New additions to WMAA’s Board of Directors

The Waste Management Association of Australia (WMAA) has announced four new directors for the board.

It follows an announcement earlier in 2018 that the WMAA would be undergoing a period of board renewal.

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The following members will be affirmed as directors at the 11 May 2018 annual general meeting and commence their two-year term:

  • Adam Faulkner – Adam has previously served on the WMAA Board and is an active member of the company’s SA branch. He is currently the acting CEO of the Northern Adelaide Waste Management Authority.
  • Georgina Davis – Georgina has extensive experience in waste innovation in government and academia.
  • Jade Barnaby – Jade is the most recent recipient of the WMAA Women in the Environment Award. Currently she is the National Accreditation and Compliance Manager for Tyre Stewardship Australia and has been the Program Manager for Victoria’s household battery recycling system in WA.
  • Tim Youe – Tim has experience in Local Government and is currently the CEO of the Southern Metropolitan Regional Council managing a significant resource recovery system in WA.

Eligible members are now being called by the WMAA to apply for the role of Vice President and elected director.

WMAA responds to China waste ban

The Waste Management Association of Australia (WMAA) has responded to China’s intention to ban imports of 24 categories of solid waste to the country (including plastics, paper and textiles waste).

The last World Trade Organization (WTO) report indicates that the ban will take place at the end of 2017. WTO reports China representatives said the measure is aimed at addressing risks of pollution from solid waste, and seeks to protect the environment and human health. A six month transition period has been provided, and China said it had further clarified the scope of the measure based on comments from WTO members.

The European Union, Japan, the United States, Australia and Canada have questioned the broad scope of the measure, and whether it applied to domestic operators in the same way as foreign operators. They asked China for a longer transition period of up to five years.

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In a statement, WMAA said industry had signalled to government for a long time that relying on the export markets for recyclables was dangerous and now it find itself, with the change in China’s legislation, walking towards this inevitability.

“Whilst stockpiling is a legitimate business practice, we know that the community is not happy with simply stockpiling recyclable materials, they rightly want this material to be used in making other products in Australia – reducing reliance on natural material,” said WMAA CEO Gayle Sloan.

WMAA’s statement said Australia needs to act now to ensure that the circular economy is real.

“It is not enough that products we purchase in Australia are capable of being recycled, we need to ensure that they are also made from recycled material,” Ms Sloan, said.

“In this way we can create real demand for commodities like those that households put in their yellow bins.”

“This is simply too important an issue for the Federal Environment and Energy Minister, Josh Frydenberg, to continue to repeat his mantra ‘it is up to the states’ this is one that the Federal Government actually needs to step up to the plate on,” Ms Sloan said.

WMAA said all levels of government, including national, need to put policies in place that support the development of sustainable secondary markets for recycled materials.

“The best first step would be sustainable procurement being introduced nationally by all, allowing government to actually walk the talk and model these behaviours,” Ms Sloan said.

WMAA noted investment in new recycling infrastructure creates construction jobs and economic activity that provides a real boost to local economies. While the change in China’s legislation can be seen as a short-term crisis, WMAA argued in reality the change to a circular economy will not only bring long term employment, through green-collar manufacturing, but also sustainable economic growth.

“We have seen the change that programs like War on Waste have had on supermarkets. Let’s get the changes we need to ensure that packagers are using recycled products as an input in all they do – but we cannot do this without the support of government,” Ms Sloan said.

Container Deposit Schemes are being introduced nationally, and WMAA said the key is that the recycled product made in Australia is re-used by the beverage companies that participate in this scheme.

WMAA said it has discussed the circular economy with the industry, generators, and the community, with their support offered.

Waste Management Association of Australia QLD outlines priorities

The Waste Management Association of Australia’s Queensland branch (WMAA) has produced its policy priorities for the state government to consider ahead of the election.

The 2017 Queensland state election will be held on 25 November 2017, and WMAA made a series of recommendations in a statement last week, with a focus on adhering to the waste hierarchy and supporting a circular economy.

In the statement, WMAA described Queensland as one of the largest generators and poorest diverters of waste from landfill. The absence of a comprehensive strategy has resulted in Queensland maintaining a ‘take, make, and dispose’ approach to waste and resource recovery, WMAA argued.

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“There is a real opportunity for Queensland to introduce policy settings that will support the return of materials back to the economy instead of to landfill,” said Gayle Sloan, WMAA CEO.

“The current linear approach adversely impacts Queensland in making it difficult for resource recovery industries to invest, depriving Queensland of the opportunity to create new jobs.”

WMAA Queensland outlined a number of key policy positions, including to comprehensively review the state’s Waste Avoidance and Resource Productivity Strategy 2014, and implement a strategy that supports the waste hierarchy. The Queensland branch also called to develop a comprehensive waste and resource recovery infrastructure strategy.

Among the recommendations was a call for a “reinvestment into landfill levy” from the government to avoid the unnecessary transportation of waste.

The statement called on the government to mandate sustainable state and local government procurement policies which prioritises the purchase of goods with recycled content.

In the area of landfilling, WMAA called for the development and implementation of best practice guidelines. It also recommended more opportunities for food waste and green waste recycling from the municipal solid waste stream through financial assistance to councils and a host of other measures.

Read the full statement on WMAA’s website.

 

 

SUEZ signs up to Waste of Origin Pledge

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. 

Australian Landfill & Transfer Stations Awards announced

The Waste Management Association of Australia (WMAA) has announced the winners of the 2017 National Landfill & Transfer Stations Innovation and Excellence Awards.

The awards showcase best practice in landfill and transfer stations, with the aim of commending exceptional sites.

The awards include the Transfer Stations Excellence Award, the Landfill Excellence Award and the Innovation Award.

In the area of Transfer Stations Excellence, Townsville Waste Services took the top spot for their Magnetic Island Transfer Station.

Located eight kilometres offshore from Townsville and within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage area, Magnetic Island’s transfer station was designed to receive a range of domestic, organic and commercial waste for sorting and categorisation.

The construction of the transfer station has allowed the Picnic Bay Landfill to be closed at the public since March 7, 2016.

In the area of Landfill Excellence, Dulverton Waste Management (DWM) proved victorious. DWM is located near Latrobe in Tasmania’s north-west. The landfill, with a life of 70-plus years, has a detailed aftercare plan.

The DWM landfill was the region’s first to operate a landfill gas system to extract methane and assist in annual carbon abatement of approximately 10,000 tonnes CO2-e.

It also incorporates Tasmania’s largest compost facility, diverting more than 29 per cent of waste into high-quality compost certified to the voluntary Australian Standard for Composts, Soil Conditioners and Mulches.

Queensland’s Toowoomba Regional Council Waste service won the award for Innovation, after developing an automated facility which slowly reduced the time required for staff to manage the facility.

Systems integrated into Greater Toowoomba’s Waste Management Facility include electronic gates, digital CCTV, security and building management systems.

 

Waste Management Association of Australia announces scholarship

The Waste Management Association of Australia (WMAA) has announced JustWaste Consulting environment manager Isabel Axiö as the winner of its inaugural revamped Young Professionals Scholarship.

Beginning last year, the scholarship required a submission of an abstract to one of WMAA’s national conferences to be held in 2017.

The funding allows the winner to attend and present at a national conference, providing exposure to the industry and their peers.

WMAA said Ms Axiö’s submission was of a high calibre and relevant to current issues facing the waste and resource recovery industry.

Ms Axiö has been employed at JustWaste since 2015, they said, and engaged in auditing, site assessments and EPA approvals.

Her presentation, Innovative strategy for rural transfer stations: working towards increased diversion rates, revenue and employment, will run on day two of the conference on March 29, to be held from March 28 to 31 at Rosehill Gardens in Sydney.

They said her strategic approach results in a continuous drive to identify holistic solutions that take into account social behavioural norms as well as the political and financial landscapes of her role.

“Ms Axiö strives towards progressive innovation and is always seeking to find new solutions to old problems,” WMAA said.

“I feel appreciated and enthused to receive the scholarship,” Ms Axiö said.

WMAA said they will undergo a similar scholarship process for ENVIRO‘17, to be held in Melbourne in August 2017.