Illegally dumped waste costs Melbourne $10.8 million a year

Cleaning up illegally dumped material costs Melbourne $10.8 million a year, according to a Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group (MWRRG) survey.

Following the survey, MWRRG conducted research into factors that contribute to illegal dumping in the region.

MWRRG Litter and Illegal Dumping Program Coordinator Jess Hand presented the findings at Waste 2019 in Coffs Harbour early this month.

“They want to give their items a second chance at life, people justify putting items on the kerb as a form of giving or a charitable act,” Ms Hand said.

The research found proximity to a transfer station made no difference to knowledge of disposal options, participants over 50 however are more likely to use one.

“There is also a misperception among participants that all hard waste collected by councils goes to landfill,” Ms Hand said.

“We need to make sure residents know how to rehome or recycle items responsibly, using charity stores, online marketplaces or council waste disposal channels.”

In 2016-17 metropolitan councils in Victoria collected more than 100,000 tonnes of hard waste, which MWRRG indicates as material unable to be collected through kerbside collection, such as white goods, mattresses, e-waste, general household goods and furniture.

Of metropolitan Melbourne’s 31 councils, all offer a kerbside hard waste service to residents in addition to kerbside bin collections, however only 19 operate a transfer station.

Ms Hand said the findings will be used to inform the development of an illegal dumping prevention resource kit for metropolitan councils.

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Waste 2019 hosts industry leaders forum

Waste 2019’s industry leaders forum invited senior industry representatives to discuss their vision for the future of waste management in Australia.

The forum, held on day two of the three day conference, was facilitated by Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association CEO Gayle Sloan.

Ms Sloan said the outcome of the discussion was a unanimous agreement that talk needs to make way for action.

The panel included Re.Group National Business Development Manager Garth Lamb, Cleanaway NSW State Manager David Clancey, Veolia General Manager Resource Recovery NSW Christine Hodgkiss, SUEZ NSW/ACT General Manager Tony Grebenshikoff and Bingo Industries’ CEO Daniel Tartak.

During the discussion Ms Sloan said the waste industry should consider changing the waste management hierarchy to the resource management hierarchy.

“Another area that industry has been calling for is the establishment of national specifications that mandate recycled content, and development of procurement processes that mandate the use of locally-made recycled product,” Ms Sloan said.

“Including the use of glass in road base, which would go a long way in solving the numerous glass challenges Australia is facing.”

Ms Sloan said the panel showed an industry wide desire to continue investing in new technology and facilities.

“Industry is more than willing to collaborate with all stakeholders to drive waste and resource recovery forward,” Ms Sloan said.

“But the next important step comes down to creating value and developing markets.”

According to Ms Sloan, with the federal election only three days away, a potential new Environment Minister was on all panelists minds.

“When asked what was on their federal wish list, everyone on the panel agreed a national approach to waste and resource recovery was key, particularly the harmonisation of the waste levy,” Ms Sloan said.

“It’s time for the government to get on with the job and acknowledge that you can’t regulate your way to success and clearly, business as usual is no longer acceptable.”

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