Ipswich Council stop collecting recycling

Ipswich City Council has announced all contents from household recycling waste will be sent to landfill.

The council also aims to focus its efforts on green energy and intends to call tenders to bid on waste to energy projects by mid 2018.

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The move comes in response to the recycling price surge nationwide. Ipswich City Council said recycling contractors notified the council that the current rate being paid to them would skyrocket if recycling was to continue in the order of $2 million per year, which could potentially lead to a 1.5 to 2 per cent rate rise.

Additionally, the current contamination levels in the city’s recycling was said to be unacceptably high, according to the council, which said about half of everything collected from household recycling bins was not able to be recycled.

Ipswich Mayor Andrew Antoniolli said Ipswich was the latest domino to be affected by a nationwide issue – one which required a three-tier government solution.

“As a city, we need to move forward,” Cr Antoniolli said.

“We want to become a leader in the waste-to-energy space, which will in the medium to long-term provide us with an environmentally-friendly energy source, jobs and a better economic outcome for Ipswich.

“We’ve actually been looking at waste as an energy source for some time, and this gives us the ideal opportunity to be ahead of the game in that space.”

Deputy Mayor Wayne Wendt said the move is a fundamental shift in how we as a community think about waste.

“The focus on recycling will now be very much about waste reduction. Everybody plays a role in the protection of our environment, and ways to reduce waste now become even more important to our daily lives,” Cr Wendt said.

“Under the current and previous rates of contamination waste experts advise it would be almost unachievable even with the best and well-intentioned community education program to lower the rate of contamination to acceptable levels.

“In a nutshell, this means we were left with no other choice but to send yellow lid bin contents to landfill. Importantly, it is worth repeating that this does not change the way household rubbish is collected. There will still be the same number of trucks, the same number of staff, and we anticipate a similar level of waste,” he said.

Ipswich City Council is advising residents to continue sorting their waste as normal and that green waste would continue to be recycled.

Opportunity for 500 jobs: ACOR/MRA Consulting report

Investment in the local Australian recycling industry could lead to the creation of 500 jobs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new report from MRA Consulting.

Australian Council of Recycling (ACOR) Chief Executive Officer Pete Shmigel said the report shows that remanufacturing half of the material domestically would lead to job creation and reduce as much greenhouse gases as taking 50,000 cars off the road. It comes as China clamps down on its exports of interstate waste with a contaminant level of more than 0.5 per cent.

ACOR recently joined the Waste Management Association of Australia in calling on state ministers to implement its Australian Circular Economy and Recycling Action plan at the Ministerial Council – supported by a $150 million injection.

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“To check the China challenge, we are ready to reboot recycling as a self-sufficient sector that enables employment and prevents pollution. Ministers can support this by agreeing to a National Circular Economy & Recycling Plan that makes a one-off investment in the three ‘i’s’ of recycling: infrastructure, improvement and innovation,” Mr Shmigel said.

“The promise of recycling is that what punters put in the bin becomes new products not lumps in landfill. Our political leaders, through the policy targets they have set, are part of delivering on that promise and should continue to do so on 27 April.”

“We need to make and buy more recycled content products here in Australia. Closing the loop is what’s needed for community confidence, job growth and environmental results,” he said.

Mr Shmigel said other industries are regularly supported in transition and crisis, and the recycling sector needs the same support, otherwise jobs could go including in country towns.

“While state governments have rightly focussed on the system’s short-term survival, it’s time for all governments to jointly act for recycling’s future success,” he said.

The report, titled The China National Sword: the role of Federal Government highlights:

  • New technology to support more Australian reprocessing of mixed paper, mixed plastics and glass cullet;
  • Enhanced methods and machinery at recyclate sorting centres;
  • Support for government and corporate purchasing of recycled content products;
  • A national centre for recycled content product development;
  • Education to ensure what’s collected is clean enough for recycled content product making.

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.”

First Global Recycling Day launches

The first Global Recycling Day has taken place on Sunday, March 18, which saw cities around the world run events to encourage people to rethink recycling.

The event is designed to raise recycling awareness and aims to petition the United Nations to officially recognise the day.

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A “Seventh Resource Manifest” aims to encourage people to start thinking about recyclable material as an additional primary resource to water, air, coal, natural gas, oil, and minerals.

Events took place in Delhi, Dubai, London, Paris, Washington DC, Johannesburg and Sydney.

“We need to see waste for what it really is – a wasted resource. There is no place on our planet anymore for products that are used only briefly and thrown away,” said Head of United Nations Environment Erik Solheim.

“We need to ensure planned obsolescence is a thing of the past. It’s time for countries in the world to dramatically step-up recycling rates if we are to save this planet,” Mr Solheim said.

Bureau for International Recycling Ranjit Baxi said the event was a vitally important new date in the global calendar.

“To truly harness the power of recycling we must adopt a global approach to its collection, processing and use. It is time we put the planet first and all commit to spend 10 more minutes a day ensuring that materials are disposed of properly,” Mr Baxi said.

“Global Recycling Day is also a wakeup call to all of us, wherever we live.  We must unite with those involved in the industry – from workers in waste collection to the world’s largest businesses – to help them make the best use of what we dispose of and make recycling easier, inherent even in the design of products,” he said.

Queensland Forum to discuss China waste ban

The Waste Recycling Industry Association of Queensland (WRIQ) is hosting the Queensland Secondary Resources Forum to address issues impacting kerbside recycling and international challenges.

The forum aims to discuss the Chinese Government’s decision to restrict the amount of waste being imported and how it effects Queensland domestic recycling capabilities.

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It also will attempt to highlight how Queensland can lead the nation in recycling rates to grow the sector locally and increase investment.

Keynote speakers and industry experts will be presenting at the forum and sharing insights and outcomes that outline how Queensland can deliver a new recycling business environment.

In particular, the presentations will address the impacts of the National Sword policy and how local recycling can be improved. Presenters of day one (afternoon) include speakers from the energy, metals and plastics industries as well as material recovery facility operators. Day two (morning) will focus on the state government policy updates and includes a workshop that will discuss and produce solutions and opportunities to deliver back to the Queensland Government for its policy consideration.

The event is supported by the Queensland Department of Environment and Science and the Bundaberg Regional Council.

The forum takes place on the 26-27 April and will be hosted in the Bundaberg Multiplex Centre, 1 Civic Street, Bundaberg West.

Tickets are $195 until 15 April and $220 standard (not including GST). Click here to register. 

Bin services stopped for two Victorian councils

Garbage collection was suspended in two Victorian councils after Wheelie Waste revealed on Wednesday it would cease collection of rubbish and recycling bins from numerous areas northwest of Melbourne.

UPDATE: Services have resumed in Macedon Ranges Shire Council and Mount Alexander Shire Council following negotiations between Wheelie Waste and the two parties. Read the initial story below:

The impasse followed the recent China international waste bans, which saw a crackdown on imports of 24 different types of solid waste with contaminant levels of more than 0.5 per cent from Japan, USA, Australia and other source countries.

Macedon Ranges Shire Council comprises areas such as Kyneton, Lancefield and Gisborne, while Mount Alexander Shire Council includes Castlemaine and Maldon.

“We’ve had meetings with a number of the 22 councils that the (contractors) represent, and some have agreed to pay the difference to them this financial year and some haven’t,” Wheelie Waste spokesman David Rako told 3AW.

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“Unfortunately, the cost difference and the lost cost just can’t be borne further by some of the collection companies.”

Mount Alexander Shire Council in a statement said Wheelie Waste informed council the decision was in protest of the Victorian Government’s lack of detail regarding its rebate to address the increased cost of recycling.

Just two weeks ago, the Victorian Government a $13 million package to support the ongoing collection of household waste.

The assistance will go towards helping councils and industries that have been affected by the China policy, giving them and their contractors time to develop longer-term solutions, including renegotiating contracts. Council assistance will be provided until 30 June, though they will be required to meet an increase in recycling costs from 1 July.

“We are in contact with other local councils in a similar position, and will continue to work with the state government and industry to resolve this as soon as possible,” said Rebecca Stockfeld, Acting Director Sustainable Development, Mount Alexander Shire Council.

In a statement, Macedon Ranges Shire Council said:

“Macedon Ranges Shire Council has told its waste collection contractor Wheelie Waste that it has until 9am tomorrow to return to work and resume the service.

“Council was informed early on 7 March by Wheelie Waste that it had suspended its collection of waste, recycling and garden waste services for the shire.

“This action was taken without consultation with council and with no notice.”

Macedon Ranges Shire Council’s Director Assets and Operations, Dale Thornton said if services did not resume at 9am tomorrow, council would consider putting in place alternative arrangements to ensure the service continued.

“The government is aware of the issue and encourages councils and industry to resolve this immediately to restore services,” Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio told Fairfax Media in a statement.

 

ACOR appoint new CEO

The Australian Council of Recyclers (ACOR) has announced its new chief executive officer Peter Shmigel.

Mr Shmigel has over 25 years of experience in government, corporate, NGO and consulting roles. He has previously been CEO of Lifeline Australia and has contributed to resource recovery for more than 13 years through policy and technology development.

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ACOR Chairman David Singh said Mr Shmigel’s appointment showed the recycling industry’s determination to grow as part of Australia’s economic transition.

“Recycling has successfully expanded in recent years, and the recycling industry is now poised to go to its next level, including technological, economic and environmental contribution. Pete is a proven leader who is well placed to support us in that regard,” he said.

“We’re recycling around 60 per cent of Australia’s waste right now. As we build a circular economy that relies on urban resources rather than natural ones, it is great to have a pro-active and positive voice like Pete’s working for us”

Peter Shmigel said that it is an exciting time for recycling, as it is an innovating and growing industry.

“We need to change the conversation. We need to show governments, including their treasuries, that recycling has become more than just waste reduction. It’s now about sustainable jobs in the domestic economy in a tough global context, and cutting costly greenhouse gasses in a most affordable and proven way,” Mr Shmigel said.

“As domestic manufacturing declines and mining stabilises, let’s talk doubling the recycling workforce to one per cent of the economy as much as recovering 100 per cent of useable material,” he said.

Mr Shmigel will formally commence in the role in mid-March.

APCO Morning Tea for Global Recycling Day

To show support for recycling in Australia, the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation has organised a morning tea on Global Recycling Day.

APCO will be hosting a morning tea and will include presentations on design for recycling, sustainable packaging, recycling labels and designing end-of-life packaging.

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Global Recycling Day is an initiative from the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) and events will be held on the day to promote recycling in 70 countries. The BIR hopes that the day will help people make at least one change in their behaviour to encourage recycling.

APCO members that have made valuable contributions to recycling systems that minimise the impact of packaging on the environment will be recognised on the day.

The APCO Morning Tea will be held at 10am on 16 March at the APCO Office, Level 4, 332 Kent Street, Sydney.

More information can be found here.