Waste and Recycling Industry Association of Western Australia grows

A state-based industry advocacy body has been continually growing its support base in Western Australia – the Waste and Recycling Industry Association of Western Australia (WRIWA).

WRIWA was formed in April, 2017 in Perth with the support of Cleanaway, Veolia, Suez, Toxfree and Sims Metal Management.

Led by Waste Stream Management’s Michael Harper, a provider of waste and remediation services, the new not-for-profit organisation will act as the state’s leading advocacy body and promote the sustainable development of waste management and recycling infrastructure and services in WA.

WRIWA’s objectives are to achieve best practice environmental outcomes from collection, processing, recycling and disposal of waste. It is also to ensure markets are fair and transparent and ensure competition occurs on a level playing field, driving value for customers and a return on investment for its members.

WRIWA members include the large nationally based waste collection and recycling companies, landfill owners and operators, along with WA-based companies including waste, recycling, demolition and associated services.

WRIWA is the WA affiliate of the National Waste and Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC), which represents the interests of industry members across Australia. The organisation will be canvassing its views to help inform the new Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy – which is currently under review by government.

“WRIWA is committed to working with state government, the Waste Authority, local government and our colleagues in industry to achieve much needed reform of the state’s waste strategy and its implementation,” said the organisation’s president Michael Harper.

“We can bring to the process skilled professionals with extensive state and national experience in key subject areas raised in the consultation paper, including the Container Deposit Scheme, the landfill levy and specifications for construction and demolition aggregates.”

WRIWA’s response focuses on the following key areas:

• Planning: Waste processing and recycling facilities require substantial capital investment by private industry. WRIWA argues that to continue to innovate and introduce technologies that will increase resource recovery, industry need the surety that planning laws will not allow residential and other commercial development to encroach on sites suitable for waste processing.
• Levy Avoidance: WRIRA’s focus is on improving regulatory systems to detect and stop avoidance. It argues avoidance is damaging honest operators who are complying with the regulations. It notes the current level of avoidance is well known within the waste sector and there is an increasing awareness within the NGO environmental sector and the general community. WRIWA believes a failure to bring it to an end risks undermining public confidence in the state’s waste avoidance and resource recovery strategies.
• Levy Anomalies: WA has resource recovery companies which operate in world markets. Consideration needs to be given to levy exemptions for companies which can demonstrate that the levy is damaging their ability to compete internationally.
• Acceptance of construction and demolition (C&D) aggregates: WRIWA believes there is a very low level of acceptance and take up of C&D aggregates by both the local government and state government agencies. C&D waste is successfully being diverted from landfill and is being recycled into aggregates suitable for road base. However, market uptake is lagging far behind output, and placing the sustainability of the waste strategy at risk.
• Container Deposit Scheme: WRIWA supports this proposed scheme. There needs to be strong liaison between regulators and industry particularly industry members operating Material Recovery Facilities as the details of the scheme are planned and rolled out.
• China National Sword: The Chinese Government has altered its criteria for acceptable contaminant levels in imported post-consumer products. WRIWA believes this has had an immediate effect on all sectors of the recycling industry. It is estimated that costs of processing recyclables will rise by up to $100 per tonne in Western Australia. Industry is seeking urgent assistance from the state government to address this issue.