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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Better Bins to be implemented in 370,000 new households

Over the next 12 months the Western Australian Better Bins program will be implemented in more than 370,000 households in the City of Joondalup, City of Fremantle and Town of East Fremantle, plus additional households in the City of Melville.

The City of Melville trialled a full FOGO system in 2017-18, returning positive results for the diversion of household organics from landfill.

In its Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030, the Western Australian Government outlined food organics and garden organics collection (FOGO) as a priority for waste avoidance and minimisation.

Run by the Western Australian Waste Authority, the Better Bins program aims to ensure that all Perth and Peel households have a third kerbside bin for FOGO by 2025.

Better Bins runs on the principal that more waste separation at the source leads to less contamination and therefore greater recycling and reuse rates.

Under the three-bin FOGO system, food scraps and garden organics are separated from other waste categories at kerbside and reused to create high-quality compost.

The system also functions to keep other waste streams clean and uncontaminated, therefore making them easier to recycle, reprocess and remake into products, reducing the need for extraction of new materials

Currently 16 local governments participate in the program and of these, five are providing a full FOGO service.

After the 370,000 new additions the rate of household participation across the state will stand at 37 per cent.

The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation will soon start consulting with key stakeholders on how to promote and encourage local governments’ adoption of FOGO systems, hoping to increase material recovery to 75 per cent by 2030.

WA has extended the funding application period until 30 June 2019.

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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.