Veolia to commence O&M on Australia’s first thermal WtE facility in 2021

Construction has begun on a thermal waste-to-energy facility in Kwinana, WA that will be operated and maintained by Veolia Australia and New Zealand post-construction for 25 years.

Avertas Energy has been named the supplier and will contribute to landfill reduction by processing 400,000 tonnes of waste, equivalent to one quarter of Perth’s post-recycling rubbish. Diverting this waste from landfill will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 400,000 tonnes per year, equivalent to taking 85,000 cars off Perth’s roads.

In addition, Avertas Energy will generate and export 36 megawatts of green electricity to the local grid per year, sufficient to power more than 50,000 households. Scheduled to open in 2021, Avertas Energy already has 20-year waste supply agreements in place with Rivers Regional Council and the City of Kwinana, playing a role in supporting those local governments’ waste management strategies. As the preferred supplier of baseload renewable energy, Avertas Energy will also be supporting the green energy needs of the Western Australia Local Government Association (WALGA) and its members.

Avertas Energy is implementing moving grate technology which is used in approximately 2000 facilities globally. Waste managed by Avertas Energy will result in recovery of metallic materials that will be recycled and by-products that will be reused as construction materials.

WA Premier Mark McGowan joined Macquarie Capital and Phoenix Every Australia representatives to ‘turn the sod’ at a ceremony last Friday.

“Having the country’s first thermal waste-to-energy facility built in Western Australia demonstrates confidence in our economy and shows WA has the capacity to be at the forefront of new technologies for waste management,” he said.

The plant will generate more than 800 jobs during construction and 60 positions once fully operational.

Funding for the project has been provided by Macquarie Capital, Dutch Infrastructure Fund, Clean Energy Finance Corporation, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and a range of financial institutions.

Federal Government Environment Minister Melissa Price said the government was pleased to support this project with a $23 million grant and up to $90 million in debt finance.

Avartas Energy CEO Frank Smith said the facility represents a significant opportunity to reduce pressure on landfill capacity and create a new and reliable source of green power.

Acciona Geotech Managing Director Bede Noonan said the company anticipates this project will contribute to the development of specialist skills in the Western Australian construction industry, creating local opportunities for subcontractors.

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WA caps waste levy

WA Government Environment Minister Stephen Dawson has announced there will be no increase to the state’s waste levy in the next financial year until a pricing review has been completed.

As part of the state’s new Waste Strategy 2030, the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation will review the levy to ensure it meets new strategy objectives.

The department will establish a schedule of future waste levy rates and look at expanding the geographic extent of the levy, which currently only applies to the Perth metropolitan region.

A minimum five-year schedule of waste levy rates will be published to provide certainty to local governments in planning their waste services, and to drive investment and employment in the waste sector.

Western Australia has seen significant increases to its waste levy in recent years.

In January 2015, fees for sending putrescible waste to landfill increased from $28 to $55 a tonne and inert waste went up from $8 to $40 a tonne. By July 1, 2018 fees for all waste reached $70 per tonne.

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Mr Dawson said that to ensure the waste levy framework is robust, and to allow time for the review to be completed, the McGowan Government will not increase the waste levy for 2019-20.

“I will publish the schedule of rates beyond these years as soon as our review of the scope and application of the waste levy is complete,” Mr Dawson said.

Fines for Western Australia plastic bag ban in action

The WA State Government has implemented its state-wide plastic bag ban as of 1 January, dishing out fines of up to $5,000 for retailers.

The ban also incorporates biodegradable, degradable or compostable bags, as long as there are handles and a thickness of 35 microns or less.

Acting WA Environment Minister Simone McGurk said the ban is making significant environmental improvements, with reusable bags leading the change.

“Since July 1, 2018, we have stopped around 225 million lightweight plastic bags ending up in landfill–or worse still–in our oceans,” Minister McGurk said.

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The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation is partnering with the National Retail Association to assist in educating both the public and retailers on how the ban will work.

Small businesses were given six months to prepare for the change, however that grace period ended with the new year.

“Be prepared–always have your reusable bangs on hand… whether you’re picking up milk from the deli, bread from the bakery or takeaway food from your favourite restaurant,” Minister McGurk said.

Penalties extend to plastic bag suppliers and manufacturers who will face similar fines to retailers if found to be misleading clients about their products.

The National Retail Association will follow-up on all complaints submitted to their website; where retailers and the public are encouraged to report those supplying lightweight plastic bags.

WA CDS legislation enters state parliament

Container deposit scheme laws have been introduced into the Western Australian Parliament, with the scheme expected to start in early 2020.

The move is a major milestone for the scheme, which is projected to result in 706 million fewer beverage containers littered over the next 20 years.

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It also aims to increase recycling throughout the state and is expected to reduce the number of containers sent to landfill by 5.9 billion.

The scheme is expected to deliver a net positive benefit of around $152 million over the next 20 years and follows the state government’s waste reduction methods, which includes a ban on lightweight single-use plastic bags and a review of the WA waste strategy.

WA Premier Mark McGowan said Western Australians have been supportive of the scheme, with more than 3000 people supporting it during the public consultation period.

“The introduction of this legislation to Parliament marks a major milestone in bringing a container deposit scheme to Western Australia,” he said.

“Not only will we be diverting waste from landfill, this scheme is likely to create as many as 500 jobs as part of the new container sorting and processing facilities, and refund points across the state.”

WA Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said he is confident the container deposit scheme will reduce litter and increase recycling.

“It will also be designed to provide business opportunities for social enterprises and help charities and community organisations raise money to fund vital community work,” Mr Dawson said.

“This scheme will be a win for the environment and a win for the local economy.”

Macquarie Capital’s social license in Kwinana

With major contracts awarded for Australia’s first large-scale waste to energy facility, a Macquarie Capital executive director explains the key to transitioning the project from development to construction. 

Read more

WA Govt release potential network models for CDS

Two potential strategies for WA’s container deposit scheme (CDS) have been released, with the preferred option aiming to establish a full-time refund point for every 20,000 people.

A draft released by the WA Department of Water and Environment Regulation’s (DWER) highlights two options to achieve minimum service standards for approximately 98.8 per cent of the population.

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DWER’s preferred option is expected to deliver a net present value of $152 million, with a benefit-cost ratio of 1.31. It will involve establishing one full time refund point for major regional centres with populations between 10,000 and 20,000 and at least two full time refund points for major regional centres above 20,000. A population threshold of 500 is set for flexible refund points.

Modelling from Australian Bureau of Statistics 2016 Census data suggests this will require a minimum of 196 refund points, made up of 111 full time refund points and 85 flexible refund points.

The alternative option is to provide a full-time refund point for every 15,000 people, which would mean a minimum of 228 refund points, made up of 143 full time refund points and 85 flexible refund points. This option is expected to deliver a net present value of $123 million, as a benefit-cost ratio of 1.28.

The draft aims to balance the cost and convenience of the container deposit scheme and has been released during the Request for Proposal for the scheme coordinator to inform the respondents in the development of their offers.

DWER will analyse submissions and make recommendations to the Minister for Environment and form the part of the development of the state-wide collection network as stage two of the Request for Proposal period.

Submissions close on 6 December. For more information, click here.

WA’s plastic bag ban enforcement to start in 2019

The Western Australian Government will begin enforcing its lightweight plastic bag ban will from January 1, 2019, with fines of up to $5000 for retailers that continue to supply plastic bags.

Plastic bag suppliers and manufacturers that provide misleading information when selling bags to retailers also risk prosecution and fines.

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The ban includes any bag made of plastic with handles and a thickness of 35 microns or less.

WA Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said the state’s plastic bag ban has been well supported by the community.

“From January 1, 2019 it will be an offence for retailers to supply lightweight plastic bags – this includes small retail shops, takeaway food outlets and markets,” Mr Dawson said.

“Consumers can help by remembering to take their own reusable bags when they go shopping.

“Taking lightweight plastic bags out of the litter stream is a significant step towards protecting our environment.”

WA Infinity Award winners announced

Champions of waste reduction and recycling have been recognised at this year’s Infinity Awards.

The annual Waste Authority awards showcase the contributions of Western Australians who are leading the way to a lower waste future.

Workpower’s Balcatta Re-use Shop, which provides employment opportunities for people with disability, took out two titles – Waste Initiative of the Year and Waste Team of the Year.

The shop, which turns trash to treasure, diverts almost 5000 tonnes of waste from landfill every year.

Former Port Hedland mayor and founder of the Care for Hedland Environment Association, Kelly Howlett was awarded the WA Waste Award for 2018 for her hands-on work promoting a litter free community and encouraging recycling and sustainability.

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Carnarvon-based environmental entrepreneur Joanne Bumbak was named 2018 Waste Champion – producing preserves and ice cream from 36 tonnes of ‘rescued’ fruit and vegetables which would otherwise have been dumped in landfill.

Plastic Free July Foundation took out the Community Waste Award for its Plastic Free July Challenge, which this year saw 3.4 million people worldwide pledge to live without plastic for a month.

Mindarie Regional Council won the Waste Innovation of the Year title for its Face Your Waste transparent kerbside bin campaign showing the scale of household waste.

Other winners included Subiaco-based, waste-free restaurant New Normal Bar + Kitchen and Southern Metropolitan Regional Council and the City of Melville for the successful rollout of its trial of a food organics and garden organics three-bin recycling system.

Schools were also recognised for their significant contribution to waste education throughout the state.

Hillcrest Primary School was named Waste Wise School of the Year, and Year 12 Presbyterian Ladies’ College student Sacha Winter was recognised for leading sustainability initiatives to dramatically reduce the amount of waste produced by her school.

ABC journalist Lisa Morrison won the Media Award for a series of reports that localised the popular War on Waste national campaign.

2018 Infinity Award recipients:

WA Waste Award 2018

Winner: Kelly Howlett

WA Waste Initiative of the Year 2018

Winner: Workpower – Balcatta Reuse Shop

Category 1: Avoid Recover Protect – Community Waste Award

Winner: Plastic Free July Foundation (Plastic Free July Challenge)

Highly commended: Total Green Recycling

Commended: City of Cockburn

Category 2: Avoid Recover Protect – Commercial and Industrial Waste Award

Winner: New Normal Bar + Kitchen

Highly commended: Crown Perth (Recycle 90 Program)

Commended: Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital (Operating Theatre ‘Anaesthetic Waste Showcased’)

Category 3: Avoid Recover Protect – Waste Management Award

Winner: Southern Metropolitan Regional Council and City of Melville (Three-bin Food Organics and Garden Organics (FOGO) Trial)

Highly commended: Waste and Recycling Industry Association of WA, Cleanaway WA, Southern Metropolitan Regional Council, SUEZ WA and Western Australian Local Government Association (Statewide Guidelines for Kerbside Recycling)

Commended: Shire of Collie (FOGO Kerbside Collection System)

Category 4: 2018 Waste Champion

Winner: Joanne Bumbak

Highly commended: Pam Van Effrink

Commended: Lindsay Miles

Category 5: 2018 Young Waste Achiever

Winner: Sacha Winter (17) – Presbyterian Ladies’ College

Highly commended: Nina Prado (8), and Amelie Harrison (8) – Perth College Junior School

Category 6: Waste Team of the Year

Winner: Workpower Balcatta Reuse Shop Team

Highly commended: Wasteless Pantry

Highly commended: City of Cockburn Waste Team

Category 7: Waste Innovation of the Year

Winner: Mindarie Regional Council (Face Your Waste Clear Bins)

Highly commended: City of Joondalup (Ocean Reef Fish Cleaning and Waste Management Station)

Highly commended: SpiderWaste Collection Services

Category 8: Waste Wise School of the Year

Winner: Hillcrest Primary School

Highly commended: Lynwood Senior High School

Highly commended: Santa Maria College

Category 9: Media Award

Winner: Lisa Morrison

Highly commended: Emma Young

WA to launch cigarette butt litter campaign in 2019

The Western Australian Government is planning to roll out a campaign that targets littered cigarette butts and packaging after it was found they made up more than a third of the state’s litter.

Keep Australia Beautiful WA’s 2017-18 National Litter Index (NLI) has found discarded butts were responsible for pushing up the state’s litter statistics with a 21.9 per cent increase in cigarette litter. The butts and packaging accounted for 3376 of the 9550 litter items recorded by the count.

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Littering had increased by 2.6 per cent across WA compared to the previous year’s results, but overall littering was still 21 per cent lower than what had been recorded in 2015-16. Takeaway packaging litter in WA had been reduced by 11.3 per cent, according to the NLI with beverage containers also down by seven per cent.

The NLI is measured twice each financial year each state and territory. Litter across 151 sites within 50 kilometres of Perth’s CBD is measured as part of the index, looking at highways, beaches, retail and shopping areas, car parks, recreational parks and residential and industrial areas.

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said cigarette butts are the most littered item in Australia.

“Littered cigarette butts do not break down and are often washed into waterways, causing contamination,” Mr Dawson said.

“They can be mistaken for food by our wildlife and are a blight on the beauty of our state’s natural environment.

“The efforts of the majority are being undermined by the selfish acts of the few who litter. If you are a smoker, please dispose of your cigarette butts responsibly into waste bins. Failing to do this is an offence,” he said.