QLD Environment Minister opens Future Waste Resources Convention

Queensland’s Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch officially opened the Future Waste Resources Convention in Ipswich, speaking to waste and recycling industry representatives from across the state.

The minister told businesses and local councils that the state government’s priority is to work with the community and industry to reduce landfill and encourage resource recovery.

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“I’m delighted to see that industry leaders are looking to the future, and preparing to make the most of the opportunities ahead,” Ms Enoch said.

“We are in a fortunate position to have internationally competitive businesses right here in Queensland, using cutting-edge technologies and processes for turning waste into valuable and profitable, products and services.

“We want to build on that competitive advantage,” she said.

The convention, located at Ipswich’s Workshops Rail Museum, focuses on realistic solutions to current challenges.

“Changing how we manage waste in Queensland will create jobs and drive significant economic growth as we make better use of resources and develop new industries,” Ms Enoch said.

Waste Recycling Industry Association of Queensland CEO Rick Ralph said the convention has brought together more than 250 attendees from across the industry, and state and local government.

“This is the largest convention of its kind in Queensland history, focussing on future waste and recycling solutions for the state,” Mr Ralph said.

“It is wonderful the convention is being held at one the oldest manufacturing centres to show the possibilities for the future.”

WA Govt releases draft strategy to reduce 20 per cent of waste by 2030

The WA Waste Authority has released a draft of its Waste Strategy 2030 which outlines strategies to reduce waste by 20 per cent by 2030.

The WA Waste Authority has released a draft of its Waste Strategy 2030 for comment, outlining key strategies to reduce waste by 20 per cent by 2030.

Other key targets include increasing material recovery to 70 per cent by 2025 and 75 per cent by 2030, and to only recover energy from residual waste.

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It also sets a target of sending no more than 15 per cent of the waste generated in the Perth and Peel regions to be landfilled by 2030.

Strategies to reach these targets include a food organics and garden organics (FOGO) kerbside collection system across the Perth and Peel regions by 2025, provided by local governments with support from the state.

The draft outlines implementing sustainable government procurement practices that encourage the usage of recycled products and support local market development.

A review of the waste levy will also be undertaken to ensure its scope and application meets the objectives of the Waste Strategy 2030.

Statewide communications to support consistent messaging on reducing waste will be developed as part of the strategy, alongside implementing local government waste plans to align planning processes with the new targets laid out.

Data collection and reporting systems will be updated according to the strategy to allow waste generation, recovery and disposal performance be assessed quickly.

A strategy to guide future infrastructure development includes a review of WA’s waste infrastructure and landfills to occur by 2020.

WA Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said in the report WA has an obligation to its current community and future generations to generate less waste, extract more resources and better manage the disposal of waste.

“Waste Strategy 2030 rises to address that challenge and the opportunities that better choices and better waste management present,” Mr Dawson said.

“We will have to work hard to meet the ambitious targets set out in this strategy and deliver against long-standing issues in the waste community. We won’t, for example, be able to meet our 2025 recovery targets without all metropolitan local government’s adopting a three-bin FOGO system, and I will work with those local governments to achieve this.

“Waste is everyone’s business – individuals, households, neighbourhoods, community groups, schools, small and big businesses, local governments, waste managers, the state government and the media,” he said.

Comments on the Waste Strategy 2030 should be sent to wastestrategyreview@wasteauthority.wa.gov.au and are due by Tuesday 6 November.

Cleanaway secures seven-year contract with City of Sydney

The City of Sydney has selected Cleanaway as its new waste and recycling provider with a seven-year contract beginning 1 July 2019.

Services for the council will include general waste, recycling, garden organics and bulk or hard waste and electronic waste kerbside collections.

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The contract also includes 25 new vehicles which have Cleanaway’s integrated data platform installed. The system uses on board cameras to track collections and service events like missed pick-ups, broken bins and can be used for single-call customer service response. Cameras can also provide insights that aim to reduce contamination, improve recycling and increase truck safety.

Cleanaway’s education team will also provide the City of Sydney with sustainability training which aims to reduce waste sent to landfill and improve recycling rates.

Cleanaway Regional Manager – Sydney Metro Michael Sankey said the company looks forward to bringing its expertise to Sydney.

“As part of the contract, Cleanaway will be setting up a new facility and implementing new operational teams and some educational resources,” he said.

“Over the next seven years we’ll be working closely with the council’s waste management team to add value for the community and help the City of Sydney achieve their sustainability goals.”

Bassendean Council to go plastic free with Boomerang Alliance

The Town of Bassendean, WA, has joined forces with Boomerang Alliance to create a “Plastic Free Bassendean”.

The move is part of Boomerang Alliance’s Communities Taking Control (CTC) program, which will work alongside the Council over a 12-month period and engage the business community to review supply chains and transition away from single-use plastics.

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The program aims to achieve wide-scale change through a reduction at the source instead of through community action and will engage local businesses, events, markets and organisations to switch from single-use plastic items to sustainable alternatives.

Boomerang Alliance received funding from the WA Waste Authority in July to bring the CTC program to WA after three pilot programs on the east coast have helped to reduce six single-use plastic items from food service and hospitality outlets in Noosa, Byron Bay and Wollongong.

Early program evaluations found a reduction of more than 30,000 single-use plastic items in one community in less than a year. Boomerang Alliance anticipates the final results will demonstrate significantly higher levels of reduction.

Town of Bassendean Mayor Renee McLennan said the council is firmly committed to going plastic free.

“We have a number of initiatives already underway across the Council area, but the opportunity to partner with Boomerang Alliance to create ‘Plastic-Free Bassendean’ will help us turn our vision into reality,” Cr McLennan said.

Boomerang Alliance CTC Program Manager Kellie Lindsay said the organisation is excited to confirm a partnership with the Town of Bassendean to create WA’s first plastic-free community.

“The CTC model has undergone rigorous testing through our recent pilot programs and we are confident that we can use our knowledge and well-established supplier networks to facilitate a major shift away from single-use plastics in the Bassendean community,” Ms Lindsay said.

Boomerang Alliance Deputy Director Jayne Paramour said the organisation hopes this will be the beginning of a state-wide program to change the plastic pollution landscape in Perth and Across WA.

“We look forward to engaging a local coordinator in coming weeks, to get the program into full swing and to seeing the whole of WA take up the challenge to go plastic free,” Ms Paramour said.

ACOR releases 10 point recycling plan for National Waste Policy

The Australian Council of Recycling has released a 10-point plan for results-based recycling, which has been submitted to the consultation process for the new National Waste Policy.

It aims to assist the industry and government reaching the goal of 100 per cent recovery of recyclable, compostable, reusable or recoverable materials and their diversion from landfill.

The plan details public policy measures such as reforming waste levies to focus on increasing recycling rates with an exemption of recycling residuals across each state.

It also recommends a $1.5 billion investment of waste disposal levy funds into recycling, with transparency and allocation to resource recovery objectives. This funding could potentially be used to invest in recyclate market development and commercialisation projects, improving infrastructure and technology used for sorting and reprocessing, investment into data collection for decision making, and investment into the cost of kerbside recycling.

A landfill ban for batteries, e-waste, and other potentially hazardous materials is recommended in the report as a way of making end of life producer responsibility the way to pay for recycling.

It also recommends a national recycling infrastructure audit, development of new metrics for waste, recycling and resource recovery activity beyond tonnes diverted, the examination of trends and how to optimise parallel container deposit schemes to build a sustainable domestic recycling sector through national industry development.

The plan includes the introduction of a resource recovery incentive for industry with different tax levels for virgin and recycled material in packaging and road construction.

Improving contestability in the recycling sector, creating a dedicated Clean Energy Finance Corporation funding initiative to support recyclate materials collection and sorting, and using more energy recovered from residual waste to generate sustainable energy are key measures to improve recycling according to the report.

The plan also outlines standardising recycling methods and improving government approaches to planning, regulation and enforcement.

To read the plan, click here.

SA Govt invests $3.2M into recycling infrastructure

More than $3.2 million in funding has been approved by the South Australian government for 17 recycling infrastructure projects.

It is part of the state government’s $12.4 million support package announced in May in response to China’s National Sword Policy.

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The funding was delivered through Green Industries SA and covers a range of recycling, waste management and resource recovery projects.

More than $600,000 has been invested into infrastructure that deals directly with recovering and recycling plastic waste.

Around $424,000 has been invested into improving Material Recovery Facilities in Mt Gambier and $357,000 for end of life vehicle recycling.

Projects that improve the infrastructure to recycle post-consumer paper in the Australian market have also received $250,000.

SA Environment Minister David Speirs said China’s National Sword policy was a catalyst to increase the range of our recycled materials and develop local markets as a priority.

“This funding supports a range of projects in both the private sector and local government, across metropolitan and regional South Australia,” he said.

“This investment in the remanufacturing, re-use, and recovery sector helps maintain our world leading diversion results, where 83.4 per cent of all our waste is diverted from landfill.

“The State Government funding of more than $3.2 million has been matched by the applicants, unlocking more than $7.9 million of investment for 17 projects that support an estimated 36 full time jobs,” Mr Speirs said.

The next round of grant funding to support and develop recycling infrastructure is now available.

Fed Govt establishes Office of Future Transport Technologies

The Federal Government is establishing an Office of Future Transport Technologies to prepare for automated vehicles and other transport innovations.

A $9.7 million investment has been made into the initiative to enhance the Federal Government’s strategic leadership role and to coordinate cohesively with other governments and agencies to implement new transport technology into Australia.

One of the focuses of the new Office will be to improve transport and road safety outcomes while developing automated vehicle technologies.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said Australian governments and industry is taking proactive steps to manage the associated challenges and opportunities within the evolving future transport landscape.

“The Australian future transport and mobility industry is expected generate more than $16 billion in revenue by 2025,” Mr McCormack said.

“While representing an emerging business opportunity for the national economy, these technologies also have great potential to reduce the $27 billion cost of road crashes in Australia each year.

“These advances can also help to reduce the significant social impacts that road deaths and injuries have on families and the wider community,” he said.

Mr McCormack said he wanted to ensure these new technologies are deployed in a manner which improves safety, productivity, accessibility and liveability for Australians in both urban and regional areas.

“The establishment of an Office of Future Transport Technologies within my Department will enable the Australian Government to work with industry and State and Territory Governments to ensure Australia is ready for the challenges and opportunities ahead,” he said.

“I expect the Office to collaborate across governments to ensure automated vehicles are safe, to consider future infrastructure needs, to make sure cyber security safeguards are in place, and to support Australian businesses in taking advantage of new commercial opportunities.

“While some of this work has already started, we will see the Office of Future Transport Technologies ramping up over the next few months to coordinate Australia’s responses to the challenges ahead.”

Collaboration resonates at Waste Expo Australia

This year’s Waste Expo Australia conference and exhibition has delivered record attendance with early reports indicating more than 4500 trade visitors attending the event, a growth of over 28 per cent on the 2017 edition.

Last week’s event saw robust discussions from local government representatives, industry leading experts, key industry bodies as well as industry associations.

Victorian Government Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio opened the event and reiterated the state’s commitment to reducing waste with the continued development of strategies and policies that will drive the state forward in the future.

The morning’s first panel discussion “government and policy initiatives driving the waste management industry” heard investment and collaboration were key in the delivery of a resource efficient economy not only in Victoria but across Australia.

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Integral to the success of Waste Expo Australia was the development of the Waste Summit conference covering four streams: landfill and transfer stations, collections, resource recovery and waste to energy. This structured program saw many sessions at standing room capacity with visitors having the ability to hear from leading speakers such as: Ian Campbell-Fraser, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning; Clete Elms, Cleanaway; Brooke Donnelly, Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation; Mike Ritchie, MRA Consulting; Daniel Tartak, Bingo Industries; Clint Aiken, City of Perth; Warren Overton, Australia and New Zealand Recycling Platform.

Cory McCarrick, Exhibition Manager at Reed Exhibitions Australia said the success of this year’s event shows the growing importance of the waste management, recycling and resource recovery industry. With the sector eager to learn and share, he added that this places Waste Expo Australia in a strong position.

“We are thrilled with the number and quality of people that attended Waste Expo Australia. With over 30 hours of free content the event was successful in attracting key industry buyers. Early reports show an increase in attendance across all key visitor groups with over 100 councils and government departments from across Australia as well an increase in international attendance as well,” Mr McCarrick said.

This year’s edition saw the inclusion of the inaugural Wastewater Summit which featured leading water utility corporations, government officials and industry innovators who gave insights in to the technology, regulations and operational improvements that are driving the sector.

The exhibition aisles at Waste Expo Australia were busy throughout the two days with industry professionals eager to speak with the more than 80 companies showcasing the latest product innovations.

Debbie Smith, Marketing Coordinator from Bost Group, said the event had been a huge success for the company.

“A lot of decision-makers came through the door, which provided us with great quality leads. As a result, we have already committed to Waste Expo Australia for next year,” she said.

Mr McCarrick said he credits much of the success of the event to the support it received from key industry associations and leading companies including Victorian Waste Management Association, (VWMA), Australian Organics Recycling Association (AORA), City of Melbourne, Bingo Industries and Cleanaway

“Industry collaboration enabled us to develop an event offering and conference program that addressed the specific needs of the industry. This has built the foundation for continued growth of Waste Expo Australia in 2019, when we will deliver additional customer value through the synergies with our exciting new co-location with the ISSA Cleaning & Hygiene Expo,” he said.

The next edition of Waste Expo Australia will take place 23-24 October 2019 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. For more information, click here.

Australians believe recyclables going to landfill: research

Most Australians across all states and demographics believe the recyclables they put into their council bins are ending up in landfill, according to new research from the University of New South Wales (UNSW).

The series of surveys has also found that 49 per cent of people believe that green and eco-friendly efforts will not have an effect in their lifetime, with 63.8 per cent of those older than 65 seeing no benefits being realised.

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Key findings also report that 72.4 per cent of people would recycle more of the material if it was reliably recycled.

Confusion also surround which level of government is responsible for residential waste and recycling services, with some people thinking industry instead of government is responsible for waste management.

UNSW’s Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT) Director Veena Sahajwalla said rising stockpiles and increasing use of landfill, in the absence of a coordinated government solution to a waste problem, had not been lost on consumers.

“Each council is fending for themselves right across Australia and while the meeting of federal and state environment ministers earlier this year made an important announcement about a new National Waste Policy stating that by 2025 all packaging will be re-usable, compostable or recyclable, we don’t have to wait another seven years for this decision to come into effect,” Dr Sahajwalla said.

“It is clear on this issue that people want action, and they want governments to invest and do something now.

“A number of councils and private business are interested in our technology but unless there are incentives in place, Australia will be slow to capitalise on the potential to lead the world in reforming our waste into something valuable and reusable.”

UNSW’s SMaRT Centre launched a demonstration e-waste microfactory in April, which is able to recover the components of discarded electronic items for use in high value products.

UNSW is also finalising a second demonstration microfactory, which converts glass, plastics and other waste materials into engineered stone products, which look and perform as well as marble and granite.

“Rather than export our rubbish overseas and to do more landfill for waste, the microfactory technology has the potential for us to export valuable materials and newly manufactured products instead,” Dr Sahajwalla said.

“Through the microfactory technology, we can enhance our economy and be part of the global supply chain by supplying more valuable materials around the world and stimulating manufacturing innovation in Australia.”

Veolia releases Rethinking Sustainability case study videos

Environmental services provider Veolia has released several case study videos to showcase examples of environmental and economic sustainability.

The videos aim to challenge perceptions around sustainability and feature some of the company’s significant projects and industry partnerships.

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The case studies include Veolia’s projects in metropolitan, regional, rural and remote communities across Australia and New Zealand.

Clients and projects shown in the videos include the University of the Sunshine Coast, NSW Health Illawarra-Shoalhaven Local Health District (ISLHD), Seqwater, Hunter Water and Auckland Council.

Veolia Executive General Manager – Refractories and Energy Grant Winn said the University of the Sunshine Coast and the NSW Health ISLHD projects demonstrated Veolia’s capability to consider a client’s long-term needs and deliver strategies that targeted operational efficiency and continuous improvement.

“Our role as a partner is to identify, implement and monitor a client’s energy performance to deliver tangible, long-term benefits, while also taking into consideration macro-environmental concerns that could impact their operations,” Mr Winn said.

Veolia Group General Manager, New Zealand Alex Lagny said Veolia’s partnership with Auckland Council is developing waste management in a region that had only recently transitioned from bags to bins.

“We are working closely with the council to drive improvements and a better understanding of practices through data and insights. It’s an exciting space for us, as Veolia looks to expand its waste management capability in the country.”

To watch the videos, click here.