NWRIC releases Industry Roadmap

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The National Waste and Recycling Industry Council has released its Industry Roadmap document, a national plan for a circular economy to improve Australia’s waste and recycling industry.

It comes after a Four Corners investigation into stockpiling, the illegal transportation of waste and numerous other issues.

Interstate transport and stockpiling 

The council said it has been actively advocating for a solution to the issue of interstate transport of waste materials between Sydney and South East Queensland. Media reports have focused on the cause of this as related to the landfill levy, which is non existent in Queensland.

In July this year, NWRIC wrote to both NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton and Queensland Environment Minister Stephen Miles – asking for urgent government action to mitigate this problem. The NWRIC said this correspondence was a continuation of industry advocacy on this issue going back several years.

Council members have ratified a national position opposing the unnecessary interstate transport of waste. The NWRIC says Australia’s largest waste and recycling companies believe the inter-jurisdictional variation in landfill levies undermines new investment into resource recovery infrastructure, particularly in NSW. As a solution, the council has called for all states to recognise the portability of landfill levy liabilities and put in place regulations to collect these wherever waste is landfilled.

In response to the issue of glass and plastic stockpiling, the NWRIC’s Roadmap calls for better planning to ensure commodities can be managed to accommodate market fluctuations.The roadmap calls on state governments to effectively re-invest landfill levy revenue to create and simulate markets for recycled materials and build new recycling infrastructure.

Odour, dust and noise

The NWRIC said a significant national effort has been made to consolidate Australia’s landfills and recycling facilities into larger, more centralised sites. This work has considerably reduced public nuisance from odour, dust and noise. Improvements in facilities management has further reduced these emissions.

However, the nature of waste processing means that some emissions are inevitable. The industry is calling for state and territory government to undertake effective, whole of government planning initiatives to create landfill and recycling sites segregated from sensitive residential and commercial development. The most effective tool for reducing public nuisance from waste management is good planning.

Professional management

Australia’s national resource recovery rate of over 50 per cent puts us well ahead of many of our OECD counterparts, including the US and Canada. Despite some setbacks, Australia’s overall recycling rates continue to improve.

The waste and recycling industry employs close to 30,000 people according to 2009 statistics by Access Economics, making it Australia’s largest green collar employer and one of the nation’s fastest growing manufacturing sectors. The NWRIC believes that with improved planning, regulatory harmony and effective re-investment of landfill levy revenue – the economic, social and environmental performance of the industry will continue to improve.

National waste and recycling body to advocate for industry

Several of Australia's largest waste firms have joined for NWRIC

A new body working to create a cohesive national vision for Australia’s waste management industry, the National Waste and Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC) has officially formed, following the first meeting of its executive in Sydney on February 13.

NWRIC has received support from Australia’s largest waste management companies – and has begun operations.

The Council will be empowered to begin its work thanks to the support of its national members – Alex Fraser Group, Cleanaway, J. J. Richards and Sons, Solo Resource Recovery, Suez, Toxfree, Remondis, ResourceCo and Veolia.

“The waste and recycling industry needs a national voice to advocate for a fair, sustainable and prosperous industry for all stakeholders,” said Phil Richards, Chairman of the NWRIC’s host association Board.

“Australia’s waste management industry is an essential service, and through the NWRIC, we will be asking the Commonwealth along with State Governments to support our initiatives to take the industry forward.”

The NWRIC will serve waste management enterprises by creating industry led policy. The Council will be led by newly appointed CEO Max Spedding, and supported by Secretariat manager Alex Serpo.

The NWRIC will work in close partnership with jurisdictional affiliates. This partnership will allow the Council to represent and canvas concerns from many of Australia’s 450 small and medium sized waste management enterprises. Together, state affiliates and the national office will coordinate to create, and advocate for, cohesive national policy.

From today, the Council will commence working to create, share and build support for policy positions which will move the industry forward. Initial areas of focus include better planning, a fair market, the national harmonisation of the regulations governing the industry and effective policing of standards.

The Council welcomes media enquiries, dialogue with waste management companies seeking involvement in the NWRIC and feedback from stakeholders.