WA community want plastic bag ban

Community consultation in WA has found that more 95 per cent of comments on banning plastic bags have been positive.

The ban will affect lightweight plastic bags from 1 July 2018 in order to reduce litter and protect the environment. The ban also includes biodegradable, degradable or compostable – with handles and a thickness of 35 microns or less, often found in supermarkets and retail stores.

More than 4400 people responded by the close of consultation and 90 per cent were also in favour of banning biodegradable, degradable or compostable plastic bags which continue to persist in the environment as microplastics.

The consultation reported a need for a transition period for retailers to prepare customers for alternatives to plastic bags. The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation has announced it will assist retailers in this process.

A WA-wide education campaign will also aim to ensure consumers are encouraged to use reuseable bags.

WA Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said he wants to work with the community to make the transition towards a plastic bag free WA as easy as possible.

These initiatives reflect the community’s desire to work together to reduce the significant impact of plastic bags, and other waste and litter on our environment,” Mr Dawson said.

“Banning plastic bags is just one of a number of strategic waste reform initiatives demonstrating this Government’s commitment to reducing waste. We have also committed to introducing a container deposit scheme,” he said.

Veolia to deliver water treatment plant at Talison Lithium Mine, WA

Veolia Water Technologies has been selected to deliver a water treatment plant at the Talison Lithium Mine in WA.

The mine, located in Greenbushes, is the biggest hard rock lithium mine in the world. The Greenbushes Lithium Mine Water Treatment plant will be constructed utilising some of Veolia Water Technologies products.

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Veolia Water Technologies will provide a water treatment plant solution based on ACTIFLO clarification, CeraMem ultrafiltration, high recovery RO and two stage EVALED thermal evaporation.  The plant is designed to treat a maximum feed flow of 150 metres cubed and hour to recover the most water as possible.

It aims to double the output from the Greenbushes Operations and satisfy environmental requirements to reduce lithium contained in onsite mine water before it is discharged into environment.

Veolia Water Technologies specialises in water and wastewater treatment solutions to the private and public sector and design, build, operate and maintain wastewater treatment facilities.

Lithium from the mine is used in batteries, busses and passenger vehicles, aerospace allows, wind turbines, glass and ceramics.

Preliminary activities have commenced, and the construction of the water treatment plan is expected to be completed and operational in 2019.

Waste Taskforce created in WA in response to National Sword

A Waste Taskforce has been created in WA in response to China’s National Sword policy.

WA Environment Minister Stephen Dawson created the taskforce to advise on waste management in WA, following consultation with state and local governments, the waste industry and community stakeholders.

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The group’s first meeting is planned for 9 April 2018, where it will consider its objectives, scope and governance arrangements.

It will provide advice on how to ensure WA van respond effectively to the National Sword policy and build on the current domestic recycling options.

The taskforce will directly advise the WA Minister for Environment on recycling market issues and opportunities in the state and aims to align with the national actions taken.

Short, medium and long-term opportunities will be explored by the taskforce and will take the WA Waste Strategy and the promotion of a circular economy.

The Waste Taskforce will be chaired by Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Environment Baldivis MLA Reece Whitby and will include representatives from the Waste Authority and Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, local government and regional councils, the waste services and recycling industry, the packaging industry, Aboriginal and community groups, and key government agencies.

WA Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said the recycling sector at a state and national level is facing market challenges caused by fluctuating commodity prices and international policy decisions.

“This is also having an impact on the cost of waste management services,” Mr Dawson said.

“While a national response is important, it is also imperative that local opportunities to support recycling in WA are developed – and the Waste Taskforce will play a critical role in achieving this,” he said.

“I look forward to receiving advice from the Waste Taskforce on how we can support a thriving recycling sector in WA.”

HZI consortium sign 20-year waste to energy supply deal

A Hitachi Zosen Inova (HZI) led consortium has signed a 20-year agreement with the Eastern Metropolitan Regional Council (EMRC) for the supply of waste to the East Rockingham Recovery Facility.

Approximately 330,000 tonnes of waste are converted into renewable energy at the East Rockingham Resource Recovery Facility (RRF), producing 28 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 36,000 homes.

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HZI’s partners in the consortium include the New Energy Corporation and Tribe Infrastructure Group.

The project will set a benchmark in the Perth market for waste to energy projects in terms of flexibility and value and represents a $400 million private sector investment in the metro area.

Under the agreement, the EMRC’s participating councils will supply residual waste to the RRF and will only pay for capacity they use. This means councils that have successfully implemented landfill waste reduction schemes will receive no penalties.

This system favours a service provider model that supports higher order utilisation or recovery of waste resources instead of a take-or-pay structure which can lead to financial penalties if committed volumes are not met.

HZI will act as the technology provider, engineering and construction contractor and will execute long term operations and maintenance contract for the project.

The RRF will divert 95 per cent of the waste it receives from EMRC away from landfill.

New Energy Chairman Enzo Gullotti said he supports waste minimisation and composting should councils choose to do that.

“It’s an important part of our social licence to operate our RRF over the long term. We’ll deliver the EMRC the best possible environmental outcome for residual waste streams and certainty of price over the period of the contract. This presents a real opportunity to divert waste from landfill and deliver value for money to the ratepayers of the EMRC councils,” Mr Gullotti said.

“The EMRC should be commended for showing leadership in diverting waste from landfill. This signing represents the delivery of a strategic commitment the EMRC undertook back in 2000 in this regard. It’s not only a win for the environment but also for the member council ratepayers who are now insulated from the ever-increasing cost of landfilling, due at least in part to the state’s rising landfill levy,” he said.

The consortium currently working through the pre-engineering and update of the site environmental approval. The project is scheduled to begin construction in Q3 2018.

WA community waste management grants help grassroots action

Western Australian community groups can now apply for grants to help reduce the impact of waste on the environment.

The Community Grants Scheme offers $250,000 to share between not-for-profit organisations and community groups.

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Funding will go towards helping these groups encourage communities to reuse, recycle, recover, dispose, and avoid the creation of waste.

The scheme support projects that will help WA achieve its waste strategy targets of diverting 65 per cent of municipal solid waste away from landfill in Perth and 50 per cent in major regional centres by 2020.

Previous projects include Edith Cowan University’s ReFood app that connects leftover food from cafes and shops with organisations that redistribute the food, and Blackwood Youth Action, that makes reusable plastic shopping bags for people to borrow to reduce waste.

Western Australian Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said the grants help to recognise the work of community groups that are committed to reducing waste, boosting environment and protecting the environment.

“Initiatives funded by CGS can increase awareness and education on waste avoidance, reusing resources and recycling,” he said.

“Effective waste management is everyone’s responsibility.

“I encourage community groups to apply for a grant to help reduce the waste we generate and recycle more.”

Applications for funding close at 12pm on Friday, March 16, 2018.

WA Government to hold plastic bag ban workshops

The Western Australian Government will hold workshops to prepare retailers and consumers for the state’s upcoming ban on singe-use plastic bags, Environment Minister Stephen Dawson has announced.

The ban, which was announced last year, means retailers and suppliers will not be able provide single-use plastic bags for consumers to use after July 1 this year.

The workshops, which will be held in metropolitan and regional WA, are designed to ready residents for the ban.

“These workshops provide an opportunity for people to ask questions and share information on how the ban will work on a day-to-day basis,” Mr Dawson said.

“The government’s plastic bag ban is widely supported by the community and industry. Now you can help us make it work.”

West Australian retailers are being encouraged by the government to stop ordering single-use plastic bags in the lead up to the ban, while consumers are being advised to start bringing reusable bags for their shopping.

Workshops in the metropolitan region will be held across Perth, Connolly, Stirling, Armadale, Fremantle, Midland and Mandurah and in regional centres through Karratha, Kalgoorlie, Bunbury, Narrogin, Albany, Geraldton, Broome and Port Hedland.

More information about the government’s workshops can be found here.