ECU to phase out single-use plastics

Edith Cowan University (ECU) will begin phasing out single-use plastic water bottles and straws across all of its campuses from the start of semester two.

It follows initiatives on the east coast from the Universities of Canberra, Melbourne, Sunshine Coast and Monash University.

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ECU said it believes it is the first Western Australian University to limit the use of plastic water bottles on campus.

The phase out will be done as part of a staged approach to restrict single-use plastic water bottles. Beginning with around 40 events it holds on its campuses, ECU will instead provide water refill stations.

The university is also investigating solutions including an increase to the number of water fountains on campus, offering free or discounted multi-use water bottles on campus and discussing with commercial tenants for alternatives to single-use bottles.

ECU Vice-Chancellor Professor Steve Chapman said it was a big step forward for the University.

“With around 30,000 students and 1800 staff, we can make a huge difference by taking this first step to limit single-use plastic water bottles at our campus events,” Professor Chapman said.

“It’s also financially responsible. More than 90 per cent of the cost of bottled water can be traced back to the bottle, lid and label.

“This is not a ban. This is about education and providing alternatives. By offering high quality, convenient options to students, staff and visitors, we are confident we can reduce the demand for single-use plastic water bottles on our campuses.

City of Swan saves $400,000 on recycling

The City of Swan has announced it is on course to save up to $400,000 after implementing a new recycling strategy.

Bullsbrook Recycling Centre (BRC) was opened by the council to reduce illegal dumping and make recycling more accessible.

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After opening in July of 2017, the BRC has demonstrated exceptional savings according to the City of Swan.

The latest figures have shown that illegal dumping has been reduced by nine per cent and has provided $205,747 in savings to date, with an estimate to save $400,000 annually. The city also reported that it is estimated to save 2281 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.

It also saves money by avoiding waste levies, based on the amount of waste that would normally end up in landfill. The City of Swan said the landfill levy savings in the first eight months of operation amounted to $196,592.

City of Swan Mayor David Lucas said the Centre offers significant cost savings and makes a major contribution towards protecting the environment.

“The BRC has performed exceptionally well since it opened,” he said.

“I’m delighted that we’re reaping the rewards of our investment. Cost savings and revenue generated will be reinvested to improve services across the city.”

Recyclable goods can be dropped off at the center for free, which the City of Swan says reduces the need for further investment in additional staff and equipment.

Additional revenue is earned from disposal charges on specific items like tyres and the resale of scrap metal.

Pearce Ward Councillor Kevin Bailey said the recycling strategy encourages active participation from residents.

City of Swan recognised for waste management

The City of Swan in WA has been recognised for its efficient delivery of waste management and other essential services.

A major survey of local governments has found the City of Swan’s waste management cost per resident was less than the WA and national average.

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Residents living in the area were also fond to dump 14 per cent less rubbish than the average council in WA.

Data was collected from 133 participating councils throughout Australia and New Zealand.

The results were published in the Australasian LG Performance Excellence Program 2017 by PwC Australia and Local Government Professionals NSW.

The survey found the cost per tonne of actual waste collected per 10,000 residents $265, nearly 32% below the average rate of $389.

The City of Swan has been identifying ways in which it can reduce waste, and has diverted more than 180 mattresses from landfill, and operates its own waste collection service using shared resources, labour and plant between the various waste services.

City of Swan Mayor David Lucas said he is proud of the city’s performance.

“Waste management has become a global issue and I’m really pleased with how the city performed in this major survey,” he said.

“We will continue our efforts to improve this service and encourage responsible waste management and recycling throughout the city.”

Swan Valley/Gidgegannup Ward Councillor Rod Henderson congratulated residents on their role in contributing to the city’s performance in the survey.

“The city collected less waste compared to other WA councils and credit must go to residents for their role in achieving this.”

WA exempts waste levy to promote recycling

The WA Government has amended regulations to ensure sites that accept only clean fill and uncontaminated fill, that meet environmental and health threshold after testing, are not licensed as landfill premises or liable for the waste levy.

The changes have been made to promote recycling, increase diversion from landfill and provide certainty for development, according to the WA Government.

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The amendments to the Environmental Protection Amendment Regulations 2018 and the Landfill Waste Classification and Waste Definitions 1996 (as amended 2018) were undertaken by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) in consultation with experts, industry and the community.

Definitions of clean fill and uncontaminated fill have been amended to The Landfill Waste Classification and Waste Definitions 1996 and include threshold limits for physical and chemical contaminants.

“The Environmental Protection Amendment Regulations 2018 gazetted today ensure that clean fill and uncontaminated fill can be used without being licensed as landfill premises or being liable for the waste levy,” WA Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said.

“This decision provides certainty, minimises regulation and promotes recycling of materials that would otherwise be waste.

“This is a win for business, a win for the waste industry and a win for the environment,” he said.

The consultation summary reportsubmissions and the Landfill Waste Classification and Waste Definitions 1996 (as amended 2018) are available on Department of Water and Environmental Regulation’s website.

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.