businesses in the freight and logistics space to push innovation and share ideas,” he said.

VISA Global Logistics was awarded the Freight Forwarder of the Year Award at the 2017 Australian Shipping & Maritime Industry Awards.

MEGATRANS2018 aims to bring together leaders and stakeholders in the wider Australian and international supply chain, including those in the transport, logistics, warehousing solutions, materials handling and infrastructure sectors.

For more information on exhibiting at MEGATRANS2018, contact Anastasia Razdiakonova: P 03 9690 8766 E anastasia.razdiakonova@primecreative.com.au

SA plan for future of waste management

The SA Government has revealed a 30-year plan for the future of the waste and resource recovery industry in the state, estimating almost 5000 jobs could emerge in the future.

The Waste Resource and Recovery Infrastructure Plan outlines a pathway for the industry and will attempt to guide SA with metropolitan and regional profiles. It aims to pave the way for the state to exceed its 81.5 per cent diversion from landfill figure.

Related stories

It also aims to increase the amount of waste diverted from landfill and analyse the unique needs, opportunities and challenges facing communities.

New infrastructure is also planned to be developed, including transport and processing equipment, bins, covered compost facilities, monitoring technology, training, market development, and integrated waste data systems.

Projections for future trends within the plan include both a 10 and 30-year scenario. According to the 30-year estimate, the plan could deliver an additional $660.5 million in gross state product and about 4969 full-time-equivalent jobs.

Currently, the waste and resource recovery industry has an annual turnover of $1 billion, contributes $500 million to the GSP, and employs 5000 people across the state.

SA Sustainability, Environment and Conservation Minister Ian Hunter said the SA Government is looking to further build their already successful and growing industry.

“This plan provides a vision where waste is managed as a resource through re-use and recycling, energy recovery is limited to non-recyclable materials and landfill is virtually eliminated,” he said.

“The transition to a more sustainable circular economy requires innovation along with investment and development of new infrastructure and technology to enhance resource efficiency and create business opportunities both locally and overseas.”

“I encourage the public and private sectors to continue to lead the way to a more sustainable future for our State through continued investment in this important sector of our economy.”

You can read the Waste and Resource Recovery Infrastructure Plan here. 

 

New CEO for Australia and New Zealand Recycling Platform

Australia and New Zealand Recycling Platform (ANZRP) has appointed a new chief executive officer.

Warren Overton has replaced outgoing CEO Carmel Dollisson. Mr Overton brings more than 20 years’ experience in sustainability, including executive roles in business, industry associations and government. Most recently, he served as Director, Business and Built Environment at Sustainability Victoria. Before then he was Co-Founder and Managing Director of Viridis, a national sustainability consulting business operating in four states.

“The board is very pleased to have Warren joining ANZRP. His exceptional track record in sustainability places us in a very good position to build on the strong foundations that Carmel and her team have built since ANZRP’s inception,” said ANZRP Chairman Mark Mackay.

Related stories:

Carmel Dollisson announced her intention to step down from the CEO role late 2017, in order to take a well-earned break before undertaking some new challenges.

Under Ms Dollisson’s leadership, ANZRP has grown from its modest beginnings in 2011 to become the largest Co-regulatory Arrangement under the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme, established by the Federal Government under the Product Stewardship Act 2011 as an industry-funded scheme for the safe and responsible recycling of e-waste.

The board sees one of Mr Overton’s main priorities as leading ANZRP through the final stages and aftermath of the current Regulatory Review of the Product Stewardship Act, and to drive further expansion of the company’s mission to be a leading product stewardship partner, recognised both locally and globally.

“I’m delighted to be joining ANZRP at this vital time in the company’s evolution. Carmel’s exceptional work has put us in a great position to expand our operations to achieve the dual outcomes of lower costs to our member companies and better recycling outcomes for the Australian public,” said Mr Overton said.

“In terms of our core program, it’s very much business as usual, as TechCollect now operates as a well-oiled machine. But there’s a great deal more we’re planning to do through our product stewardship expertise and credentials.”

Ms Dollisson said she is delighted to be leaving ANZRP in good hands.

“This business has been my passion for more than six years, and it’s not going to be easy to leave it behind. I’m reassured by the work the board has undertaken in securing a new CEO, and I look forward to working closely with Warren during the transition period,” she said.

Ms Dollisson will remain with ANZRP until late March to ensure a smooth handover.

The ANZRP Board comprises representatives from member companies Canon, Fuji-Xerox, Dell, HP and Toshiba, together with three independent directors.

Moranbah Resource Recovery Centre finished in Queensland

A major project has been completed in central Queensland to improve the region’s waste disposal network.

The $7.16 million Moranbah Resource Recovery Centre Expansion and Improvement Project was first started in March 2017 and has seen over 28 Olympic swimming pools worth of soil excavated.

FK Gardner & Sons were awarded the construction tender in February 2017 and sourced local contractors to work on the project.

The centre now has a new landfill cell, stormwater and leachate ponds, and a refuse transfer station.

According to the Isaac Council, the transfer station will enable the bulk handling of waste and improve hygiene and safety for the community and landfill employees.

Isaac Regional Council Mayor Anne Baker said the project was vital to meeting demand for waste disposal in the region and improving environmental performance.

“This upgrade is critical in ensuring Moranbah can meet demand for the provision of waste infrastructure to serve the regional community, mining sector and supporting industries,” Mayor Baker said.

“Isaac Regional Council matched the Queensland Government’s $3.58 million funding under the Building our Regions program.”

Queensland Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said Building our Regions was all about making sure communities such as those in the Isaac region benefit from the state’s economic successes.

“The Moranbah Resource Recovery Centre project will improve operational efficiencies and extend the lifespan of the landfill reserve.

“It will meet community and industry waste management requirements and improve the efficiency and recovery of recyclable materials.

“The transfer station became operational on September 25, 2017 and the new landfill cell is expected to accept waste from February 2018.”

Winner of Green Industries SA Women in Waste Award announced

Waste consultant Kat Heinrich has won the annual Green Industries SA Women in Waste Award for her contributions to SA’s waste industry.

Ms Heinrich, a senior consultant for Rawtec, has delivered a range of projects to help with resource efficiency, disaster waste management, state waste accounting and waste infrastructure planning.

The award, established in memory of Pam Keating, includes $5000 to assist with travel, accommodation and conference costs, and mentoring from a senior woman executive in the industry.

SA Environment Minister Ian Hunter said he was delighted to present the award to Ms Heinrich.

“Kat’s new project will address the global issue of food waste by investigating best-practices in Denmark, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and the United States and using this research to drive a step change in food waste reduction and recovery in SA,” Mr Hunter said.

“Congratulations to Kat for her dedication and vision to further SA’s reputation as leader in recycling and resource recovery.”

Ms Heinrich has recently started a blog to share best practices in food waste management from cities globally.

“I am passionate about addressing food waste, which is a significant issue globally, and through this award aim to stimulate a step-wise change in SA,” she said.

“While SA leads the country in waste and resource recovery practices, food waste particularly in the household stream, remains a significant challenge and opportunity for the state.

“Addressing food waste is an important step in transitioning SA to a more circular economy through compost production or other beneficial interventions.”

She said the project will identify potential initiatives that may help SA to take this next step to reduce food waste.

Organics market development grants open: EPA NSW

NSW businesses, councils, agricultural associations and project communicators can now apply for the second round of grants to promote the benefits of compost into new markets.

NSW businesses, councils, agricultural associations and project communicators can now apply for the second round of grants to promote the benefits of compost into new markets.

Grants worth up to $300,000 are available to provide funding for projects that will build markets for compost made from household food and garden waste, including material collected from kerbside bins.

Example projects that are eligible for funding include showcasing compost benefits to farmers, demonstrating benefits to soil health, or improving market confidence by promoting the high standard of modern compost quality.

Previous rounds of grants have already funded projects that have demonstrated how compost builds resilient turf on sporting fields and improves soil health on farms in Sydney and the Riverina.

EPA Unit Head Organics Amanda Kane said the grants gave business, councils and agricultural associations the chance to deliver projects that could make a real difference when it came to organic waste.

“From saving good food from being wasted and addressing food insecurity in our state, to increasing NSW capacity to process more collected green waste, we’re tackling organics waste from every angle,” Ms Kane said.

“This funding is helping to build strong, viable markets for a quality recycled product and supports other programs to increase supply through more collections and infrastructure to build the capacity of the industry in NSW to process more.”

The grants are being delivered through the NSW EPA’s Waste Less Recycle More initiative.

Applications close 28 March, 2018.