War on Waste season 2 fights bottles, straws, e-waste and more

The first episode of Craig Reucassel’s War on Waste season two will broadcast on the ABC at 8:30 pm on Tuesday 24 July.

More than 4.3 million viewers watched the original series in 2017, which sparked one of the ABC’s most successful social media campaigns with a video on dumping edible bananas reaching 20 million views.

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Season two’s first episode will look at new issues around plastic water bottles and straws, and e-waste.

It will also delve deeper into previously discussed issues of food waste and Australia’s recycling crisis.

A giant footprint made of plastic packaging was created on Sydney’s Manly beach to highlight the amount of single-use plastic that ends up in waterways.

With more than 10 million plastic straws being used every day in Australia, Mr Reucassel joins forces with the minds behind the #strawnomore movement to challenge pubs and fast food chains to ban the straw from their venues.

The show will also look at Australia’s fastest growing waste stream, e-waste. With tonnes of discarded computers, mobile phones and electrical goods ending up in landfill, Mr Reucassel highlights the dangers of the toxic elements within them leaching into the environment.

War on Waste season two also sees Mr Reucassel going undercover to expose the amount of food that is wasted when eating at restaurants.

Waste Contractors and Recyclers Association of NSW Executive Director Tony Khoury said the issues of disposable water bottles will be placed under the microscope.

“Last year’s series saw tremendous media coverage extend to disposable coffee cups, single-use plastic bags, household food waste and the wasteful policy of retailers,” he said.

Mr Khoury said collectors and processor can help the war on waste by providing better education for waste generators, provide a range of recycling options, use modern equipment, transport all waste and recyclables to a lawful facility and invest in training for workers.

“We all can lobby the NSW Government to invest more of the $700 million collected from the waste levy into waste management programs and much needed infrastructure to divert more waste from landfill,” he said.

Image credit: ABC

NWRIC warns recycling contracts could face default

The National Waste and Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC) have warned that without urgent action to address market changes, Australian recycling contracts could face default.

It follows the controversial move by the Chinese government to reduce the imports of 24 categories of solid waste.

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The Chinese National Sword initiative, a continuation of its Green Fence program, has also tightened standards on import contamination by limiting which businesses can obtain scrap import licenses. The NWRC explained this means lower contamination levels and fewer import licenses issued.

Following their latest meeting, the NWRIC believe that without significant changes to the current market, kerbside and commercial recycling contracts could be cancelled.

Re-negotiating contracts between local governments and recycling providers, increasing stockpiling allowances where environmentally safe, and assistance from the Federal Government were identified as strategies to help the current market.

The best long-term solution to the problem is reinvigorating local re-manufacturing capacity, according to NWRIC.

Recycling market shortfalls can lead to large stockpiles of papers and plastics, which could lead to a fire hazard.

“The NWRIC is urging all customers, including local government and commercial waste generators, to meet with their recycling supplier to plan for these sudden and unforeseen changes,” said Chairman of the NWRIC, Phil Richards.

Waste Contractors and Recyclers Association of NSW Executive Director, Tony Khoury said that thoroughly checking firefighting and emergency equipment is vitally important.

“In relation to unprocessed stockpiles or bales of stored sorted material, please ensure that you comply with your Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and development approval requirements,” Mr Khoury said.

“If you are approaching your authorised, lawful stock pile limits, please consider your options (negotiate with EPA, find alternate drop-off facilities, talk to your council or commercial clients).”

According to Mr Khoury, there is at least one fire per week at NSW waste facilities which account for up to 10 per cent of firefighter’s work time.

 

WCRA forum discusses interstate waste transport issue

NSW police, government authorities and the waste industry have met to discuss their concerns on the issue of interstate waste transportation.

NSW Police, EPA NSW, SafeWork NSW, Stay Safe Committee and waste industry representatives attended a dedicated forum last week, facilitated by the Waste Contractors & Recyclers Association of NSW (WCRA).

The forum focused on the environmental and safety risks of waste transport from NSW to south-east Queensland, which has long been linked by industry representatives to the lack of a landfill levy in Queensland.

Convenor Dr Tony Wilkins stated that the industry is seeking to work with government to promptly find solutions to the issue.

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The forum heard that the volume of waste being transported north by a combination of road and rail has now exceeded in excess of a one million tonnes per annum. The economic loss to NSW from unpaid waste levies exceeds $120 million per annum, WCRA highlighted.

Chief Inspector Phil Brooks from NSW Police stated in his presentation that the large volume of heavy vehicle truck movements, combined with police observations of fatigued drivers and poorly maintained truck and trailers, confirmed there is potential for even more serious accidents.

The forum resolved that all attendees write to the NSW Premier expressing their concerns and that WCRA would write to the NSW EPA requesting that it hold a second forum by 1 March, 2018. WCRA also committed to increase its promotion of Chain of Responsibility training across the industry.

The forum argued the NSW Government should be exploring further measures to curb the complex issue.

Some suggestions included: licensing waste transporters and waste by transfer facilities, regulating minimum environmental and safety standards on equipment used to transport waste over long distances, and banning waste levy rebates for exhuming landfilled waste and rebates for landfills that operate as de-facto transfer stations without development approval.

 

WCRA announces inaugural Industry Awards

The Waste Contractors and Recyclers Association of NSW (WCRA) has held its inaugural Industry Awards, with more than 190 members in attendance.

Darell Wilson, of SUEZ, was one leader recognised in the Safety Award for averting what WCRA said was potentially a catastrophic accident which could have resulted in many deaths.

WCRA said Mr Wilson was travelling on the M5 when a school bus carrying 20 children suddenly pulled out in front of him. His quick thinking response to stop the vehicle and turn the truck towards the concrete wall averted the collision.

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“Darell’s driver professionalism and attention to detail, ensured that his response in this emergency situation was quick, appropriate and highly skilled,” WCRA said.

The second award was granted to Sydney waste management company Doyle Bros, awarded for the production of Processed Engineered Fuel (PEF) at their Fairfield Materials Recovery Facility.

Doyle Bros received $1.05 million in funding under the Waste Less Recycle More initiative to process up to 29,000 tonnes of commercial and industrial waste per annum into processed engineered fuel.

The project has resulted in a diversion from landfill of over 90 per cent, as the residual material was previously being sent to landfill as non-recyclable waste.

Pictured: Karen Castledine, of Work Options and WCRA Vice President Scott Bayliss present Darell Wilson from SUEZ with the inaugural WCRA WHS Award.

WCRA raises concern over long-distance transport over Xmas

The Waste Contractors & Recyclers Association of NSW (WCRA) has raised concern over a flurry of truck accidents over the past few months.

WCRA said it comes as a result of landfill levy avoidance, where waste has continued to be transported across state borders from NSW to Queensland, where there is no levy in place.

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WCRA said reports provided to the association indicate factors such as poor maintenance of vehicles, fatigue management, inappropriate equipment choices and low pay rates are responsible for many of these accidents.

“Unless there is action from the NSW Government, it is possible that over a million tonnes of waste per annum will find its way north to Queensland in 2018,” said WCRA Executive Director Tony Khoury.

“This further undermines NSW jobs and the investment in recycling programs and it undermines the NSW Government’s substantial commitment via the Waste Less Recycle More initiative.”

Mr Khoury said the NSW Government needs to recognise the urgency of the situation, discuss with industry how waste management regulations can be changed to fix these loop-holes and address these safety and environmental concerns.