Industry input sought for VWMA economic report

Victorian waste and recycling companies are being called on to contribute to an industry report on the economic and social contributions the sector provides.

The report, commissioned by the Victorian Waste Management Association (VWMA), aims to provide specific metrics the waste and recycling industry generates for local, regional and national communities.

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It will also aim to help improve communication between the industry, government and community to help build confidence and trust in the sector.

The VWMA aims to highlight the importance the environmental and health benefits of the sector to the community as well as the economic contributions from jobs and investment.

Queensland Economic Advocacy Solutions Economist Nick Behrens is working with VWMA to complete the project, which is similar to work carried out in Queensland and currently in the Northern Territory.

A survey is currently open until 14 September to gather data to create anonymous, aggregated high level industry statistics which will be drawn upon to prepare various positions, communications and policy formation in the future.

The survey also includes questions about insurance to, general questions about government guidance and accessing government support.

VWMA Executive Officer Mark Smith said it is important for the waste sector to come together and start to shape its own story for the government.

“An important element in that story involves the contribution made to the Victorian economy,” Mr Smith said.

“Most industry sectors publish their own data sets and reports into economic contribution and employee numbers to communicate and express their importance to local and state government and to the community. It is important our industry does the same.

“With an election this year and a new four year-term state government elected, this report will be a useful resource for our sector in advocating for industry support, regional development and regulatory and insurance challenges into the future.”

To complete the survey, click here. Results are anticipated to be released in the first week of October 2018.

Nominations open for VTA’s Freight Industry Awards 2018

Nominations are now open for the Waste and Recycling Award as part of the Victorian Transport Association’s (VTA) Freight Industry Awards 2018.

The Awards recognise achievements across a range of categories, with the winners to be announces on the evening of the event.

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Seven awards are available, which include the Waste and recycling Award, Investment in People Award, Best Practice Safety Award, Application of Technology Award, Female Leadership in Transport, Young Achiever of the Year Award and the Personality of the Year Award.

Tickets to the event cost $300 (excluding GST), with a table of 10 costing $2800 (excluding GST).

Victorian Waste Management Association Executive Officer Mark Smith said the awards recognise the essential and great work of the sector.

“This award acknowledges the close relationship between the VTA and the VWMA and recognises implementation of a policy or program and / or technology innovation that improves sustainability,” Mr Smith said.

The event will be held on 1 September at the Palladium Ballroom at Crown in Melbourne.

The deadline for entries is Friday 17 August.

For more information and to book tickets, click here.

VWMA 2018 State Conference wrap-up

This year’s Victorian Waste Management Association State Conference addressed all the key issues impacting the state’s waste and resource recovery sector, including changes to the EP Act and the government’s stockpiling taskforce.

This year’s Victorian Waste Management Association State Conference addressed all the key issues impacting the state’s waste and resource recovery sector, including changes to the EP Act and the government’s stockpiling taskforce.

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VWMA announces package to tackle rising insurance

The Victorian Waste Management Association (VWMA) is developing a package to support members in the face of rising legal and insurance costs across the country.

Launched at this week’s VWMA State Conference, the conference saw attendees which included Victorian Government Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio who addressed delegates about the government’s waste agenda, including the recently announced $37 million Recycling Industry Strategic Plan, the broader challenges for the sector and Environment Protection Authority reform.

In a statement, the VWMA said it was responding to member’s concerns on staggering increases to insurance premiums and navigating the increasingly complex and changing regulatory environment. It said it had begun work to develop a package of support to tackle rising insurance costs for their members.

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“Experts across a range of disciplines including regulation, social research, insurance and communications and marketing endorse an approach led by associations and speak to the benefits in tackling these challenges as a collective, which is one of the ways industry associations can provide greatest benefit to its members,” the statement said.

“Currently, the sector is reacting to the changing regulatory environment around fire risk and management. However the VWMA proposes to build capacity and capability across the sector so that collectively these risks can be managed together. It will be an approach that is about translating the complicated regulatory environment to “what does this mean for my business or my site?”.

The package will include four core components:

Training, tools and resources:

  • Focused on building the capability and capacity of VWMA members to identify and manage risks at their sites. This will include fit for purposes approaches based on the size, material types or other considerations specific to a site.

Information, webinars and access to experts:

  • Provide information, workshops and webinars on topics and issues of relevance or emerging threats/challenges to the sector.

Legal packages:

  • Ongoing support around legal compliance to help navigate an increasingly complicated regulatory environment.

Communication and engagement package:

  • Engagement with stakeholders outside the sector about what we are doing to tackle issues around stockpiling and fire management, including engagement with insurance companies, landlords and industrial parks.

VWMA Executive Officer Mark Smith said the state conference heard from insurance experts who advocated for industry approaches to the challenges facing the sector.

“Rising insurance costs are currently a universal problem plaguing operators across the country,” Mr Smith said.

“We do have a path forward on how we can tackle these problems. The role of the association over the coming months will be to socialise and build support for the package and we are keen to hear from anyone who wants to add value to this discussion.”

Mr Smith said the VWMA has been engaged with other state associations and the National Waste and Recycling Industry Council around this package and received support for the proposal.

“If successful, the package is something that could be rolled out nationally, benefiting waste and recycling operators in other states. Perceptions are that we don’t manage stockpiles effectively, which we don’t believe is true. These are complicated problems and many stakeholders outside our sector have a role to play, including landlords, councils and insurance companies. We need talk and work with others to change perceptions of our sector. This package is going to meaningfully start those conversations,” he said.

“We are optimistic the government sees value in industry-led approaches to tackling these challenges. It’s about a shared responsibility and we’ll take this formally through relevant government agencies.”

Pictured: VWMA President Chris Ryan, Victorian Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio and VWMA Executive Officer Mark Smith.

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.”

VWMA and EPA VIC host Industry Breakfast

The Victorian Waste Management Association (VWMA) and Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Victoria is hosting an Industry Breakfast.

The breakfast is open to all VWMA members and non-members and will include speakers from the RSM group and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) Director of Economics, Governance and Waste Ian Campbell-Fraser. EPA Victoria Chief Executive Officer Nial Finegan will also be presenting.

Topics that will be covered during the breakfast include risk appetite, a government update on the $13M National Sword package, recycling taskforce and e-waste, and how the EPA can help guide those in the industry.

It will provide an opportunity to meet others in the waste sector, engage with government, and discuss some of the important issues affecting the sector.

A hot plated breakfast is included, along with networking opportunities and presentations.

The VWMA & EPA INDUSTRY BREAKFAST takes place on Thursday 26 April, from 7:30am to 9am at the RACV Club Bayside Room 5 and 501 Bourke St, Melbourne.

To register, visit the website here.

EPA/The Department of Land, Water and Planning will be hosting an event at the same venue and location following the breakfast:

EPA Combustible Recyclable and Waste Materials Guidelines Workshop:

The Department of Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is leading the development of the permanent legislative instrument to manage combustible wastes in Victoria. Concurrently, EPA Victoria are conducting a review of the Management and Storage of Combustible Recyclable and Waste Materials – Guideline, Publication 1667.1. EPA and DELWP are consulting with industry, government and community April-June 2018.

EPA Victoria would like to hear from those involved storing, transporting or processing combustible recyclable and waste materials such as at a resource recovery, materials recycling or reprocessing facility.

You can participate in the EPA Workshop on 26 April to discuss the management and storage of combustible recyclable and waste materials. You will need to register separately for EPA’s via eventbrite: https://combustiblerecycling.eventbrite.com.au

 

VWMA calls for bin auditing standards

The Victorian Waste Management Association (VWMA) will be calling on state government agencies and appropriate local government organisations to develop a consistent set of standards for bin auditing.

It hopes the standards will also engage with the community and waste industry.

The VWMA notes what can ultimately be recycled is largely dependent on how we decide to generate and dispose of waste. It notes bin audits are a standard practice that enable efficient assessment of kerbside recycling progress.

The VWMA believes the Victorian Government needs to play a greater role in advocating to the public the importance of the waste and recycling sector to help restore public confidence in the system.

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Local governments across Australia carry out auditing of bins as a standard practice to better understand what is being recycled and what is contaminating recycling bins. Auditing is sometimes managed by local government directly, outsourced to a waste contractor or carried out by a third party. The VWMA believes this standard practice provides insights into the areas for waste education and highlights common misconceptions around recycling that can be targeted by future programs and campaigns. However, the organisation argues a lack of community understanding on this practice and waste management more broadly is fuelling a wave of negativity that is eroding public confidence.

“Recycling correctly is still one of the easiest things Victorians can do to help the environment and the economy. But we don’t always get it right,” said VWMA Executive Officer Mark Smith, adding that bin audits are an easy and cost-effective way to gauge recycling outcomes.

“Fear mongering and fuelling the fire around this topic is not constructive and does a disservice to the community and may ultimately drive costs up for residents.”