National Waste and Recycling Industry Council meets

The National Waste and Recycling Industry Council has held its inaugural meeting with waste and recycling leaders in Melbourne.

The council, which formed earlier in the year, aims to represent and canvass the views of some of Australia’s largest waste management companies, working to create a cohesive vision to inform legislation.

For the first time, waste and recycling leaders have met to discuss industry planning and infrastructure needs nationwide.

The meeting brought together companies representing the majority of the waste management and recycling industry from across Australia.

Attending the meeting were senior representatives from Alex Fraser Group , Cleanaway , J. J. Richards and Sons, Solo Resource Recovery, Sims Metals Management, Suez, Toxfree, Remondis, ResourceCo and Veolia. Also attending were delegates from state affiliates, representing industry bodies in Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and the Northern Territory.

“The purpose of this Council is to create a single voice for the industry at a national level,” said Phil Richards, Chair of the Council.

“At the first Council meeting, we debated a number of key policy challenges, which we believe are holding back the development of improved waste and recycling services for all Australians.”

This first Council meeting resolved a shared commitment to move Australia towards a circular economy, where industry is encouraged to invest in new technology, improved infrastructure and new employee skills.

The Council also discussed the need for national harmonisation in relation to the laws and regulations governing the industry.

“The current variation in the rules and regulations governing waste management between jurisdictions creates a cost to business with no environmental, social or economic dividend,” said Max Spedding, CEO of the National Waste and Recycling Industry Council.

“Finally, the Council discussed the need for improved infrastructure planning, to encourage private investment and innovation in the circular economy.”

At future meetings, members and delegates will be working to further refine Council policy positions. The next Council meeting is scheduled for June 13 in Sydney.

Cleanaway awarded contract with Chevron Australia

Cleanaway has been contracted to provide waste management services to energy company Chevron Australia.

It comes after Toxfree announced that it would cease services to Chevron on its Gorgon LNG project on Barrow Island after seven years.

From 1 July, Cleanaway will provide waste management services including the collection, processing, treatment and disposal of all solid waste, recycling and liquid waste across a number of Chevron-operated sites.

The Western Australian sites include Barrow Island, Thevenard Island, Wheatstone LNG Plant, North West Supply Bases and Warehouses and Perth Supply Bases and Warehouses.

The majority of waste will be processed at Cleanaway’s Karratha site, with recyclables being sent to the company’s Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) in Perth, which will start operations in May 2017.

Cleanaway General Manager Solids David Williamson said the company recently established an agreement with the Thalanyji people, the Traditional Owners of the lands near Onslow (WA) to provide business and employment opportunities to the local community.

“We are very proud to be awarded this contract and look forward to working with Chevron Australia to deliver a safe and efficient waste management service,” Mr Williamson said.

“We are also excited to be working with the Thalanyji people to provide genuine opportunities for employment within the local community – making a sustainable future possible for all Australians.”

Sunshine Coast’s Automated Waste Collection System

The Sunshine Coast’s Maroochydore city centre will feature the first CBD-wide underground Automated Waste Collection System (AWCS) in Australia.

Civil works have commenced on the first stage of the city centre, which will feature 1.7km of AWCS pipes laid beneath state one of the CBD.

The pipes will allow waste to be transported underground at speeds of up to 70kmh to a central transfer station – making footpath garbage collections obsolete in the new city centre.

New roads, footpaths, cycleways, lighting, parks and landscaping will take shape in the civil construction works that will cost $25 million and take approximately 12 months to complete.

The works will include the installation of underground services and smart city infrastructure.

The civil works construction will continue into early 2018.

Cleanaway to recycle new Penrite product

Cleanaway have announced a partnership with oil company Penrite to recycle their new dispensing system.

The Penrite Enviro Box™ packaging and dispensing system is aiming to decrease packaging waste, boost bulk lubricant storage capacity, increase workplace safety and save money.

The product was unveiled at the Australian Automotive Aftermarket (AAA) Expo in Melbourne, where it received the Most Innovative New Packaging Award. The awards, presented for innovation and market leading product development, highlighted Penrite Oil Enviro Box™ for incorporating both functionality with sustainability in their product.

The lubricant is packaged in a bladder bag that is housed inside a recyclable cardboard box, as opposed to the traditional plastic drum.

Considering the many thousands of 20 litre plastic drums disposed of each year, the company estimates this will result in an 85 per cent reduction in landfill waste per unit produced.

“We’re excited to partner with Cleanaway to make sure that the bladder bags are responsibly collected and recycled, so the environmental impact of the use of plastic drums in the automotive industry can be mitigated”, said Toby Dymond, General Manager Penrite Oil.

“It is a great initiative for Penrite to take a proactive step in making package recycling widely accessible for the automotive industry,” Mark Smith, National Sales & Value Chain Manager for Cleanaway said.

“As an Australian-owned company with over 50 years’ experience supporting Australian businesses, we’re proud to offer this collection service to Penrite customers, helping workshops to reduce their waste and work towards making a sustainable future possible,” Mr Smith added.

Interested customers will be provided with a Cleanaway collection bin. The empty bags are then deposited into the bin and once the bags are ready for collection customers simply call Cleanaway on 13 13 39. Collection will start in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth before a later roll out to regional areas.

 

April / May 2017

Trident Plastics’ four-wheel bins

Trident Plastics, the largest custom moulder in South Australia, has launched a new range of Australian made four-wheel bins for commercial and multi-unit dwelling use. The new 660 and 1100-litre bins are made of injection moulded high-density polyethylene (HDPE), which is UV stabilised to provide “excellent strength and durability”, as Trident explains, adding: “With our four- wheel bin range, we aim for excellent value for money in the same way that our two-wheel bins have become so popular in Australia and New Zealand in recent years.”

Featuring flat sides to enable pockets to be installed, as well as high quality wheels, two with locks, and noise reducing tyres, the new four-wheel range comes fully equipped and will be available in a whole range of colours for both body and lid.

Trident Plastics commenced manufacturing two- wheel bins in 2012 and has since increased its range each year. Now supplying 80, 100, 120, 140, 240 and 360-litre two-wheel bin sizes, the young company says the new four-wheel options further complete its portfolio.

All two and four-wheel bins are made under strict quality and environmental standards, such as ISO 9001 and ISO 14001.

www.tridentaustralia.com

February / March 2017

Mike Ritchie, MRA Consulting

Work to be done

Mike Ritchie from Sydney-based consulting firm MRA reflects on the importance of solid groundwork in the political realm to facilitate real change in waste management. 

Our waste problems are urgent. Waste is pouring out of the economy at a compound average growth rate of 6.3 per cent, and waste volumes double every 12 years. To tackle the issue, most Australian States and Territories have set ambitious recycling targets for 2020/21.

For Municipal Solid Waste (MSW), the diversion target is generally 65 to 70 per cent, except in the ACT where it’s 85 per cent. For commercial & industrial (C&I) waste, the target is higher still – typically ranging from 70 to 80 per cent. Except, again, for the ACT, where it’s 85 per cent. The highest targets, meanwhile,
are reserved for construction and demolition (C&D) waste, with most state targets ranging from 75 to 85 per cent.

These are big numbers, and it’s still a long way to go until we reach them – particularly for MSW, where new data shows that diversion rates need to increase by about 50 per cent to stay on track. But there is no alternative: The work we need to do is important and structural, even though it can be unexciting. It’s work that is unlikely to capture the public’s imagination in the same way as single use battery, coffee cups, CDs or light bulbs might be able to.

 Some say that the scheme’s that get people’s attention, that win environment awards, are worth every cent because they attract media attention and money, as well as political capital. They connect people to waste problems.
But the problem is that money and political capital are not unlimited. Connecting people to waste problems is fine, but it doesn’t build infrastructure or set realistic market prices. What you spend on one project is not available to another. So, can we really afford ‘puff projects’?
Plastic bags for recycling

Back and forth

According to not-for-profit organisation Planet Ark, eight out of 10 Australian councils report plastic bags as their biggest recycling problem. Are we any closer to implementing a comprehensive national ban?  

The debate around the banning of single-use plastic bags is all but new, yet continues to spark controversy on a global level. While Australia is still in the process of putting a national policy on the issue in place – South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory have established plastic bag bans, while NSW, Queensland and Victoria have all committed to investigating the introduction of a ban – the US is currently experiencing a concerning turnaround on the topic: Last month, Michigan became the fourth US state to place a ban on banning plastic bags, following the example of Idaho, Arizona and Missouri.

To put the development into perspective and explain just why back-pedaling is not an option, Peter McLean, Executive Officer at the Australian Organics Recycling Association (AORA), summarises the state of play in Australia.

“AORA has held a long-term national policy on banning single-use plastic bags since 2015. We want to ensure that only Australian Standards (AI) certified compostable bags are exempt under any plastic bag legislation because they will break down under the parameters of a commercial composting facility.

Ensuring this very strict standard means that all other degradable, oxo- degradable and biodegradable plastic bags will also be banned, as there are no guarantees that these types of bags will break down under specific timeframes and not produce any residuals like micro-plastics.

The only fail-safe method with so much confusion about product claims in the marketplace is to use AS4736 for commercial composting and AS5810 for home composting. Even biodegradable bags need to be left aside, as biodegradable doesn’t always mean compostable. This is due to them not always meeting the Australian Standards in regards to time to decompose and complete biodegradation, which means they would have to leave zero residues other than some water, carbon dioxide and biomass.

This will also reduce the many deceptive statements currently in the marketplace, which allow manufacturers to use statements like ‘this product is degradable and breaks down when exposed to the environment’.

To read more, see page 52 of Issue 10. 

Making sustainability child’s play

A Melbourne-based company is combining puppet-making and trash to share the ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ message. 

When I was young, my ambition was to be one of the people who made a difference in this world. My hope is to leave the world a little better for having been there.”

While Jim Henson’s famous saying may reflect a common-enough sentiment, but the incremental betterment of the world and humanity doesn’t usually cause puppets to spring to mind. For one Melbourne-based company, however, that is exactly what is entailed within its efforts to make the world a better place.

Jhess Knight worked within the local puppetry industry for the past five years before realising the joys of using recycled or reused materials. Alongside her good friend, Lucy Hedt, she has since developed the Trash Puppets initiative, which combines entertainment with education in the sustainability space.

“During my Master’s at the London School of Puppetry, we were encouraged to create mock-ups of our puppets. Quick and rough, a process that enabled us to see the design of our puppet and what the challenges might be,” explains Jhess. “Usually thrown together with basic materials such as newspaper or cardboard, I often found myself falling in love. Their simplicity was incredibly charming and made them even more magical when they came to life.”

The process of making Trash Puppets thus came about organically, and Jhess found the process to be therapeutic in its own right. “I knew this was something I wanted to share,” she says.

After having the idea suggested by a friend who works as a schoolteacher, Jhess and Lucy have gone on to create a profitable business in teaching kids to make puppets from rubbish – but it also has applications beyond the classroom.

To read more, see page 36 of Issue 10. 

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