EOI’s sought for WA Contaminated Sites Committee

The Western Australian Government is seeking expressions of interest to join the state’s Contaminated Sites Committee, which determines appeals of contaminated site matters.

The independent committee, established in 2006 under the Contaminated Sites Act 2003, makes decisions regarding clean up, remediation responsibilities and classifications of contaminated sites.

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said all current Contaminated Sites Committee members’ roles expire shortly, with three in October and two, including the chairperson, in December.

“WA’s Contaminated Sites Act makes it compulsory to report known or suspected contaminated sites, making this among the most progressive contaminated sites legislation in Australia,” Mr Dawson said.

“The committee has acted effectively in resolving more than 150 appeals over more than a decade, and the new members will no doubt play an important role in ensuring this continues.”

Mr Dawson said government is seeking committee members with knowledge, skills and expertise in environmental or contaminated site management, as well as legal practitioners with experience in environmental or property law.

Expressions of interest close 20 September.

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Funding available for WA waste sector

The Western Australian government has announced a further $1.17 million in funding for projects that will support the state’s waste and recycling sector.

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said the latest round of funding supports the continued development of waste and recycling infrastructure in Western Australia, and reinforces government’s commitment to a cleaner, more sustainable environment.

“Waste is a priority issue for the state government, and we are committed to funding initiatives through the Community and Industry Engagement program,” Mr Dawson said.

“This program gives industry and community groups financial backing for projects that contribute to Western Australia becoming a sustainable, low-waste, circular economy.”

Projects to improve the recovery and reuse of glass, construction and demolition materials, food organics and garden organics, as well as those that encourage behaviour change, are encouraged to apply for a funding grant.

“I encourage the community to access this funding for initiatives that help reduce waste generation, divert waste from landfill and help educate the community and industry,” Mr Dawson said.

Past successful recipients include Green Machines Lab for a plastic reprocessing plant and Good Samaritan Industries for a cardboard recycler system that converts scrap cardboard into packaging material.

Grants are provided as part of the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030, and will be made available through the Community and Industry Engagement program administered by the Waste Authority.

Applications 23 September.

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SWRW seeks landfill alternative proposals

The South West Regional Waste Group (SWRW) in Western Australia is inviting businesses to suggest alternatives to landfill and has issued a memorandum to help clarify conditions.

According to a SWRW media statement, the group believes the timing is right to explore the broadening range of new and emerging technologies that turn waste into valuable by-products.

“The waste processing market is rapidly advancing as communities and businesses become more aware of the importance of waste management and its latent value,” the statement reads.

“New ideas and innovations in relation to waste management are constantly emerging, and it is vitally important that local governments and other decision-making bodies continue to liaise closely with industry in order to identify potential opportunities.”

The statement said securing feedback from the private sector on how companies can optimise current and future waste market conditions is an important first step.

“Information obtained now will inform future decision making as local governments seek to align their approach to waste management with the state government’s direction, which is moving toward the establishment of a circular waste economy,” the statement reads.

“To this end, the SWRW is asking companies in the local, national and international markets to submit proposals on how municipal waste may be used to benefit the broader South West region both now and into the future.  These ideas will be assessed by the group when considering long-term answers to regional waste management.”

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EMRC appoints new CEO

A new Eastern Metropolitan Regional Council (EMRC) Chief Executive Officer has been appointed, replacing Peter Schneider who resigned in November 2018.

WA Waste Authority Chairman Marcus Geisler has been selected for the role, having served as authority chairman since 2014, in addition to holding senior management positions with Coates Hire, Thiess and SITA – WA’s largest waste management company.

EMRC Chairman David McDonnell said Mr Geisler’s experience in waste processing includes composting organics and alternative waste treatment processes, and the recovery and marketing of secondary materials ranging from construction and demolition waste to kerbside recyclables.

“His extensive advocacy experience, firsthand knowledge of the commercial waste and recycling industry and his commitment to the local government sector will be instrumental in guiding the EMRC forward as a progressive organisation representing the interests of Perth’s Eastern Region and the 365,000 people who call it home,” Mr McDonnell said.

“At the Waste Authority, Mr Geisler’s negotiating skills and commitment to strong engagement successfully brought together state and local governments, industry and the community to enable implementation of the State’s Waste Strategy.”

Mr McDonnell thanked Regional Services Director Wendy Harris for her contributions as acting CEO over the past six months.

Mr Geisler is due to take up his new position on 15 July 2019.

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Coordinator appointed for WA container deposit scheme

The Western Australian Government has selected Return Recycle Renew to operate the state’s container deposit scheme.

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said Return Recycle Renew would be responsible for running the scheme and ensuring all government objectives are met.

“Overseen by a board, the scheme coordinator will manage payments from manufacturers and importers of eligible beverage products, and will be responsible for establishing and implementing collection and logistics networks,” Mr Dawson said.

“An open and competitive process was used to identify the preferred scheme coordinator and I’m encouraged that Return Recycle Renew is best placed to deliver a high performing scheme for our state.”

According to Mr. Dawson, Return Recycle Renew has been appointed for seven years and must meet all recycling targets to be considered for reappointment.

“One of the first tasks for Return Recycle Renew is to run an open application process to establish the collection network,” Mr Dawson said.

“This will include refund points, transport and processing facilities and support for social enterprises to participate.”

Mr Dawson said WA will have more refund points per head than any other state or territory in Australia.

“As a regional Member of Parliament I want to be sure that remote communities do not miss out on the opportunities arising from this scheme,” Mr Dawson said.

“That’s why there will be at least one refund point in every remote town with 500 people or more and we will be looking at a range of other options for smaller communities.”

Mr. Dawson said as beverage containers account for 44 per cent of the volume of litter in WA, effective management of the scheme is crucial to reducing litter and improving the state’s recycling rates.

A chairperson and community representative will be appointed by the end of the month, with remaining directors appointed shortly after.

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Waste advisory group to support reform in WA

An advisory group tasked with providing direction on waste policy and legislation, has been set up as part of the Western Australian government’s continued push to improve the state’s recycling and waste management policies.

Following the release of the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030, Environment Minister Stephen Dawson has established the Waste Reform Advisory Group to help inform the future direction of waste reform in the State.

The new advisory group will continue the work of the Waste Taskforce – convened by Mr Dawson as a response to the China National Sword Policy – and be the ongoing mechanism to ensure up-to-date information on waste matters is maintained.

The advisory group will provide advice on the direction and development of waste policy and legislation in Western Australia, including the key reforms outlined in the State’s new waste strategy and priority waste targets.

“The Waste Reform Advisory Group’s first task will be to consider an issues paper to guide legislative reforms to encourage the use of waste derived materials,” Mr Dawson said.

“I am keen to ensure legislative and policy reforms are developed collaboratively and fit for purpose to ensure we deliver outcomes in the long-term best interests of the State, the community and industry.”

The Waste Reform Advisory Group will be chaired by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation’s Director General Mike Rowe, and will include representatives from the Waste Authority, local government, peak industry and resource bodies, community groups and non-government organisations, and material recovery operators.

The group’s first meeting is anticipated to be in April 2019.

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Perth’s top 10 recyclers

For the first time, local council waste and recycling data is available on the Western Australian Government’s MyCouncil website.

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said the data offers an opportunity for local government communities to better understand their waste footprint and assess progress towards a more sustainable and low-waste future.

“Western Australians want to do the right thing when it comes to waste and by making this data publicly available we can all work collaboratively to reduce waste generation,” Mr Dawson said.

The data, sourced from the Waste Authority’s annual Local Government Waste and Recycling Census, includes the quantities of waste collected, disposed to landfill and recovered by local governments for each type of waste service offered.

“As we roll this out we expect to see improved resource recovery in metropolitan local governments that will be reflected each year on MyCouncil — helping us to meet the state government’s target of at least 75 per cent of waste generated in Western Australia to be reused or recycled by 2030,” Mr Dawson said.

According to Local Government Minister David Templeman, the data shows councils south of the river are significantly reducing waste to landfill, with East Fremantle, Melville, Cockburn and Fremantle all ranking among the top five recycling performers in the Perth metropolitan area.

“Making this data available in a central location on the MyCouncil website will improve transparency around local government waste performance and provide them with an increased incentive to improve their resource recovery performance,” Mr Templeman said.

Top 10 metropolitan recyclers

East Fremantle (Town)61%
Cockburn (City)61%
Melville (City)60%
Joondalup (City)55%
Fremantle (City)54%
Wanneroo (City)53%
Nedlands (City)52%
Cottesloe (Town)50%
Stirling (City)47%
Vincent (City)46%

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WALGA releases CDS discussion paper

At its annual policy forum, The Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA) released the Sharing the Benefits of the container deposit scheme (CDS) discussion paper.

WALGA Manager Waste and Recycling Rebecca Brown said the paper would form the basis for advocacy on key components of CDS regulations.

CDS laws were introduced into the Western Australian Parliament in December 2018, with the scheme expected to start in early 2020.

The scheme is expected to deliver a net positive benefit of around $152 million over the next 20 years.

WALGA proposes negotiations between local governments and material recovery facilities (MRF) on how to best share cost benefits of the CDS start at a 50/50 basis — net the verifiable inclusion costs for MRF’s.

Ms Brown said a 50/50 starting point would provide both parties with an equitable share of the benefits of CDS, while including considerations of the costs to the MRF operator.

The paper also explores how CDS will influence the cost of operating an MRF, potential sampling protocols and approaches to transparency.

At the policy forum, Ms Brown also announced the development of a new WALGA resource for local government that provides an overview of the legislative framework, anticipated implementation timeframes, contractual relationships and local government considerations of the CDS.

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Grant applications open for WA waste and recycling program

The Western Australian Government has announced grant applications are open for its $1 million Community Industry and Engagement (CIE) program, designed to support local waste and recycling plants and equipment.

The funding, announced by Environment Minister Stephen Dawson, will be allocated as part of the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030 – the state’s blueprint for managing future waste.

“This is another step in the government’s commitment to reduce waste generation, increase material recovery, reduce waste disposed to landfill and increase recycling across Western Australia,” Mr Dawson said.

“The CIE program provides an opportunity to get financial backing for projects that address the state government’s waste management priorities and help make Western Australia a sustainable low waste society.”

The infrastructure funding stream is targeted at plants and equipment that support the sorting and processing of materials collected for recycling, including optical sorters, screening systems and equipment to process and recycle priority waste materials into marketable end products.

“I encourage funding applications to tackle issues such as reducing waste generation, diverting waste from landfill, and community and industry education,” Mr Dawson said.

Projects previously funded through the CIE program include a comprehensive organic waste study to support the development of a regional anaerobic digestion facility, and research into concrete manufacturing to replace natural aggregates with construction and demolition waste.

The funds will be delivered by the Waste Authority – applications close 10am 29 April.

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