Government representatives were out in full force at this year’s Waste 2018 to discuss the challenges facing kerbside recycling.
The challenge of higher density living and its effect on waste collection led Suez to explore novel solutions in the Australian refuse collection market, turning to Iveco’s customised Eurocargo ML140.
Stakeholders have largely welcomed the commitments made on Friday by state and territory ministers at April’s Meeting of Environment Ministers – with some suggestions.
Federal Government, state and territory ministers and the President of the Australian Local Government Association met on Friday to set a sustainable path for Australia’s recyclable waste, in the seventh Meeting of Environment Ministers. Taking action on recycled waste in the wake of China’s restrictions on imports was the focus of the meeting. Australia is one of over 100 countries affected by China’s new restrictions, affecting around 1.3 million tonnes of our recycled waste. Read the story on the outcomes of the meeting here.
Australia’s National Waste Policy will be updated by the end of this year to include circular economy principles, along with a target endorsed of 100 per cent Australian packaging being recyclable, compostable or reusable by 2025.
They pledged for new product stewardship schemes for photovoltaic solar panels and batteries, while also agreeing to explore waste to energy further and advocate using recycled materials in government procurement.
While making a number of pledges, ministers agreed to have a teleconference in mid-June to discuss progress on recycling, and to meet in late 2018 to further progress delivery of the commitments on Friday.
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SUEZ Australia & New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Mark Venhoek welcomed the government’s focus on making 100 per cent of products recyclable and re-useable by 2025. He noted that swift action and investment needs to be made to ensure that this goal is met.
“As a waste industry, we are falling behind globally and we require fast action to stimulate the local market for recycled and recovered products,” Mr Venhoek said.
“We support the government’s 100 per cent recycled packaging goal which will create a sustainable demand for these products, but believe that it should be mandatory that packaged products can be re-used.
“Collaboration to achieving this is key and without investment from government and a commitment from packaging manufacturers and industry working together, we will not achieve this goal.”
Mr Venhoek also welcomed the commitment from different levels of government to explore waste to energy projects and the support for the technology from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.
“Energy from waste technology is the missing link in the waste management hierarchy and waste infrastructure in Australia. After reduction, re-use and recycling, there is a crucial element: to recover the energetic value from waste,” he said.
Sustainability Victoria Chief Executive Officer Stan Krpan said leadership is crucial to ensuring we have a sustainable recycling industry that Australians can be proud of.
Mr Krpan said yesterday’s commitments align with the Victorian Government’s suite of waste strategies and programs that move the state toward a circular economy.
“Supporting our local recycling industry to move towards a circular economy is reflected in the ministers’ commitment to increasing our recycling capacity, advocating for the increased use of recycled material and creating targets for the use of recycled content in packaging,” he said.
“We are also encouraged the strong support of product stewardship schemes and the increasing in the procurement of recycled goods government and industry buy,” he said.
“Large procurements by government and companies can influence upstream design to reduce waste and packaging and trigger other innovations.”
ACOR Chief Executive Officer Pete Shmigel said the right chords have been struck by ministers about investing in recycling’s future, but we did not hear two very important sounds: implementation details and dollars in the till.
“The recycling industry welcomes commitments about ensuring recyclability of packaging products, buying recycled content products by governments, expanding domestic reprocessing capacity and developing a new national plan,” he said.
“However, today’s ministerial announcement lacks comprehensive targets for all measures, and consequences for underperformance, that make practice from theory.”
Mr Shmigel said pro-recycling policy principles are welcome, but pro-recycling positive action and investment is now to be expected.
“As ACOR, we look forward to working directly with the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to identify and facilitate a strengthened investment presence in resource recovery – including in an expedited timeframe. There are good projects that merit backing among our members.”
“As ACOR, we strongly question the timeframe given for products’ recyclability as packaging is getting more complex each day and resulting in greater contamination and community cost each day that passes. By 2025, millions of tonnes of potential contamination would have passed through the system without the producers of packaging taking greater responsibility for their decisions.
Mr Shmigel said similar commitments were given in the 2009 National Waste Policy and, on current timeframes, it will be 16 years by the time they have been realised, describing it as “truly mediocre”.
“Finally, further work is urgently needed at state levels to ensure that recyclate does not need to be disposed to landfill in the short-term.”
Waste Management Association of Australia (WMAA) Chief Executive Officer Gayle Sloan said it is extremely pleasing that the National Waste Strategy will be updated by the end of this year and WMAA looks forward to participating in this.
“The endorsement by Ministers of a target of 100 percent of Australian packaging being recyclable or reusable by 2025 is heartening, and we look forward to working with government to develop meaningful targets from at least 2020 to ensure that this actually achieved,” Ms Sloan said.
“Industry recalls targets set previously under the National Packaging Covenant that were never monitored or achieved, and once this failure was recognised it was just too late.”
Ms Sloan said while there was no new funding for recycling in Friday’s announcement, one thing WMAA will advocate to start immediately is government at all levels spending existing funds differently.
“Ministers must go much further than simply advocating for increased use of recycled materials in the goods that government and industry buy.
“With over 90 per cent of the community supporting recycling and the purchase of recycled products by government, government needs to hold itself to account and if it does not prioritise the use of recycled material, to report to the community why it does not, this should be the norm going forward, not the exception,” she said.
WMAA in a statement said the federal government must show leadership in this space and act now to grow demand for recycled products that can develop markets and jobs in both metropolitan and regional areas. For example, it said Commonwealth Federal Assistance Grants to local government should be predicated on councils using more recycled glass sand and not virgin sand.
“Industry absolutely recognises that there is a place for waste to energy in Australia as an alternate to landfill, and we support this technology. However, it cannot replace recycling and remanufacturing.”
Director of Boomerang Alliance Jeff Angel, which looks after 47 national, state and local groups, described the voluntary approach to recycled products as “weak.”
“Mandatory rules, as in Europe, are the only assured way to establish a stable and growing market to justify the investment into new manufacturing,” Mr Angel said.
“If we can have an enforceable renewable energy target, then we can have a similar system for recycled content. A lot of questions remain to be answered about the 100 per cent recyclable, compostable or reusable target including collection capacity – it’s not just about labels.”
Federal Government Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg on Friday said finding a solution to the 1.3 million tonnes of recyclable waste is an urgent and important issue which requires a coordinated approach from supply right through to demand.
“It is also an opportunity for Australia to develop its capabilities and capacity in recycling through effective cooperation and collaboration among the three levels of government,” he said.
A track record of high performing refuse vehicles has seen waste management company SUEZ turn to IVECO’s ACCO model to help service its latest contract in Brisbane.
SUEZ has been awarded Sydney’s Northern Beaches Council recycling and resource recovery contract run by Kimbriki.
The new contract will commence on 1 July 2019 and is valued at approximately $199 million over 10 years.
The Northern Beaches Council’s Mixed Solid Waste (red-bin) will firstly be delivered to Belrose Transfer Station and then sent to be processed at the Eastern Creek Advanced Resource Recovery Facility, owned and operated by Global Renewables under an exclusivity waste processing contract with SUEZ. The facility diverts household waste from landfill recovering recyclable materials and turning the organic fraction of the waste into compost.
“Our partnership with Northern Beaches Council will increase the recovery, reuse and recycling of resources and ultimately reduce the volume of waste disposed at landfill,” said Mark Venhoek, CEO of SUEZ Australia and New Zealand.
“We know that Northern Beaches’ residents care about their impact on the environment. We look forward to helping council meet its 70 per cent waste diversion target” Mr Venhoek said.
Kimbriki is a local waste management and resource recovery company owned by the Northern Beaches Council and Mosman Council.
SUEZ provides resource solutions to collect, recover and recycle waste into valuable new products and resources. In Australia, SUEZ collects 2.2 million tonnes of waste every year and diverts more than 1.2 million tonnes of waste from landfill.
Waste management company Suez has been awarded a contract with the City of Parramatta in Sydney, NSW.
A fleet of 33 waste and recycling trucks will be working with the City when the contract begins in November.
SUEZ will provide general waste collections as well as the processing and composting of garden organics to the City of Parramatta’s 230,000 residents.
The seven-year contract will include the collection of general waste, recycling, garden organics and hard waste services across the council area.
John Hassett, SUEZ State General Manager NSW & SA said SUEZ is looking forward to partnering with the City of Parramatta and providing a local waste management solution to a community that cares about its impact on the environment.
“We are excited to introduce SUEZ’s services to the City of Parramatta and we look forward to working towards providing resource recovery solutions from waste collection through to the processing and composting of garden organics.”
“We’ll be investing in 33 brand new Mercedes trucks with Euro 6 emission standards”
“Our real time reporting system and on-board computing system will also provide Council with access to detailed information such as GPS tracking, including maps of streets awaiting to be serviced.
“We are excited about the partnership with the City of Parramatta and look forward to working with them to meet their long-term sustainability and waste diversion targets,” Mr Hassett added.
Administrator for City of Parramatta Amanda Chadwick said Council will be working with SUEZ to achieve combined resource recovery goals.
“The City of Parramatta is committed to delivering great customer service and sustainable resource recovery outcomes to meet our target of 70 per cent diversion of waste from landfill by 2018. We look forward to SUEZ’s contribution in providing essential waste management services to our residents and their contribution in meeting our resource recovery goals,” Ms Chadwick said.
The City of Parramatta includes approximately 76,000 households and is situated 25 kilometeres west of Sydneys CBD. This multi-million dollar contract will commence on 6 November 2017.
In Australia, SUEZ collects 2.2 million tonnes of waste every year and diverts more than 1.2 million tonnes of waste from landfill.
SUEZ has retained its waste collection services contract with Brisbane City Council until 2033.
The $900 million contract will commence on 1 July 2018.
Mark Venhoek, CEO of SUEZ in Australia & New Zealand said SUEZ has been and will continue to provide general, recycling and green waste collections to 1.2 million local residents in the greater Brisbane area.
“Brisbane City Council’s waste collection operation is the largest in Australia, providing services to households from multi-unit dwellings through to rural properties in the outer suburbs as well as Council parks and street litter bins across the city,” said Mr Venhoek.
“We look forward to our ongoing partnership with Brisbane City Council and providing a safe, reliable and efficient collection service to one of Australia’s fastest growing capital cities. It takes a team of 180 people to provide more than 125,000 waste collection services every day and we’re proud to continue this work,” he said.
SUEZ said it will invest more than $50 million into new equipment, including 150 new collection vehicles. The vehicles will feature on-board computing technology, which will provide Council with the real-time tracking of vehicles, collections and access to detailed service information on the services being provided to residents.
A new body working to create a cohesive national vision for Australia’s waste management industry, the National Waste and Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC) has officially formed, following the first meeting of its executive in Sydney on February 13.
NWRIC has received support from Australia’s largest waste management companies – and has begun operations.
The Council will be empowered to begin its work thanks to the support of its national members – Alex Fraser Group, Cleanaway, J. J. Richards and Sons, Solo Resource Recovery, Suez, Toxfree, Remondis, ResourceCo and Veolia.
“The waste and recycling industry needs a national voice to advocate for a fair, sustainable and prosperous industry for all stakeholders,” said Phil Richards, Chairman of the NWRIC’s host association Board.
“Australia’s waste management industry is an essential service, and through the NWRIC, we will be asking the Commonwealth along with State Governments to support our initiatives to take the industry forward.”
The NWRIC will serve waste management enterprises by creating industry led policy. The Council will be led by newly appointed CEO Max Spedding, and supported by Secretariat manager Alex Serpo.
The NWRIC will work in close partnership with jurisdictional affiliates. This partnership will allow the Council to represent and canvas concerns from many of Australia’s 450 small and medium sized waste management enterprises. Together, state affiliates and the national office will coordinate to create, and advocate for, cohesive national policy.
From today, the Council will commence working to create, share and build support for policy positions which will move the industry forward. Initial areas of focus include better planning, a fair market, the national harmonisation of the regulations governing the industry and effective policing of standards.
The Council welcomes media enquiries, dialogue with waste management companies seeking involvement in the NWRIC and feedback from stakeholders.
South Australia’s Waste and Resource Recovery Infrastructure Plan launched this past October for consultation. Suez’s State Manager – Paul Haslam – offers his insights.