Fight Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre launches

A new national research effort is aiming to reduce food waste in all stages of the product, from production to final disposal.

The $133 million Fight Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre program is a partnership between 57 industry and research participants from Australia and internationally.

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Food waste costs Australia $20 billion a year, with significant amounts of it being sent to landfill.

To reduce food waste throughout the value chain, the Fight Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre aims to transform unavoidable waste into high value products and engage with the industry and consumers to deliver behavioural change.

Sustainability Victoria (SV) Chief Executive Officer Stan Krpan said $150,000 from SV’s Love Food Hate Waste program will be used to fund research on consumer behaviours concerning food waste and reducing food waste in the supply chain.

“As Victoria is one of the nation’s major food producers and processors, this is a particularly important issue,” Mr Kpran said.

“The CRC ticks boxes in terms of how we can do more to efficiently produce and process food and deal with waste,

“The University of Melbourne’s 2016 Melbourne Foodprint report found Melbournians wasted more than 200kg of food per person every year. It‘s not just a waste of resources along the food production and processing chain; it’s a major producer of greenhouses gas emissions as the food decomposes,” he said.

Mr Krpan said the project would help primary producers, food processors, retailers, food rescue agencies and technology and service providers.

“It will also help local government to contain the cost of operating landfills and long-term, that’s good for everyone. It will also reinforce Sustainability Victoria’s work to reduce the production of waste or all types.”

“There are many opportunities to develop and use products derived from primary production that is otherwise wasted.

“We already have a composting industry which uses some food waste, and there is the potential to feed it into digesters which breaks it down, creates gas to drive electricity and reduces what goes to landfill,” Mr Kpran said.

Recycling Industry Transition Support grants open: SV

Victoria’s recycling industry has been provided a $1 million funding package as part of the state Government’s response to China’s National Sword policy.

The move is part of the Victorian Government’s $13 million package towards councils and industry to support the ongoing collection of household recyclable waste.

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Funding will be available to companies that recover and reprocess plastics, paper and cardboard, with work needing to be completed within one year of signing with Sustainability Victoria.

Funding will be available for:

  • Infrastructure, equipment and process upgrades at Material Recovery Facilities to support greater sorting of paper and plastic
  • Infrastructure and equipment upgrades to process paper, cardboard and rigid plastic (wash, granulate, pelletise) to allow material to be used by domestic manufactures and allow for re-entry to export markets
  • Storage and consolidation infrastructure (sheds/shipping containers/temporary cover) to allow for the short-term safe storage of recovered paper, cardboard and plastic while processing capacity and/or end markets is developed.

Sustainability Victoria CEO Stan Krpan said grants of between $50,000 and $500,000 were available on a 1:1 funding ratio to Victorian-based projects that recover, handle and process plastics, paper and cardboard waste.

“The Recycling Industry Transition Support grants will help to fast-track development of new infrastructure that improves the quality of recovered plastics, paper and cardboard,” Mr Krpan said.

Mr Krpan said project proposals for work costing more than $1m would also be considered as Victoria had many opportunities to expand its recycling sector.

“If there are projects that exceed the million-dollar funding envelope, we also want to hear about them.”

“China’s policy change is serious, but it gives us an opportunity to more-quickly expand our reprocessing capacity and improve the quality of the end-product so it can be made into new products.

“In the 2015/16 financial year, councils collected 590,000 tonnes of recyclables and recycled 95 per cent of this was recycled, but with a growing population we need to look for ways to recycle a greater range of products, not just from households, but across the wider community.”

Mr Kpran said there are many opportunities to build on Victoria’s long-established recycling and re-processing sector which provides the raw material for paper and cardboard, many types of plastic, metal, and glass products.

“Board rooms and investors are also looking for commercial projects that demonstrate their sustainability credentials and reduce risks in their supply chains,” he said.

“Despite the current market volatility, smart, responsible investment and the ongoing maturation of our resource recovery sector and emerging markets for our waste, we should look forward with confidence.”

Applications for the first round of the of Recycling Industry Transition Support grants close on 8 May 2018.

Glass and plastics could be used to help build footpaths

End-of-life plastics and glass fines could soon be used in the construction of footpaths instead of going to landfill, according to a new study from the Swinburne University of Technology.

The research found plastics and glass fines could be incorporated into concrete footpaths while still meeting the standard requirements, and without compromising the mechanical properties.

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It is estimated that approximately 100,000 tonnes of flexible plastics end up in landfill each year, and only 48 per cent of glass waste is recovered for recycling, according to Sustainability Victoria.

The next step for this project is to include local governments and industries to increase the amount of recycled content in footpath construction.

“The use of recovered plastics and glass fines in concrete footpaths will divert significant quantities of these materials from landfill, while reducing the demand for virgin construction materials,” said Swinburne University of Technology’s Dr Yat Choy Wong.

This research project is one of seven projects that investigate new ways to increase the use of recovered class and flexible plastics.

South Melbourne Market wins sustainability award

The South Melbourne Market has been recognised for its recycling efforts by the Institute of Public Administration Australia’s (IPAA) Victoria Environmental Sustainability Award.

The market also won the equally prestigious Environmental Sustainability Award at the 2017 LGPro Awards for Excellence.

Port Phillip Council owns and manages the popular South Melbourne Market, and both awards were for the market’s innovative organic waste systems.

The market’s role in recycling tonnes of food, vegetable and other waste is reducing both costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

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The market’s award-winning waste program includes two processes that recycle organic waste – a vermicomposting worm farm project and the installation of a GaiaRecycle machine that heats and dehydrates organic material.

This has seen more than a 90 per cent reduction in organic waste volume at the market and spawned the production of two nutrient-rich, garden fertiliser products sold at the market.

The market’s recycling efforts has led to the processing 400 cubic metres of green waste in 2016/17 (equivalent to 22 garbage trucks) through the worm farm. Market Magic is a mix of worm faeces and mushroom compost which is sold at the market.

An onsite bottle crusher processes 15 tonnes of glass a year, and the Gaia recycling unit turns 8.4 tonnes of food and waste into compost every week which then gets sold at the market.

Polystyrene boxes are compressed into bricks which are made into a wide range of plastic products, including CD cases, coat hangers, picture frames, toys, and pens, stapler bodies and rulers. Some are used as alternatives to wood for products, such as interior decorative mouldings, or hollow foam blocks, that can be filled with concrete to form walls with better sound and thermal characteristics than conventional concrete blocks.

SecondBite also collect leftover fresh food from the market and redistribute it to people in need. Last year, the market gave nearly 24 tonnes of fresh food, which could feed nearly 50,000 people.

The IPAA award was sponsored by statutory authority – Sustainability Victoria.

“As community expectations about environmental sustainability grows and waste disposal costs rise, it’s clear that the South Melbourne’s market is hitting the mark on both counts,” Sustainability Victoria CEO Stan Krpan said.

“The South Melbourne Market’s comprehensive program could be applied to other markets and shopping centres, not just in Melbourne, but around Australia.”

“The City of Port Phillip, market management and the businesses that operate there are doing a great job to reduce the amount of waste going to landfills, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and helping vulnerable people in the community.”

Port Phillip Council Mayor Bernadene Voss said the award-winning systems were proving it was possible to successfully divert organic waste from landfill at such a large scale.

“Our market is the first retail market in Australia to adopt this technology and the results really are outstanding,” Cr Voss said. “Thanks to our twin award-winning projects, we’re already diverted from landfill about 950 tonnes of green and food waste.

“Shoppers here can take a bow too, because when they choose produce here, they automatically divert more on-site organic waste from landfill. Our stallholders also deserve praise because they’ve fully supported this innovative waste management program and helped us deliver the widespread benefits.”

“I would like to congratulate Port Phillip Council for their excellent project that pushed the boundaries and demonstrated what success in public administration looks like,” said The Institute of Public Administration Victoria CEO David Ali.

“These awards are one of the few opportunities we have as a sector to acknowledge the ‘wins’ and the people who strive for excellence across our state.”

Stan Krpan returns as head of Sustainability Victoria

Stan Krpan has returned to statutory authority Sustainability Victoria as Chief Executive officer after spending five months as head of the Victorian Cladding Taskforce.

Mr Krpan said he was pleased to be back at Sustainability Victoria and looked forward to re-connecting with his colleagues, stakeholders and the industry to deliver on its SV2020 strategy, which works towards a sustainable, low emissions Victoria.

He thanked his colleagues Jonathon Leake, Carl Muller and Stephanie Ziersch who acted as Interim CEO during his absence.

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In early July, Mr Krpan accepted the secondment as Chief Executive Officer of a taskforce to investigate the extent of non-compliant cladding on Victorian buildings.

The taskforce assessed more than 1400 Victorian buildings, with all of them declared safe to occupy despite 220 buildings not complying with regulations. The taskforce will continue its work to ensure buildings are rectified.

Mr Krpan returned to Sustainability Victoria as CEO on Monday.

He said his experience at the taskforce had been rewarding as they worked to deliver recommendations to the Victorian Government on how to improve compliance and enforcement of building regulations to better protect building occupants.

“It was rewarding to work collaboratively across government authorities, key agencies, including fire engineers and industry professionals, to deliver a thorough, timely and practical approach to this issue,” Mr Krpan said.

Mr Krpan said his time at the taskforce had given him the chance to reflect on all the good work Sustainability Victoria had been doing in his absence.

“The leadership team did a fantastic job. There have been some learnings along the way which I can take back to my role at Sustainability Victoria. I look forward to leading the organisation once again as we deliver on our clear direction of helping Victorians take action on climate change and use resources wisely,” he said.

 

New directors for Sustainability Victoria

Three new Directors have been appointed to join the Sustainability Victoria executive leadership team.

Stan Krpan, Chief Executive Officer at Sustainability Victoria, welcomed the appointment of Katie Pahlow as Director of Communications and Marketing; Warren Overton as Director of Business and Built Environment; and Stephanie Ziersch as Director of Communities and Climate Change.

The new directors will lead the organisation through the next phase of the delivery of the SV2020 strategy – which focuses on working with the Victorian community to take action on climate change, energy, materials efficiency and waste.

“I’m pleased to announce that we have now filled these three important roles in our executive leadership team and continue to deliver our SV2020 strategy,” Mr Krpan said.

“We recognised that in order to maximise our impact and reach our communications and engagement functions, this required executive leadership.

“With a new structure in place, we can focus on the needs of key stakeholder groups, deliver new programs in climate change and energy, and maintain our leadership in statewide waste and resource recovery.

“We have also combined our waste planning and programs divisions which will be led by Jonathan Leake as Director. This new integrated division will focus on implementing the strategic direction of the SWRRIP and Victoria’s resource recovery strategies,” Mr Krpan said.

Carl Muller will continue in his role as Director of Corporate Services.

Katie Pahlow joins the team with a background in community engagement for the Governor of Victoria. Prior to that, Ms Pahlow served as Director of Communications at Zoos Victoria, bringing executive leadership on behaviour change campaigns, integrated marketing, brand building and customer focus. Her ‘Don’t Palm Us Off’ campaign about orangutans and the palm oil industry won the 2011 Banksia Award. Ms Pahlow has qualifications in zoology science and education.

Warren Overton leaves behind his role as Chief Executive Officer at the Australian Glass and Glazing Association where he played a key role in helping to develop the Green Star rating tool. He has extensive experience in government and consulting, and has delivered multi-million dollar sustainability programs at ANU. Mr Overton has qualifications in geological science and project management.

Stephanie Ziersch joins the team after previously working at the Department of Water, Environment and Natural Resources in South Australia where she served as Director of Climate Change Projects. She brings 20 years of experience in senior climate change leadership including developing South Australia’s Climate Adaptation Plan, low carbon strategy and stakeholder engagement. Ms Ziersch has qualifications in law, international law, and international relations.

Pictured: Stan Krpan, Chief Executive Officer at Sustainability Victoria.