NSW EPA to develop 20-year waste strategy

The NSW EPA, in partnership with Infrastructure NSW, is developing a 20-year waste strategy for the state.

The strategy aims to set a 20-year vision for reducing waste, driving sustainable recycling markets and identifying and improving the state and regional waste infrastructure network.

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It will also aim to provide the waste industry with certainty and set goals and incentives to ensure the correct infrastructure decisions are made to meet community needs.

Stakeholders, including local government, industry experts and the broader community, will work with the EPA over the next six months to provide an evidence base and address the key priorities for the waste and resource recovery sector.

This will include examining similar waste strategies in Australia and around the world.

A long-term vision and roadmap will include new long-term goals for waste generation and landfill diversion, new policy positions and strategic decisions that aim to avoid waste and improve resource recovery, and a plan for new or enhanced policies to improve waste collection.

A framework for the delivery of an integrated state network will be part of the roadmap, along with aims to align policy and regulation to achieve long term strategic objectives and a plan to strengthen data quality and access.

The strategy is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.

NSW Govt boosts organics collection funding by $4.9M

Funding has been granted by the NSW Government to 10 organics collection projects to improve services that recycle food and garden waste into compost.

The grants will go towards the provision of kitchen caddies to hold food waste and make it easier for households to use the new food organics and garden organics collections.

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It also will help provide new garden waste kerbside collection services in two local government areas, and food and garden or food only collection services to households and business in seven council areas. This includes more than 100,000 households living in units within Sydney.

The $4.9 million in grant funding is shared across Armidale Regional Council, City of Sydney, Cumberland Council, Lockhart Shire Council, Penrith City Council, Randwick City Council, Upper Lachlan Shire and Wagga Wagga City.

NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton said nearly half the landfill from household bins is food and garden waste (approximately 45 per cent).

“Simply putting all food and garden waste into green bins will dramatically reduce the amount of household garbage currently going to landfill,” she said.

“When food and garden waste goes into the green lid bin, it is properly processed and becomes a clean, green supply of compost, rather than rotting away in landfill and releasing methane into the atmosphere.

“For the first time, this program is also supporting food waste collections from businesses, with three projects that will collect around 1350 tonnes of business food waste a year,” Ms Upton said.

Tenders open for WA container deposit scheme coordinator

The WA Government is seeking applications for a scheme coordinator to implement its container deposit scheme (CDS).

A scheme co-ordinator will establish and operate the collection network and will be responsible for managing the scheme’s finances.

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The successful applicant will be a not-for profit company and be appointed by WA Environment Minister Stephen Dawson.

New refund points and container sorting and processing plants will create 500 jobs across regional and metropolitan WA.

The scheme is part of the state government’s undertaking to reduce waste, which includes a ban on lightweight single-use plastic bags and a review of the state’s waste strategy.

Applications are open on the Tenders WA website and will close on 5 December 2018. The scheme will commence in early 2020.

Mr Dawson said Western Australians are overwhelmingly in favour of a container deposit scheme with 97 survey respondents supporting the scheme.

“Appointment of the scheme co-ordinator is a crucial step in the rollout of this container deposit scheme, and I look forward to working with the successful candidate to deliver the best scheme for all Western Australians,” he said.

VIC councils receive $16.5M e-waste infrastructure funding

The Victorian Government has awarded 76 councils a share of $16.5 million to improve the state’s e-waste infrastructure.

Funding will go towards upgrading more than 130 e-waste collection and storage sites and help local councils to safely store and collect increasing amounts of e-waste.

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The funding aims to assist councils prepare for the state’s ban on e-waste which will come into effect in July 2019.

The upgrades aim to ensure 98 per cent of Victorians in metropolitan areas are within a 20-minute drive of an e-waste disposal point and 98 per cent of regional Victorians are within a 30-minute drive from a disposal point.

Councils will receive discarded electronics which will then be stripped of components for reprocessing or sold on the second-hand goods market.

Applications will also open in November for a share of $790,000 to deliver local education campaigns, with councils able to apply for up to $10,000 in funding.

E-waste is defined as anything with a plug or a battery that has reached the end of its useful life, including phones, computers, white goods, televisions and air conditioners.

The amount of e-waste generated in Victoria is projected to increase from 109,000 tonnes in 2015 to 256,000 tonnes in 2035.

Victorian Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said the funding will ensure the state has one of the best e-waste collection infrastructure networks in Australia.

“We’re delivering on our promise to maximise recycling and minimise the damage e-waste has on our environment,” she said.

SA joint waste collection tender authorised by ACCC

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has authorised a group initiative of SA councils to jointly procure kerbside waste collection services.

The councils of Adelaide, Charles Sturt, Marion and Port Adelaide Enfield have been authorised to appoint a single provider for kerbside waste collection services.

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In the context of procuring waste services, councils may be considered to be each other’s competitors, which is why authorisation from the ACCC was required.

Broadly, the ACCC can grant an authorisation when it is satisfied that the public benefit from the conduct outweighs any detriment.

Interim authorisation was granted on 20 July 2018, which allowed the councils to commence the tender processes. The tender closes on 12 December 2018 and will cover around 180,000 rateable properties.

According to the ACCC, it is common practice throughout Australia for local councils to jointly tender for waste services to reduce transaction costs, pool resources and expertise and achieve economies of scale. The ACCC has authorised 30 of these agreements so far, after concluding they were likely to benefit the public.

ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said a joint tender process is likely to improve the four councils’ purchasing power and encourage more competition from suppliers than if each council conducted a separate tender process.

“It is common for groups of local councils to jointly procure waste services. The ACCC has authorised many such arrangements across Australia over the years,” she said.

“The joint tender process is likely to result in cost savings through encouraging more competitive bids, reducing transaction costs, and other efficiencies. These cost savings can be passed on to Adelaide residents in the form of lower costs or improved services,” Ms Court said.

The ACCC considered information both for and against the joint tender arrangement.

“Some suppliers raised concerns that the size of the proposed contract would deter some suppliers from tendering, resulting in a worse deal for ratepayers,” Ms Court said

“While there may be some companies that choose not to participate, the larger tender is also likely to attract additional bidders, and overall we consider most of the potential suppliers which would bid if the councils contracted separately are also likely to compete for the joint contract.”

“The councils have the experience and incentive to decide whether running a single tender process for a larger volume of work or four smaller, separate tenders, is likely to deliver the best outcomes for their respective communities.”

The ACCC also considered the longer-term impact of the joint tender on competition for waste collection services in Adelaide and found unsuccessful applicants will continue to have other opportunities to provide waste management services in other parts of the city.

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 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.

NSW litter reduced by a third with help from Return and Earn

Litter in New South Wales has dropped by 37 per cent since 2013, with drink container litter being reduced by a third since the introduction of the Return and Earn scheme, according to new figures.

A report released from Keep Australia Beautiful has also found takeaway container litter has been reduced by 19 per cent from 2016 to 2017.

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Print and advertising litter has also been reduced by 35 percent from 2016 to 2017.

NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton said Return and Earn’s impact can been seen by looking at the scheme coordinator’s figures for the three months from March to May 2018, which show it collected 67 per cent of all eligible containers supplied into NSW in that period.

“This shows the immediate positive impact the container deposit scheme is having on reducing drink container litter, which is the largest proportion of all litter volume in NSW,” Ms Upton said.

“Overall, there has been a 33 per cent drop in Return and Earn eligible drink containers in the litter stream since November 2017 – the month before the scheme was introduced on 1 December.

“On average three million containers a day are being collected at return points. More than 560 million containers have been processed by Return and Earn so far and as more collection points are rolled out, these results can only increase and the amount of litter will decrease,” she said.

Ms Upton said the NSW Government’s commitment of $30 million to 2021 to reduce litter and littering behaviour through the Waste Less recycle More initiative is having the right effect.

“Such a huge drop shows the NSW Government’s range of anti-litter initiatives are working,” she said.

“I encourage the NSW community to continue returning their eligible drink containers and in their other efforts to reduce litter in our communities.”

Melbourne City waste forum’s top 10 ideas

Around 80 retail and hospitality businesses have gathered for the City of Melbourne’s first waste forum, which looked at ways to assist medium sized businesses could reduce waste.

The forum resulted in more than 200 practical ideas and concepts which will be compiled and reviewed by the City of Melbourne as part of the council’s ongoing programs to assist small and medium businesses in the city.

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The top 10 ideas for waste reduction were identified in the forum and included installing more recycling bins across the city, installing additional organics recycling facilities and providing incentives for businesses to reduce their waste.

Additional ideas for businesses to reduce waste included the introduction of grants or loans and education to improve waste management.

Collaboration between businesses and waste collectors was also identified as a way of improving recycling.

Other ideas identified included the collection of unwanted office or shop fit out furniture for reuse and investigating a city-wide coffee/tea cup exchange system.

Participants included businesses involved in the council’s initial pilot program, which saw 27 businesses receive a $2000 grant to embark on waste reduction activities.

City of Melbourne Councillor Susan Riley recognised the need to look at ways to help small to medium sized retail and hospitality businesses to reduce waste.

“Reducing waste does so much more than just help to clean up the environment, it also can reduce costs, increase sales and even cut the number of garbage trucks on the city streets,” Cr Riley said.

“The level of insight and the number of opportunities for businesses to work together to reduce waste is inspiring.”

“Nothing is being ruled out, we’re open to all ideas and we want retailers and businesses to share their thoughts as we plan for a rapidly growing city.”

Image Credit: City of Melbourne

Improving Melbourne’s waste collection solutions

The City of Melbourne has released its Improving Waste Collection in the Central City discussion paper to assess potential waste management solutions for the CBD.

Limiting the number of private waste collection companies or expanding communal garbage and recycling services could be possible solutions to Melbourne’s disruptive rubbish removal system, according to the report.

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Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the paper presents problems and possible solutions to the issues associated with waste collection and bin storage in the CBD.

“Reducing the noise, smell, congestion and mess from waste collections across city streets and laneways is a key priority for the City of Melbourne this World Environment Day,” Cr Capp said.

“From day one of my term, waste management has been top of my agenda and my first meeting was to discuss how our waste system can be better managed.”

Currently rate paying businesses in the City of Melbourne are entitles to a weekly collection of one small garbage bin and one small or large recycling bin. If a business generates more waste, it must arrange their waste services through commercial waste collection companies.

“With 36 commercial providers registered to collect waste within the central city, in addition to council collections, there is a glut of bins and trucks clogging our streets and laneways,” Cr Capp said.

“We need to find a solution, so we’re putting ideas out there to find the best fit for our city. We want to hear from our residents, our businesses and visitors to find out how they’re impacted by the current system and what changes should be made.”

“This is about improving amenity, making it easier, safer and more pleasant to move around the city and maintaining our status as the ‘most liveable’,” she said.

City of Melbourne Environment Portfolio Chair Councillor Cathy Oke said feedback on the discussion paper was part of consultation on the Draft Waste and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030.

“We have done a lot of important and innovative work in waste removal in the central city. Since 2013 the City of Melbourne has taken an estimated 500 rubbish bins off the streets by setting up communal waste compactors and recycling hubs,” Cr Oke said.

“The goal of our new Waste and Resource Recovery Strategy is to build on this work by developing and introducing more initiatives that are focused on maintaining a liveable city, through cost effective and environmentally responsible means.”

The community will be able to submit feedback here. Additional discussion papers will be released next month.