VWMA call for VIC Gov to build resilient waste system

The Victorian Waste Management Association (VWMA) has called on the state government to develop an industry led initiative that tackles challenges facing the Victorian waste and recycling system.

The organisation’s position is to set up a VWMA initiative to make sure the Victorian waste and recycling is working in the same direction.

The VWMA said in a statement that the waste sector is facing higher insurance costs, recent import and trade restrictions, urban planning, increased regulations and a negative public perception of the industry.

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It also mentioned China’s National Sword policy and how the restrictions have impacted the entire sector as a whole.

More than 11 million tonnes of waste are generated in Victoria a year, and the waste industry generates over $2.2 billion in revenue for the economy.

VWMA Executive Officer Mark Smith said there is an opportunity to establish Victoria as Australia’s most resilient state with regard to waste and recycling management.

“The private sector owns and operates the bulk of waste and resource recovery infrastructure and services in Victoria and should be front and centre in proposing solutions,” Mr Smith said.

“The Victorian Government has had a closed door/invite only approach with regard to formulating responses to the current recycling issues. We’d like to make things more transparent.”

VWMA calls for bin auditing standards

The Victorian Waste Management Association (VWMA) will be calling on state government agencies and appropriate local government organisations to develop a consistent set of standards for bin auditing.

It hopes the standards will also engage with the community and waste industry.

The VWMA notes what can ultimately be recycled is largely dependent on how we decide to generate and dispose of waste. It notes bin audits are a standard practice that enable efficient assessment of kerbside recycling progress.

The VWMA believes the Victorian Government needs to play a greater role in advocating to the public the importance of the waste and recycling sector to help restore public confidence in the system.

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Local governments across Australia carry out auditing of bins as a standard practice to better understand what is being recycled and what is contaminating recycling bins. Auditing is sometimes managed by local government directly, outsourced to a waste contractor or carried out by a third party. The VWMA believes this standard practice provides insights into the areas for waste education and highlights common misconceptions around recycling that can be targeted by future programs and campaigns. However, the organisation argues a lack of community understanding on this practice and waste management more broadly is fuelling a wave of negativity that is eroding public confidence.

“Recycling correctly is still one of the easiest things Victorians can do to help the environment and the economy. But we don’t always get it right,” said VWMA Executive Officer Mark Smith, adding that bin audits are an easy and cost-effective way to gauge recycling outcomes.

“Fear mongering and fuelling the fire around this topic is not constructive and does a disservice to the community and may ultimately drive costs up for residents.”

Mark Smith appointed VWMA executive officer

The Victorian Waste Management Association has appointed sustainability expert Mark Smith as its new executive officer.

Mr Smith has more than 14 years’ experience across the private and public sectors. He has held previous roles at the Environmental Protection Authority Victoria, Sustainability Victoria, Toyota and VicRoads.

He has a Bachelor of Applied Science, and with significant experience working with legislators, regulators, various statutory authorities and research institutions.

“I’m confident he will make a valuable and effective contribution to advocacy work by the VWMA and VTA on behalf of members,” said Peter Anderson, VWMA Chief Executive Officer.

“I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate and thank Andrew Tytherleigh for his many contributions to the VWMA and the broader waste management industry over many years. We wish him every success in the next chapter of his personal and professional life,” Mr Anderson added.