The WA Government has revamped its waste strategy, with shared responsibilities across government, the business sector and community.
Victoria’s reliance on extractive resources is increasingly becoming an unviable prospect, but a new solution will soon see more construction and demolition materials recovered in the state.
Recycled construction and demolition (C&D) waste will be trialled as road base for use on the Kwinana Freeway widening project, WA.
The project is the first major road in WA that will use recycled materials as road base to boost the state’s recycling performance.
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The trial will take place between Russell Road and Roe Highway and will use about 25,000 tonnes of recycled C&D product.
Main Roads WA will work with the Waste Authority and the Department of Water and Environment Regulation (DWER) for the trial.
A new product testing scheme will aim to help C&D recyclers with the costs associated with meeting the appropriate specifications are free of contaminants and asbestos. An independent audit testing scheme aims to provide additional support.
The pilot aims to improve confidence in using recycled C&D products and supporting the state’s waste diversion target. Its findings will be used to establish the WA Government’s Road to Reuse program.
WA Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said the demonstration project is the beginning of a new practice for the government.
“It will demonstrate to local governments and industry that recycled content is usable and value for money, redressing the concerns from many years ago that effectively stopped any reuse of valuable construction and demolition materials,” Mr Dawson says.
“This partnership between DWER, the Waste Authority and Main Roads is a huge step forward for the reduction of construction and demolition waste in Western Australia.
“By using recycled construction and demolition products in projects across the state, we can help meet our landfill diversion targets and focus on recycling materials.”
WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said the interagency partnership is key to ensuring the ongoing use of recycled material in WA.
“Roads to Reuse establishes a strict testing regime to reduce the risk of contaminants to below allowable limits – protecting people and the environment,” she said.
The NSW Government has initiated a crackdown on asbestos waste, introducing stronger measures to protect the community and environment from rogue construction and demolition waste operators.
A reform package has been announced and will increase on the spot fines for illegally transporting or disposing of asbestos waste by tenfold.
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Construction and demolition waste facilities will also face tougher inspections and handling rules, along with new fines for illegally digging up landfills.
Under the changes, construction and demolition waste facilities will have tighter inspection controls and constant video monitoring. Facilities must also comply with stringent waste storage rules and provide evidence that staff are properly trained.
Incentives are also available for those doing the right thing, with a 75 per cent levy discount for some types of construction and demolition waste that meets specification to be applied as cover material.
The changes were introduced in the Protection of the Environment Operations Legislation Amendment (Waste) Regulation 2018, which will come into effect in May 2019 to allow the industry time to adjust.
NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton said it is a top priority that stronger penalties act as a deterrent and that waste facility operators improve the way they manage construction and demolition waste.
“By giving the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) stronger penalties, it can more effectively hold the waste industry to account as well as encouraging good behaviour.
“On the spot fines for illegal asbestos transport and disposal have increased from $750 for an individual and $1,500 for a corporation to $7,500 and $15,000.
Ms Upton said the reforms follow comprehensive consultation with local councils, waste facility operators, industry bodies and the community.
“Poor practices were identified particularly at a number of facilities handling construction waste. That is why there are now tougher standards and procedures to safeguard the environment and community.”
“There is also a new, $15,000 on-the-spot fine and penalties of up to $44,000 for illegally digging up old landfills. From now on, landfills can only be dug up in cases of emergency or with specific permission of the EPA,” she said.
The Queensland Government has released its 2018 State of the Environment report, highlighting interstate waste as a pressure on the state’s landfills.
Relatively low costs of landfill disposal in Queensland are said to be the motivator for cross-border flow of waste in the report.
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More than 1.26 million tonnes of domestic waste, 2.146 million tonnes of construction and demolition waste (C&D), and 1.443 million tonnes of commercial and industrial (C&I) waste was sent to landfill in 2016-17.
Of this, 53,000 tonnes of domestic waste, 640,000 tonnes of C&D waste and 23,000 tonnes of C&I waste was generated interstate and transported to Queensland landfills.
The amount of trackable waste received from interstate also increased from around 13,000 tonnes in 2011-12 to 52,200 tonnes in 2015-16.
Littering and illegal dumping is also highlighted as a serious environmental pressure, with reports suggesting the problem as widespread throughout Queensland.
The average number of litter items was found to be higher in Queensland than other Australian stats, particularly at beaches, retail strips and recreational areas.
Queensland Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said the increase in the amount of interstate waste was proof that that Queensland needed a waste levy.
“The state government’s waste management strategy will stop interstate waste and increase investment in the industry to encourage more recycling and create jobs,” Ms Enoch said.
ResourceCo is reusing Adelaide’s construction and demolition waste to build new roads, homes and buildings.