Veolia and Nestlé partner to tackle plastic waste

Veolia and Nestlé have announced a partnership to work on waste collection and sorting, and recycling plastic material with an emphasis on flexible plastic packaging.

Projects will focus on eleven priority countries across Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe.

The collaboration will explore technologies to establish viable models of recycling in different countries, including chemical recycling technologies like pyrolysis which is capable of producing virgin quality plastic.

These potential technologies will help Nestlé increase the recycled content of its bottled water packaging to 35 per cent and its overall product packaging to 15 per cent by 2025.

Nestlé Executive Vice President, Head of Operations Magdi Batato said plastic waste is a challenge that requires an ecosystem of solutions that work simultaneously.

“This partnership is another specific step to accelerate our efforts in addressing the critical issue of plastic waste.

“Leveraging on Veolia’s technology and expertise, we will start with pilot projects in multiple countries with the intention of scaling these up globally,” he said.

In late 2018 Nestlé committed to making 100 per cent of its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025.

Veolia Senior Executive Vice-President for Development, Innovation and Markets Laurent Auguste said the company welcomed the partnership as part of Veolia’s quest for a more circular economy of plastics.

“Our expertise in resource recovery and recycling has positioned us to tackle this issue with global brands and other value-chain actors across all continents.

“We believe it is time to move towards more recycling of materials, and we are happy to help our clients be ever more inventive so they can keep improving our quality of life, whilst protecting our planet and its resources,” he said.

The partnership follows a series of initiative’s taken by both companies to accelerate action to reduce plastic waste.

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Tyre export markets audited

According to Tyre Stewardship Australia (TSA), used tyres are being sent overseas with little regard for environmentally sound recycling processes.

TSA Chief Executive Officer Lina Goodman said a recent audit into where some Australian recyclers are sending tyres revealed multiple red flags.

These include selling to businesses with poor health and safety practices, poor storage conditions and companies involved in environmentally harmful burning.

“Whilst it is inevitable that some used tyres will be sold overseas, we want Australian tyre recyclers and collectors to be more vigilant and responsible about where they send their product.

“Although TSA does not have the authority to regulate these markets, we do want to help our participants make informed choices – choices that are safer for the environment and society,” Ms Goodman said.

TSA have engaged multinational assurance company Intertek to assist with the verification of downstream end-of-life tyre processes and review its product stewardship scheme with the aim of greater transparency.

The guiding principal of the product stewardship scheme is that all members must use accredited TSA collectors and recyclers, and if they don’t comply membership can be revoked.

Intertek General Manager Australasia Benjamin Rieck said the company is committed to working with TSA to ensure responsible and environmentally sound outcomes over a range of areas including distribution, environmental, health and safety, modern slavery and broader social responsibility and compliance.

TSA has to date committed $4 million to the development of sustainable end markets for tyre-derived products within Australia.

“We are working hard to support these emerging markets but in the meantime, we need to do more to help our participants find and use reputable overseas recyclers,” Ms Goodman said.

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Results of National Litter Index survey released

The Keep Australia Beautiful 2017-18 National Report has published results from its National Litter Index survey, providing a separate more detailed report on survey results for Tasmania.

National results show a decrease of 10.3 per cent in the number of litter items counted in 2017-18 compared with 2016-17 continuing a long term national trend of reduced litter levels.

The most significant decreases were 16.8 per cent for takeaway food and beverage packaging, 15.2 per cent in other paper, 12.7 per cent in general other litter items, 14.0 per cent in beverage containers and 6.4 per cent in cigarette litter.

The results for Tasmania indicated a decrease of 6.4 per cent in litter items and 6.2 per cent in volumes of litter across most categories.

While decreases were recorded at major roads and highways, retail precincts, car parks and shopping centres, there were increases in litter recorded at recreational parks, beaches, and residential streets.

Industrial precincts, retail shopping precincts and shopping centres had the highest numbers of litter items driven largely by cigarette butts which account for around two thirds of the overall litter.

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Yarra Valley fatberg on display

A fatberg donated by Yarra Valley Water will go on show at Melbourne Museum to highlight what happens when wet wipes combine with fat in the sewer system.

Yarra Valley Water Managing Director Pat McCafferty said fatbergs cost the company $1 million each year largely as a result of the 650 tonnes of wet wipes and rags that customers flush down the toilet.

During an average week Yarra Valley Water retrieves almost 14 tonnes of wet wipes and rags from the sewer system.

Mr McCafferty said while Yarra Valley Water work hard to retrieve wet wipes build-ups still occur, creating blockages that inconvenience customers and harm the environment.

“A lot of wet wipes are marketed as ‘flushable’ but this is very misleading because they don’t decompose. It would actually take about six months for a wet wipe to decompose naturally.

“When combined with the fats and oils that people pour down the drain, the fatberg is born,” Mr McCafferty said.

The Water Services Association of Australia estimates blockages involving wet wipes cost the urban water industry in Australia over $15 million each year.

The fatberg is a 10 per cent sample of the mass it was taken from and is on display as part of Melbourne Museums Gut Feeling exhibition.

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EOIs open for Queensland Waste to Biofutures Fund

Expressions of interest are open for the Queensland Government’s $5 million Queensland Waste to Biofutures Fund.

The Waste to Biofutures Fund offers grants from $50,000 to $1 million to develop pilot, demonstration or commercial-scale projects that produce bio-based products instead of conventional fossil fuel-based products.

This includes utilising household food and green waste, tyres and plastics, recovered fats and oils from restaurants, and biosolids from sewerage treatment plants.

Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said the aim was to make Queensland a world leader in the re-manufacturing of materials to turn waste into bioenergy, biofuels and bioproducts.

“Through this initiative we’ll see innovative waste processing technologies emerge that are scalable and can be deployed statewide, particularly in regional areas of Queensland.

“We’re already doing this at pilot plants where we’re converting a variety of feedstocks like sugarcane waste into biofuels. These processes are supporting Queensland’s transition to a low carbon, circular economy – the results being improved energy efficiency, enhanced fuel security and reduced emissions,” Mr Dick said.

The fund has two pathways both which require the applicant to provide co-funding that matches or exceeds the grant amount.

The first pathway is the purchase and installation of plant and equipment for an existing or greenfield facility to produce bioenergy, biofuels and bioproducts and the second is collaborative research projects that could contribute to the commercial development and growth of Queensland’s biofutures industry.

The fund is an addition to the $100 million Resource Recovery Industry Development Program which targets projects using proven technologies to divert waste from landfill or stockpiling.

Expressions of interest are open until 8 April.

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ACT trials recycled asphalt

The ACT is trialling asphalt made from recycled material including soft plastics, used printer toner cartridges, crushed glass and reclaimed asphalt material.

Roads Minister Chris Steel said the ACT is looking into how it could legislate a waste use requirement for new roads across the state, adding that if Australia hopes to build a circular economy all governments need to act and establish markets for the re-use of material.

“Every tonne of this innovative asphalt product will contain approximately 800 plastic bags, 300 glass bottles, 18 used printer toner cartridges and 250 kilograms of reclaimed asphalt.

“The reclaimed asphalt has been sourced from local roads, glass from the ACT’s kerbside recycling (yellow bin) system, and some of the soft plastic through the ACT Container Deposit Scheme,” Mr Steel said.

The first trial is being conducted on a roundabout on Gundaroo Drive, with the asphalt designed to be stronger and more resistant to deformation that standard material.

“The roundabout on Gundaroo Drive is a great place to trial this asphalt as it is a heavy traffic area, where vehicles are turning, and therefore putting more pressure on the road surface,” Mr Steel said.

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ATA slams luxury tax proposed in NSW

New trucks sold into NSW have not been ruled out as exempt from increases in stamp duty by New South Wales Labor ahead of the state’s election on 23 March.

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) criticised the plan likely to affect the 50,000 businesses it represents should commercial vehicles owners not be spared from a luxury tax on vehicles costing more than $100,000.

Trucking businesses concerned that stamp duty of $25,600 would affect their operations in which a new prime mover purchased for $350,000 would incur an additional cost of $9000 sought clarification by Labor leader Michael Daley even as he started to backtrack on the announcement today in the face of criticism from regional workers.

“Labor Leader Michael Daley has been unable to explain the tax, leaving the trucking industry in the dark,” said ATA councillor and Border Express director Jon Luff said.

Mr Luff said an increase in stamp duty on trucks would be disastrous for safety, the NSW economy and the environment.

“In urban areas like Western Sydney, we need more new, cleaner trucks, not less,” he said.

“New trucks must meet new, cleaner emission standards and are more fuel efficient. Compared to a truck purchased in 1996, a new truck purchased today emits 75 per cent less nitrogen oxide, 50 per cent less hydrocarbons and 92 per cent fewer particulates.

Mr Luff also said new trucks have the latest safety technologies.

“The Australian Government is rolling out stability control as a mandated technology for a range of new trucks and trailers, and new vehicles regularly come equipped with additional safety technologies like lane assist and adaptive cruise control,” he said.

Shadow Treasurer Ryan Park issued a statement citing that farm vehicles such as harvesters and tractors would be exempt under the policy this morning but conspicuously did not exempt trucks.

Regional workers in the crucial seats of Tweed, Lismore and Ballina were all expected to be affected by the proposed luxury tax.

According to Luff the 16,000 hardworking trucking businesses in New South Wales deserved answers.

“Trucks are critical to the NSW economy and slapping taxes on trucks only makes it harder for businesses to compete in a global economy,” he said.

“97 per cent of trucking companies are small businesses, based in regional towns and places like Western Sydney.”

“Trucks are not a luxury. They are a necessity, relied upon by every single Australian.”

Scania to showcase Euro 6

Scania has announced it will only display Euro 6 compliant vehicles at the upcoming Brisbane Truck Show.

Sales Director Dean Dal Santo said the decision illustrates the company’s commitment to reduced carbon emissions and its desire to lead the shift towards sustainable transport systems in Australia.

“Our customers, and our customers’ customers are now demanding a smaller carbon footprint from transport logistics in order to meet their own environmental targets, and Scania is fully equipped to deliver on this need.

“We look forward to discussing our pathways towards Total Operating Economy and a smaller carbon footprint with all businesses interested in reducing their operating costs and boosting their profitability,” Mr Dal Santo said.

Despite the Federal Government not adopting Euro 6 emissions regulations for commercial vehicles, 90 per cent of Scania vehicles sold in the country were equipped with Euro 6 technology.

The first vehicle on display will be the new 650 horsepower V8 Euro 6 engine fitted in an R-series prime mover, complete with 3300 nanometres of torque, and ideally suited to long haulage work.

There will also be two G 500 6-cylinder Euro 6 prime movers on the stand: one in G 500 road freight guise and the second in G 500 XT specified for construction duties, complete with steel tipper body.

The final vehicle will be a P 340 Euro 6, 6×2 gas-fuelled rigid truck, a specification seen for the first time in Australia. This green, clean and efficient vehicle carries twin large-capacity compressed natural gas tanks, and can offer vastly reduced CO2 emissions.

At an event in Melbourne earlier this month, Scania President and CEO Henrick Henriksson said companies unwilling to move with current trends towards carbon reduction would face consumer backlash. He added that change would not be possible unless driven by commercial vehicle manufacturers like Scania.

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WA passes Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Bill

Western Australia’s legislative council passed the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Bill (Container Deposit) on 13 March amending the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Act 2007 and facilitating the implementation and operation of a container deposit scheme.

The government has committed to developing a container deposit scheme by 2020 saying consumers will receive a 10 cent refund when they return eligible empty beverage containers to refund points throughout the state.

Projections estimate the scheme will result in 706 million fewer beverage containers littered by 2037 and reduce the number of containers sent to landfill by 5.9 million.

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said the scheme is expected to create 500 jobs at new container sorting and processing facilities and refund points.

The bill follow ambitious targets outlined in the governments Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030 including a 20 per cent reduction in waste generation per capita and a 75 per cent rate of material recovery by 2030.

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