Victorian Government Environment Minister reappointed

Lily D’Ambrosio will continue her work as the Victorian Government’s Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change following the announcement of a new cabinet.

It comes after the Labor party’s sweeping victory in November’s election.

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One of her key responsibilities will be to implement the government’s commitment to 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030. She has also been appointed the Minister for Solar Homes, tasked with overseeing Solar Victoria as it rolls out a large-scale program of solar panels, solar hot water systems and batteries to help reduce power bills for consumers.

Ms D’Amrosio has represented the electorate of Mill Park in the Victorian Legislative Assembly since 2002. She was appointed the Minister for Industry and Minister for Energy and Resources after the election of the Andrews Labor Government in 2014. In 2016, she was appointed Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change and Minister for Suburban Development.

One of her achievements in the climate portfolio saw her oversee the passage of the Climate Change Act, which led to Victoria becoming the first Australian state to legislate in line with the Paris Agreement for net zero emissions by 2050. The minister has also overseen an overhaul of the Environmental Protection Act 1970, a 2014 election promise, which reformed the regulatory body to focus on the prevention of harm to human and environmental health.

 

EPA grants Australian Paper waste facility works approval

Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has granted Australian Paper a works approval to develop a large-scale, waste to energy facility in Victoria.

The facility is proposed to be co-located within the boundaries of the Australian Paper site in Maryvale, Latrobe Valley and process residual municipal solid waste, and industrial and commercial waste.

The plant would generate steam and electricity that can be directly used in the paper mill and its operations or power exported to the grid. As proposed, it would replace two existing gas-fired boilers, produce approximately 30 megawatts of electricity and 150 tonnes per hour of steam and would result in a 13 million tonne net reduction of greenhouse gases through its lifetime.

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EPA’s assessment of the application considered issues such as use of best practice technology, energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions, waste fuel composition, compliance with waste hierarchy, the principles of the Environment Protection Act 1970, environmental management and potential risks to human health and the environment including emissions to air, noise, disposal of fly ash, the wastewater treatment system and operational contingencies.

EPA Executive Director of Regulatory Standards, Assessments & Permissioning Tim Eaton said EPA’s decision followed many months of consultation and research including taking in 128 submissions and reviewing additional information. The statutory deadline for decision was 28 November.

“The project is highly complex and with so many submissions it was clear that thorough consultation would be needed especially with the community most directly involved,” said Mr Eaton.

The company’s full application, assessment and the responses to the submissions will be made publicly available here.

“Approval of the application means that EPA has satisfied itself that the project can be built to meet the requirements of the Environment Protection Act 1970 and all relevant policies and regulations to protect human health and the environment from the harmful effects of pollution and waste,” he said.

 

Australian Paper now requires further approvals, including a planning permit from Latrobe City Council and securing waste contracts. Completion of final detailed design, construction and commissioning will all need to be consistent with the works approval before Australian Paper can apply for an EPA operating licence.

 

MWRRG’s FOGO guide for councils

Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group has developed a comprehensive guide to help councils design, implement and maintain a high-performing food organics and garden organics service.  Read more

WMAA’s five policy priorities ahead of MEM

The Waste Management Association of Australia (WMAA) has written to Federal Government Environment Minister Melissa Price ahead of the December 7 Meeting of Environment Ministers (MEM) meeting calling for five policy priorities for the government to drive.

In its letter, WMAA called for a national proximity principle as well as a level playing field, including a common approach to levies and market development, and strengthening product stewardship and extended producer responsibility schemes. WMAA also called for government leadership in sustainable procurement and market development and a whole-of-government approach.

Commenting on the upcoming MEM, Ms Sloan said it was time for the Federal Government to take ownership of its important role in driving industry forward and start using the tools and levers that only it has to turn Australia’s circular economy aspirations into reality.

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“The one thing we all know about waste is, it just keeps coming. The role of ministers at this meeting must be to start pulling the right levers for Australia, to leverage demand for these resources to meet this ongoing supply,” WMAA CEO Gayle Sloan said.

“Take the GST as an example. This is not payable on second hand products so why couldn’t the same exemption be applied to recyclate? There are other levers such as research and development incentives, import bans, tax disincentives… All of which can go a long way in incentivising the use of recycled material in Australia.”

Ms Sloan noted that next year, Germany will have a new packaging law requiring all manufacturers, importers, distributors and online retailers to meet strict material generation targets or face hefty fines.

“Packaging producers must also licence their packaging and all businesses will have to register with a central packaging registry to ensure compliance and maintain market access. Australia can draw lessons from Germany because it is time for our Federal Government to take our extended producer responsibility laws and frameworks seriously if Australia is genuine about creating jobs and investment,” Ms Sloan said.

WMAA noted that of course, each state and territory must focus on particular policies, but there is value in developing some commonality across key regulation and policies or further exacerbate what is now a highly uneven playing field and continue to create confusion and uncertainty among businesses that operate nationally.

Showcase your brand in 2019

Waste Management Review has released its Promotional Features List for 2019!

Promotional features provide an opportunity for clients to showcase their products or services in the magazine, getting added value editorial for the price of a half or full page ad.

Promotional features group articles and advertisements around a theme or groups of products or services and act as a “buying guide” for readers, allowing them to compare side by side.

Feb: Sorting and Separating Equipment, Landfill Compactors, Excavators and Size Reduction Equipment

March: Waste Consultants, Shredders, Crushers and Granulators, Landfill Covers and Trucks and Vehicles

April: Weighing Systems and Software, Hooklifts and Skip Loaders, Trommels and Screening Equipment and Wheel Loaders

May: Bins, Conveyors, Waste Transfer Trailers and Landfill Monitoring Equipment

June: Odour Management and Dust Control, Insurance and Excavators

July: Turnkey Solutions, Balers and Compactors, Compost Equipment and Fire Management Technology

August: Material Handlers, Sorting and Separating Equipment, Landfill Covers and Size Reduction Equipment

September: Trucks and Vehicles, Shredders, Crushers and Granulators, Landfill Compactors and Conveyors

October: Waste Transfer Trailers, Landfill Monitoring Equipment, Wheel Loaders and Waste Consultants

November: Bins, Weighing Systems, Hooklifts and Skip Loaders and Trommels and Screening Equipment

December: Balers and Compactors, Material Handlers, Fire Management Technology and Turnkey Solutions

For advertising enquiries please contact:
Chelsea Daniel-Young
Business Development Manager, Waste Management Review
+61 (0)425 699 878
chelsea.daniel@primecreative.com.au

AORA NSW Awards and Christmas Drinks

Join the NSW executive and industry peers for the Australian Organics Recycling Association’s 2018 Awards Dinner and Christmas Party.

The AORA NSW industry awards are an opportunity to celebrate and recognise the association’s peers who have excelled in 2018 and to network with industry friends and colleagues.

The evening includes awards for the following:
1. Outstanding local government initiative in organics collection/processing or marketing.
2. Outstanding contribution to industry development.
3. Compost user demonstrating innovation and advocacy in agricultural markets.
4. Compost user demonstrating innovation and advocacy in amenity markets.
5. Rising Star Award for outstanding operations or sales team member showing leadership and commitment to a processing members business.

Tickets include a three-course Christmas themed meal and premium drinks package.

Please provide any dietary requirements at the time of booking.

The AORA NSW Awards and Christmas Drinks takes place on Friday, December 7 from 6pm to 11pm at the Novotel Sydney Parramatta.

For more information, click here. 

Raising the bar for composting in Australia

The compost industry in Australia needs to improve its self-regulation to secure its ongoing social license to operate, writes Angus Johnston, Principal Consultant at Jackson Environment and Planning. Read more

2018 SA State of the Environment Report released

The Environment Protection Authority has released 2018 South Australia’s State of the Environment Report, indicating in the report that the prospects of achieving the government’s waste generation reduction target seems unlikely.

The report shows South Australia’s Waste Strategy 2015-20 set a target to reduce waste generation per capita by more than five per cent by 2020 from the 2015 baseline, equating to a reduction of 400 kilograms per person from the volume generated in 2016-17 by 2020. It notes that given the current upward trend, this seems unlikely.

The report shows the average amount of waste generated in SA rose by just over 2000 kilograms per capita per year in 2003-4 to 3000 kilograms in 2016-17 – an increase of 42 per cent.

It highlights that current priority actions to meet the target are to promote green purchasing, waste avoidance, collaborative consumption and production, product refurbishment and behaviour change.

“Given strong competing influences on consumer behaviour in the form of marketing, fashion and social norms, a targeted program is needed to encourage production (for example, design, durability and packaging), marketing (for example, labelling) and consumption (for example, product selection) choices that reduce waste generation,” the report says.

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“There is also a major opportunity for government to take the lead in increasing the strength of a circular economy, including through green procurement.”

To tackle these issues, the report recommends coordinated national action to reduce waste, including through regulation of packaging, providing leadership in the strengthening of the local resource recovery industry through green procurement and strengthening education and behaviour change initiatives aimed at reducing waste.

“While we continue to get better at diverting most of this waste away from landfill to resource recovery, the most efficient solution remains that of avoiding generation of the waste in the first place,” the report says.

“However, it also remains imperative to keep getting better at reusing recovered resources locally to reduce the risk of reliance on other markets.”

The key recommendations of the report are to review the state’s climate change response to ensure that climate risks are adequately embedded into planning and investment by government agencies, review environmental reporting in the state, including trend and condition report cards, prioritise water management and onground land stewardship initiatives and a range of other areas.

Environment and Water Minister David Speirs said the state government was considering the EPA’s important report in detail.

“This report provides a wealth of information about the challenges facing our state, that can be used to help shape government policy and actions in the future,” Mr Speirs said.

Environment Protection Authority Board Presiding Member Catherine Cooper said that the report assesses the state and condition of SA’s major environmental resources and identifies significant trends in environmental quality, and shows that, while South Australia was doing reasonably well, in some areas there are serious challenges to be met.

To read the report in full, click here.

 

Lithium Australia creates waste battery material

Lithium Australia has produced lithium-ion (Li-ION) battery material and batteries from mine waste using its SiLeach process.

Subsidiary Very Small Particle Company (VSPC) carried out the testing at its laboratory and pilot plant in Brisbane, Queensland.

Tri-lithium phosphate from mine waste was converted to lithium-iron-phosphate cathode material that was categorised as being of similar quality to standard battery cathode powder.

The SiLeach process eliminates the need for roasting during the lithium extraction process. Roasting involves lithium ore being heated on an industrial scale prior to leaching and is a costly, time consuming and environmentally impactful process.

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In contrast to this, SiLeach allows the company to produce battery-grade lithium material from non-brine mineral resources at a cost similar to that of lithium-in-brine (LIB) producers, but without the environmental risks and high costs associated with roasting and evaporation ponds.

SiLeach can recover these battery-grade material from rejected mine waste including low-grade lepidolite mica feedstock.

Lithium Australia managing director Adrian Griffin highlighted its ability to simplify the lithium extraction process.

“The most notable aspect of this achievement is its simplicity, and ability to streamline the processes and cost required to produce LIB cathode materials,” he said.

“The broader application to lithium brine exploitation provides enormous potential for that part of the lithium industry by removing the cost intensive route to lithium hydroxide — the direct use of lithium phosphate to produce cathode powders may do that.”