Visy reportedly invokes “force majeure”

Recycling company Visy has reportedly told two council contractors it will no longer accept recyclable material from February 9.

In a letter reportedly seen by News Corp, Visy invoked “force majeure”, otherwise known as unforeseen circumstances to suspend contracts, citing the China waste ban and collapse of the recycling materials market.

In a statement to News Corp, Environment Minister Lily D’Ambriosio said the state government would look into the problem.

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“I have asked for a meeting with these businesses to seek an explanation into what’s happened and will be discussing these matters with local government,” she said.

“I will be seeking assurances from all relevant parties to ensure this will have no impact on Victorians.”

Warrnambool based company Wheelie Waste was informed of the move on January 24. Other councils may be affected, but reports indicate this has not been confirmed yet.

Polytrade and SKM Recycling is reportedly negotiating with councils and contractors to find a solution over the next 10 days.

Citywide, owned by the City of Melbourne, told the publication its contract with Visy would remain.

IVECO’s ACCO endures test of time

The ACCO can trace its origins way back to 1952 when the International Harvester Company of Australia produced the country’s first locally-designed and built truck.

Developed specifically for the Australian army as a tough, go anywhere, 4×4 rigid, it wasn’t too long before the truck entered the civilian world and became favourable across a broad range of applications.

From tipper work, general haulage, emergency service, refuse and prime mover work, and everything in between, IVECO notes the ACCO entrenched itself as an Australian trucking industry icon, evolving over the years to offer a vast range of model choices, a selection of petrol and diesel engines and in 1971 – an automatic transmission.

In 1972 the ‘ACCO A’ was born, featuring an all-new cabin, a proven structure that can still be seen in the current model ACCOs. The sturdy steel cabin was years ahead of its time, having already met ECE-R29 safety requirements (decades before mandated), while IVECO says the total vehicle package was lauded for its reliability, dependability and ease of service and maintenance.

Despite numerous iterations since the 50s, the company says sophistication and technology features remain core traits of the ACCO range, making it a staple of demanding applications such as waste collection.

TCA releases updated telematics IVU specification

Transport Certification Australia (TCA) has released an update to the Telematics In-Vehicle Unit (IVU) Functional and Technical Specification.

“The updated Specification reflects changes in national and international standards, feedback from industry, and the growing number of apps supported by Telematics IVUs,” said TCA Chief Executive Officer, Chris Koniditsiotis.

“Telematics IVUs, be they built into a vehicle or aftermarket, are increasingly being used as a technical and communications ‘hub’ within a vehicle, which connect and support multiple systems and driver devices.

“The Specification can be used across transport modes, supports multiple uses consistent ISO 15638/TARV and enables interoperability.

“It means end-users don’t need to install separate, stand-alone devices to perform individual functions, significantly reducing costs by avoiding the need to support numerous stand-alone devices.

“Critically, the Specification meets the requirements of regulatory telematics apps which can improve productivity and safety.

“Despite the expectations of stakeholders, not all in-vehicle devices deliver when it comes to accuracy, security and integrity.

“Put simply, not all telematics hardware is created equal.”

For this reason, TCA says the Telematics In-Vehicle Unit (IVU) Functional and Technical Specification is not intended only for technology providers, but can be used in different ways depending on stakeholder needs.

For example, the end-user can use the Specification to establish whether their current in-vehicle technologies meet the requirement, or to make better-informed decisions when procuring Telematics IVUs.

“TCA is happy to assist purchasers and end-users with any queries they may have with respect to the Specification, or in comparing different IVU types,” Koniditsiotis said.

A copy of the Specification can be obtained by visiting

TCA will take an active involvement in driving intelligent multimodal technology solutions across the integrated exhibition and conference of MEGATRANS2018.

brooke donnelly

APCO and Planet Ark launch Australasian Recycling Label

The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) have launched a new nation-wide labelling scheme to help consumers better understand how to recycle products effectively.

The Australasian Recycling Label (ARL), in collaboration with Planet Ark and PREP Design, aims to help solve Australia’s critical waste issues by increasing recycling rates and clearly outlining for consumers what product packaging is made from so they can correctly recycle it after use.

Leading organisations including Australia Post, Blackmores, Nestlé, Officeworks, Unilever and Woolworths have already pledged their commitment to using the label and as such are actively working towards reducing the amount of waste going to landfill in Australia.

The label aims to lead to greater transparency amongst industry and drive more sustainable supply chain models. Businesses that pledge their commitment to the ARL gain access to a unique analysis tool that will allow them to better understand the materials they use in their packaging and associated environmental impacts. This will allow them to more effectively address problematic materials throughout the supply chain.

“The Australasian Recycling Label has been the result of close collaboration and partnership – core values of APCO. By bringing together the priorities of government and industry, and through our partnership with Planet Ark and PREP, we’ve been able to deliver a scheme that has real value for all parties and for the broader community as well,” said Brooke Donnelly, CEO of APCO.

“We’re incredibly proud of this initiative and of our members who have already pledged their commitment. The broad representation across industries demonstrates the growing sense of sustainability awareness and commitment in the Australian business community. We look forward to working with more organisations to collectively achieve better recycling rates and reduce waste to landfill.”

“We are looking forward to working with APCO to grow the ARL amongst their wide membership. I’d also like to thank the companies that have been instrumental in its success to date” said Paul Klymenko, CEO of Planet Ark.

The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation is a co-regulatory, not-for-profit organisation that partners with government and industry to reduce the harmful impact of packaging on the environment. For more information about The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation, please visit their website.

Hitachi Zosen Inova to build “world’s largest EfW plant”

Dubai Municipality has selected Swiss clean tech company Hitachi Zosen Inova (HZI) as the successful tenderer to help build what HZI says is the world’s largest waste to energy facility.

The joint venture operation will be built by Belgium’s largest construction company BESIX Group and plans to treat 1,825,000 tons (approximately 1655612 metric tonnes) of municipal solid waste per year.

The plant is to be built in the Emirate of Dubai. Forming a strong joint venture partnership, the two international companies will collaborate on delivering the engineering, procurement, and construction of the turnkey plant, and a minimum of 30 years’ operation and ownership of the resource recovery facility.

Located at the waste landfill site in Warsan, Dubai, the facility will treat 5,000 tons (4535 tonnes) of non-recyclable municipal solid waste from the Dubai area per day. About 171 megawatts of electricity generated will be fed into the local grid as baseload energy and will power around 120,000 homes. In addition, there will be metals recovered and construction materials produced from the bottom ash.

“The award of this project, with its relevance to the industry, highlights HZI’s market leadership in the waste to energy business, in terms of both engineering, procurement and construction and operations and management. We are delighted and proud with the conclusion of this project, which marks our successful entry into the Middle East market,” said Andres Kronenberg, Vice President Business Development at HZI.

“We are very pleased that Dubai Municipality has entrusted us with this new major project, and honoured to add this reference to the list of sustainable solutions we have created, very much in line with our purpose,” said Rik Vandenberghe, CEO of BESIX Group.

China waste ban to hit WA

China’s foreign waste ban could see an increase in Perth’s household waste charges and see recycling rates fall.

The Chinese Government has said it would stop accepting recycled waste such as papers and plastics from overseas countries from the end of the year.

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This move will have a major impact on Perth’s resource recovery centres, which collect recyclable waste for city councils and process it into products that can be sold.

With sales under threat as a result, it could lead to higher household recycling charges.

Data from the most recent census has shown that Perth has the lowest recycling rate compared to the other major Australian cities. If recovery centres lose momentum, the amount of waste sent to the tip could increase.

State Environment Minister Stephen Dawson told News Corp the decision is a worry.

“I am increasingly concerned with the recent decision by the Chinese Government to cease accepting a range of solid wastes, including recyclables, from Australia in 2018,” Mr Dawson said.

“WA is in the process of implementing significant reform in the waste sector. Cost-efficient recycling of materials is key to delivering better outcomes across the state.

“The loss of opportunities to manage recycling with our international trading partners risks becoming a major barrier to reform in this State. I have written to the Federal Government to explore opportunities to work with them to mitigate or minimise the impacts of this ban on West Australians.”

State General Manager of SUEZ Nial Stock said that without China, ratepayers could have to pay more for recycling services. He confirmed China’s importance within WA’s recycling exports.

“In the end the ratepayer will pay extra for the recycling that goes on at their house,” he said.



50 million drink containers collected by Return and Earn

More than 50 million drink containers have been returned through the Return and Earn recycling program since it began in December 2017.

NSW Environment Protection Authority Acting Chair and CEO Mark Gifford said daily returns are averaging 1.5 million drink containers. Weekends tend to be the busiest times for returns, with last Sunday peaking at over 1.8 million returns.

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“People wanting to return large numbers of containers can also go straight to the nearest automated depot.”

There are now 349 collection points across NSW with more in development. New sites include Griffith North, Port Macquarie, Fairfield, Bathurst and Campbelltown.

The most popular reverse vending machines are at Emerton, Casula, Granville, Revesby and Prospect, which have each received more than one million containers since the scheme began.

Transport management software specialist signs up for show

Allotrac, a specialist in purpose-built transport management software for freight and logistics businesses, has signed up to exhibit at the inaugural supply chain trade show MEGATRANS2018.

The business specialises in transport management software (TMS), which goes beyond traditional telematics by covering all facets of transport management and customising solutions to help improve efficiency and productivity.

While Allotrac’s TMS solution has been developed with fleet managers in mind, CEO Steve Nassar says the company’s innovative platform opens up a range of opportunities in different sectors, which is where MEGATRASN2018 fits in

“We’ve adapted the software most recently for a crane application, which is probably one of the first in the world. It’s the same technology, we’re just thinking about it in a different way,” Mr. Nassar says.

Visitors to Allotrac’s exhibition space at the show will have the opportunity to be taken through a demo of the company’s innovative TMS platform and how it can work for their business, which Mr. Nassar says is an exciting chance for Allotrac to engage with prospective clients in the wider Australian supply chain.

“We’re a big supporter of these kinds of events and it really was a no brainer joining the show,” he adds.

MEGATRANS2018 aims to bring together leaders and stakeholders in the wider Australian and international supply chain, including those in the transport, logistics, warehousing solutions, materials handling and infrastructure sectors.

The event takes over the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre 10-12 May 2018.

More information on MEGATRANS2018 can be found here.

IVECO delivers 10 ACCOs to concrete fleet

Concrete and construction products company, ACM, has opened a new batching plant in Rockbank, Melbourne, acquiring 10 new IVECO ACCO 8×4 agitators to service customers in the region.

The trucks all feature 340hp engines with 1,500Nm of torque and are coupled to six-speed full automatic transmissions, and while the vehicles will only cover approximately 20,000km per year, they will face high running hours.

The new ACCOs are all equipped with 7.4m3 bowls and will service a range of customers across civil, residential and commercial sectors, according to ACM General Manager, Digby Crawford.

“The great thing about the ACCOs is that they are fit for purpose – the trucks and all of the driveline componentry is proven, reliable and long lasting,” he said.

“Maintenance on the trucks and availability of parts is another benefit, you can find replacement parts everywhere, which minimises the likelihood of any downtime.

“Another attractive aspect of the ACCOs was the availability of Electronic Stability Control which is important in this application where the load has a higher centre of gravity.”

According to IVECO, Digby did extensive research before choosing to purchase the ACCOs.

“We looked closely at five different brand trucks all up, but in the end the ACCO had the best all-round package,” Digby said.

“The combination of low tare weight, industry standard components, cabover design which allowed us to better manoeuvre in confined spaces and superior serviceability won us over.”

Suspension on the trucks is handled via rear rubber block, while up front the trucks run integrated air suspension, a combination that has reportedly drawn praise from ACM drivers.

“The drivers are complimentary of the ACCOs, they drive well and in particular they mention that the ride is very smooth and comfortable,” Digby said.

ACM has chosen a bright green livery for its fleet to reflect its environmentally-charged company tagline, ‘Redefining Green’.

“The Rockbank facility and the 10 new ACCO agitators are important components of ACM’s future growth and are helping us ‘Redefining Green’,” Digby said.

“We also have another plant under construction in Clyde (South East Melbourne) which is due to open in early 2018 – a further 10 ACCOs have been ordered for this site.”

Will China’s crackdown on ‘foreign garbage’ force wealthy countries to recycle more of their own waste?


File 20171207 11325 17ay9ub.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
Imported laptop housings, Guiyu, China. Basel Action Network, CC BY-ND

Kate O’Neill, University of California, Berkeley

With holidays approaching, many of us are mindful of the need to collect and recycle all the additional plastic, paper and other waste that we are about to generate. This year, however, there are questions about where that waste will end up. China, the world’s largest importer of scrap, is looking to clean up its act.

In July 2017 China, which is by far the world’s largest importer and recycler of scrap metals, plastic and paper, notified the World Trade Organization that it planned to effectively ban imports of 24 types of scrap, which its environment ministry called “foreign garbage,” by the end of the year. Immediately, organizations such as the U.S.-based Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries and the Bureau of International Recycling warned that China’s action would cause job losses, shut down many U.S. recycling facilities and send more waste to landfills.

These worries are not unfounded. Global recycling markets are easily prone to disruption, and developed countries have underinvested in recycling infrastructure for years. Beijing has delayed implementation by a few months and eased its stringent new contamination limit, but its shift continues to send shock waves through the industry. Waste Dive, the must-read daily bulletin of waste-related news, named the initiative “Disruptor of the Year.” China’s action could reshape an overlooked but critical segment of the global economy: the cross-border flows of scrap that underpin recyclng markets worldwide.

A 2017 study projected that if current global use patterns and waste management trends continue, by 2050 the world will have recycled 9 billion metric tons (9,000 million metric tons) of plastic waste, incinerated 12 billion metric tons and discarded 12 billion metric tons in landfills or the natural environment.
Geyer et al., Science Advances, July 19, 2017, CC BY-NC

The world’s recycler

Scrap exports to China took off in the early 2000s following the lifting of broader trade restrictions. In 2012 China received nearly half of all the plastic waste that Americans sent abroad for recycling and about one-third of the European Union’s plastic waste exports. According to one 2014 study, China received 56 percent by weight of global scrap plastic exports.

This trade makes economic sense all around. Shipping is cheap: Cargo ships carry goods from China to Western countries and carry scrap back, a process known as reverse haulage. China’s booming industries are located near major ports and hungry for plastics they do not yet produce at home, so they willingly pay for high-quality imported scrap to reuse. For U.S.-based waste collectors, selling scrap to a broker to be shipped to China is cheaper than sending it to recycling facilities at home.

Plastic scrap is especially problematic. It has low economic value and is hard to recycle. It also breaks down extremely slowly in the environment, as evidenced by the buildup of plastic debris in the world’s oceans. Few are aware that up to half of the plastic waste we throw into recycling bins in Berkeley, New York or Omaha has wound up on container ships to China.

Data from UN Comtrade Database. Color indicates sum of value in U.S. dollars; size indicates sum of weight in kilograms.
Kate O’Neill, CC BY-ND

Information about the fate of plastic scrap once it gets to China is sketchy, and available statistics are inconsistent. China’s plastics recycling rate in 2013 was about 22 percent – far higher than the United States, which averages about 9 percent annually. This figure, representing around 13.6 million metric tons, includes international and domestic scrap.

Still, this means that much of the scrap plastic shipped to China is not recycled, or is recycled under hazardous conditions. Nongovernment organizations and other observers have expressed concern about how much of this imported scrap – especially if it is contaminated or low-quality – is either diverted to sub-par incinerators for energy recovery or winds up in the oceans.

China demands quality control

To be recycled, bales of scrap should be clean, contaminant-free and sorted. Beijing has already cracked down twice on contaminated plastic and paper scrap.

In a 2013 initiative called Operation Green Fence, China sharply increased inspections of imported bales, shipping back substandard scrap at exporters’ expense and forcing them to pay more attention to quality. Almost immediately, shippers began diverting scrap to other ports for cleaning or possible disposal. Vietnam and Malaysia saw sharp spikes in plastic scrap imports. In March 2017 China launched Operation National Sword, further increasing inspections of incoming shipments, then followed with its WTO filing in July.

Chinese leaders have very real concerns over the nation’s environmental crisis and its high-profile image as the “world’s dumpsite.” Noted filmmaker Wang Jiuliang spotlighted the scrap issue in an award-winning 2016 documentary, “Plastic China,” which focuses on an unschooled 11-year-old girl who lives and works with her family in a plastic recycling workshop. The film went viral online in China after its release, then was quickly deleted from China’s internet.

Beijing is working to replace China’s informal recycling sector with cleaner, high-tech “eco-industrial parks.” However, local authorities around entry ports strongly opposed Green Fence, which cut into local businesses’ revenues, and are likely to resist the scrap ban. China’s struggle to police clandestine imports of electronic waste suggests that it will also have trouble shutting out smuggled trash.

Some observers, such as journalist Adam Minter, think the scrap restrictions could backfire. In their view, China’s high recycling rates – up to 70 percent for scrap paper – avert deforestation, mineral extraction and fossil fuel use. Domestically produced scrap is generally of far lower quality than the “foreign garbage” that China imports, and is likely to be more polluting.

Preview for Plastic China documentary.

Will source nations step up?

Since July, Beijing has delayed the start date for the scrap restrictions to March 2018 and raised the maximum contamination level for plastics and other scrap from 0.3 percent to 0.5 percent – still far below normal global trade standards. Under Green Fence, authorities allowed up to 1.5 percent contamination.

Although the global scrap industry is fighting back, China’s actions are forcing industrialized nations to rethink their dependence on overseas disposal. In its 2017 infrastructure report card, the American Society of Civil Engineers criticized the U.S. solid waste industry for failing to innovate and improve recycling rates.

The United States has not built a new high-quality plastics recycling facility since 2003, and very few of its existing plants can cost-effectively process harder-to-recycle, often dirty post-consumer plastics. Europe recycles 30 percent of its plastics, compared to 9 percent in the United States, but the majority of waste plastic still winds up in landfills and in the oceans. Moves are already underway to improve U.S. capacity, but will take years to implement.

Ultimately recycling doesn’t work because of technology, values or intentions. It requires strong and stable markets for scrap and recycled goods. If China closes its scrap market, nations will divert plastics to other jurisdictions that are even less equipped to recycle and utilize it, which will send more plastics into landfills and dumps.

The ConversationMass production of bioplastics is a long-term solution, but is probably years off. For now, entities such as the Closed Loop Fund, which supports research on technologies and initiatives to build a circular economy, are working to scale up recycling infrastructure and capacity in the United States. Other priorities include expanding markets for recycled products and improving consumer education. In my view, the prospect of losing China as a consumer of Western scrap could and should finally spur industrialized nations to take more responsibility for the waste they generate.

Kate O’Neill, Associate Professor, Global Environmental Politics, University of California, Berkeley

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.