TAS Govt discuss waste management strategies

Waste industry experts and stakeholders have come together in Tasmania to discuss current waste management issues at the Tasmanian Waste and Resource Recovery Forum.

The forum aims to give the waste and recycling industry a chance to discuss issues around waste policy following China’s implementation of the National Sword policy.

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Discussions at the forum focus around waste and resource recovery settings for Tasmania, waste avoidance and reduction, innovations in waste management and bringing a circular economy to Tasmania.

Held by the Waste Management Association of Australia, the forum follows consultation by the Tasmanian Government on its new waste strategy – the Tasmanian Waste Action Plan.

The state government has outlined several commitments and targets to reduce packaging waste, boost consumer awareness through industry, increase recycling capacity and boost demand though market development.

Other targets include making Tasmania the tidiest state with the lowest incidence of litter in Australia by 2023 by increasing penalties for illegal dumping, expanding the reporting of litter offences through an illegal rubbish app, providing additional support for Keep Australia Beautiful Tasmania and using Community Service Orders for rubbish removals from public areas.

The draft of the Tasmanian Waste Action Plan is expected to be released for public consultation in early 2019.

QLD State of the Environment report highlights interstate waste

The Queensland Government has released its 2018 State of the Environment report, highlighting interstate waste as a pressure on the state’s landfills.

Relatively low costs of landfill disposal in Queensland are said to be the motivator for cross-border flow of waste in the report.

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More than 1.26 million tonnes of domestic waste, 2.146 million tonnes of construction and demolition waste (C&D), and 1.443 million tonnes of commercial and industrial (C&I) waste was sent to landfill in 2016-17.

Of this, 53,000 tonnes of domestic waste, 640,000 tonnes of C&D waste and 23,000 tonnes of C&I waste was generated interstate and transported to Queensland landfills.

The amount of trackable waste received from interstate also increased from around 13,000 tonnes in 2011-12 to 52,200 tonnes in 2015-16.

Littering and illegal dumping is also highlighted as a serious environmental pressure, with reports suggesting the problem as widespread throughout Queensland.

The average number of litter items was found to be higher in Queensland than other Australian stats, particularly at beaches, retail strips and recreational areas.

Queensland Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said the increase in the amount of interstate waste was proof that that Queensland needed a waste levy.

“The state government’s waste management strategy will stop interstate waste and increase investment in the industry to encourage more recycling and create jobs,” Ms Enoch said.

WA to launch cigarette butt litter campaign in 2019

The Western Australian Government is planning to roll out a campaign that targets littered cigarette butts and packaging after it was found they made up more than a third of the state’s litter.

Keep Australia Beautiful WA’s 2017-18 National Litter Index (NLI) has found discarded butts were responsible for pushing up the state’s litter statistics with a 21.9 per cent increase in cigarette litter. The butts and packaging accounted for 3376 of the 9550 litter items recorded by the count.

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Littering had increased by 2.6 per cent across WA compared to the previous year’s results, but overall littering was still 21 per cent lower than what had been recorded in 2015-16. Takeaway packaging litter in WA had been reduced by 11.3 per cent, according to the NLI with beverage containers also down by seven per cent.

The NLI is measured twice each financial year each state and territory. Litter across 151 sites within 50 kilometres of Perth’s CBD is measured as part of the index, looking at highways, beaches, retail and shopping areas, car parks, recreational parks and residential and industrial areas.

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said cigarette butts are the most littered item in Australia.

“Littered cigarette butts do not break down and are often washed into waterways, causing contamination,” Mr Dawson said.

“They can be mistaken for food by our wildlife and are a blight on the beauty of our state’s natural environment.

“The efforts of the majority are being undermined by the selfish acts of the few who litter. If you are a smoker, please dispose of your cigarette butts responsibly into waste bins. Failing to do this is an offence,” he said.

Main Roads WA boosts funding for roadside litter program

A litter prevention program will receive a $400,000 funding boost after it successfully reduced roadside litter by around 70 per cent in some roadside locations.

Main Roads WA will contribute the funding towards extending Keep Australia Beautiful Council’s “Put your rubbish in the bin. WA naturally thanks you” campaign.

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The program installs anti-litter roadside signage, bin stickers, and provides 300,000 free car litter bags which are available from roadhouses along selected routes.

The program has been rolled out on the Forrest Highway, Great Eastern Highway and Brand Highway.

Funding from Main Roads WA will enable further enable the rollout of anti-litter signage on WA’s freeways and highways.

Sustainable car litter bags and posters will also be distributed to roadhouses to encourage road users to dispose of their rubbish correctly.

WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said Main Roads WA spends around $6 million each year to remove litter from roadsides, with proactive measures far more cost effective at tackling the issue.

“The National Litter Index indicates that roadsides are one of the most littered areas in WA,” she said.

“I am pleased that, through this campaign, we have been able to decrease the amount of litter at some locations by up to 70 per cent.”

WA Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said the successes of the campaign has resulted in a reduction of funding needed for roadside clean ups.

“This is about making motorists think twice before they litter and to take some pride in WA’s precious natural environment,” he said.

Funding announced for $700,000 Litter Innovation Fund applicants

Successful applicants for Round 2 of Sustainability Victoria’s $700,000 Litter Innovation Fund have been announced, including councils, businesses and not-for-profit organisations and social enterprises.

Grants were offered in two rounds and provided up to $20,000 for innovative solutions to litter and illegal dumping that are delivered through a partnership.

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The package comprises of two funding streams, projects in the Yarra River and Port Philip Bay catchment and projects outside of these areas.

Successful applicants include Southern Cross Recycling Group, in partnership with the City of Whittlesea and Maribyrnong, for the Mobile Community Resource Recovery Hub, a purpose-built trailer that provides a collection point for small household items and clothing.

Monash City Council in partnership with Monash University have also been grated funding to assist the culturally and linguistically diverse student education project to reduce illegally dumped waste.

Boroondara, Nillumbik and Yarra City Councils have partnered with Connectsus to fund the Binasys project, which will install ultrasonic level sensor technology to provide a live demand profile of each public litter bin.

In an effort to tackle construction litter, Wydnham City Council, Wolfdene Property Development Group, Point Cook Open Spaces and Beach Patrol will use the funding to liaison with developers, builders and tradies using a pledge system.

EPA Victoria and VicRoads will assist the Macedon Ranges Shire Council to install infrastructure at identified hotspots to increase enforcement and behaviour change and reduce illegal dumping through education campaigns.

A roadside litter campaign will also be launched addressing litter from vehicles along major transport routes due to the funding provided to the Grampians Central West Waste and Resource Recovery Group, VicRoads and local government authorities.

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.”

Nestlé aim for products to be completely recyclable by 2025

Nestlé has announced its goal to make 100 per cent of it packaging recyclable or re-usable by 2025.

The news comes in response to the company’s opinion that there is an urgent need to minimise the impact of packaging that ends up in landfill or as litter.

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To achieve this goal, the company says it will focus on eliminating non-recyclable plastics, encourage the use of plastics that allow for better recycling rates and eliminate or change complex combinations of packaging materials.

Nestlé said in a statement that it is committed to playing an active role in the development of collection, sorting and recycling schemes.

The company also said it would work with chain partners and industry associations to explore different packaging to reduce plastic usage and to facilitate recycling.

Labelling products with recycling information and promoting a market for recycled plastics were also steps mentioned to develop a circular economy.

Nestlé Chief Executive Officer Mark Schneider said, “Plastic waste is one of the biggest sustainability issues the world is facing today. Tackling it requires a collective approach. We are committed to finding improved solutions to reduce, re-use and recycle. Our ambition is to achieve 100% recyclable or reusable packaging by 2025.”

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.

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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.

Clean Up Australia Day 2018 preliminary results released

The 2018 Clean Up Australia day preliminary results have been released, with an estimated 587,962 volunteers pitching in to remove litter.

The current in progress data estimates volunteers have removed almost 16,000 ute loads of rubbish over the week surrounding the event.

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Parkes, beaches, waterways, bushlands and roadways were among the 7253 locations were registered and cleaned.

According to Clean Up Australia day, this is a 14 per cent increase in sites and four per cent increase in volunteers over 2017.

The event began 28 years ago, and has since then removed the equivalent of 350,000 ute loads of rubbish from over 170,000 sites across Australia.

Chairman and Founder of Clean Up Australia Ian Kiernan AO speaking from the 2018 Clean Up Day official site in Brisbane, said how proud he was to see so many Australians continuing to rally to the cause.

“It’s really great to see so many people passionate about removing rubbish from the places that are important to them,” Mr Kiernan said.

“Because that’s the beauty of a Clean Up – people tell us where the rubbish is accumulating and we give them the support to make a difference. Young or old – anyone can be involved.”

“But we need to do much more than just pick up rubbish one day a year. Every day is Clean Up Australia Day – so let today simply be the start of your Clean Up journey,” he said.

Mr Kiernan said making a difference begins with changing consumer’s purchasing behaviour, becoming conscious of single use products, packaging and plastics.

“We need to continue to challenge our governments to implement effective waste management and recycling programs to reduce the amount of wasted resource that ends up in our precious environment. Our Clean Up activities provide vital community led data and feedback that influences decision makers,” he said.