One year on from National Sword, regulators shared their policy response at Waste 2019, while industry leaders discussed the critical steps to move the sector forward.
The NSW Environment Protection Authority is awarding more than $3.6 million to waste and reprocessing facilities and manufacturing plants to increase recycling.
The grants have been awarded under the NSW Environment Protection Authority’s $802 million Waste Less, Recycle More initiative, the largest waste and recycling funding program in Australia.
NSW EPA Executive Director of Waste and Resource Recovery Carmen Dwyer said the funding will help waste and recycling facilities invest in new infrastructure and respond to changing recycling markets.
“Nine projects have been successful in accessing a total of $3,654,000 in funding through the Product Improvement Program.
“The funding will support licensed waste facilities, reprocessing facilities and manufacturing plants to increase recycling of waste materials from households and businesses, in a cost-effective manner.
“Projects funded include boosting the recycling of foam, increasing recycling of kerbside plastics, reducing contamination in recycling of paper and plastics and processing crushed glass for use in road base,” she said.
Ms Dwyer said the funding will also help mitigate the effects of China’s National Sword Policy by improving the quality of recycled materials, increasing the capacity to recover and reprocess waste materials and stimulate local remanufacturing capacity in NSW.
A new organics processing facility has been opened at the Whylandra Waste and Recycling Facility to recycle food and organic waste from the surrounding councils.
The Dubbo Regional Organics Processing Plant (DROPP) commenced operations in early July and has begun receiving food and garden waste from Dubbo Regional Council, Mid-Western Regional Council and Narromine Shire Council.
- CEFC finance composting facility for Melbourne councils
- REMONDIS and Lake Macquarie open new organics processing facility
- Tasmanian EPA consider new organics processing plant
It aims to divert a significant amount of organic waste from landfill and turn it into compost, reducing environmental pollution caused by leachate and methane gas production.
The facility received more than $7 million of funding from the NSW EPA, Dubbo Regional Council and JR Richards & Sons. The project was supported by the Environmental Trust as part of the NSW EPA’s Waste Less, Recycle More Organics Infrastructure initiative, funded by the waste levy.
Dubbo Regional Council Mayor Ben Shields said the high-tech composting facility was built to handle organic material collected by three council as part of the new Food and Garden Waste Management service.
“It is great to see neighbouring Councils working collaboratively and sharing resources to achieve a common goal,” Cr Shields said.
NSW Member for Dubbo Tony Grant said the regional organics recycling will greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions produced by landfill.
“The carbon footprint of trucking the waste is minor compared to methane that would otherwise be produced by food and garden waste buried in landfill,” Mr Grant said.
“This is a fantastic local initiative where organic waste from the region will be processed locally and reused locally,” he said.
Image: Mayor of Dubbo Region Councillor Ben Shields, Member for Dubbo the Hon Troy Grant and Mayor of Narromine Shire Councillor Craig Davies officially opened the DROPP.
Plastic from around 176,000 plastic bags and packaging and glass from around 55,000 bottles has been diverted from landfill to build New South Wales’ first road made from soft plastics and glass.
Downer and Sutherland Shire Council have partnered with resource recovery and recycling companies Close the Loop, RED Group and Plastic Police to build the road in the Sydney suburb of Engadine.
- Downer partner with CDEnviro for Sydney detritus processing facility
- Downer partners with Close the Loop for Australian-first project
- Millions of tyres could soon be used in Australia’s roads
Toner from approximately 4000 used printer cartridges with more than 60 tonnes of recycled asphalt were also repurposed to create 220 tonnes of asphalt used in the construction of the road along Old Princes Highway between Cooper Street and Engadine Road.
NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton said this achievement demonstrates how committed organisations can find innovative solutions to waste reduction.
“The NSW Government has a comprehensive funding program designed to find more ways to make sure waste is taken out of landfill and put to good use,” said Ms Upton.
“In particular, the Product Improvement Co-investment program and the Circulate program together provide $10 million in funding to help find creative ways to reduce the amount of waste and find better uses than simply throwing it away.”
Sutherland Shire Mayor Carmelo Pesce said Council is committed to showing leadership in sustainability and the use of recycled products.
“Sutherland Shire Council collects over 25 thousand tonnes of recycling in the yellow top bins every year,” Councillor Pesce said.
“Using recycled plastic and glass in asphalt to create new road surfaces is just one of the innovative ways Council can reduce its environmental footprint through the use of recyclable material.”
Downer General Manager Pavements Stuart Billing said the milestone event demonstrated the importance of partnerships with other thought leaders to create economic, social and environmental value for products that would more than likely end up in landfill, stockpiled, or as a pollutant in our natural environments.
“Through our partnerships and desire to make a difference, we’ve shown how to recycle and repurpose waste materials into new streams of use. It’s all about pulling products, not pushing waste.”
“Further to the direct sustainability benefits, this cost competitive road product, called Plastiphalt, has a 65 per cent improvement in fatigue life and a superior resistance to deformation making the road last longer, and allowing it to better handle heavy vehicle traffic,” Mr Billing said.
The project is co-funded through the NSW EPA’s Waste Less, Recycle More initiative funded from the waste levy.
“Our close partnership with Downer, along with our collaborative partnerships with RedCycle and Plastic Police has allowed us to design, develop and manufacture sustainable products using problematic waste streams. We are very pleased to see soft plastics used for the first time in a NSW road,” said Nerida Mortlock, General Manager of Close the Loop Australia.
More than $5 million has been awarded as part of the NSW Environment Protection Authority’s (EPA) Bin Trim program.
The program aims to help businesses produce less waste or divert it from landfill into recycling. It provides funding for organisations to access waste assessors who provide advice and support to individual businesses to increase their waste diversion and reduction.
- NSW EPA open $9.5M grants to counter National Sword
- NSW EPA release new research on litterers
- Organics market development grants open: EPA NSW
To make this happen, 16 councils, industry, consultancies and not-for-profit organisations have been awarded $5.16 million.
Sustainability solutions company Eco Guardians was awarded $379,200 to divert food organics and dry recyclables from landfill by targeting up to 400 business in the Greater Sydney, Central Coast and Hunter region.
Environmental consulting company Cool Planet Energy Pty Ltd was awarded $398,700
To target industrial, hospitality and accommodation sectors in regional NSW to divert organics and dry recyclables.
The grants were awarded under the NSW EPA’s Waste Less, Recycle More initiative.
For more information on the grants, click here.
The NSW Government has announced it will release a $47 million package to support local government and industry in response to China’s National Sword policy.
China is the largest importer of recyclable materials from Australia, and the new policy restricts the types of waste that will be accepted.
- How many recyclables are affected by China waste ban?
- Vict Govt responds to China waste ban
- SA Government’s response to China waste ban
- China waste ban to hit WA
A one-off package is planned to respond to this, and is funded by the Waste Less, Recycle More initiative and aims to provide short, medium and long term initiative to ensure kerbside recycling continues.
The funding will allow councils to offset extra costs associated with kerbside collections, improve council tendering processes to increase production and use of recycled products, and fund community education to reduce recycling contamination.
The package also includes $9.5 million for industry and local government to invest in infrastructure projects to find new uses for recyclable materials and reduce the amount of unrecyclable materials at the end of the process.
Guidelines have been set in place to ensure applicants seeking funding address the National Sword policy, represent better value for money and demonstrate benefits for the community.
Recycling facilities can also apply to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) to temporarily vary their stockpile limits, with facilities being assessed to demonstrate appropriate safety measures remain in place.
NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton said the NSW Government is committed to working with the recycling industry and local councils to ensure it continues having a strong kerbside recycling system.
“I have met with industry and government stakeholders to hear first-hand about how we can address the current global challenges to the recycling market in NSW,” Ms Upton said.
“The short-term need for increased stockpiles of recycled material during this critical time must be balanced with the safety of the community and the environment,” she said.
An inter-government taskforce is also being established to urgently progress a longer-term response to National Sword in partnership with industry and councils.
“I have also written to the Federal Environment Minister to urgently progress the work on this issue and the long-term solutions at a national level.”
The Australian Council of Recycling has welcomed the NSW Government’s recycling package.
“In the context of the unprecedented impact of China’s new settings on Australia’s recycling system, the NSW Government package can help relieve short-term pressure while also building longer-term resilience for the recycling system. That’s an important step forward to ensuring that recycling can continue to deliver job and environmental benefits for NSW residents,” ACOR CEO Pete Shmigel said.
“It is good to also note that the NSW Government is urging a national approach and we will be calling on all Ministers to adopt an Australian Recycling Resilience Plan to future-focus our industry and drive toward a circular economy that makes fullest use of what comes out of our homes and onto our kerbs,” he said.
“It’s time to shift from ‘crisis’ mode to claiming recycling’s potential as a major national industry of the future.”
A new organics processing facility contracted by Remondis will be built in the town of Awaba, in Lake Macquarie, New South Wales.
The new facility, to be completed in 2018, will be located at Awaba Waste Management Facility and established in partnership with Lake Macquarie City Council.
The multi-million dollar project is supported by an organics infrastructure grant, awarded by the New South Wales Environment Protection Authority under the Waste Less Recycle More Initiative. The initiative is funded through the waste levy and is the largest waste and recycling funding program in Australia.
Mayor Kay Fraser, Lake Macquarie City Council said the project marked a groundbreaking moment for the community in managing waste and reducing food waste to landfill.
“We are proud to be partnering in this project with Remondis, which has a reputation for innovation in the waste management sector,” he said.
When complete, the facility will receive and recycle more than 40,000 tonnes of food and garden organics every year. The waste, which was once destined for landfill, will be transformed into quality compost products for market. The facility will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from household waste and create job opportunities for the local community.
“Remondis is delighted to partner with such a progressive and proactive council and to be developing the region’s recycling infrastructure for the future,” said Luke Agati, Remondis CEO.
Lake Macquarie’s residents will be the first in the Hunter to have access to a designated food and garden waste kerbside collection and processing service capable of producing high-quality compost.