SUEZ, one of Australia’s largest waste and water management companies, has become one of two companies to commit to the newly-established Waste of Origin Pledge.
The pledge was launched by the Waste Management Association of Australia (WMAA) on Friday to challenge the waste industry to join the fight against irresponsible, dangerous and environmentally damaging practices in the sector.
According to WMAA’s website, SUEZ has joined REMONDIS in making the pledge.
In the pledge, WMAA says its members wish to see improved standards across the sector, including waste reduction and recycling, with disposal to landfill considered a last resort.
WMAA said it supports the application of a waste hierarchy and the development of an economy in Australia that promotes the best use of our resources.
“However, this development is being undermined by the lack of harmonisation of waste management regulation and enforcement between Australian states and territories,” the pledge reads.
“WMAA calls for shared responsibility between government, industry and the community to solve this issue. The WMAA recognises that attempts are being made by state governments to address the issue of interstate transportation of waste. But it is simply taking too long.”
WMAA is challenging waste generators and all those within the waste management sector associated with landfill levy avoidance through long distance waste transport to immediately sign the pledge.
In Australia and around the world, SUEZ said that it is committed to and provides sustainable resource management. This includes investing in a circular economy, and making significant efforts to recycle waste materials, leading to lower resource costs and less greenhouse gas emissions.
SUEZ believes that Australian companies which produce substantial amounts of waste should have confidence that their waste is being reduced and recycled, with landfill disposed achieved at the lowest environmental impact where possible.
Mark Venhoek, CEO of SUEZ in Australia and New Zealand said transporting waste unnecessarily over many hundreds of kilometres was simply an absurd outcome.
SUEZ said it believes the sole motivation for moving all of this waste by road and rail is profit, rather than assisting the environment.
“There are 20,000 additional and unnecessary heavy truck movements on the Pacific Highway due to some organisations sending waste to Queensland to avoid the NSW waste levy. That means increased emissions, congestion, and increased chances of spills. It also undermines investment in waste and recycling services in New South Wales,” Mr Venhoek said.
“We encourage others in the waste management sector to sign the Waste of Origin Pledge and encourage waste generators to ask where their waste is going and also consider their role in the responsible management of waste.”
“We also call on state and federal governments to work with the industry and harmonise laws across Australia to remove the perverse incentives to transport waste interstate.
“The Waste of Origin Pledge is about encouraging waste disposal as close to its point of origin and putting waste to good use,” Mr Venhoek added.
The pledge is open to all industry participants and stakeholders and will stay in force until 31 December, 2017. Read more about the Waste of Origin pledge on WMAA’s website.