Veolia Partners with Farm Waste Recovery

Veolia has secured a three-year deal with Farm Waste Recovery (FWR), part of the Industry Waste Recovery (IWR) group.

The deal will see Veolia provide collection, transport and recycling services of polypropylene packaging for their closed-loop network across Australia.

Established in 2015, FWR is the flagship program supported by cornerstone businesses, Incitec Pivot Fertilisers and Impact Fertilisers, and helps industries and farmers recycle agricultural packaging and product waste in a sustainable manner.

Leveraging Veolia’s waste collections and management expertise, IWR will work with industry stakeholders to significantly reduce the number of landfilled polypropylene bags, also known as flexible intermediate bulk container (FIBC) bags, many of which cause environmental damage by polluting fields, waterways and roads.

This initiative will allow businesses to pre-purchase the packaging, which then can be used and dropped off at collection sites, to be further transported and processed by Veolia.

Danny Conlon, Executive General Manager of Veolia Australia and New Zealand, said the new partnership demonstrated Veolia’s unwavering commitment to providing sustainable waste management solutions, with a specific focus on environmental excellence.

“We saw an incredible opportunity in partnering with an industry leader that is tackling the challenge of packaging waste head on, in particular an issue as widespread as FIBC waste. IWR has ambitious recovery targets and together, we will deliver an environment-friendly solution to recycle an otherwise wasted resource,” Mr Conlon said.

Mr Conlon added, “Our partnership with IWR is part of a wider, united targeted approach to waste management.

The significant rise in the use of polypropylene bags and its associated waste has prompted IWR to develop a solution that encourages the development of long-term collection and disposal practices.

Stephen Richards, Managing Director of IWR, confirmed FWR operates on a closed-loop supply chain and involves a cross-section of industry operators, like Veolia, as well as farmers, manufacturers and associations, which has led to gaining the support of governments and councils.

“To date, IWR has successfully recovered 1,123,928 kgs of plastic which has been turned it into re-usable plastic and is targeting the recovery of 12,000,000 kgs of plastic by June 2020,” he said.

“Partnering with Veolia will enable national coverage to all of our new and existing customers, and we see this collaboration as a step in the right direction for our group.”

Mr Conlon echoed the sentiment, “Over the next 12 to 24 months, carefully managing the recovery and reuse of FIBCs will be crucial, and we will work very closely with IWR to ensure their targets are met every step of the way.”

Waste and recycling council calls for levy portability

Enforcing landfill levies across state borders will prevent further unnecessary cross border transport of waste, the National Waste and Recycling Industry Council believes (NWRIC).

Following the ABC’s Four Corners report on August 7, three government reviews have been commissioned into the Australian waste and recycling industry – a review by a legal expert on behalf of the Queensland Premier, a NSW Upper House inquiry and a Commonwealth senate review. The NWRIC is offering solutions to the problems addressed by these reviews.

Interstate waste transport
A key issue raised by the reviews is the use of lower cost landfills in south east Queensland for the disposal of NSW construction and demolition waste. The reviews will also address challenges in recycling markets, a better use for landfill levy revenue and illegal practises.

While the haulage of waste materials from Sydney to Brisbane is undesirable, it is not illegal. The trade has been created by regulatory disparity between NSW and Queensland. Private industry have been lobbying for a regulatory solution on this issue for more than three years.

The regulatory disparity could be solved by either implementing a landfill levy in Queensland of $40 per tonne or more, or by reducing the landfill levy in NSW on construction and demolition material down to $100 per tonne or less. However, the NWRIC does not recommend either of these options as levies should stable and if introduced, should be carefully planned.

The NWRIC is instead proposing that state governments make landfill levies ‘portable’ across state borders. This means that levies applicable should be based on where waste is generated, not where it is landfilled. If implemented by neighbouring states, this solution will also prevent unnecessary interstate waste movements between Victoria, NSW and South Australia.

The council is currently liaising with the Heads of EPAs taskforce to promote this effective interim solution. Over the longer term, the NWRIC is calling for all states and jurisdictions to harmonise the regulations covering the Australian waste and recycling industry. Regulatory harmony will promote investor confidence and prevent future undesirable consequences.

The Queensland Government is leading an investigation into this same issue. A couple of weeks ago, they announced that retired Supreme Court judge, Peter Lyons QC, will lead the independent investigation into interstate waste transport. It comes after a roundtable jointly chaired by the Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Environment Minister Steven Miles.

“We are sending a clear message to interstate operators transporting waste to this state,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“Mr Lyons is a highly regarded former Supreme Court Judge and Queen’s Counsel who will commence immediately to investigate the interstate waste transportation issue.”

The scope of his investigation will include incentives for movement of waste from other states and how to prevent this from occurring, opportunities for regulatory reform, and the role of other states and the Commonwealth.

Ms Palaszczuk said Mr Lyons’ duties will also include consultation with industry, specifically those who participated through the roundtable process.

“I have asked for a report, including recommendations be provided to government by mid-November.

In addition to the investigation, government is taking steps to ensure operators are complying with the law.

Minister Miles said Operation TORA involving officers from the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP), Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) and Queensland Police Service (QPS) is continuing.

“Officers on the ground are blitzing interstate trucking waste,” he said.

“This is an important industry that contributes to the economy and employing thousands of Queenslanders.”

Recycling Markets
The emerging ‘circular economy’ in Australia is subject to unpredictable price fluctuations in the global market. Currently, glass has a marginal value, and plastic prices are at a historic low. The stockpiling of materials prior to recycling is a normal process in the recycling market, and stockpiled glass from kerbside collection is neither a hazardous material nor a fire risk.

In order to stimulate recycling markets, the NWRIC is proposing that more landfill levy money be hypothecated back to industry. The NWRIC advocates this revenue be used to support uniform and comprehensive regulatory enforcement, statewide waste management and recycling infrastructure planning and the creation of viable, long term markets for recycled products.

Where levy revenue is to spent directly on infrastructure projects, the NWRIC proposes that funds be offered as loans rather than grants – as this structure ensures transparency, accountability and a level market. The Clean Energy Finance Corporation serves as an existing model for this type of program.

To assist governments in creating the regulatory conditions conducive to stimulating investment into the circular economy, the NWRIC has produced its National Roadmap for a Circular Economy. Read more about it here. This document offers a range of regulatory solutions to improve the environmental, social and economic performance of Australia’s waste and recycling industry, and is available from the NWRIC website.


single-use plastic ban

City of Melbourne fights war on waste

The City of Melbourne has pledged $50,000 to help retail and hospitality businesses reduce their impact on the environment.

In response to the environmental issues highlighted in the ABC’s War on Waste TV series, council has endorsed a motion to increase its efforts to reduce the amount of waste being sent to landfill.

This includes launching a Single-use Waste Reduction Fund where eligible businesses will receive up to $2000 to reduce the usage of plastic bags, coffee cups and bottled water in their operations and services. Single-use items refer to any product that is intended only to be used once and then discarded.

Chair of the City of Melbourne’s Environment Portfolio, Councillor Cathy Oke, says the small steps residents and businesses make to reduce their use of plastics can have a big impact.

“Our residents and businesses want to do their bit for the environment so we’re helping them to join the war on waste,” Cathy says. “This fund will support retail and hospitality businesses to reduce the amount of waste they produce in their day-to-day operations.”
Applications for the fund are open until 21 September 2017. Successful applicants will be notified on 5 October, and funding released on 12 October.

Funding may be a part contribution towards the cost of a larger program of work or it may fund the complete initiative. Some examples of likely eligible projects include the purchase of re-use items that avoid single use items in businesses, such as bags, cups, straws and bottles, a customer based campaign to promote available recyclable, or re-use items.

City of Melbourne says the used energy and economic cost of disposing single use plastic is “immense”. Australians use 10 million plastic bags per day and three billion coffee cups per year. Often these items end up in parks and waterways and are washed into the ocean.

To be eligible for a Single-use Waste Reduction Fund Small Grant, applicants must be a business owner or manager within the City of Melbourne and willing to commit to using the funding for the agreed purpose within a defined time period. All applicants will need to provide evidence of public liability insurance. Work that is inconsistent with program objectives, policies, laws or regulations will not be funded, nor for businesses outside the City of Melbourne.

Successful applicants must express the extent of the proposed waste reduction, be a genuine business expense not easily absorbed in the usual costs of doing business, show the visibility of the waste reduction, and set a good example to customers/patrons.

To apply for the fund, click here.

The motion also commits council to formally advocate for a state-wide ban on single-use plastic bags and the introduction of a Container Deposit Scheme.

Small Business, Retail and Hospitality Chair Councillor Susan Riley and Cr Oke will also seek commitments from large supermarket chains, retailers and cafes within the municipality to work with us to reduce the use of single-use items.

Last year the City of Melbourne installed more than 60 water fountains to make it easier for people to access free drinking water in the city and to reduce reliance on plastic bottles.

The City of Melbourne is currently developing its new Waste and Resource Recovery Plan 2018-2021, which will outline a number of programs and initiatives to increase recycling and reduce waste to landfill.

For more information on the Single-use Waste Fund, contact the City of Melbourne or visit

Bingo Industries’ $38 million Victorian expansion

Recently public listed firm Bingo Industries is expanding into the Victorian market, acquiring three Melbourne businesses.

News Corp reported the $38 million acquisition includes Konstruct Recycling, Resource Recovery Victoria and AAZ Recycling.

The company has secured a fleet of 40 vehicles and two recycling facilities. In addition, Bingo says it will create an additional 100 jobs.

CEO Daniel Tartak said the Victorian end market was attractive, with “strong” growth fundamentals.

“Government legislation is supportive of our business model that diverts waste from landfill for recycling. With the scalability of our platform, operating systems and back office we are well positioned to grow into Victoria,” he said.

In a statement, Bingo said that Victoria is the second largest waste generating state in commercial and industrial (C&I), and building and demolition (B&D) waste after NSW.

“With the accomplishments and developments of Bingo Industries across the C&I and B&D industries across New South Wales, this comes as no hurdle for the company. Reaffirming FY18 forecasts, the Victorian expansion is a giant leap in Bingo’s national plans and another milestone for the group,” the company wrote.

Bingo has quickly expanded from its humble beginnings as a four-truck skip company. The Tartak family bought the company in 2005 for $1 million, and it now has a market cap of $688 million, with 10 recycling centres in NSW.

Toxfree cites growth in FY2017 results

Waste and recycling transport service, Toxfree, has released its FY2017 results, citing growth through acquisitions, diversification, contract awards and other strategies.

Toxfree has reported a 26 per cent rise in revenue, totalling $496.1m for FY2017.

“Through strategic acquisitions, innovation and investment, Toxfree has transformed into a highly diversified waste management provider,” said Toxfree Managing Director, Steve Gostlow.

“Toxfree will continue to commit significant resources to technical improvement and innovation, to meet evolving customer needs and provide best-practice waste management solutions,” he said.