One year on from National Sword, regulators shared their policy response at Waste 2019, while industry leaders discussed the critical steps to move the sector forward.
Marcus Geisler, WA Waste Authority Chairman, provides an update on reforms contained in the new Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030.
MRA’s Mike Ritchie speaks to Waste Management Review about the waste sector’s contribution to national emissions and its role in meeting Australia’s commitment to the Paris Agreement.
Applications are open for round seven of the NSW EPA organics collections grant program.
$2.6 million is available for local councils and businesses wanting to introduce, or further develop, food and garden waste collection services, with funding provided by the NSW Environmental Trust.
EPA Organics Manager Amanda Kane said the grants would provide funding for household collection services, trials for food waste collections in unit blocks and new food waste collection services for businesses looking to improve their waste practice.
“Councils that have previously received these grants have been able to divert thousands of tonnes of waste by introducing regular organic collections services,” Ms Kane said.
“Councils like Bega, Byron and Shellharbour combined funding with great education programs to teach people how to use the service, while councils like Sydney and Randwick are trialling food-only collections to transform waste into electricity.”
Ms Kane said funding would help recipients make a real difference in the reduction of organic waste sent to landfill.
“Previous projects have supported new or improved green lid bins for 600,000 homes in NSW, diverting an extra 160,000 tonnes of food and garden waste from landfill, turning it into high quality compost,” Ms Kane said.
“With funding support, residents in 42 council areas across NSW are now able to recycle their food and garden waste at the kerbside each week.”
Grants will be delivered through a partnership between the EPA and the NSW Environmental Trust.
Applications close 27 June 2019.
Melbourne City Council will this week consider a trial of kerbside bins for food waste, designed to test how a domestic food waste collection service would work in the municipality.
As part of the council’s proposed Waste and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030, a third kerbside bin for food scraps would be distributed to 700 City of Melbourne residents.
Councillors will consider the strategy, which also outlines plans to introduce more shared waste hubs for businesses in the central city, and remove some commercial bins from the public realm.
Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the proposed expansion of the existing network of five waste hubs would activate laneways, reduce truck movements, boost amenity and make Melbourne more liveable.
“We can dramatically reduce the number of bins lining our laneways and the number of trucks on our streets by creating more central waste drop-off points,” Ms Capp said.
“Balcombe Place was transformed last year with a waste hub that has replaced around 20 bins and skips, and as a result we are seeing less illegally dumped rubbish and milk crates left in the lane.”
Chair of the Environment Councillor Cathy Oke said with food making up 50 per cent of household waste in the municipality, finding a solution for discarded food scraps is a key component of the proposed strategy.
“Our residents discarded an estimated 12,000 tonnes of food waste in 2016–17 and through our engagement with the community we know people want a solution to avoid food going to landfill,” Ms Oke said.
“If the strategy is endorsed, a waste collection trial would be held to determine how collection services could work for residents with kerbside bins and a third bin for organic waste would be rolled out to 700 houses in Kensington later this year, building on an earlier trial in 2017.”
If implemented, the trail will see food and garden waste collected weekly, and a supporting education and community engagement campaign enacted.
Ms Oke said the strategy will address changes to the global recycling industry that has left Victorian councils with a critical oversupply of recyclable material and seek to create more demand for recyclable products.
“China and India have restricted their imports and the stockpiling of waste around the state is a major wake-up call for all levels of government,” Ms Oke said.
“We need government procurement targets for recycling to build Australia’s domestic recycling industry. This would create local jobs in our manufacturing sector and most importantly, stop recyclable material from ending up in landfill.”
Moreland City Council plan to enact similar measures, announcing as of 1 July council will expand its kerbside collection services and offer fortnightly food and garden organics collection (FOGO).
The council conducted a four-month trial of FOGO from November 2018 to March 2019 with 1000 households across Pascoe Vale and Pascoe Vale South.
The scheme will be rolled out across the entire municipality in 2021, with households receiving an organics bin at no additional charge.
Mayor of the City of Moreland Natalie Abboud said currently over 50 per cent of waste in Moreland that goes to landfill is food organics.
“When it breaks down in landfill it produces the harmful greenhouse gas methane, which contributes to climate change,” Ms Abboud said.
“By having household food organics collected and properly processed, it can be turned into compost which can be used to enrich soil on farms, parks, school gardens and other useful applications.”
Over the next 12 months the Western Australian Better Bins program will be implemented in more than 370,000 households in the City of Joondalup, City of Fremantle and Town of East Fremantle, plus additional households in the City of Melville.
The City of Melville trialled a full FOGO system in 2017-18, returning positive results for the diversion of household organics from landfill.
In its Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030, the Western Australian Government outlined food organics and garden organics collection (FOGO) as a priority for waste avoidance and minimisation.
Run by the Western Australian Waste Authority, the Better Bins program aims to ensure that all Perth and Peel households have a third kerbside bin for FOGO by 2025.
Better Bins runs on the principal that more waste separation at the source leads to less contamination and therefore greater recycling and reuse rates.
Under the three-bin FOGO system, food scraps and garden organics are separated from other waste categories at kerbside and reused to create high-quality compost.
The system also functions to keep other waste streams clean and uncontaminated, therefore making them easier to recycle, reprocess and remake into products, reducing the need for extraction of new materials
Currently 16 local governments participate in the program and of these, five are providing a full FOGO service.
After the 370,000 new additions the rate of household participation across the state will stand at 37 per cent.
The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation will soon start consulting with key stakeholders on how to promote and encourage local governments’ adoption of FOGO systems, hoping to increase material recovery to 75 per cent by 2030.
WA has extended the funding application period until 30 June 2019.
The NSW Government is awarding approximately $11 million in grants to boost food and garden organics recycling and reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill.
NSW Environment Protection Authority Head of Organics Amanda Kane said that every year in NSW, more than a million tonnes of food and garden waste ends up in landfill. The grants are part of $105.5 million dedicated to diverting organics waste from landfill through the Waste Less, Recycle More initiative.
- Inner West Council’s food organics programs
- Sacyr’s organics recycling plant: south-east Melbourne
- Improving Melbourne’s waste collection solutions
- NSW Govt boosts organics collection funding by $4.9M
Ms Kane said that through the initiative the EPA is able to provide support to councils, the waste industry, not-for-profit organisations and businesses to keep food and garden waste out of landfill.
“This includes supporting projects that increase food donation to people in need, boost new kerbside collection services, provide education on food waste, develop new markets and invest in new organics processing infrastructure,” she said.
“Already through the initiative $44.3 million has been awarded to 90 projects to increase processing capacity for food and garden waste in NSW by 430,000 tonnes a year.”
The grants are being awarded through three programs:
- $9,766,235 is being awarded to 16 projects through the Organics Infrastructure Large and Small grant program for new infrastructure to build or expand organics waste facilities, increase processing capacity and fund new equipment, like refrigerated vans and freezers, to enable food relief agencies to collect more donated food.
- $765,076 will be shared between 10 not-for-profit organisations and local councils through the Food Donation Education grant program to collect and redistribute good quality surplus food to people in need, helping divert some of the 200,000 tonnes of food waste from business, that ends up in landfill in NSW each year.
- $633,445 is being awarded to six projects through the Organics Market Developmentgrant program to increase the markets for compost in NSW.
“Waste Less Recycle More is the largest waste and recycling funding program in Australia with a total of $802 million in funding, managed by the NSW EPA, in partnership with the Environment Trust.”
The City of Launceston asked a waste consultant to find out why its most avid recyclers weren’t using their food organics and garden organics program for food waste.
Bega Valley’s Food Organics, Garden Organics (FOGO) service had a stellar 2018 earning a nod in the Australian Organic Recycling Association (AORA) awards.
The WA Government has revamped its waste strategy, with shared responsibilities across government, the business sector and community.