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.

QLD Gov announce $100M resource recovery fund

The Queensland Government has announced a $100 million resource recovery fund, more information on the waste levy and a plan to reduce plastic pollution in its state budget.

The government revealed a further $2 million will go towards implementing a Container Refund Scheme, along with its ban on single-use plastic bags.

Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said that by funding initiatives and programs that push for positive environmental change, the government is delivering a budget firmly focused on the future.

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“To help transition to a low carbon, clean growth economy, there will be $5.6 million in this coming budget to help Queensland adapt to the impacts of a changing climate,” Ms Enoch said.

“These major plastic-reducing initiatives are not far away, with the ban on plastic bags coming into effect in less than a month, and Container Refund Scheme coming into effect in November.”

The budget also revealed the already announced waste disposal levy, more information on that here, which will begin in the first quarter of 2019 and apply to 38 local government areas, covering more than 80 per cent of the state’s population. It will be set at $70 a tonne for general waste and increase by $5 per annum, with the process going to waste programs, environmental priorities and community purposes.

There will also be $100 million allocated over three years to support the resource recovery and recycling industry through its Resource Recovery Industry Development Program.

An annual advance will be provided on levy charges to local governments disposing of municipal waste in the levy zone, with $32 million in 2018-19 for this.

The budget also includes $5 million to go to waste to energy and $5 million over two years for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders communities to remove metal waste and vehicle stockpiles in areas which comprise the Torres Strait Island Regional Council, Palm Island Aboriginal Shire Council and Torres Shire Council.

It will also offer $3.9 million over for years to continue to deliver its ecoBiz program, that helps small to medium-sized businesses identify and achieve financial savings and eco-efficiency in energy, water and waste.

 

Retailers urged to prepare for QLD plastic bag ban

With less than 50 days until the Queensland plastic bag ban comes into effect, the state government has reminded retailers to be prepared.

Minister for Environment Leeanne Enoch said Queenslanders use almost one billion plastic shopping bags each year.

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“This figure is astonishing. If you laid out all of these bags, end to end, they would reach from Coolangatta to the top of Cape York more than 160 times,” Ms Enoch said.

“And sadly about 16 million plastic bags end up in our environment every year.

“The ban will also help keep our state beautiful for generations to come and reduce the impact of plastic pollution on our treasured environment and wildlife.”

The Queensland Government is aiming to reduce the amount of single-use plastic items in an effort to tackle plastic pollution.

From 1 July, retailers will no longer be able to supply single-use lightweight plastic shopping bags less than 35 microns in thickness to customers, for free or at a charge.

Ms Enoch said it was pleasing to see some retailers already replacing plastic shopping bags in preparation of the ban.

“It’s also an important time for households to starting planning of how they can use reusable shopping bags when visiting the shops.

“Most household are likely to already have alternative bags they can use such as reusable ‘green’ bags or bags they use every day, like a backpack. Make sure you take them with you when you go shopping or to collect a takeaway, and keep them by the front door, in your car or in your bag.

“Regardless of which reusable shopping bags you use, to maximise the environmental benefit it’s very important that you use them over and over again and recycle them at their end-of-life, where possible,” Ms Enoch said.

The plastic bag ban applies to all retailers which supply single-use light weight plastic shopping bags.

Retailers that continue to supply banned bags after 1 July could face a fine of up to $6,300 per offence. A similar fine also applies to any person, such as a supplier, who provides misleading information about banned bags.

New upgraded waste facility opens in Moranbah, QLD

A $7 million upgraded waste management facility in Moranbah will cut cost, increase revenue and guarantee safe, reliable, long-term waste disposal for the region according to the Queensland Government.

Minister for Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said at the opening of the centre that it would inject $1.4 million into the local economy in the coming years.

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“This new landfill cell and modern refuse transfer station will allow for the bulk handling of waste and provide users with a safer and more reliable means of waste disposal to meet the demands of the community and industry for the next two decades,” Mr Dick said.

“This facility guarantees a reliable means of waste disposal for the seven resource companies depositing 16,000 tonnes of construction, demolition, commercial and industrial waste per annum, and the 8900 permanent residents of Moranbah and surrounds,” he said.

“The facility’s improved efficiency will reduce double handling, cut council’s costs by an estimated 20 per cent and provide improved recycling separation from landfill.”

Isaac Region Mayor Anne Baker said the Moranbah Resource Recovery Centre Improvement and Expansion Project had been an important initiative for the area.

“This project was vital to meeting the continuing demand for waste disposal from residential, commercial and industrial sources across the region and enhancing environmental outcomes,” Cr Baker said.

“Without this project, the capacity of the current landfill had been expected to be exhausted this year.”

“The new refuse transfer station delivered as part of the project provides residents with a modern and purpose-built facility including a four-bay covered waste drop off area,” she said.

The Moranbah Resource Recovery Centre is jointly funded with $3.58 million from the state government and $3.58 from the Isaac Regional Council.

EOI open to build Toowoomba landfill gas development

Toowoomba Regional Council is looking for expressions of interest to develop the landfill gas resource at its major landfill.

The council has completed a business case which has identified the significant resource available at the Toowoomba regional landfill.

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Landfill gas could help supply the council with a sustainable source of gas and electricity. The landfill is also next to major energy users including the Wetalla Water Reclamation Facility, the APA gas pipeline and the Baillie Henderson Hospital.

Two key options the business case identified were to use the resource to produce electricity for the Wetalla treatment plant, other council facilities or export into the electricity grid, or produce compressed natural gas for use in council vehicles, facilities or into the local gas grid.

The Toowoomba Regional Council has a three-step plan to enter into an arrangement, with the first accepting expressions of interest, followed by early respondent involvement and formal commercial tender.

Companies that are able to utilise more than one landfill gas constituent will be considered more favourably than others that only seeks to utilise one.

Applications for expressions of interest close on 24 April.

Moranbah Resource Recovery Centre finished in Queensland

A major project has been completed in central Queensland to improve the region’s waste disposal network.

The $7.16 million Moranbah Resource Recovery Centre Expansion and Improvement Project was first started in March 2017 and has seen over 28 Olympic swimming pools worth of soil excavated.

FK Gardner & Sons were awarded the construction tender in February 2017 and sourced local contractors to work on the project.

The centre now has a new landfill cell, stormwater and leachate ponds, and a refuse transfer station.

According to the Isaac Council, the transfer station will enable the bulk handling of waste and improve hygiene and safety for the community and landfill employees.

Isaac Regional Council Mayor Anne Baker said the project was vital to meeting demand for waste disposal in the region and improving environmental performance.

“This upgrade is critical in ensuring Moranbah can meet demand for the provision of waste infrastructure to serve the regional community, mining sector and supporting industries,” Mayor Baker said.

“Isaac Regional Council matched the Queensland Government’s $3.58 million funding under the Building our Regions program.”

Queensland Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said Building our Regions was all about making sure communities such as those in the Isaac region benefit from the state’s economic successes.

“The Moranbah Resource Recovery Centre project will improve operational efficiencies and extend the lifespan of the landfill reserve.

“It will meet community and industry waste management requirements and improve the efficiency and recovery of recyclable materials.

“The transfer station became operational on September 25, 2017 and the new landfill cell is expected to accept waste from February 2018.”