WMAA calls for Federal Govt leadership on waste

The Waste Management Association of Australia (WMAA) has called on the Federal Government to use its position to lead the waste sector with policy and legislative measures to drive effective change.

It follows the release of a discussion paper to update the 2009 National Waste Policy that seeks input on priority issues for the future of Australia’s waste management and resource recovery.

Feedback on the discussion people will inform updates to the 2009 National Waste Policy for consideration by environment ministers later this year.

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It presents six key targets for Australia to encourage a circular economy for Australia to achieve by 2030, including a reduction of total waste generated by 10 per cent, achieving an 80 per cent recovery rate and phasing out problematic and unnecessary plastics.

It also outlines a target to halve the volume of organic waste, increase average recycled content across all goods and infrastructure procurement and provide data to allow governments, business and individuals to make informed decisions.

The Waste Management Association of Australia (WMAA) has called on the government to lead the national waste dialogue and provide leadership for the sector.

WMAA is also urging the Federal Government to take a whole of government approach to build a circular economy and take inspiration from Europe to develop a more sophisticated system.

The association identifies the lack of data across the entire supply chain as a hurdle to creating a more advanced network.

WMAA CEO Gayle Sloan said the targets set out in the discussion paper must focus on growing jobs and the economy and ensuring the industry is able to support itself.

“Setting strong interim targets and providing clarity around how these targets will be enforced are a good start,” Ms Sloan said.

“The Federal Government has a number of tools that it can but is not utilising, including policy and legislative levers that can effectively drive change.

“For instance, the Federal Government can exert its import powers to ensure everything that comes to market adheres to extended producer responsibility best practice. It can also grant tax incentives to organisations that actively work towards the targets set in the paper,” she said.

WMAA says that using the Federal Government’s position would allow it to bring together national organisations such as national retailers, manufacturers, distributors and reprocessors.

“There is a real knowledge gap, particularly in the first four stages of this cycle and the Federal Government is in a position to collate this data through the Policy and national engagement,” Ms Sloan said.

“There is value in looking to the EU as they have shown how this can be done by effectively producing 54 clearly defined measures, all with responsibilities allocated. Further, the Federal Government needs to set up a third-party organisation, similar to WRAP UK, which sits uniquely in the space between government, business, and community to collate data and aid in the forging of partnerships to drive a sustainable economy.”

WMAA will be publishing a paper this week that will aim to provide information on how the Federal Government can support industry, boost jobs and drive economic growth through the National Waste Policy.

You can read the discussion paper here.

Industry input sought for VWMA economic report

Victorian waste and recycling companies are being called on to contribute to an industry report on the economic and social contributions the sector provides.

The report, commissioned by the Victorian Waste Management Association (VWMA), aims to provide specific metrics the waste and recycling industry generates for local, regional and national communities.

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It will also aim to help improve communication between the industry, government and community to help build confidence and trust in the sector.

The VWMA aims to highlight the importance the environmental and health benefits of the sector to the community as well as the economic contributions from jobs and investment.

Queensland Economic Advocacy Solutions Economist Nick Behrens is working with VWMA to complete the project, which is similar to work carried out in Queensland and currently in the Northern Territory.

A survey is currently open until 14 September to gather data to create anonymous, aggregated high level industry statistics which will be drawn upon to prepare various positions, communications and policy formation in the future.

The survey also includes questions about insurance to, general questions about government guidance and accessing government support.

VWMA Executive Officer Mark Smith said it is important for the waste sector to come together and start to shape its own story for the government.

“An important element in that story involves the contribution made to the Victorian economy,” Mr Smith said.

“Most industry sectors publish their own data sets and reports into economic contribution and employee numbers to communicate and express their importance to local and state government and to the community. It is important our industry does the same.

“With an election this year and a new four year-term state government elected, this report will be a useful resource for our sector in advocating for industry support, regional development and regulatory and insurance challenges into the future.”

To complete the survey, click here. Results are anticipated to be released in the first week of October 2018.

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.”

ecoBiz program receives $4M for local business waste reduction

The Queensland Government has allocated around $4 million to extend the ecoBiz program until 2022 to help local businesses reduce waste and improve water and energy efficiency.

Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said six local businesses have received one on one coaching sessions with a locally-based sustainability consultant and an action plan to start saving.

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“It is a win-win for business operators and the environment,” Ms Enoch said.

“Since 2013, ecoBiz partners across Queensland have also taken practical steps to reduce waste in their business like ditching disposable coffee cups, reducing food loss and going paperless.

These quick wins have helped to save 24,785 tonnes of waste from ending up in landfill and support Queensland’s waste and recycling strategy.

She said the program is helping local businesses understand energy, water and waste costs and teaching them how to save money through sustainability initiatives.

“We hope to see more Bundaberg businesses take advantage of free coaching, training, education and tools to improve their environmental sustainability and lower operating costs,” she said.

“This is a great example of government and industry working together to take some of the pressure off businesses while supporting the environment.”

For more information, click here.