New WA Waste Authority board

Western Australian Environment Minister Stephen Dawson has announced a new five-member Waste Authority board.

The board is tasked with guiding the Waste Authority’s implementation of the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030, while driving key programs and offering advice to Mr Dawson.

Former WA Chamber of Minerals and Energy CEO Reg Howard-Smith has been appointed Waste Authority chairperson, while Workpower CEO Lee Broomhall has been appointed deputy chairperson.

“There was an extremely strong field of applicants, so I’m pleased to welcome the team of people who will help realise the state government’s vision to reuse or recycle at least 75 per cent of waste generated in WA by 2030,” Mr Dawson said.

“I look forward to working with these five talented people, who bring a wide range of experience to this board – including shaping strategic direction and policy, urban sustainability, project and waste management and exposure to the local government and planning sectors.”

Bloodwood Tree Association CEO Kelly Howlett, Southern Metropolitan Regional Council CEO Tim Youé and Josh Byrne & Associates Director Joshua Byrne have been appointed board members.

“I would like to thank outgoing chairperson Marcus Geisler, who has played an instrumental role on the board since 2008, outgoing deputy chairperson Jenny Bloom and the other outgoing members Victoria Bond, Neil Foley and Glen McLeod,” Mr Dawson said.

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WA awards waste avoidance and recovery grants

More than $2.29 million has been allocated between 28 projects for waste avoidance and recovery in Western Australia, as part of the latest round of Community and Industry Engagement grants.

Western Australian Environment Minister Stephen Dawson, who announced the recipients earlier this week, said awarded projects were selected following an independent panel assessment of 90 applications.

“The community shift to treating waste as a resource shows we are well on our way to owning our impact,” Mr Dawson said.

“In our waste strategy released earlier this year, the state government was clear that we want at least 75 per cent of waste generated to be reused or recycled by 2030.”

Selected projects were broken up into two streams, with awards for the general stream including $93,000 for the Western Australia plastic processing plant and $81,450 for a Mindarie regional council FOGO trial.

Infrastructure stream grants include $114,000 for the reuse and recycle shop baler upgrade and $310,000 for the Old Quarry Road transfer station and reuse shop.

According to Mr Dawson, funding decisions were made to improve the recovery and reuse of focus materials from the WA Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030 including plastic, glass, construction and demolition and FOGO.

“A number of grant recipients have received funding to develop WA’s plastics recycling capacity, including two grants to Greenbatch for reprocessing equipment and education facilities, and a grant to Precious Plastics Margaret River for a community recycling project in the south west,” Mr Dawson said.

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WA releases CDS planning statement

The Western Australian Government is providing guidance to local government and industry on the location and development of CDS infrastructure, with the release of a planning commission position statement.

The statement lists five types of CDS infrastructure including container collection cages, in shop over-the-counter return points, reverse vending machines, container deposit recycling centres and large-scale facilities.

“Proponents seeking to install CDS infrastructure should engage with the relevant local government as part of the site selection process,” the statement reads.

“This early engagement will allow local government to assess if the site being proposed is appropriate, and how it might relate to the CDS network more broadly as well as servicing considerations.”

Planning Minister Rita Saffioti said to maximise the effectiveness of the CDS in reducing litter and increasing recycling, it is important for associated infrastructure to be conveniently located in communities across WA.

“The position statement also aims to ensure the location, design and siting of CDS infrastructure is complementary to the character, functionality and amenity of surrounding neighbourhoods,” Ms Saffioti said.

“Encouraging more recycling in the community is a priority of the state government and we can achieve better outcomes by setting guidelines through the planning system.”

According to the statement, key issue for consideration include how the infrastructure fits in the surrounding built context? Is it universally accessible? Does the infrastructure necessitate the provision of waste bins? And does the location allow for passive surveillance?

Environment Minster Stephen Dawson said a clear and consistent planning approvals process for the collection network is crucial to ensuring appropriately located refund points.

“Having approval criteria aligned across local government areas will also help operators who plan to set up refund points in multiple locations,” Mr Dawson said.

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ACT proposes single-use plastic ban

The ACT Government has released a discussion paper asking for contributions from the community on phasing out single-use plastics.

City Services Minister Chris Steel said the state could no longer ignore responsibility for plastics that litter the environment.

“Single-use plastic is commonly used for food packaging and includes items intended to be used only once before they are thrown away,” Mr Steel said.

“Single-use plastic litters our waterways, city parks and bush landscapes and goes into landfill where it may take hundreds or even thousands of years to break down.”

Mr Steel said the paper asks the community which problematic and unnecessary single-use plastics government should focus on including plastic straws and cutlery, disposable plates, cups and coffee lids, polystyrene plastic food containers and beverage cups and other non-recyclable plastics.

Proposed items that will be excluded from government action at this time include sanitary items, nappies and incontinence products, reusable plastic bags roughly 35 microns in thickness, health related sterile items, plastic beverage containers and microbeads — which are already being phased out by the territory.

“We are taking real action to become Australia’s most sustainable city,” Mr Steel said.

The European Parliament last year voted to ban single-use plastics in the EU by 2021.

Similarly, South Australia and the City of Hobart are also looking at phasing out single-use plastics.

“It is time that the ACT takes responsible action to reduce single-use plastics and build a circular economy where we reduce our reliance on these products and move to better alternatives,” Mr Steel said.

According to Mr Steel, while the ACT has already acted to reduce single-use plastic bags, through the introduction of the plastic shopping bag ban in 2011, it has the opportunity to do more to reduce the territory’s plastic footprint.

“It is still common place to see takeaway shops continuing to use plastic-foam takeaway containers like it is still the 1980s. Supermarkets also continue to sell plastic plates, cups and cutlery – when it seems like there are clear alternatives already being sold on their own shelves,” Mr Steel said.

“We want to hear from the community about how we can reduce the use of certain single-use plastics where there are clear alternatives that are good for the environment and practical for business, industry and consumers.”

Mr Steel said any decisions to phase-out single use plastics will likely have impacts on business, institutions and ACT residents, including people with a disability, and invites these groups to contribute to the discussion.

“We know from the plastic straw ban in other parts of the world that we need to consider the social equity impact on people with a disability, and I welcome their contribution on how we can responsibly manage our environment while taking these issues into account,” Mr Steel said.

“I encourage all interested or affected Canberrans to join the conversation and tell us their ideas about what they would like us to consider in phasing-out unnecessary and problematic single-use plastics.”

The ACT discussion paper follows a similar announcement in Western Australia last week, with Minister for the Environment Stephen Dawson asking the public to contribute to the Let’s Not Draw the Short Straw – Reduce Single-Use Plastics paper.

Last year the Western Australian government banned lightweight plastic bags and instructed government agencies to stop buying avoidable single-use plastic items.

Mr Dawson also announced a funding partnership between the state government and the Plastic Free Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation committed to the reduction of plastic use in every day life.

The Plastic Free Foundation has been awarded $326,725 in state government funding, with an extra $484,126 coming from Lotterywest, to engage individuals and communities in in the state to reduce plastic waste.

“Waste problems are a shared legacy. The state government wants to hear your practical ideas on how to avoid and reduce single-use plastics so we can protect our environment for future generations,” Mr Dawson said.

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City of Mandurah installs hydraulically driven floor

The City of Mandurah has become the first WA local government area to install moving floor technology, reducing operational costs and boosting safety.

Regional councils across Australia have been showing exceptional leadership in recent times, in spite of the challenges of working in smaller communities that produce less waste.

Within these communities there are champions of waste management, willing to investigate, trial and invest in new technologies that will future-proof their resources for decades to come.

From NSW’s Albury City Council, which is on track to halve its waste by 2020, to Shoalhaven City Council’s recent investment in a first-of-its-kind mixed waste processing facility, regional councils across the nation are leading by example.

At the end of 2018, the coastal City of Mandurah, located an hour away from Perth, made a bold decision to invest $1.25 million in a hydraulically driven floor conveyance system at its Waste Management Centre.

As the existing concrete pit was showing signs of deterioration, the council risked closing its tipping shed for a significant period of time by repairing the existing piece of infrastructure. The Waste Management Centre has been around since 1997 and processes commercial and industrial and municipal solid waste.

The team spent two years investigating a variety of options before opting for moving floor technology, a system that would not only reduce the city’s reliance on staff-operated front end loaders, but improve safety and lower operational costs. It also allows its waste processing capacity to increase from 55,000 to 75,000 tonnes per annum.

Kyle Boardman, Coordinator Waste Management at the City of Mandurah, says the city was aware of moving floor technology being used in Tasmania and Melbourne. Back in 2012, the city had installed a static compactor and compaction trailers, with turnkey specialists Wastech Engineering winning the contract through a competitive tender process.

The Wastech team had proved to be a reliable service provider for the city and was successful in a tender for the moving floor technology. The company knew the ins and outs of the city’s Waste Management Centre, having visited it multiple times over the years to install the compactor and deliver the compaction trailers.

“We’d had a number of dealings with Wastech, which helped a great deal,” Kyle explains.

Two moving floors were installed onsite in September 2018, servicing both residential and commercial waste. The commercial waste moving floor is located within the existing push pit, with the residential moving floor located on the adjoining tipping floor. The interconnected moving planks are driven by hydraulic rams which move forward and backwards, allowing the waste to travel smoothly along the floor.

It is unique in that when the planks move forward, they move together, but when they retract, they do so in a series of three distinct movements.

“This allows the waste to stay in its original position so it remains stationary while the planks move backwards, and then it moves forward together,” Kyle says.

Another benefit of the floors is the ability to run them in reverse, allowing material to be shifted to the start of the floor while more is loaded in front of it.

The moving floors are safe enough to run while loads continue to be loaded into the pit, another benefit to increasing throughput and speeding up vehicle movements onsite.

The waste then flows into a hopper connected to the static compactor, which loads the compaction trailers.

“In the past, a front-end loader was required to push the waste into a hopper.

“Now, a front-end loader is not required as the waste moves automatically along the floor and into the hopper.”

Kyle says the front-end loader can now be released to manage other waste stockpiles onsite.

“One of the key advantages of the system is the design incorporates a large metal resource recovery deck at the end of the residential moving floor. That allowsrecovery of recyclable materials from the residential waste stream whereas before, once it went in the pit, there was no recovery at all.”

He adds that this allows the recovery of scrap metal, e-waste, cardboard and hazardous waste from the municipal waste stream. Kyle says the new design lets the city do that safely.

The moving floor technology seamlessly integrates with the existing compaction infrastructure, reducing loading times for compaction trailers and stress on the compaction unit. The technology will also allow the facility to handle additional waste volumes as the city grows.

Wastech moving floors are hydraulically powered via a 30-kilowatt power pack and floor speeds can be varied to suit high throughputs during peak loading periods. In addition to a faster and more efficient means of moving waste, the technology has the ability to improve vehicle queuing time. Leak-proof pits can be installed according to council requirements, whether it’s a deep pit for more than 1200 tonnes a day, shallow pit for 20 to 500 tonnes a day, ground pit for low volumes or a combination of all of the above to suit mixed waste streams.

While it’s still early days for the Waste Management Centre, Kyle predicts the moving floor technology will save on maintenance costs and provide a measurable benefit in resource recovery.

“Wastech has always been very professional to deal with. They promptly assisted in resolving any issue that arose with the static compaction or compaction trailers,” Kyle says.

“Maintenance is critical to the operation of the site and Wastech have a service arm to maintain the compaction system and moving floor, with local contractors who provide support.”

He says the city’s officers would have no hesitation in turning to Wastech in the future should they require any further upgrades.

WA passes Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Bill

Western Australia’s legislative council passed the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Bill (Container Deposit) on 13 March amending the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Act 2007 and facilitating the implementation and operation of a container deposit scheme.

The government has committed to developing a container deposit scheme by 2020 saying consumers will receive a 10 cent refund when they return eligible empty beverage containers to refund points throughout the state.

Projections estimate the scheme will result in 706 million fewer beverage containers littered by 2037 and reduce the number of containers sent to landfill by 5.9 million.

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said the scheme is expected to create 500 jobs at new container sorting and processing facilities and refund points.

The bill follow ambitious targets outlined in the governments Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030 including a 20 per cent reduction in waste generation per capita and a 75 per cent rate of material recovery by 2030.

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WA CDS legislation enters state parliament

Container deposit scheme laws have been introduced into the Western Australian Parliament, with the scheme expected to start in early 2020.

The move is a major milestone for the scheme, which is projected to result in 706 million fewer beverage containers littered over the next 20 years.

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It also aims to increase recycling throughout the state and is expected to reduce the number of containers sent to landfill by 5.9 billion.

The scheme is expected to deliver a net positive benefit of around $152 million over the next 20 years and follows the state government’s waste reduction methods, which includes a ban on lightweight single-use plastic bags and a review of the WA waste strategy.

WA Premier Mark McGowan said Western Australians have been supportive of the scheme, with more than 3000 people supporting it during the public consultation period.

“The introduction of this legislation to Parliament marks a major milestone in bringing a container deposit scheme to Western Australia,” he said.

“Not only will we be diverting waste from landfill, this scheme is likely to create as many as 500 jobs as part of the new container sorting and processing facilities, and refund points across the state.”

WA Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said he is confident the container deposit scheme will reduce litter and increase recycling.

“It will also be designed to provide business opportunities for social enterprises and help charities and community organisations raise money to fund vital community work,” Mr Dawson said.

“This scheme will be a win for the environment and a win for the local economy.”

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