ACOR releases agenda for 2019

The Australian Council of Recycling’s (ACOR) focus for 2019 will be promoting the uptake of recycled content products through industry-led projects, according to ACOR AGENDA 19 released by the peak body today.

Projects and partnerships under ACOR AGENDA 19 include an anti-contamination initiative for kerbside recycling, starting with NSW to improve the quality of materials needed for product manufacturing.

The agenda also comprises a recycling commodities index to provide greater certainty for recycled content manufacturing industry participants. ACOR will also launch a recycled contents products directory and online trading platform, in addition to a thought leadership initiative on incentives for the use of recycled content.

ACOR’s plan will see it compile and promote research on: jurisdictional comparison of “waste” definitions; jurisdictional comparison of recyclate to roads specifications; jurisdictional comparison of waste levy reinvestment and the location of industry facilities by electorates.

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A voluntary industry accreditation will also be rolled out across the supply chain and industry-provided training for regulatory and public policy partners.

ACOR CEO Pete Shmigel said that if society is not buying recycled content products, then Australians are not really recycling.

“The board of ACOR has decided our best contribution are positive and practical projects that increase the usage of products with recycled content. It is market demand that will ensure the full economic, social and environmental benefits of recycling, and put the circularity into the circular economy,” he said.

Mr Shmigel said in its own businesses, the recycling sector is massively innovative, enterprising and results-driven and ACOR AGENDA 19 initiatives reflect that industry ethic.

“While having the right public policy is important for recycling’s future, and ACOR will continue to advocate, we are determined to positively and practically act, and not just talk, in the recycling sector’s best interests,” Mr Shmigel said.

“We are an industry that employs some 50,000 people and may generate some $20 billion of value. It’s time we and our partners take that to the next level, including through ACOR AGENDA 19.”

You can read the agenda here.

Recycled plastics lower energy consumption: study

A new study by the North American Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR), based in Washington, has found significant reductions in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions linked to using recycled plastics in manufacturing new products.

Industry research consultants Franklin Associates, a division of ERG, Lexington, Massachusetts, prepared the report, “Life cycle impacts for postconsumer recycled resins: PET, HDPE and PP.”

The report examines recycling processes for three of the most common types of plastics recycled today: polyethylene terephthalate (PET), high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and polypropylene (PP).

According to the report, using recycled plastic reduced total energy consumption by 79 percent for PET, by 88 percent for HDPE and by eight percent for PP. Using recycled plastics also limited emissions by 67 percent for PET, by 71 percent for HDPE and by 71 percent for PP.

Franklin Associates analysed the energy requirements and environmental impacts of postconsumer recycled plastics as compared with virgin plastics.

The analysis is an update and expansion of a recycled resin study the company completed in 2011 for the APR quantifying the total energy requirements, energy sources, atmospheric pollutants, waterborne pollutants and solid waste that result from producing recycled PET and HDPE from post-consumer plastic.

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Steve Alexander, APR president, said the study shows a win-win for companies who incorporate recycled plastic resin into their new products.

“They can improve the environmental sustainability of their products and processes and reduce their energy costs.

“It demonstrates the importance and effectiveness of the full recycling chain for plastic goods – a chain that starts with companies manufacturing recyclable products and ends with consumers buying products made from recycled materials,” he said.

 

“This report clearly demonstrates the benefits of a renewed commitment to plastic recycling,” said Jamie Camara, CEO of Mexico-based PetStar and chair of The APR board of directors.

“It is critical that North America continues to invest in our recycling infrastructure so that we can expand the material that is collected, sorted and processed for second use. Recycling and using recycled materials are good for manufacturers, consumers and the planet.”

Governance review focuses on road safety

Another step was taken this week in actioning the 12 recommendations made by the National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020 Inquiry, according to the Federal Government.

Unveiled by Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, the Terms of Reference for the National Road Safety Governance Review was part of renewed and ongoing efforts by government agencies to reduce road trauma and prompt greater safety initiatives on the roads nationally.

Recommendations from the Governance Review will help to inform the Federal Government’s position on whether a single national road safety entity is required, as recommended by the National Road Safety Strategy Inquiry.

The Review will also consider what steps are required for governments and stakeholders to lead the implementation of the “Vision Zero” goal of reducing road fatalities to zero by 2050.

Speaking at the Barton Highway in Murumbateman, New South Wales, McCormack, the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development said the Governance Review will assess the necessary changes needed to improve Australia’s road safety governance structure, including comprehensive mapping of specific roles, responsibilities and accountabilities held across agencies and jurisdictions.

“Co-ordination across state, territory and local governments will be the cornerstone of improving the governance arrangements around road safety and this was reinforced at the COAG Transport and Infrastructure Council meeting in November 2018,” Mr McCormack said.

“The review outcomes will also help to progress the Australian Government’s strategic infrastructure plan where $75 billion is being invested in projects big and small, over the next 10 years to improve transport infrastructure to help Australians and their families arrive at their destinations sooner and safer,” he said.

As part of stakeholder engagement, the review will involve benchmarking with the United Kingdom and Sweden, two countries recognised as international leaders in road safety.

McCormack’s Department will drive the Road Safety Task Force which will receive additional support by the Road Safety Strategy Working Group – a group that consists of senior officials and road safety experts from various jurisdictions, as well as independent experts.

A draft report will be released in March 2019 and peer reviewed by independent experts.

The final report will then be tabled at a Transport and Infrastructure Council meeting scheduled for the first half of 2019.

 

“Road safety is critically important and must remain above politics,” McCormack said.

Assistant Minister for Roads and Transport Scott Buchholz said the Review showed the Federal Government’s ongoing commitment to road safety and achieving the “Vision Zero” goal.

“Improving road safety remains a key priority of all our investment in road infrastructure across the country because better roads means saving lives,” said Buchholz.

“On top of the Coalition Government’s record investment in major highways, we continue to support local councils to upgrade local roads through the Roads to Recovery, Bridges Renewal and Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity programs,” he said.

“The Federal Government is taking positive action and continuing along a diligent, responsible and strategic pathway to achieve real and lasting road safety improvements throughout the nation.”

Genox’s size reduction solutions

Applied Machinery offers a wide range of size reduction equipment to handle a variety of challenging waste streams and applications, from metal to tyres and cables. 

To process metals, Genox’s metal recycling plants handle a variety of metallic waste streams, including light iron scrap, vehicle shells and body panels (end-of-life vehicles), steel drums, white goods, electronic scrap and computer waste.

Genox tyre recycling technology features pre-shredding, recirculation systems, secondary size reductions, steel wire separation, fine granulation, product classifying, textile separation and dust collection.

For a high-volume processing machine, Genox’s cable recycling plants comprise functions which include pre-shredding, steel removal, granulation and copper or aluminium plastic separation.

A wider scope of applications is covered by Genox X Series Twin Shaft Shredders, equipped with powerful drive motors and high torque gearboxes. The robust pre-shredders are ideal for processing large volumes of various waste materials. 

The maintenance-friendly-designed machines feature options such as drive motor power and gearing, hydraulic drive, hydraulic force feeder and rotary screens.

High-speed granulation in a single pass can be achieved through GC Series Granulators that are ideal for processing materials such as plastics, rubber, fibres, copper cable and light non-ferrous metals. The machines are characterised by high efficiency, reduced power consumption and low noise and sound proof designs. 

Bulky or voluminous materials are handled with the Applied Machinery M Series, characterised by their efficient, high torque and low power consumption design. 

www.appliedmachinery.com.au

Packaging progress

2018 has been an incredible year of progress in sustainability for Australia’s packaging manufacturers, writes Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation CEO Brooke Donnelly. Read more

Chinese Govt launches waste-free city plan

The Chinese Government has launched a pilot program to create a “no-waste city” to combat a growing backlog of waste.

According to a Reuters report, the environment ministry said the program of waste-free cities was designed to use resources more efficiently and eliminate growing health and environment risks from waste.

Ecology and Environment Minister Li Ganjie said the new program would aim to cut the amount of waste produced and improve treatment rates.

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This would see green development methods and lifestyles encouraged to minimise landfill volumes the reduce the environmental impact of waste.

Ten cities will be selected for phase one, which includes measures for better sorting, urban planning and constructing new treatment facilities, the environment minister said.

The Reuters report highlighted that despite China’s ban on the imports of solid waste, firms have argued China lacks the infrastructure and waste treatment for a profitable business. Earlier this month, China was reportedly aiming to build 100 new large-scale recycling “bases” by the end of 2020.

Since China’s ban on recyclables, other nations such as Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam have since launched their own policies to designed restrict international imports.

Wild Mob receives grant from SUEZ for coastlines

The Trust for Wild Mob Trust have secured a $12,460 grant from waste and water management company SUEZ for its Marine Debris Audit, aimed at providing practical methods of sorting, itemising and categorising debris.

The funding will be used to help support the expansion of the Youth Ambassadors Program and carry out a public audit of marine debris collected by volunteers working in the Cumberland Islands. The audit will showcase practical methods of sorting, itemising and categorising debris such as plastic and other rubbish items recovered from turtle nesting beaches and coastal habitats.

Data collected from the audit will be uploaded to Tangaroa Blue’s Australian Marine Debris Database, national database dedicated to identifying how debris impacts different sections of the Australian coastline.

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The Youth Ambassadors Program engages and empowers young people in taking direct action to protect critically endangered ecosystems. Each new project sees ambassadors identify an environmental problem in their area and develop a measurable, achievable and sustainable solution to help solve it.

The Youth Ambassadors Program and the marine audit help Wild Mob advocate for change in reducing plastic pollution reaching the ocean.

Wild Mob CEO Dr Derek Ball said that grant meant the organisation could expand the Youth Ambassadors Program and achieve their goal to promote greater awareness of the impact of debris on our marine environments through the Marine Debris Audit.

“Single-use plastic is the biggest culprit, accumulating on islands in the Great Barrier Reef, causing damage to habitats and wildlife populations,” Dr Ball said.

“It’s great to have the community here and to raise awareness about the waste habits of humans and the devastating impact on critically endangered ecosystems, especially in the Great Barrier Reef.”

Wild Mob Youth Ambassador Briody Fahey said that the Youth Ambassadors feel it is extremely important for young people to take responsibility to care for the environment, particularly fragile marine ecosystems in the Great Barrier Reef.

“In doing so, we hope to educate others on the problems our generation is having to address so we can work together with the wider community to create solutions and bring positive change,” she said.

Kevin Condie, Mackay Depot Manager, attended the Marine Debris Audit on 20 January 2019 to present the cheque to Dr Ball.

“SUEZ is committed to working with local communities to preserve the oceans and avoid waste being released into our marine environments,” said Mr Condie.

“Projects such as the Marine Debris Audit are a great opportunity to raise awareness about the impact of waste and debris on our marine ecosystems and the importance of making sure our oceans and animal habitats are not polluted.”

Now in its fifth year, the SUEZ Community Grants program has donated more than $740,000 in funding to community organisations and projects across Australia that help communities and the environment thrive.

Proposed funding model for battery stewardship scheme

The Battery Stewardship Council has released a briefing note on the process of Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) authorisation for a voluntary battery stewardship scheme.

A Battery Reference Group was established in 2014 to design a scheme for handheld batteries. In 2015, the focus shifted from all handheld batteries to rechargeable batteries only.

However, the Battery Reference Group and the Battery Industry Working Group were reconfigured into the Battery Stewardship Council in 2018 to ensure that both government and industry representatives were involved in the design. The scope is now all batteries that are subject to market failure, with lead acid batteries not included. Following round one of consultation, it is proposed that all handheld batteries will be included in the scheme.

Some of the key scheme features in draft mode are a shared responsibility with government support for expansion in processing and best practice technology, infrastructure funding and improved safety, quality, import controls and enforcement. It also aims to improve the economics of battery recycling, a levy on imports of up to $0.03 per equivalent battery unit and an Equivalent Battery Unit to be set at 24 grams for handheld batteries under five kilograms. Transparency would be assured through a not-for-profit battery stewardship organisation with board oversight and annual benefits.

The briefing note explains that the ACCC process provides a tool for industry to fund the scheme and control free riders. Battery Stewardship Council members are currently in a consultation period, which will be followed by targeted public consultation and then ACCC application.

“One feature of the authorisation model which is important for industry to be aware of, is that the scheme itself remains voluntary in the sense that its operations are essentially self-regulated.

“It is only those activities considered anti-competitive that are ‘regulated’ by the ACCC,” it says.

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ACCC authorisation will provide an exemption from anti-competitive behaviour rules and allow competitors to set a levy or fee and use market levels to control so-called free riders.

The ACCC will then use the details of the scheme design to determine a public benefit from it which can be applied to a number of activities. These include collective bargaining, where two or more competitors negotiate terms and conditions with a customer or supplier, codes of conduct, industry levies which can be used to fund product stewardship arrangement and certain joint ventures or alliances. The latest briefing note says the proposed battery stewardship could potentially encompass all of the above.