New EPA Victoria CEO appointed

A new Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) Chief Executive Officer has been appointed, replacing Nial Finegan who had been in the role for four years.

Dr Cathy Wilkinson has been selected for the role, having worked with the EPA since 2015 and previously held senior leadership roles in the planning, water and environment portfolios for various state government departments.

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She has been a member of Ministerial Advisory Committees and has provided environmental leadership for international organisations such as the Stockholm Resilience Centre.

EPA Chairperson Cheryl Batagol said Dr Wilkinson’s experience will be invaluable as the EPA continues its transformation process.

“This is an exciting time for the EPA as we consolidate our leadership team and continue working to become Victoria’s modern, agile environmental regulator,” Ms Batagol said.

“We are committed to continuing our successful engagement with our stakeholders and undertaking extensive consultation throughout this period of change and transformation.”

EPA Victoria’s focus is implementing the new powers and tools granted to them by the state government to prevent risks to the environment and human health.

Changes from the Environment Protection Act 2017 and Environment Protection Amendment Bill 2018 will require an overhaul of the EPA’s systems, services and processes by 2020.

Starbucks to eliminate single-use plastic straws by 2020

Coffee company Starbucks has announced it will phase out single-use plastic straws from more than 28,000 company operated and licensed stores by 2020.

The company said it will be making a strawless lid or alternative-material straw options available around the world. Starbuck anticipates the move will eliminate more than one billion plastic straws per year from its stores.

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Starbucks will also begin offering straws made from alternative materials, including paper or compostable plastic, available for customers by request.

Customers in Seattle and Vancouver will be the first to see the strawless lids implemented, with a global rollout to follow. The lids will arrive in Europe in select stores in France, the Netherlands and the UK.

According to reports, Starbucks is the largest food and beverage retailer to make such a global commitment.

President and Chief Executive Officer for Starbucks Kevin Johnson said this is a global milestone to achieve Starbuck’s aspiration of sustainable coffee served in more sustainable ways.

Nicholas Mallos, Director of Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas program says with 8 million metric tonnes of plastic entering the ocean every year, industries can’t afford to sit on the sidelines.

“We are grateful for Starbucks leadership in this space,” Mr Mallos says.

Director of Sustainability Research and Development and Material Science at World Wildlife Fund (WWF) US Erin Simon said Starbucks’ goal to eliminate plastic straws by 2020 represents the company’s forward thinking.

“Plastic straws that end up in our oceans have a devastating effect on species. As we partner with Starbucks in waste reduction initiatives such as Next Gen Consortium Cup Challenge and WWF’s Cascading Materials Vision, we hope others will follow in their footsteps,” Ms Simon says.

Veolia ANZ announces new CEO

Veolia Australia and New Zealand CEO Doug Dean has announced his retirement and named his successor.

Danny Conlon has been appointed as Veolia’s CEO and Managing Director, effective 1 July 2018 and will be responsible for the continued growth and success of Veolias’ portfolio of water, waste and energy operations.

Mr Dean has worked with Veolia for 27 years and oversaw a period of sustained growth and achieved a number of successful acquisitions and joint ventures.

He will take on a consulting role with Veolia to provide strategic advice and governance support for the organisation as needed.

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The company has thanked Mr Dean for his significant contributions to the business over the last three decades.

Mr Conlon has been an employee of Veolia for more than 20 years, beginning as a Waste Collection Operations Manager. He was the Executive General Manager for Veolia’s East-Coast Operations since 2014.

NWRIC appoint new CEO

The National Waste and Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC) has announced the appointment of a new CEO, effective 1 August.

Rose Read will take up the position with 20 years of experience in the waste, recycling and environmental sectors. She has lead commercial and not-for-profit organisations like the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association’s MobileMuster and Clean Up Australia.

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She is currently the CEO of the product stewardship arm of MRI E-cycle Solutions and will transition out of the role are MRI to take the position of CEO of NWRIC.

“I am very excited to have the opportunity to work with Council members and State affiliates in addressing key national issues facing the industry,” Ms Read said.

“As a key enabler of the circular economy the recycling industry has much to contribute to Australia economically, environmentally and socially. I look forward to being part of NWRIC and collaborating with members and key stakeholders to create a more vibrant and sustainable waste and recycling industry,” she said.

MRI E-cycle Solutions Managing Director Will LeMessurier said Ms Read has played an important role in setting up MRI’s product stewardship arm over the past two years.

“She will continue to be involved in MRI on a part time basis over the next six months or so as we transition to our new structure. We wish her well in her new role and the continued positive influence she has over our industry,” he said.

The news follows the announcement of outgoing CEO Max Spedding’s retirement after 30 years of experience in the waste and recycling sector.

“Setting up the Council over the past two years has been a challenge but now we have all of the key national companies and state associations on board we are starting to see real and positive outcomes,” said Mr Spedding.

“With our current recycling problems and the urgent need for better infrastructure planning across Australia, Rose and her team have a busy time ahead. I wish them every success.”

ACOR appoint new CEO

The Australian Council of Recyclers (ACOR) has announced its new chief executive officer Peter Shmigel.

Mr Shmigel has over 25 years of experience in government, corporate, NGO and consulting roles. He has previously been CEO of Lifeline Australia and has contributed to resource recovery for more than 13 years through policy and technology development.

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ACOR Chairman David Singh said Mr Shmigel’s appointment showed the recycling industry’s determination to grow as part of Australia’s economic transition.

“Recycling has successfully expanded in recent years, and the recycling industry is now poised to go to its next level, including technological, economic and environmental contribution. Pete is a proven leader who is well placed to support us in that regard,” he said.

“We’re recycling around 60 per cent of Australia’s waste right now. As we build a circular economy that relies on urban resources rather than natural ones, it is great to have a pro-active and positive voice like Pete’s working for us”

Peter Shmigel said that it is an exciting time for recycling, as it is an innovating and growing industry.

“We need to change the conversation. We need to show governments, including their treasuries, that recycling has become more than just waste reduction. It’s now about sustainable jobs in the domestic economy in a tough global context, and cutting costly greenhouse gasses in a most affordable and proven way,” Mr Shmigel said.

“As domestic manufacturing declines and mining stabilises, let’s talk doubling the recycling workforce to one per cent of the economy as much as recovering 100 per cent of useable material,” he said.

Mr Shmigel will formally commence in the role in mid-March.