Food waste compost combats NSW weeds

The New South Wales Environment Protection Authority (NSW EPA) has been able to use compost as a weed suppressant to reduce African lovegrass and improve soil quality.

The Monaro lovegrass project was delivered by Australian Soil Management (ASM) with a $50,000 grant from the NSW EPA’s Organics Market development program.

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Compost made by Snowy Monaro Regional Council from kerbside food and garden waste was blended with supplements to address deficiencies in soil tests and compost analysis.

Two farms at Billilingra at Bredbo and Macfield at Cooma were selected for the project to develop a method for compost use to control lovegrass on the two major soil types in the Monaro region.

The company tested the soil and mapped each site before applying compost to fill soil nutrient gaps.

Both sites recorded an approximate 50 per cent reduction in lovegrass, along with more preferred species, improved pasture quality and more nutrition for cattle.

ASM estimates that within five years, because of the composts efficiency to improve pastures, there would be no need for winter feed of hay or fodder crops.

Results of the project have been shared with farmers at field days and workshops. The NSW EPA says that ten tonnes of compost was sold for immediate pick-up, and followed by a steady increase in the region’s compost sales to 250 tonnes.

Planet Ark release business recycling toolkit

Planet Ark is releasing a free guide for businesses to help them manage waste better to mark its annual Business Recycling campaign.

The War on Waste Toolkit for Business contains ten tools, including a recycling checklist to ask prospective recyclers. Information on recycled options for paper and stationary is also available for office managers to help them recycle efficiently.

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It also encouraged workers to use reusable alternatives to items like coffee cups, water bottles and shopping bags.

Construction and demolition processing mean tradesmen and builders can also recycle and use products from recycled materials.

Planet Ark designed the toolkit after 3.7 million Australians watched the ABC’s War on Waste in 2017, which prompted an unprecedented amount of inquiries on how businesses can do their part to recycle.

The NSW Environment Protection Agency (EPA) along with Planet Ark, has found financially beneficial and effective ways for staff and employers to reduce waste.

For businesses that produce high volume of waste, the Small Scale Recycling Equipment Catalogue matches them with suppliers of equipment including compactors and balers to reduce costs and save time.

Planet Ark’s Recycling Programs Manager Ryan Collins says it will be an essential resource as Australia’s business waste grows.

“A 2016 report found that the average business produces 849 kg of waste per person each year. That’s where the Toolkit comes in. It gives employees and business owners free advice on how to turn their waste into valuable resources,” he said.

For more information get in touch with our communications team using the details below or visit BusinessRecycling.com.au.

NSW Govt funds indigenous waste management program

The NSW Government has granted $329,000 in funding to 14 local indigenous land councils to improve waste management in discrete indigenous communities.

The Aboriginal Communities Waste Management Program’s funding will be split between the communities for round one.

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It will focus on reducing waste and litter, stopping illegal dumping, and work with communities to develop waste management systems for each area’s own needs.

The program will last four years and has received $4 million in funding. It has been developed in partnership with the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA), Aboriginal Affairs NSW, the NSW Aboriginal Land Council, Local Government NSW, NSW Health and NSW Rural Fire Service.

The program has been divided into three stages. The program is beginning stage two to engage communities and develop rubbish management plans, which will be implemented in stage three.

More information on the grants and guidance documents can be found at NSW EPA’s website.

NSW Illegal Dumping Strategy updated

The NSW Government has committed $65 million and updated the NSW Illegal Dumping Strategy to clamp down on illegal littering.

NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton announced the changes, saying they would help make NSW a cleaner state by 2021.

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“The NSW Illegal Dumping Strategy tackles a serious environmental and health issue,” Ms Upton said.

“It is backed by ambitious targets and a significant financial commitment to cut the rate of illegal dumping across the State by nearly a third.”

The NSW Illegal Dumping Strategy outline key actions to stop illegal dumping. It discusses the value of education, collaborative partnerships, enforcement and infrastructure.

NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) will deliver the updated strategy by partnering with public land managers, local government, charities and community groups.

Funding has gone towards certain initiatives, with $9 million for regional illegal dumping squads to help prevent and clean up dumped rubbish, $3 million for the Clean-up and prevention program that helps land managers and community groups, and $1 million to the Aboriginal Land Clean-up and Prevention Program.

RIDonline, the NSW EPA’s illegal dumping database, has been expended to let the community report incidents.

“This Government is committed to a cleaner NSW and this Strategy will help us continue to work to reduce dumping in our community areas and environment,” Ms Upton said.

The strategy can be found here.

Organics market development grants open: EPA NSW

The Tasmanian Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) is considering a proposal for an organics processing facility at Mowbray in Launceston.

NSW businesses, councils, agricultural associations and project communicators can now apply for the second round of grants to promote the benefits of compost into new markets.

Grants worth up to $300,000 are available to provide funding for projects that will build markets for compost made from household food and garden waste, including material collected from kerbside bins.

Example projects that are eligible for funding include showcasing compost benefits to farmers, demonstrating benefits to soil health, or improving market confidence by promoting the high standard of modern compost quality.

Previous rounds of grants have already funded projects that have demonstrated how compost builds resilient turf on sporting fields and improves soil health on farms in Sydney and the Riverina.

EPA Unit Head Organics Amanda Kane said the grants gave business, councils and agricultural associations the chance to deliver projects that could make a real difference when it came to organic waste.

“From saving good food from being wasted and addressing food insecurity in our state, to increasing NSW capacity to process more collected green waste, we’re tackling organics waste from every angle,” Ms Kane said.

“This funding is helping to build strong, viable markets for a quality recycled product and supports other programs to increase supply through more collections and infrastructure to build the capacity of the industry in NSW to process more.”

The grants are being delivered through the NSW EPA’s Waste Less Recycle More initiative.

Applications close 28 March, 2018.

WCRA forum discusses interstate waste transport issue

NSW police, government authorities and the waste industry have met to discuss their concerns on the issue of interstate waste transportation.

NSW Police, EPA NSW, SafeWork NSW, Stay Safe Committee and waste industry representatives attended a dedicated forum last week, facilitated by the Waste Contractors & Recyclers Association of NSW (WCRA).

The forum focused on the environmental and safety risks of waste transport from NSW to south-east Queensland, which has long been linked by industry representatives to the lack of a landfill levy in Queensland.

Convenor Dr Tony Wilkins stated that the industry is seeking to work with government to promptly find solutions to the issue.

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The forum heard that the volume of waste being transported north by a combination of road and rail has now exceeded in excess of a one million tonnes per annum. The economic loss to NSW from unpaid waste levies exceeds $120 million per annum, WCRA highlighted.

Chief Inspector Phil Brooks from NSW Police stated in his presentation that the large volume of heavy vehicle truck movements, combined with police observations of fatigued drivers and poorly maintained truck and trailers, confirmed there is potential for even more serious accidents.

The forum resolved that all attendees write to the NSW Premier expressing their concerns and that WCRA would write to the NSW EPA requesting that it hold a second forum by 1 March, 2018. WCRA also committed to increase its promotion of Chain of Responsibility training across the industry.

The forum argued the NSW Government should be exploring further measures to curb the complex issue.

Some suggestions included: licensing waste transporters and waste by transfer facilities, regulating minimum environmental and safety standards on equipment used to transport waste over long distances, and banning waste levy rebates for exhuming landfilled waste and rebates for landfills that operate as de-facto transfer stations without development approval.