South Australia bans PFAS

The South Australian Government has banned the use of fluorinated fire-fighting foams in the state, following amendments to the Environment Protection (Water Quality) Policy 2015.

The amendments make South Australia the first state to ban the use of potentially hazardous fluorinated firefighting foams through legislation.

The EPA’s Chief Executive, Tony Circelli said the ban on fluorinated firefighting foams will effectively negate further environmental and human health risks associated with their use.

“The changes will provide the community and industry with certainty around the use of these products,” he said.

“The EPA will work directly with industry needing to transition through licensing, guidance and the development of environment improvement programs.

“We consulted with industry, community and individuals from April 2017 on the proposed ban and found there was strong support for the ban.”

EPA SA in its newsletter noted that considerable work is also underway nationally in the management of legacy contamination from fluorinated firefighting foams led by the federal government.

Australia’s first PFAS National Environmental Management Plan (NEMP) has been endorsed and provides governments with a consistent and practical risk-based framework for environmental regulation of PFAS contaminated materials and sites. Read more here. 

ALGA and NWRIC strategise to protect kerbside

The National Waste and Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC) and the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) are working on a strategy to protect kerbside recycling in response to National Sword.

At the May 15 NWRIC meeting in Sydney, ALGA President David O’Loughlin met with industry leaders to discuss a solution to National Sword.

Industry leaders agreed to work closely with local government to quickly respond to this crisis and maintain all scheduled collection services for households.

“Households across Australia want to continue recycling,” said NWRIC Chairman Phil Richards. “As such, we are working with the ALGA on a strategy to protect this valued service.”

In the short term, the NWRIC said in a statement that new state government initiatives that reduce contamination are needed to improve product quality and to prevent further stockpiling.

“All communities must help respond to this recycling crisis by not putting non-recyclable materials and food waste in their household recycling bin. Only clean metals, glass, paper and hard plastics can be recycled. Our message to communities is: ‘When in doubt – throw it out’,” the statement read.

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Mr O’Loughlin said that to resolve this crisis, all states, territories and the Commonwealth need to work with us to provide certainty that recovered resources can be profitably used within Australia. He said that this is the only way we can ensure the long term success of Australian recycling.

Mr O’Loughlin said that in some jurisdictions, food waste can be placed in the green bin, leading to greater levels of organic recovery, and increased sales volumes to farmers and wine makers. He said these programs are a leading example of how to the close the gaps for a circular economy.

“Once relief funding is in place from state governments, many of which are sitting on millions in unspent landfill levies, we can commence putting in place new initiatives to create much cleaner materials from household recycling bins,” he said.

The NWRIC statement said that Queensland was the first state to engage with all stakeholders to review its kerbside recycling services at a Bundaberg forum, more on that here.

Both the NWRIC and the ALGA have urged all other states to undertake a similar recycling forum to develop collaborative solutions.


April 2018

March 2018