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.

Waste and recycling receive $196M in NSW Budget

The NSW Government has received $162 million more than expected from its waste and environmental levy, while at the same time committing $196 million reduce waste, strengthen recycling and protect the health of the environment in its 2018-19 state budget.

According to the budget papers, the government received a revised $727 million from its waste and environment levy, which it attributes to strong construction sector activity.

The NSW Environment Protection Authority budget for 2018-19 includes $70 million to improve waste management and resource recovery, $8 million for the management of contaminated land and $5 million for asbestos management and emergency clean-up.

Related stories:

NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton said the budget provides support for programs and initiatives to reduce litter and waste, while also strengthening recycling and tackling illegal dumping.

“Diverting waste from landfill is a key priority and the NSW Government has set targets to increase the diversion of waste from landfill from 63 per cent in 2014-15 to 75 per cent by 2021,” Ms Upton said.

“The Premier has also made it a priority to reduce the volume of litter in NSW by 40 per cent by 2020, achieved through Return and Earn, Hey Tosser and council and community litter prevention grants.”

In March, a $47 million support package was also announced for the local government and industry to respond to China’s National Sword policy.

“The support package provides a range of short, medium and long-term programs to ensure kerbside recycling continues and to promote industry innovation.”

Ms Upton said there is also funding for the emergency clean-up of asbestos, managing James Hardie Asbestos legacy sites at Parramatta and support for the Broken Hill Lead program and the management of PFAS.

VIC EPA Governance Board appointments finalised

The remaining appointments to the new Victorian Environment Protection Authority (EPA) governing board have been announced by Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio.

The board members have been selected for their skills and knowledge of their roles and will be key to implementing the state government’s EPA reform agenda, according to the Victorian Government.

Related stories:

Ms Cheryl Batagol will be chair of the governing board and will lead and eight-person board that includes:

  • Mr Greg Tweedly (Deputy Chair)
  • Professor Joan Ozanne-Smith
  • Mr Graeme Ford
  • Professor Rebekah Brown
  • Ross Pilling
  • Ms Monique Conheady
  • Ms Debra Russell.

Ms Batagol has been Chair of the EPA under the current governing structure since 2009. She brings more than 40 years of experience in waste management, water and environment sectors to the positions.

The Board will come into operation on 1 July and will lead the EPA in implementing its response to the Independent Inquiry into the EPA.

Ms D’Ambrosio said the Victorian Government is making sure the EPA is equipped with the people, powers and resources it needs to do its job and protect Victoria’s environment.

“This board has a fantastic cross section of experience and knowledge to help us implement our vital reforms to the EPA,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

SA EPA begin Operation Cover-Up

The SA Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has begun a targeted operation on truck drivers who aren’t properly covering their waste in transport.

Operation Cover-Up has observed 25 travelling on Port Wakefield Road on the first day of action, all of which were found to be compliant.

Related stories:

SA EPA Acting Manager Investigations and Waste Tania Kiley said it is promising that these transporters are adhering to the law.

“This is a positive sign that truck drivers and waste companies are getting the message. Failing to properly cover waste while transporting material to waste management facilities poses a health and safety risk to the community,” Ms Kiley said.

“The type of waste found in waste vehicles includes demolition material amongst other waste items.”

“This can create a hazard for other road uses, the community, and can also lead to waste ending up in our stormwater and local waterways,” she said.

The maximum penalty for the offence is $30,000 or an expiation fee of $160.

“The EPA will be continuing Operation Cover-Up in coming weeks and those that do not comply with their obligations under the Environment Protection Act will be issued an expiation notice,” Ms Kiley said.

“We began our operation on Port Wakefield Road this year in response to numerous community complaints about litter on public roadways,” she said.

“Other areas across metropolitan Adelaide will also be targeted to ensure compliance with general waste transport provisions of the Environment Protection (Waste to Resources) Policy 2010,” she said.

The SA EPA has encouraged anyone who sees transporters failing to cover their load while travelling, to call the EPA Hotline on 08 8204 2004.

Tasmanian EPA consider new organics processing plant

The Tasmanian Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) is considering a proposal for an organics processing facility at Mowbray in Launceston.

The Tasmanian Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) is considering a proposal for an organics processing facility at Mowbray in Launceston.

The proposal by Launceston City Council is to produce up to 15,000 tonnes of compost product a year, using Forced Aerated Floor (FAF) technology to aerate the compost piles and reduce the potential odours.

Related stories:

No representations were received in relation to the permit application, and a 40-day public consultation period was open in July 2017.

The Chair of the Tasmanian EPA Board Warren Jones said that the board concluded the proposed development could be managed in an environmentally sustainable and acceptable manner, with certain conditions.

“Various environmental issues were considered by the Board in its assessment, particularly air emissions,” Mr Jones said.

“Conditions have been imposed to ensure appropriate management practices are in place during operation of the organics processing facility to reduce the risk of impact to surrounding sensitive receptors from odour emissions,” he said.

VWMA and EPA VIC host Industry Breakfast

The Victorian Waste Management Association (VWMA) and Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Victoria is hosting an Industry Breakfast.

The breakfast is open to all VWMA members and non-members and will include speakers from the RSM group and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) Director of Economics, Governance and Waste Ian Campbell-Fraser. EPA Victoria Chief Executive Officer Nial Finegan will also be presenting.

Topics that will be covered during the breakfast include risk appetite, a government update on the $13M National Sword package, recycling taskforce and e-waste, and how the EPA can help guide those in the industry.

It will provide an opportunity to meet others in the waste sector, engage with government, and discuss some of the important issues affecting the sector.

A hot plated breakfast is included, along with networking opportunities and presentations.

The VWMA & EPA INDUSTRY BREAKFAST takes place on Thursday 26 April, from 7:30am to 9am at the RACV Club Bayside Room 5 and 501 Bourke St, Melbourne.

To register, visit the website here.

EPA/The Department of Land, Water and Planning will be hosting an event at the same venue and location following the breakfast:

EPA Combustible Recyclable and Waste Materials Guidelines Workshop:

The Department of Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is leading the development of the permanent legislative instrument to manage combustible wastes in Victoria. Concurrently, EPA Victoria are conducting a review of the Management and Storage of Combustible Recyclable and Waste Materials – Guideline, Publication 1667.1. EPA and DELWP are consulting with industry, government and community April-June 2018.

EPA Victoria would like to hear from those involved storing, transporting or processing combustible recyclable and waste materials such as at a resource recovery, materials recycling or reprocessing facility.

You can participate in the EPA Workshop on 26 April to discuss the management and storage of combustible recyclable and waste materials. You will need to register separately for EPA’s via eventbrite: https://combustiblerecycling.eventbrite.com.au

 

NSW EPA release new research on litterers

New research from the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has found that even though the community knows that littering is wrong, people are still making excuses.

The research shows that one in four people wouldn’t call someone a litterer if they only did it once a month and that 75 per cent of respondents said they rarely or never litter, with 46 per cent believing most littering is done by a few repeat offenders.

Related stories:

The NSW EPA has recently launched the Don’t be a Tosser! campaign to reduce littering and points out there are no valid excuses.

Clinical psychologist Jo Lamble explains there are reasons why litterers look to make excuses but that these excuses can be part of the bigger problem when it comes to changing behaviour.

“We all use excuses from time to time to rationalise our behaviour and allow ourselves to litter. But this behaviour has direct consequences on our environment,” Ms Lamble said.

“Making excuses lowers our sense of responsibility and most importantly, decreases the likelihood of positive change.

“If we continue to make excuses for our behaviour e.g. ‘It’s not a big deal; I only do it sometimes; there isn’t a bin etc’ the bad habit will continue. To break a habit, we need to be fully conscious of what we are doing and the consequences of that behaviour,” Ms Lamble said.

EPA Litter Prevention Manager Sharon Owens said littering was a damaging but preventable environmental problem.

“Around 25,000 tonnes of litter are tossed in NSW each year, costing our community and the environment. Through the Don’t be a Tosser! campaign, we’re asking NSW residents to look at the excuses they use for littering,” Ms Owens said.

“The Don’t be a Tosser campaign will highlight that even if you litter just once or as a ‘one-off’, your rubbish ends up becoming part of a bigger litter problem,” she said.

“Reducing littering is important for the health of the environment and of our communities. Everyone is responsible for their own litter and the best bit is that it is easy to do something about it if we all work together.”

More information about the Don’t be a Tosser campaign can be found here.

NSW Government’s $47M National Sword package

The NSW Government has announced it will release a $47 million package to support local government and industry in response to China’s National Sword policy.

China is the largest importer of recyclable materials from Australia, and the new policy restricts the types of waste that will be accepted.

A one-off package is planned to respond to this, and is funded by the Waste Less, Recycle More initiative and aims to provide short, medium and long term initiative to ensure kerbside recycling continues.

The funding will allow councils to offset extra costs associated with kerbside collections, improve council tendering processes to increase production and use of recycled products, and fund community education to reduce recycling contamination.

The package also includes $9.5 million for industry and local government to invest in infrastructure projects to find new uses for recyclable materials and reduce the amount of unrecyclable materials at the end of the process.

Guidelines have been set in place to ensure applicants seeking funding address the National Sword policy, represent better value for money and demonstrate benefits for the community.

Recycling facilities can also apply to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) to temporarily vary their stockpile limits, with facilities being assessed to demonstrate appropriate safety measures remain in place.

NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton said the NSW Government is committed to working with the recycling industry and local councils to ensure it continues having a strong kerbside recycling system.

“I have met with industry and government stakeholders to hear first-hand about how we can address the current global challenges to the recycling market in NSW,” Ms Upton said.

“The short-term need for increased stockpiles of recycled material during this critical time must be balanced with the safety of the community and the environment,” she said.

An inter-government taskforce is also being established to urgently progress a longer-term response to National Sword in partnership with industry and councils.

“I have also written to the Federal Environment Minister to urgently progress the work on this issue and the long-term solutions at a national level.”

The Australian Council of Recycling has welcomed the NSW Government’s recycling package.

“In the context of the unprecedented impact of China’s new settings on Australia’s recycling system, the NSW Government package can help relieve short-term pressure while also building longer-term resilience for the recycling system. That’s an important step forward to ensuring that recycling can continue to deliver job and environmental benefits for NSW residents,” ACOR CEO Pete Shmigel said.

“It is good to also note that the NSW Government is urging a national approach and we will be calling on all Ministers to adopt an Australian Recycling Resilience Plan to future-focus our industry and drive toward a circular economy that makes fullest use of what comes out of our homes and onto our kerbs,” he said.

“It’s time to shift from ‘crisis’ mode to claiming recycling’s potential as a major national industry of the future.”