SA releases Recycling Activities Report

South Australia has achieved the highest diversion rate of any state in Australia, according to the newly released Recycling Activities Survey Report.

Environment Minister David Speirs said South Australia diverted 4.49 million tonnes of material from landfill between 2017-18.

“The state has once again achieved the highest diversion rate of any state in Australia. The increase in our diversion rate is driven by an increase in state infrastructure projects,” Mr Speirs said.

“While all of the long-term key indicators are trending in the right direction, we actually saw a slight increase in waste to landfill from 2016-17 to 2017-18, as well as an increase in waste generation per person, showing we need to remain vigilant.”

According to the report, 87 per cent of the states recovered material is recycled locally.

“Despite considerable impact on recycling as a result of China’s National Sword policy, South Australia’s recycling industry is transitioning by implementing measures to improve the quality of the materials recovered and diverted, and by educating the public on the importance of recycling,” Mr Speirs said.

“Our recycling results are world leading, however, we still have room to improve. South Australia set an ambitious target in 2003 to reduce waste to landfill by 35 per cent by 2020 and we’re at 29 per cent.”

Over 118 individuals from South Australian organisations involved in resource recovery were surveyed for the report.

The survey asked participants to provide the value per tonne of each material stream reprocessed by their organisation.

Using this data, the report lists metal as the greatest contributor to the market value of resource recovery at $177 million, followed by organics at $101 million and cardboard and paper at $40 million.

The overall market value of the South Australia resource recovery sector is estimated at $356 million.

Additionally, the survey highlights masonry and soil as the highest recovered material streams at 30 per cent, followed by organics at 24 per cent and metals at seven per cent.

The report was prepared by Rawtec for Green Industries SA.

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SA single-use plastic initiative begins

Single-use plastics will be removed from multiple South Australian businesses, following the state government’s plastic free precincts announcement.

The Adelaide Central Market, The Parade (Norwood) and The Jetty Road Brighton Traders are the first three locations, with a fourth precinct encapsulating all 21 Surf Life Saving South Australia clubs across the state.

Environment Minister David Speirs said the Boomerang Alliance, who have run similar trials in Noosa in Queensland and Bassendean in Western Australia, will be working closely with traders, cafés, restaurants and retailers in these locations.

“It’s so exciting to see how some of our destination shopping precincts and the iconic Adelaide Central Markets commit to going ‘plastic free,” Mr Speirs said.

“I’m especially pleased that Surf Life Saving South Australia has put their hand up to be part of the trial. They are among the most motivated of volunteers, as our surf life savers are confronted every day with the impact of single use plastics on our coasts and beaches.”

Surf Life Saving South Australia Chief Executive Officer Damien Marangon said his organisation was thrilled to be one of the first single-use plastic-free precincts.

“As custodians of South Australia’s coastline, our organisation sees first hand the impact single-use plastics can have on our beaches and waterways,” Mr Marangon said.

“When the state government called for applications to become a plastic-free precinct, we jumped at the opportunity.”

Earlier this year, the state government called for expressions of interest to become a plastic-free precinct, as well as join the stakeholder taskforce.

Mr Speirs said the stakeholder taskforce would provide input and advice to assist in making the precinct trail as successful as possible.

“The taskforce will make sure the views and opinions of all South Australians are heard when it comes to the next steps for banning single-use plastics in our state,” Mr Speirs said.

“We’ve invited 13 representatives from across South Australia including local government, businesses, the hospitality sector and disability advocates to form the first stakeholder taskforce.”

Mr Speirs said the the government expected more plastic free precincts would follow, given the high quality of applications across the state.

“Our government is seeking a wide range of input on what any future phase out or replacement for single use plastic might look like, and the stakeholder taskforce will play an important role in our decision making,” Mr Speirs said.

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SA to ban single-use plastics

The South Australian Government is set to ban a range of single-use plastics, under proposed legislation to be introduced into state parliament.

Environment Minister David Speirs has released, Turning the Tide on Single Use Plastics: The Next Steps, which outlines how the legislation will ban products including plastic straws, cutlery and stirrers.

Mr Speirs said a range of other products including takeaway coffee cups, plastic bags and other takeaway food packaging would be considered for future intervention, following further consultation.

“To help inform the development of the legislation, a stakeholder taskforce will be established – comprising representatives of selected business, industry, local government and interest groups to ensure that impacts are mitigated and appropriate time is given for transition,” Mr Speirs said.

“The banning of single-use plastic products will also be piloted through voluntary business/retailer led ‘plastic-free precincts’, which will identify opportunities and challenges associated with transitioning away from single-use plastic products and inform the legislation.”

Mr Speirs said a discussion paper released earlier this year received strong feedback from South Australians.

“It is clear from the more than 3500 submissions that there is significant community and industry support for increased measures to address a range of single-use plastic products and other items,” Mr Speirs said.

“Nearly 99 per cent of respondents recognised the environmental problems associated with single use plastics, and nearly 97 per cent supported government intervention.”

Mr Speirs said draft legislation would be released for further public consultation later this year, with the intention of introducing it to the parliament in 2020.

Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association (WMRR) CEO Gayle Sloan has welcomed the state government’s announcement.

“South Australia will be the first state in Australia to ban multiple single-use plastic items such as plastic straws, cutlery, and stirrers. Takeaway polystyrene containers and cups are next on the chopping board,” Ms Sloan said.

“SA is once again ahead of the pack, and the hope is that other jurisdictions will follow suit and take similar action against single-use plastics.”

Ms Sloan said she hopes the initiative will improve the quality of recyclable materials recovered by eliminating contaminants.

“Eliminating single-use items that have readily available re-useable alternatives is a great step in reducing waste generation and challenging the convenience paradigm that we have towards consumption,” Ms Sloan said.

“WMRR looks forward to continued engagement with the South Australia Government as it develops legislation for the ban.”

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SA budget allocates $12 million to waste and resource recovery

The 2019-20 South Australian budget has delivered $12 million over four years to help councils and industry transition from the effects of China’s National Sword Policy.

The Waste and Resource Recovery Modernisation and Council Transition Package aims to boost recycling and resource recovery, and keep waste out of landfill through investment, infrastructure, education and modernisation of council and industry collection services.

Environment Minister David Speirs said through better collection systems, infrastructure and education, South Australia aims to see a 35 per cent reduction in waste sent to landfill by 2020.

Of the $12 million waste management package $10 million will be provided through Green Industries SA.

Councils and industry have been allocated $5.5 million to upgrade and standardise waste collection and recycling services, as well as expand education aimed at improving recycling knowledge in the community.

An allocation of $4 million will also be available to enable investment in modern infrastructure, improve processing, increase efficiency and boost jobs.

An additional $500,000 will be available to help local governments implement new waste management strategies.

“The waste management and resource recovery industry is a major player in South Australia’s economy, with approximately 4800 people employed and we want to this number to grow,” Mr Speirs said.

The EPA has received the remaining $2 million – $1.6 million for compliance and audits to ensure the integrity of the waste and resource recovery sector and $400,000 to enable a review of the state’s container deposit scheme.

Mr Speirs said the package would help councils modernise their waste management practices and reduce the amount of rubbish sent to landfill.

“This funding package will lead to less waste sent to landfill, a reduction in emissions and will also provide vital stimulus to our world-leading waste management and resource recovery sector, leading to more than 200 jobs here in South Australia,” Mr Speirs said.

“We know that landfill is one of the most significant contributors to greenhouse gas emissions and that councils and industry need to have the tools to divert more for resource recovery and continue moving South Australia towards a truly circular economy.”

Mr Speirs said the funding package comes on top of the $12.4 million support package announced in 2018 to help the recycling industry and local government in response to China’s National Sword Policy.

“China’s National Sword Policy has provided the industry with a challenge, but this funding package on top of support already provided in last year’s state budget will help modernise and transition our resource recovery sector.”

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Which Bin launches in South Australia

The South Australian government has launched a campaign urging residents to consider what they put in their household recycling and organics bins.

Environment Minister David Speirs said the Which Bin campaign was launched to raise awareness of kerbside recycling contamination and bin restrictions.

“South Australians are great recyclers and we have a proven history in waste management,” Mr Speirs said.

“However, we can all do much better when it comes to knowing what should, and should not go in the recycling and green organics bin.”

Mr Speirs said food and green organic waste represents roughly half the contents of the state’s general waste bins.

The campaign aims to divert this waste for landfill and drive traffic to the newly developed Which Bin website, according to Mr Speirs.

The Which Bin website provides residents with a definitive recycling guide irrespective of local council.

“Education is a vital tool in improving the way South Australians approach waste management, and we feel the new campaign will inform the community in an easy to understand way,” Mr Speirs said.

A suite of resources for local government has also been developed, including calendars, bin stickers, signage, posters and customisable social media assets.

“The more we can divert from landfill to recycling and composting the better, for both the environment and reducing costs for local councils while creating jobs,” Mr Speirs said.

“We can support the local recycling industry by ensuring the correct recyclable items are placed in the correct bin and that these are clean and contaminant free.”

Which Bin is funded through the state government’s $12.4 million support package for the recycling industry.

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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.