Paintback opens landmark amount of collection sites

The Paintback product stewardship scheme has opened its 100th collection site as 10 new sites are launched across Queensland, Victoria and South Australia.

A 15 cent a litre levy on paint products helps support the scheme, which aims to reduce the amount of pain and containers which end up in landfills.

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Paintback repurposes valuable materials into recycled packaging, alternative energy fuel and water resources. It also helps fund research on new methods of recycling unwanted paint waste.

The scheme is backed by companies such as Dulux, Taubmans, Haymes, Resene, Rust-Oleum and Wattyl, and accounts for more than 95 per cent of all architectural and decorative paint sold in Australia.

“We now have 34 sites in Queensland and 30 sites in Victoria where there’s very strong support for the concept.” Ms Gomez said.

Paintback Chief Executive Officer Karen Gomez said Australians throw away 15 million kilograms of unused paint with containers every year

“Since we began a little over two years ago, we’ve been able to collect in excess of 6 million kilograms for safe disposal,” she said.

Paintback accepts a range of decorative and architectural paints, stains and varnishes secured in their original containers op up to 20 litres.

SA EPA disrupts illegal waste operations

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) South Australia, with the assistance of South Australia Police (SAPOL), the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) and local government have disrupted illegal waste operations in late May.

The crackdown involved a number of search warrants executed at businesses and residential premises across metropolitan and regional SA in relation to the illegal activities.

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EPA Chief Executive Tony Circelli said this has been a complex investigation with significant outcomes and serves as a warning to those who operate illegally in the waste industry

“The lawful South Australian waste industry provides an essential service for our community and businesses managing around 4.5 million tonnes of waste annually and being responsible for around 5,000 jobs. The legitimate industry works to meet required environmental standards and supports our leading recycling culture,” Mr Circelli said.

“The EPA is committed to maintaining confidence in existing and planned investments by ensuring that unlawful operations are brought to account and do not undercut sound operations.”

Mr. Circelli said the four-month long investigation involved extensive surveillance and resources, and required the EPA to draw on special powers warrants introduced in 2017.

“This law allows the EPA to better regulate waste generated from construction, demolition and earthworks to ensure appropriate and safe transport and disposal,” he said.

The investigation identified more than 1000 tonnes of construction and demolition waste, including material containing asbestos.

“This operation is a great demonstration of the new powers and collaboration across multiple agencies working together to target the illegal operators and support the legitimate waste industry,” Mr Circelli said.

The Waste and Recycling Industry Association of SA (WRISA) President Jim Fairweather said there is no place in the waste, recycling and resource recovery industry for illegal or poor-quality operators that tarnish the reputation of the industry.

“WRISA supports the work of the EPA in upholding environmental standards and licence conditions as steps towards helping to maintain a waste and recycling industry that has the public’s confidence,” Mr Fairweather said.

SA EPA begin Operation Cover-Up

The SA Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has begun a targeted operation on truck drivers who aren’t properly covering their waste in transport.

Operation Cover-Up has observed 25 travelling on Port Wakefield Road on the first day of action, all of which were found to be compliant.

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SA EPA Acting Manager Investigations and Waste Tania Kiley said it is promising that these transporters are adhering to the law.

“This is a positive sign that truck drivers and waste companies are getting the message. Failing to properly cover waste while transporting material to waste management facilities poses a health and safety risk to the community,” Ms Kiley said.

“The type of waste found in waste vehicles includes demolition material amongst other waste items.”

“This can create a hazard for other road uses, the community, and can also lead to waste ending up in our stormwater and local waterways,” she said.

The maximum penalty for the offence is $30,000 or an expiation fee of $160.

“The EPA will be continuing Operation Cover-Up in coming weeks and those that do not comply with their obligations under the Environment Protection Act will be issued an expiation notice,” Ms Kiley said.

“We began our operation on Port Wakefield Road this year in response to numerous community complaints about litter on public roadways,” she said.

“Other areas across metropolitan Adelaide will also be targeted to ensure compliance with general waste transport provisions of the Environment Protection (Waste to Resources) Policy 2010,” she said.

The SA EPA has encouraged anyone who sees transporters failing to cover their load while travelling, to call the EPA Hotline on 08 8204 2004.

SA plan for future of waste management

The SA Government has revealed a 30-year plan for the future of the waste and resource recovery industry in the state, estimating almost 5000 jobs could emerge in the future.

The Waste Resource and Recovery Infrastructure Plan outlines a pathway for the industry and will attempt to guide SA with metropolitan and regional profiles. It aims to pave the way for the state to exceed its 81.5 per cent diversion from landfill figure.

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It also aims to increase the amount of waste diverted from landfill and analyse the unique needs, opportunities and challenges facing communities.

New infrastructure is also planned to be developed, including transport and processing equipment, bins, covered compost facilities, monitoring technology, training, market development, and integrated waste data systems.

Projections for future trends within the plan include both a 10 and 30-year scenario. According to the 30-year estimate, the plan could deliver an additional $660.5 million in gross state product and about 4969 full-time-equivalent jobs.

Currently, the waste and resource recovery industry has an annual turnover of $1 billion, contributes $500 million to the GSP, and employs 5000 people across the state.

SA Sustainability, Environment and Conservation Minister Ian Hunter said the SA Government is looking to further build their already successful and growing industry.

“This plan provides a vision where waste is managed as a resource through re-use and recycling, energy recovery is limited to non-recyclable materials and landfill is virtually eliminated,” he said.

“The transition to a more sustainable circular economy requires innovation along with investment and development of new infrastructure and technology to enhance resource efficiency and create business opportunities both locally and overseas.”

“I encourage the public and private sectors to continue to lead the way to a more sustainable future for our State through continued investment in this important sector of our economy.”

You can read the Waste and Resource Recovery Infrastructure Plan here. 

 

Winner of Green Industries SA Women in Waste Award announced

Waste consultant Kat Heinrich has won the annual Green Industries SA Women in Waste Award for her contributions to SA’s waste industry.

Ms Heinrich, a senior consultant for Rawtec, has delivered a range of projects to help with resource efficiency, disaster waste management, state waste accounting and waste infrastructure planning.

The award, established in memory of Pam Keating, includes $5000 to assist with travel, accommodation and conference costs, and mentoring from a senior woman executive in the industry.

SA Environment Minister Ian Hunter said he was delighted to present the award to Ms Heinrich.

“Kat’s new project will address the global issue of food waste by investigating best-practices in Denmark, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and the United States and using this research to drive a step change in food waste reduction and recovery in SA,” Mr Hunter said.

“Congratulations to Kat for her dedication and vision to further SA’s reputation as leader in recycling and resource recovery.”

Ms Heinrich has recently started a blog to share best practices in food waste management from cities globally.

“I am passionate about addressing food waste, which is a significant issue globally, and through this award aim to stimulate a step-wise change in SA,” she said.

“While SA leads the country in waste and resource recovery practices, food waste particularly in the household stream, remains a significant challenge and opportunity for the state.

“Addressing food waste is an important step in transitioning SA to a more circular economy through compost production or other beneficial interventions.”

She said the project will identify potential initiatives that may help SA to take this next step to reduce food waste.

SA Government’s response to China waste ban

The SA Government has allocated $300,000 in grant funding to recycling businesses, in a bid to strengthen the local market.

It follows the recent Chinese international waste bans, which saw a crackdown on imports of 24 different types of solid waste from Japan, USA, Australia and other source countries.

China’s National Sword Program and import restrictions have impacted the South Australian recycling industry that relied on exporting material such as scrap plastics, metals, paper, cardboard and textiles overseas.

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The Recycling Market Development Grants Programme, funded through statutory body Green Industries SA, aims to assist businesses to invest in activities that will overcome market barriers to accepting products with recycled-content.

Sustainability, Environment and Conservation Minister Ian Hunter said the grants are a timely aid to bolstering SA recycling businesses.

“Strengthening the local market and secondary re-manufacturing industry will also develop our economy and act as a buffer against the risks associated with selling into overseas commodity markets,” he said.

“Equally important is the need to improve market confidence in using recycled-material products as a viable option so eligible activities for funding include those which validate the quality and performance of local recycled materials or recycled-content products and develop new or expand existing markets for such products.”

Examples of activities that are eligible for the grant include testing product quality to improve the local market’s confidence in recycled products, and developing or expanding existing markets for them.

 

SA Government commits to wastewater infrastructure

The South Australian Government will commit $4 million per annum to help councils build wastewater treatment systems.

The $47 million funding agreement will allow regional communities to access new community wastewater management systems.

The Minister for Local Government Geoff Brock and Local Government Association (LGA) President Lorraine Rosenberg co-signed the partnership agreement, which commits $4 million of state government funds indexed annually to the program.

The program supports councils to build modern wastewater treatment systems that address critical public health and environmental needs, and provide the necessary infrastructure for those communities to pursue economic development opportunities.

The funding allows councils to deliver the service at a cost equivalent to that which SA Water users pay.

The CWMS program provides funds to the LGA to support the installation of new communal wastewater management systems in regional towns where urban sewer systems are not provided by SA Water.

Local Government currently operates 172 community wastewater management systems in 45 councils and authorities across the state.

Over the past decade, the state government has allocated more than $38 million with local communities contributing more than $20 million since the inception of the current funding agreement in July 2008.

The combined $58.5 million state government and community investment in the CWMS over the past decade has resulted in more than 3000 connections to 11 new wastewater treatment facilities in South Australia.

South Australia strengthens its EPA with new Act

The South Australian Government has strengthened its Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) with the passing of its Environment Protection (Waste Reform) Amendment Act 2017.

The new legislation is part of a suite of measures to ensure a level playing field across the waste industry and provide the right settings to protect the environment.

The changes provide the Environment Protection Authority with greater powers to better tackle illegal dumping and excessive stockpiling as well as supporting innovative resource recovery. The powers allow the EPA to take more timely and proportionate actions to deal with licence breaches.

The Act permits the EPA to apply to a judge of the Supreme Court for a warrant in an illegal dumping investigation by marking waste in vehicles, installing GPS devices and installing cameras in specific premises or vehicles.

“The warrant can be taken to authorise the senior authorised officer to enter or interfere with any premises, vehicle or thing as reasonably required to exercise the powers specified in the warrant,” the Act says.

The EPA can also issue an environment protection order to prevent or minimise environmental harm or deal with stockpiled or abandoned waste or other matter. Unauthorised stockpiling can occur where facilities exceed maximum allowable limits imposed by the Act.

The amendments were developed following a two-year engagement program with waste and resource recovery sector, the broader community and across government.

The government estimates the South Australian waste and resource recovery sector is a $1 billion industry and employs around 5000 people.

Environment Minister Ian Hunter said the EPA has a strong focus on the illegal dumping of commercial level or hazardous waste, with dedicated investigations staff. The new powers will build on existing EPA powers to support the agency in successfully identifying and taking action against illegal dumping.

Improved deterrence aims to assist in reducing the significant costs each year in cleaning up illegally dumped waste.

National radioactive waste management facility tenders open

Tenders have opened for site characterisation works on a national radioactive waste management facility.

The tender forms part of phase two of the proposed facility, with three sites voluntarily nominated in South Australia, including two in the rural service town of Kimba and one at Wallerberdina, near the Flinders Ranges.

The national radioactive waste management facility will consolidate Australia’s radioactive waste holdings, which are currently spread across more than 100 locations around the country.

Bruce McCleary, General Manager of the national radioactive waste management facility taskforce said that site characterisation is an important activity in the next part of the project.

Mr McCleary said that site characterisation involves looking in detail at all aspects of each site, and understanding whether they fit the technical criteria to be a suitable location.

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“Phase two involves building a detailed understanding of the nominated sites, through in depth community consultation and technical assessments,” he said.

“Community consultation is now well underway, including appointment of locally engaged officers and establishment of site offices at both sites, creation of committees and working groups, and regular visits from members of the project team and experts to provide information on the project.”

Phase two of the project involves assessing flora and fauna, geology and seismic risks; inputting into the detailed business case, with reference to site specific design and cost estimates, and an additional option for the preparation and development of submissions for licensing and approvals.

McCleary said this second phase of the process at all three sites will be underway until the end of next year. For more information head to www.tenders.gov.au

The tender closes 28 November 2017, at 3:00 pm (ACT Local Time).