EPA VIC hold public meeting for waste to energy facility

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Victoria will hold a public meeting after receiving a works approval application from Australian Paper to develop a large-scale waste to energy facility.

The facility is proposed to be co-located within the boundaries of the Australian Paper site in Maryville, Latrobe Valley.

Related stories:

Australian Paper propose the facility would accept and use an estimated 650,000 tonnes a year of municipal solid waste and commercial and industrial waste from the Melbourne and Gippsland regions.

In order to begin works, a works approval is required from EPA for any waste management activities that have the potential for significant environmental impacts.

EPA Director of Development Assessments Tim Faragher said EPA Victoria will now hold a section 20B Conference under the Environmental Protection Act 1970 to ensure it understands the views of the community regarding the works approval application.

The Section 20B Conference will be independently chaired and a report produced detailing key issues and possible solutions raised in written submissions and at the conference. This report, which will be made available online, will be used by EPA to inform its decision on whether or not to approve the works approval application,” he said.

The conference will be held on 25 July 2018 at the Premier Function Centre, 29 Grey Street, Traralgon at 6pm.

Industry, government and community tackle plastic waste

Industry giants, community groups and government bodies came together to tackle the issue of plastic packaging waste in Australia.

Consumer goods manufacturers Coca Cola, Danone, Unilever and Kellogg’s, tech companies Fuji Xerox and Dell, supermarkets Coles and Aldi and senior figures from the NSW Environment Protection Authority met with local community groups to discuss the future of plastic packaging in consumer goods.

Related stories:

The event was hosted by the Boomerang Alliance with the support of Bloomberg Australia, and examined the infrastructure holes that need to be filled in order to improve Australia’s capacity for waste collection, processing and recycling.

Representatives from Clean Up Australia, Responsible Cafes, Bye Bye Plastic, Planet Ark, Close the Loop and the local Sydney councils of Randwick, Waverly and Inner West Councils also added to the discussion.

A guest panel of speakers shared their expertise and included Australian Packaging Covenant CEO Brooke Donnelly, Waste Management Association Australia CEO Gayle Sloan, Founder of BioPak Richard Fine, and Nature’s Organics CEO Jo Taranto.

Ms Sloan said every council’s waste management has the same definition in their contracts regarding what’s recyclable.

“We have conveyors and depending on the money and infrastructure available, they’ll use infrareds to split out the different types of plastics,” she said.

Most material recovery facilities do this but at a cost and we don’t have enough people buying back [the recycled material]. That’s the problem.”

Mr Fine said it is important that companies are marketing their products as compostable get certified to a recognised standard.

“There’s a lot of greenwashing out there providing vague claims of ‘biodegradable’ which is confusing the consumer and damaging the industry as a lot of these products will simply break down and fragment into small pieces,” he said.

Pictured left to right: Richard Fine, Brooke Donnelly, Justin Dowel, Jo Toranto, Gayle Sloan, Jayne Paramor.

GPS trackers installed to prevent illegal dumping

Waste and recycling industry to be represented on NWRIC

A 12-month trial to track the movement of vehicles suspected of illegal dumping has been launched by the New South Wales Environment Protection Authority (EPA) after an investigation last year.

The government said the EPA can track the vehicles’ movements and be aware if they travel near known illegal dumping hotspots.

The GPS trackers were fitted to the vehicles with the owners’ knowledge. It is illegal for the trackers to be tampered with or removed.

NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton said the government is serious about cracking down on illegal dumpers.

“The trial results show the trackers fitted to vehicles has deterred illegal activity,” Ms Upton said.

“It won’t just deter those being watched but others who think they can get away with dumping on our communities and environment.”

The State Government said the trial will assist one of the premier’s priorities to reduce the volume of litter in NSW by 40 per cent by 2020.

Once the trial is complete, the government said the EPA will consider using tracking devices to monitor other vehicles accused of transporting or dumping waste unlawfully.

In 2014, the government introduced new laws, including the power to install trackers onto vehicles and the ability to seize vehicles used in dumping offences.

The EPA can issue on the spot fines of up to $15,000 for corporations and $7500 for individuals.

You can report illegal dumping incidents by calling the Environment Line on 131 555 or through the RIDonline reporting portal.