New e-waste processing centre to open in Victoria

The Victorian Government has invested in a new e-waste processing centre in Melbourne’s outer south-east.

The new facility, located in the suburb of Officer, is expected to process 1000 tonnes of e-waste in the first year with capacity to divert 5000 tonnes from landfill.

The state government has provided $500,000 to Social Enterprise Outlook Environmental to build a new 1,000 square metre shed on land bought from Places Victoria.

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E-waste includes everything from old mobile phones, computers and related equipment, audio devices, refrigerators and other white goods, hair driers, TVs, heaters, and air-conditioners.

The new facility will receive discarded electronics, which are stripped of components for reprocessing into new technology or sold on the second hand goods market.

Moving Outlook’s e-waste operations to Officer from Pakenham expands its operation from existing facilities at Mornington, Darebin and Hampton Park.

In 2014 around 109,000 tonnes of e-waste entered Victoria’s waste and recovery system, with projections it will be more than 250,000 tonnes by 2035.

The Victorian Government plans to ban e-waste from landfill and submissions can be made on its website.

 

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Price increases on watch list: NSW CDS

Retailers and distributors who use the NSW Government’s Container Deposit Scheme as a false reason to jack up prices will be targeted by NSW Fair Trading.

It comes after complaints about misleading price increases were made to the state government authority.

Under the scheme, people in NSW are able to return most empty beverage containers between 150 ml and three litres to collection points for a 10-cent refund.

NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Rose Webb said the Container Deposit Scheme will help reduce litter across the state and promote recycling, but Fair Trading is not prepared to have consumers be confused into paying more than they should.

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“We are hearing complaints about price increases that exceed the costs of the scheme to businesses. Traders should not be opportunistically increasing prices by more than these costs and then blaming it all on the scheme,” Ms Webb said.

“There have also been reports of consumers being told that the scheme has caused a price increase, when the relevant containers aren’t even eligible for a refund. This misleading conduct could be a breach of Australian Consumer Law.

“NSW Fair Trading will take a stand against any traders who take advantage of consumers to make an unethical quick dollar.”

To contact NSW Fair Trading, go to www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au or phone 13 32 20.

South Australia strengthens its EPA with new Act

The South Australian Government has strengthened its Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) with the passing of its Environment Protection (Waste Reform) Amendment Act 2017.

The new legislation is part of a suite of measures to ensure a level playing field across the waste industry and provide the right settings to protect the environment.

The changes provide the Environment Protection Authority with greater powers to better tackle illegal dumping and excessive stockpiling as well as supporting innovative resource recovery. The powers allow the EPA to take more timely and proportionate actions to deal with licence breaches.

The Act permits the EPA to apply to a judge of the Supreme Court for a warrant in an illegal dumping investigation by marking waste in vehicles, installing GPS devices and installing cameras in specific premises or vehicles.

“The warrant can be taken to authorise the senior authorised officer to enter or interfere with any premises, vehicle or thing as reasonably required to exercise the powers specified in the warrant,” the Act says.

The EPA can also issue an environment protection order to prevent or minimise environmental harm or deal with stockpiled or abandoned waste or other matter. Unauthorised stockpiling can occur where facilities exceed maximum allowable limits imposed by the Act.

The amendments were developed following a two-year engagement program with waste and resource recovery sector, the broader community and across government.

The government estimates the South Australian waste and resource recovery sector is a $1 billion industry and employs around 5000 people.

Environment Minister Ian Hunter said the EPA has a strong focus on the illegal dumping of commercial level or hazardous waste, with dedicated investigations staff. The new powers will build on existing EPA powers to support the agency in successfully identifying and taking action against illegal dumping.

Improved deterrence aims to assist in reducing the significant costs each year in cleaning up illegally dumped waste.

Stan Krpan returns as head of Sustainability Victoria

Stan Krpan has returned to statutory authority Sustainability Victoria as Chief Executive officer after spending five months as head of the Victorian Cladding Taskforce.

Mr Krpan said he was pleased to be back at Sustainability Victoria and looked forward to re-connecting with his colleagues, stakeholders and the industry to deliver on its SV2020 strategy, which works towards a sustainable, low emissions Victoria.

He thanked his colleagues Jonathon Leake, Carl Muller and Stephanie Ziersch who acted as Interim CEO during his absence.

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In early July, Mr Krpan accepted the secondment as Chief Executive Officer of a taskforce to investigate the extent of non-compliant cladding on Victorian buildings.

The taskforce assessed more than 1400 Victorian buildings, with all of them declared safe to occupy despite 220 buildings not complying with regulations. The taskforce will continue its work to ensure buildings are rectified.

Mr Krpan returned to Sustainability Victoria as CEO on Monday.

He said his experience at the taskforce had been rewarding as they worked to deliver recommendations to the Victorian Government on how to improve compliance and enforcement of building regulations to better protect building occupants.

“It was rewarding to work collaboratively across government authorities, key agencies, including fire engineers and industry professionals, to deliver a thorough, timely and practical approach to this issue,” Mr Krpan said.

Mr Krpan said his time at the taskforce had given him the chance to reflect on all the good work Sustainability Victoria had been doing in his absence.

“The leadership team did a fantastic job. There have been some learnings along the way which I can take back to my role at Sustainability Victoria. I look forward to leading the organisation once again as we deliver on our clear direction of helping Victorians take action on climate change and use resources wisely,” he said.

 

Bingo Industries to raise $120m for acquisitions

NSW waste and recycling organisation Bingo Industries has announced it is raising $120 million to acquire businesses National Recycling Group and Patons Lane.

The proceeds will also be used to fund organic redevelopment opportunities and repay debt used to fund its Has-a-bin acquisition in September 2017.

Bingo Industries floated on the stock market earlier this year. Approximately 63.2 million new shares are expected to be issued under the entitlement offer, with shareholders also offered one share for every 5.55 held.

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The acquisitions, along with organic redevelopment of existing assets, are expected to support the company’s network capacity expansion across NSW and Victoria from 1.7 million tonnes per year to 3.4 million by 2020.

National Recycling Group (NRG) is the parent company of DATS Environment Services (DATS), Melbourne Recycling Centres and Harpers Bin Hire.

In a statement, Bingo Industries said that the acquisition will further accelerate its recent expansion into Victoria.

When commenting on the acquisition, CEO of Bingo Industries, Daniel Tartak, stated this venture will provide “compelling strategic benefits for Bingo.”

The move has led to the attainment of two new recycling centres in Victoria, and an additional recycling centre in New South Wales. Access to additional resources will be gained through DATS’ 55 trucks and 3,200 bins, in excess to Bingo’s current fleet, bins and waste infrastructure.

Resource Recovery Facilities Audit Taskforce interim report released

Resource recovery facilities across Victoria are being audited following the release of the Victorian Government-commissioned Resource Recovery Facilities Audit Taskforce interim report.

The taskforce was set up in the aftermath of the SKM Recycling plant fire in Coolaroo, targeting key recycling sites that require extra management measures to ensure community safety.

To date, the taskforce has conducted 88 inspections of 73 sites and issued 37 statutory notices. More than 500 sites have been assessed for risk and 170 sites were found to store combustible material and require further investigation, according to a summary of the report.

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The report summary highlights that the audit program identified that the resource recovery sector is generally “poorly prepared” and “ill-equipped” to manage the risk of fire at their facilities.

The interim report found that while no site was as high a fire risk as Coolaroo, a wide range of issues were identified, ranging from minor housekeeping matters to major failings subject to regulatory action.

The Victorian Government will consider each recommendation made by the taskforce, with inspections to continue until June 2018.

To assist the taskforce, the state government has strengthened the state’s Environment Protection Authority (EPA) by establishing an interim Waste Management Policy to improve safety standards at waste and resource recovery facilities.

The taskforce has developed guidelines that provide detailed information for resource recovery facility operators on how best to prevent and reduce the impact of fires.

A summary of the taskforce’s interim report can be found here. 

 

J.J. Richards & Sons takes over Cairns Regional Council kerbside

J.J. Richards & Sons has commenced its nine-year residential kerbside waste and recycling collection contract with Cairns Regional Council, servicing 71,000 properties in the region.

J.J. Richards & Sons has invested in 20 new waste recovery trucks, which are helping to spread the message to reduce, re-use and recycle. The trucks also note to contact if anyone observes illegal dumping.

New routes and red-lid household waste bins are also features of the new contract.

“This is the first major shake-up of our waste collection for many years and we expect it to bring some positive changes,” Mayor Bob Manning said.

“The new trucks are bigger and more efficient, and every route has been reviewed to make sure they’re providing the best service to residents.”

In 2016-17, almost 60,000 tonnes of domestic waste and recycling were collected from kerbside bins.

“If your green-lid bin needs replacing, you’ll come home to a red-lid one instead. It will serve exactly the same purpose and both coloured bins will receive the same service.”

Recycling bins will continue to have a yellow lid.