A woman with single use, lightweight plastic bags - QLD wnats to introduce a plastic bag ban

Western Australians rally for Plastic Free July

Western Australian Environment Minister Stephen Dawson has launched Plastic Free July, calling on individuals, organisations and businesses to actively reduce their consumption of single-use plastics.

Plastic Free July was developed by the Western Metropolitan Regional Council in 2011, commencing with 40 participants.

The campaign has since been adopted globally with more than a million participants in more than 130 countries.

Participants can choose to refuse single-use plastics for 31 days in July or accept the challenge for a week or a day.

“There are a number of ways we can all help reduce waste every day including bringing your own reusable shopping bags, remembering reusable coffee cups and water bottles, and avoiding pre-packaged fruit and vegetables,” Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said.

“Plastic Free July is a fantastic homegrown challenge and is a great way to avoid landfill, reduce our eco-footprint and protect the ocean from plastic pollution.”

“A staggering 100 kilograms of plastic packaging – including plastic containers, water bottles, plastic bags or disposable coffee cups – are used by householders every year,” Plastic Free July co-founder Rebecca Prince-Ruiz said.

“Those plastics break up not break down, are mostly down-cycled and end up in landfill or worse ‘escape’, with scientists predicting there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans by 2050.

“Plastic Free July is creating conversations and education around the issues of plastic pollution and more importantly has resulted in a wave of community action.”

A householder disposing of food and garden organics FOGO waste

New interactive digital display to help reduce food waste

The South Australian Government has introduced a public display to learn about food waste.

Climate Change Minister Ian Hunter and Deputy Lord Mayor of Adelaide Megan Hender today opened ‘The General Story’ display, which aims to be a fun, innovative and interactive way to learn about food waste through the experiences of everyday food items found in your fridge or pantry.

The Adelaide Central Markets display focuses on digital characters Milk, Bread, Banana, Eggplant and Lamb Chop, finding out how they are grown and made, how much energy and water is used to grow them and why they often get wasted.

The store objects in the display were 3D printed through the Digital Fabrication at New Venture Institute, Flinders University and display uses the latest interactive multimedia software to play animated videos as users interact using SMS.

The installation was designed by Adelaide creative agency Sandpit and arose as a result of a State Government and City of Adelaide workshop on smart digital ways to highlight and reduce food waste.

The display consists of a pantry shelf of virtual food products, which come to life to tell the story of how they grew and came to be and reveal their greatest fear – that they might be wasted and never used. After telling its story each food item links the user via text message to a web page recipe of how the food can be used.

Approximately five per cent of the City of Adelaide’s greenhouse gas emissions come from waste and a major contributor to this is organic waste deposited in landfill. While decomposing, organic waste produces large amounts of methane – a far more destructive greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

The display is delivered as part of the Carbon Neutral Adelaide initiative and is a collaboration between the Adelaide Smart City Studio, OzHarvest, the Adelaide Central Market Authority and Carbon Neutral Adelaide.

The digital display will be open until August 2017 and can be found in the old Cappo Seafood site at the Grote St eastern entrance of the Adelaide Central Market.

“About 20 per cent of the food purchased across Australia is wasted. By learning how we can reduce this we can not only become more environmentally sustainable but can also help save money,” said Sustainability, Environment and Conservation Minister Ian Hunter.

“This display is also a great example of local know how and innovation and shows the State’s potential in helping Australia transition to a low-carbon economy.”

“Through the Adelaide Smart City Studio, the City of Adelaide is proud to partner with the State Government to co-fund the development of a creative installation that educates the community,” City of Adelaide Deputy Lord Mayor Megan Hender said.

“Council believes that educating people about food waste and the lifecycle of different food items helps the city in our goal to be known as smart, green, liveable and creative.

“The digital installation is timely given that the ABC are running a television series on this very subject, The War on Waste, and we encourage everyone to come to our wonderful Adelaide Central Market to learn more.”


Councils recognised for e-waste recycling

Product stewardship program MobileMuster has recognised the efforts of local councils in the area of e-waste collection and recycling.

Josh Frydenberg, Federal Government Minister for Environment and Energy commended eight councils from across Australia.

“Electronic waste is one of the fastest growing waste issues in Australia and it’s great to see MobileMuster bringing industry and local government together to make it easy to recycle and deliver important environmental benefits to our communities”.

The following councils took out top honours in the awards:

  • National Top Collector per Capita – District Council of Orroroo-Carrieton (SA)
  • New South Wales Top Collector – Hornsby Shire Council
  • Northern Territory Top Collector – Alice Springs Town Council
  • Queensland Top Collector – Queensland – Brisbane City Council
  • Western Australia Top Collector – City of Stirling
  • South Australia Top Collector – City of Onkaparinga
  • Tasmania Top Collector – Burnie City Council
  • Victoria Top Collector – Moonee Valley City Council

Spyro Kalos, Recycling Manager, MobileMuster, said: “Whilst council collections have been steadily growing in the last couple of years it’s great to see an even higher lift this year with councils helping inform and educate their residents about recycling.”

“In the last year councils have increased their collections by a huge 25 per cent and recycled over 4.5 tonnes of mobiles phone and components through the program.”

Over the last decade local government partners have collected 35 tonnes of mobiles phone components for recycling including approximately 420,000 handsets and batteries.

Mr Kalos said that with an estimated 23 million old mobile phones sitting in drawers waiting to be recycled, including five million which are broken and no longer working, MobileMuster will continue to work with councils to encourage residents to recycle responsibly.

MobileMuster’s Top Councils

New South Wales

  1. Hornsby Shire Council
  2. City of Sydney
  3. Randwick City Council
  4. Lake Macquarie City Council
  5. Burwood Council

Northern Territory

  1. Alice Springs Town Council
  2. East Arnhem Shire Council
  3. West Arnhem Regional Council


  1. Brisbane City Council
  2. Redland City Council
  3. Townsville City Council
  4. Scenic Rim Regional Council
  5. Cairns Regional Council

South Australia

  1. City of Onkaparinga
  2. City of Charles Sturt
  3. City of Tea Tree Gully
  4. City of Mitcham
  5. City of Port Adelaide Enfield


  1. Burnie City Council
  2. Launceston City Council
  3. Glenorchy City Council
  4. Break O’Day Council
  5. Kingborough Council


  1. Moonee Valley City Council
  2. Nillumbik Shire Council
  3. City of Monash
  4. Latrobe City Council
  5. City of Greater Geelong

Western Australia

  1. City of Stirling
  2. City of South Perth
  3. City of Fremantle
  4. City of Cockburn
  5. City of Vincent

Top Collector – Per Capita

  1. District Council of Orroroo-Carrieton, SA
  2. District Council of Kimba, SA
  3. Shire of York, WA
  4. Burwood Council, NSW
  5. Hay Shire Council, NSW

Pictured (left to right): 

Rolf Fenner (Australian Local Government Association on behalf of District Council of Orroroo-Carrieton, Hornsby Shire Council and Burnie City Council), Councillor Richard Lawrence (Moonee Valley City Council), Councillor John Sipek (Moonee Valley City Council), Mayor Lorraine Rosenberg (City of Onkaparinga), The Hon Tony Abbott MP (Member for Warringah), The Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP (Minister for the Environment and Energy), Mr Spyro Kalos (Recycling Manager, MobileMuster AMTA), Rex Mooney (CEO, Alice Springs Town Council), Councillor Kim Marx (Brisbane City Council) and Mayor Giovanni Italiano (City of Stirling)

WMAA welcomes new National President

The Waste Management Association of Australia (WMAA) has elected Mr Garth Lamb as the Association’s new National President for a term of two years.

Mr Lamb, Business Development Manager of management company Re. Group, will replace Ms Miranda Ransome whose four year term has come to an end.

“The Association is very excited to welcome Mr Lamb as the new National President. His experience and industry knowledge will be of great benefit in driving the Association forward and delivering great benefits to our members”, said Gayle Sloan, WMAA Chief Executive Officer.

Mr Lamb began in the industry more than a decade ago as a journalist and editor of Inside Waste magazine, followed by four years working with Hyder consulting as the National Business Leader for the waste and resource management team.

“Throughout his career, Mr Lamb has been a great supporter of WMAA. He has been an active member and in 2016, was elected as the WMAA NSW Branch President,” WMAA said.

“WMAA is unique, in that it represents the full breadth and depth of our vibrant and complex industry. We all play different individual roles, but the critical issue is making sure that the overall system works. WMAA provides an important forum for internal discussion and debate, where we can come together to learn from each other and work together to improve our sector”, Mr Lamb said.

WMAA and the Board thanked the outgoing National President, Miranda Ransome, for the many years of her work with the Association.

“Ms Ransome has been a WMAA member for more than 21 years, serving the last four years as WMAA President, and Vice-President before that. Her career and experience, which spans more than three decades in the waste and resource recovery sector, brought a high-level of industry knowledge and understanding of many of the technical, commercial and regulatory challenges facing the sector. Her commitment to the highest standards of responsibility, corporate governance and representing the interests of all members from all sectors had contributed greatly to building a stronger Association,” WMAA said.

“WMAA and the Board would also like to thank Mr Geoff Webster for nominating to run for the position of WMAA National President. Mr Webster has been a WMAA Board member for the past three years. During this time, he has helped develop and implement a strategy that is shifting WMAA’s focus to one which better engages and facilitates the needs of our members.”

“WMAA is a member based organisation, and the willingness of our members to put their hand up to volunteer their time and effort is key to the success of all we do.

“Thank you to Ms Ransome for her dedication to the Association and the industry as a whole. Thank you also to all members who took part in the election”, said Ms Sloan.

Mr Lamb will commence the role of National President at the WMAA AGM to be held on Wednesday 21 June 2017.


End of life mobile phones for recycling

Global e-waste management report predicts growth

The global e-waste management market is predicted to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 3.98 per cent until 2021, a new report finds.

Technavio analysts found the advancement of technologies has resulted in the reduction of the lifecycle of electronic products, which in turn increases the obsolescence rate of technologies.

The report considers the amount of e-waste generated from each region and type of devices discarded to calculate the market size, taking into account population growth and e-waste generated by per inhabitant.

It divides the market into the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Africa and the Asia-Pacific region.

Key Vendors include:

  •  ERI
  • TES
  • Umicore

‘Super Tip’ for WA Councils

Three Western Australian councils will build a ‘Super Tip’ near the town of Mount Barker to store recyclable materials.

Denmark, Albany and Plantagenet Shires have planned to develop a shared waste facility on Crown land in order to centralise a collection area for plastics, oil, metal, electronic waste, car bodies and other recyclable materials.

ABC News reported it comes after Plantagenet Shire had to shut down its recycling transfer stations due to increased transport costs and a slump in prices received for recyclable commodities.

All recyclables collected in regional WA are transported to Perth for processing, which affects council profit.

“Even smaller regional areas are saying the cost of disposal of waste is going up exponentially, it’s also one of those cost centres that is increasing faster than others,” Plantagenet Shire chief executive Robert Stewart told ABC News.

He said discussions between councils and government to consolidate the waste generated from the three shires onto a 24-hectare site adjacent to the Plantagenet waste facility were “making good progress”.

Regional tip facilities are reliant upon good commodity prices to bring buyers to collect the stockpiles, without this ratepayers and councils may bear the brunt of costs.

“There’s a huge expectation in our community that our recycling is handled well, that we are looking after the environment, but there’s also a belief that because we are dealing commodities like metal or aluminium that we will be able to provide that service at minimal or no cost.

“But these days everything we have here whether it’s aluminium or steel, whether it’s plastic whether it’s e-waste, whether it’s oil whether it’s cars — it all costs us money to treat properly.”

Mr Stewart said the ABC’s War On Waste program had triggered discussions about how regional communities dealt with waste.

“We are experiencing many more questions about what is happening to our waste and what is happening to our recycling I’m taking that very seriously because it is a question that we need to ask,” he said.

AWRE puts cost of landfilling on the agenda

The Australasian Waste & Recycling Expo (AWRE) has noted the exorbitant cost of landfill as it seeks to put recycling front of mind in the lead up to its annual expo.

The expo noted that the latest National Waste Data Report reveals that while Australia’s population rose by 22 per cent from 1997 to 2012, waste generation soared by 145 per cent.

At the same time, the cost of disposing waste at Australian landfills can be more than A$105 per tonne. Meanwhile, up to 52 per cent of Australia’s waste is currently recycled while a substantial portion is ending up in landfill. To prove that recycling is a viable alternative, AWRE will attract more than 1500 industry professionals to discuss the latest and greatest in recycling technology from more than 120 leading brands, from e-scrap recycling to material handling.

Key to its offering is the Towards Zero Landfill Project, which will see its partners showcase their achievements in ensuring the project moves closer to zero this year.

The Australasian Waste & Recycling Expo takes place from August 23-24 at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre.
For more information visit: https://awre.com.au

What’s changing for the trucking industry on 1 July?

Australian heavy vehicle laws will see a range of changes from 1 July 2017, according to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR).

The changes come on the back of an update to the National Heavy Vehicle Inspection Manual (NHVINM), explained NHVR CEO, Sal Petroccitto, which has become the standard for heavy vehicle inspections carried out in all jurisdictions except Western Australia.

According to Petroccitto, the changes – referred to as version 2.2 – are mainly aimed at “improving roadside compliance activities and reducing the compliance burden for industry”.

Key changes include introducing ‘self-clearing’ defect notices – effectively an additional type of defect notice for “defective vehicles that do not pose a safety risk” or if the vehicle’s number plate is obscured.

“Self-clearing defects do not require an inspection of the vehicle by an approved person for the purpose of having the self-clearing defect notice cleared,” the NHVR explained in a recent briefing.

An offence has also been created for failing to display and maintain National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme labels on heavy vehicles under the Maintenance Management Accreditation scheme and the Mass Management Accreditation scheme, the Regulator explained.

Other changes include an alignment of the performance measures used when conducting machine-based brake testing, clearer requirements for lights, reflectors and reflective tape, as well as updates to requirements for vehicle dimensions.

“These latest amendments are part of our commitment to continuous improvement of the manual and we welcome your contributions and feedback,” said Petroccitto.

Key changes

Brake performance testing
One of the key changes included in version 2.2 is an alignment of the performance measures used when conducting machine-based brake testing, primarily roller brake testing. More information about these changes is available in the Vehicle Standards Guide (VSG-15) NHVIM Fact Sheet – Brake Testing.

Lights and reflectors
Additional reasons have now been included in the Lights and Reflectors section of the Manual for reflectors, daytime running lights and conspicuity markings. These changes were made in response to industry requests for clear requirements when inspecting these components and include new reasons for rejection, for example when conspicuity markings do not continue for at least 80 per cent of the length or width of the vehicle.

Vehicle dimensions
“Minor changes” have reportedly been made to the requirements for vehicle length to make the requirements easier to understand – especially for semi-trailers and dog-trailers – and also include dimension requirements for trailers used in road trains. For example, the distance from the point of articulation to the rear of a trailer is set at 13.6m for a refrigerated semi-trailer not used in a road train or B-double combination, 13.2m for a semitrailer not used in a road train or B-double combination, and 12.3m for another semitrailer or dog trailer. For a road train, the drawbar has to at least 3.0m long from the centre of the coupling to the front articulation point.

Fifth wheels and turntables may now also be rejected due wear or adjustment of the kingpin locking mechanism beyond the manufacturer’s specifications.

More detailed information on the exact changes that have been made can be found here.

This article originally appeared on Prime Mover Magazine. 

June July / May 2017

Active in the waste space

Josh Frydenberg, Federal Government Minister for the Environment and Energy, talks about the Government’s changes to the product stewardship legislation.

Read more