$70 million QLD grants open

The Queensland Government’s $365 million Building our Region’s program has opened applications for its next round of funding.

The program is open to waste infrastructure projects that provide direct economic benefit to industrial or commercial development.

A Cairns material recovery facility (MRF) doubled its processing capacity after receiving $3 million from an earlier funding round in April this year.

In reference to the MRF, State Development Minister Cameron Dick said raising the quality of recycling in Queensland would facilitate better access to relevant global export markets.

“Regional infrastructure development means more Queensland jobs, and more jobs means a stronger Queensland,” Mr. Dick said.

“That’s why our government committed another $70 million towards Building our Region’s in the 2019-20 state budget.”

Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) President and Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson welcomed the funding.

“The LGAQ has seen firsthand the economic injection and jobs for regions this program provides,” Mr. Jamieson said.

“By working with councils to identify projects that will deliver local growth, support local businesses and create more liveable communities, the state government is supporting investment and opportunities across Queensland’s regions, which is welcomed by councils.”

In addition to waste infrastructure, applications are open to wastewater, renewable energy, marine and transport projects.

Regional councils have until 30 August to submit expressions of interest for shovel-ready projects.

Related projects:

QLD releases energy from waste policy

The public is being invited to comment on the Queensland Government’s Energy-from-Waste policy discussion paper, released earlier this week.

Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said finding alternative uses for waste was becoming more important than ever.

“The discussion paper is giving Queenslanders a chance to contribute to the development of a new policy, provide feedback on the types of technologies and help us plan for the future,” Ms Enoch said.

“The paper is an important action under the government’s new waste strategy.”

Ms Enoch said the government’s waste strategy outlined priorities and actions to help grow the recycling and resource recovery sector.

“We have set ambitious targets to recover 90 per cent of the waste we generate by 2050 and recycle at least 75 per cent of that waste,” Ms Enoch said.

“But we acknowledge that some wastes cannot be recycled, and it is better to retain the value of these wastes by recovering energy than it is to dispose of them to landfill. This is all part of our broader transition to a circular economy.”

Waste Recycling Industry Queensland (WRIQ) Executive Officer Rick Ralph said WRIQ and its members welcomed the new waste strategy.

“Energy from waste will play an important role in helping to achieve the objectives and targets of the strategy,” Mr Ralph said.

“The release of the Energy-from-Waste discussion paper is a step in the right direction. Industry looks forward to having this discussion with the government in this important initiative.”

Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR) CEO Gayle Sloan said energy from waste was a vital part of a sustainable waste and resource recovery system.

“Its technologies are also proven globally, with more than 2000 energy from waste facilities operating safely across the US, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, many having operated for decades,” Ms Sloan said.

“We look forward to working with the Queensland Government to leverage the technical expertise of our industry to develop a policy that promotes investment in, and growth of, an integrated waste management and resource recovery system that includes energy from waste.”

Public consultation is open until 26 August.

Related stories:

QLD levy comes into effect

The Queensland Government’s waste levy has come into effect, bringing Queensland in line with the majority of Australian states and territories.

Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said prior to the levy’s reintroduction Queensland was the only mainland state without a waste levy.

The levy will apply to most commercial and industrial waste going to landfill – starting at $75 per tonne.

The levy zone includes 39 out of 77 local government areas, which covers an estimated 90 per cent of Queensland’s population.

Ms Enoch said the government had employed extra compliance officers to ensure businesses were following new waste management legislation.

“The Department of Environment and Science will have 16 extra staff on the ground with more to come, which will help to prevent illegal dumping across the state,” Ms Enoch said.

Waste Management & Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR) CEO Gayle Sloan said WMRR appreciated the state governments collaboration with industry throughout the levy development and implementation process.

“Queensland may have to play catch up on a number of waste management and resource recovery fronts, but the process the state government has undertaken in the lead‐up to the levy reintroduction is certainly one that other jurisdictions can and should learn from,” Ms Sloan said.

“The government did not rush into this, but instead heeded the advice of stakeholders and provided time for industry and councils to make the necessary adjustments and prepare for the levy.”

According to Ms Sloan, the state government have committed to reinvest 70 per cent of levy funds into the waste industry to drive investment in the domestic remanufacturing sector.

“WMRR recognises change is not easy, we know business as usual is not an option and we believe that the Queensland Government is to be congratulated for this move,” Ms Sloan said.

Related stories:

QLD awards resource recovery development grants

Stream one grant recipients of the Queensland Government’s $100 million Resource Recovery Industry Development Program (RRIDP) are estimated to divert 32,160 tonnes of waste from landfill each year.

Acting Infrastructure Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the RRIDP aims to transform Queensland’s resource recovery industry by supporting projects that divert waste from landfill, reduce stockpiling and create jobs.

“Over 120 applications from across Queensland were received, which is a fantastic result and demonstrates the interest and capacity for the development of this industry,” Mr Hinchliffe said.

“For this round of stream one, projects were assessed on multiple criteria including contribution to development of industry, tonnes per dollar rates of diversion and projects that addressed waste that is historically hard to get rid of.”

Three streams of funding available under the program, with stream one providing dollar-for-dollar capital grants between $50,000 and $5 million for infrastructure projects that enhance or build new facilities, or for capital investments in new processing and technological capabilities.

Stream two provides incentives to attract or expand resource recovery operations, while stream three aims to grow Queensland’s resource recovery industry by attracting investments in new infrastructure.

The five recipients of RRIDP funding are:

— Astron Plastics: $2.5 million to divert 6,300 tonnes per annum of soft plastic waste.
— Cairns Regional Council: $295,400 to divert 18,735 tonnes per annum of construction and demolition waste.
— Elliott Agriculture: $325,000 to divert 2,256 tonnes per annum of organic waste.
— Townsville City Council: $60,000 to divert 572 tonnes per annum of general waste.
— Horne Group: $265,882 to divert 4,297 tonnes per annum of construction and demolition waste.

Related stories: 

Battery stewardship a priority for National Waste Policy

A recent of meeting of Environment Ministers has endorsed the work the Battery Stewardship Council (BSC) as a priority under the National Waste Policy, according to a statement from the Australian Battery Recycling Initiative (ABRI).

In a letter to ABRI, Acting Chief of Staff for the Queensland Environment Minister Hannah Jackson said there was an agreement from all jurisdictions that the scope of the proposed battery stewardship scheme would be expanded to cover all batteries, including energy storage and non-rechargeable batteries.

“This is a pivotal moment for the scheme as it enables much needed funding to flow through the QLD Environment Department on behalf of all jurisdictions,” the statement reads.

“This will enable the BSC to conduct planned consultation with members to refine the proposed approach.”

Of the 400 million batteries that enter the Australian market each year, less than three per cent of non-car batteries are recycled in Australia, according to a 2014 trend analysis and market assessment report, prepared on behalf of the National Environment Protection Council Service Corporation.

A National Waste Policy Action Plan is currently being prepared, with the scheme listed for introduction by 2022.

Related stories:

National Symposium on the Beneficial Use of Recycled Organics

The 2nd National Symposium on the Beneficial Use of Recycled Organics will be held 20 – 21 June at the Brisbane Riverview Hotel.

Hosted by the Queensland Government and Griffith University, the symposium will see over 100 delegates from universities and government agencies, as well as environmental consultants, land managers and farmers.

To better understand the beneficial use of recycled organics in our environment, the symposium will examine learnings from its application to agriculture, mining, urban environments and infrastructure.

Speakers will discuss research into the use of recycled organic products to enhance agricultural production in degraded and marginal landscapes and enable the environmental rehabilitation.

Queensland releases resource recovery roadmap

Queensland’s Resource Recovery Industries 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan aims to support modernisation in current industries and advance product development in underdeveloped end markets.

State Development Minister Cameron Dick is encouraging all Queenslanders to read the newly released draft and provide feedback.

“The ongoing development of markets for recycled and repurposed material through investment in modern efficient facilities and processes will reduce the amount of waste going to landfill and assist Queensland to become a zero-waste society,” Mr Dick said.

“Working closely with industry and other stakeholders, we’ve developed a series of roadmaps focused on emerging priority sectors with global growth potential.”

The roadmap outlines four strategies to enable growth in the resource recovery industry – accelerate the project pipeline, develop market and supply chains, create responsive policy and legislative frameworks and develop applicable technology.

The draft outlines a number of proposed actions including delivery of the $100 million resource recovery industry development program and developing a comprehensive analysis of the resource recovery market sector, including the identification of supply chain efficiencies and the promotion of new market opportunities.

The state government will also work to provide facilitation services, ensure the availability of suitable industrial land and investigate opportunities for the inclusion of recycled products in government procurement policies.

According to the roadmap’s key date timeline, a waste and resource recovery infrastructure plan will be established by September and an energy-from-waste policy released shortly after.

Mr Dick said through these initiatives the state government hopes to see more material re-enter the production cycle.

“We’re actively looking for opportunities to support new resource recovery sector projects through programs such as the resource recovery strategy and industry development activities,” Mr Dick said.

“Government will support industry to overcome some of the typical barriers encountered by emerging or new technologies, including access to funding, business case development, commercialisation partnerships and the de-risking of projects.”

The Resource Recovery Industries 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan complements the draft Waste Management and Resource Recovery Strategy released in February 2019.

Related stories:

QLD container refund scheme hits half a billion returns

Half a billion containers have been returned and more than 640 jobs created through Queensland’s container refund scheme, Containers for Change.

Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said more than 173,000 Queenslanders now have a scheme ID, which shows the state is getting behind the initiative.

“Containers for Change continues to go from strength to strength, providing financial incentives for recycling cans and bottles,” Ms Enoch said.

“The scheme has also helped create more than 640 new jobs and is providing more business opportunities across Queensland.”

Ms Enoch said $50 million had been returned to Queenslanders, charities and community organisations through the scheme.

“When people take their bottles and cans to be recycled, they can choose to get the 10 cent refund or choose to donate that money to charities or community groups,” Ms Enoch said.

“About 3400 community groups, schools, charities and sports clubs are benefitting from the refunds.”

Ms Enoch said since the scheme started on 1 November 2019, there has been a 35 per cent reduction of containers ending up as litter in the environment.

“This scheme, along with the ban on single-use plastic bags also implemented last year, are making a real difference to plastic pollution ending up in our environment and waterways,” Ms Enoch said.

Container Exchange, the organisation that runs the scheme, Chair Mark O’Brien said new refund depots have been opening up across the state in recent weeks.

“We now have more than 275 container refund points providing customer access to container refunds,” Mr O’Brien said.

“Container Exchange will continue to grow the Containers for Change scheme to provide opportunities for customers, charities and community groups to receive refunds and raise funds.”

Related stories:

Container deposit site to open in Queensland’s Hervey Bay

Environment Minster Leeanne Enoch has announced that a new container deposit site will open in Urangan, a suburb of Hervey Bay in Queensland’s Wide Bay region.

The site will be run by container refund scheme operator U Can Recycle, who operate 14 other container refund points across the state’s network.

“We’ve seen an overwhelming demand for more sites in the area and across Queensland, with 400 million containers already returned in the state,” Ms Enoch said.

“The Wide Bay region has the third highest return rate in Queensland and the new depot will accommodate this strong demand and create local jobs.”

According to Ms Enoch, over 37.3 million containers have been returned in the Wide Bay region since the scheme launched in November 2018.

“That’s $3.73 million going back into the Wide Bay community. I’m delighted to see the continued growth of container refund points across Queensland,” Ms Enoch said.

U Can Recycle General Manager Jason Irwin said he was thrilled to expand the companies services in Hervey Bay.

“We have 12 new local staff members on board all ready to go, including three long-term unemployed people,” Mr Irwin said.

“Our depot is on a huge two-and-a-half-acre block, which means we can receive higher volumes, improve traffic flow and reduce wait times for our customers.”

Mr Irwin said the facility features a drive-thru process, a cash refund option and an air-conditioned waiting room for customers.

“I’m planning to add a café in after we’re up and running,” Mr Irwin said.

The Urangan depot is one of five sites set to open this week including facilities in Cooroy, Atherton, Duaringa and Beerwah – with more openings scheduled in May.

Container Exchange Chief Executive Officer Ken Noye said the organisation is working hard to ensure everyone in Queensland has a chance to participate in the scheme.

“New sites continue to be added to the network to accommodate for the unprecedented volume the scheme has seen in the first five months,” Mr Noye said.

“We’re travelling along nicely towards meeting our goal of having 307 container refund points open by the end of 2019 – after this week there will be 274 sites across Queensland.”

Related stories: 

400 million returns for QLD container refund scheme

Queensland’s container refund scheme Containers for Change, has seen the return of 400 million containers since beginning in December.

The scheme, which is run by not-for profit organisation Container Exchange, provides a 10-cent refund for recycling cans and bottles.

Queensland Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said the scheme has generated $40 million for residents and community organisations.

“It provides a financial incentive to recycling containers, and there is also the option for people to donate their refunds to charities and community organisations,” Ms Enoch said.

“Container redemption volumes are about a third higher than forecast, and Containers for Change continues to defy expectations.”

Ms Enoch said containers are the second most commonly littered item in the state, with Queenslanders using nearly three billion every year.

“More refund points are becoming established, creating more business opportunities and making the scheme more accessible for Queenslanders,” Ms Enoch.

“The scheme has also created more than 620 jobs across Queensland, which is fantastic.”

Container Exchange CEO Ken Noye said when the program launched it had 230 container refund points statewide, which over five months has grown to 270.

“We’re now seeing things settle down at most depots and bag drop-off points due to a steady increase in the number of container refund points around the state,” Mr Noye said.

Seven new deposit points are scheduled to open by the end of April at Hervey Bay, Atherton, Bribie Island, Cooroy, Yamanto, Airlie Beach and Beaudesert.

Regional breakdown:

  • Greater Brisbane: 174.2 million
  • Gold Coast: 36.8 million
  • Sunshine Coast: 19.9 million
  • South East (including Ipswich): 3.5 million
  • Darling Downs: 28 million
  • Wide Bay: 35.9 million
  • Fitzroy/Central Queensland: 30.6 million
  • Mackay: 11.9 million
  • Townsville/North Queensland: 33.3 million
  • Cairns/Far North Queensland: 26.5 million
  • South West: 5.9 million

Total: 406.5 million

Related stories: