SA Govt considers ban on straws, coffee cups and cutlery

The South Australian Government is considering banning single-use plastic products which include straws, takeaway coffee cups and cutlery.

Along with a review into the more than 40-year-old Container Deposit Scheme, the government is seeking consultation on the ban of a number of single-use plastics with the release of a new discussion paper.

The Turning the tide on single-use plastic products discussion paper seeks feedback on whether the government should introduce measures to tackle a range of single-use items.

The paper asks whether government intervention if required for these items and in what form it could take.

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Among considerations in the paper are also whether the existing ban on single-use plastic bags should extend to thicker shopping bags, raising the question as to whether they should be made of compostable material. It asks what the impact would be of manufactures or importers.

According to the paper, plastic product has surged over the past 50 years, from 15 million tonnes in 1964 to 311 million tonne in 2014. It is expected to double again over the next 20 years.

The report also cites action on plastic in states such as France, Italy, which has banned plastic cotton buds. France has also banned plastic cups and plates and the UK intends to ban straws, with Brussels and Ireland and Portugal considering similar measures.

According to the paper, estimates suggest that South Australians could be using about 255,500,000 million straws per year.

Items excluded for the time being from the ban are microplastics/microbeads, non-plastic single-use disposable items, single-use plastic beverage containers and sanitary applications such as wet wipes.

Further work will be undertaken to evaluate the impact of a proposed ban on manufacturers or importers of single-use products. The paper cites an opportunity for these producers to redirect production to reusable and recyclable items.

“With a shift to reusable items, a single upfront purchase by the retailer will avoid future regular costs of purchasing the single use items, and thus may lead to a saving,” the paper says.

“There will be a cost to providing reusable items for consumption on site, but savings from not providing single-use items. The balance of the costs and savings will vary for different retailers and determine whether a switch away from single-use plastics can ‘pay for itself’ over time.”

Environment Minister David Speirs said South Australia is a national leader in recycling and resource recovery and it is important to have a discussion about single-use plastics and the Container Deposit Scheme.

“Increasing interest and action globally is calling for a halt to the impact of single-use plastics on the environment. In October 2018, the European Union announced its intention to ban a range of single-use plastic items.

“We can take more immediate local action on items that are designed and intended for disposal after only a single use, are prone to being littered, are unlikely to be recycled and for which more sustainable alternatives are available,” he said.

Consultation runs until 22 February 2019. Further information is available here.

SA Govt to review CDS

South Australian Government Environment Minister David Spears has announced a review of the state’s more than 40-year-old Container Deposit Scheme (CDS).

A scoping paper has been released to spark a conversation on how to improve the CDS, with comments and submissions open to the government until Friday, 22 February 2019.

The paper indicates that much has changed since the start of the CDS, including the types of containers, consumer choices, technology and markets for recycling. The government is seeking to improve the CDS’ role in recycling and litter reduction.

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Some of the questions raised to improve the scheme are: what should be the objectives of the CDS and how well is its achieving these objectives currently? Should more types of containers be included in the CDS and are there containers that could be removed from the scheme? It also asks if the refund amount could be revised and what research is required to inform a review?

Introduced in 1977, the CDS has significantly reduced litter and improved resource recovery for the state. In 2017-18, almost 603 million containers were recovered by collection depots for recycling.

South Australia leads the nation in recovering and recycling beverage containers with an overall return rate of 76.9 per cent.

The scheme operates with beverage suppliers establishing a contract with a super collector and paying a fee to cover the 10 cent refund and handling of containers to the super collector to establish a collection system to recover containers.

Beverage suppliers are able to cover the price of the product when selling to retailers and retailers than pass this cost onto consumers. Beverage containers are sorted and returned to the super collector for recycling which reimburses the refund amount and pays a handling fee to the collection depot. Containers up to and including three litres are covered by the scheme, including soft non-alcoholic drinks, beers, ales and stouts, water, wine-based and spirit beverages and most other alcoholic beverages.

For more information head to the SA EPA website.

Bingo awarded SV grant for Braeside recycling redevelopment

Sustainability Victoria (SV) has awarded Bingo Industries a $500,000 grant to revamp its Braeside recycling centre as part of the third round of funding released under the Victorian Government’s Resource Recovery Infrastructure Fund.

Bingo’s Braeside recycling centre will process mixed solid inert commercial and industrial and building and demolition waste. The Braeside facility will divert approximately 100,000 tonnes of waste from landfill across target waste streams in its first year of operation, with a target resource recovery rate of 80 per cent.

The redevelopment will be see a complete rebuild of the existing infrastructure with plans to significantly improve resource recovery rates and minimise operational impacts on neighbouring land. The recycling facility will be completely enclosed with innovative noise and dust mitigation systems installed across the facility.

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SV’s fund aims to recognise innovative recycling infrastructure projects that improve the collection and processing of recyclable materials and generate jobs in the Victorian resource recovery industry.

Bingo Industries Managing Director Daniel Tartak said Bingo is excited about the role it has to play in assisting governments and communities in achieving their sustainability outcomes through developing innovative recycling infrastructure.

“We see the redevelopment of our Braeside and West Melbourne facilities as crucial in assisting Victoria in addressing the recent issues developed as a result of external pressures on waste management infrastructure such as China’s ban on importing Australian waste,” Mr Tartak said.

 

Bingo invested $53 million on its initial expansion into Victoria in late 2017 with the acquisition of three businesses, Konstruct Recycling, Resource Recovery Victoria and AAZ Recycling.

The company purchased the Braeside site in late 2017 and was awarded development approval by City of Kingston local council on 21 December 2018. Redevelopment work will commence at the site in early 2019 and is expected to be completed in the second half of 2019.

Bingo now operates a fleet of 77 trucks and five recycling and waste management facilities in Victoria, employing over 130 Victorian employees. The company views Victoria as a key part of achieving its vision to see a waste free Australia by diverting waste from landfill and moving towards a circular economy.

Veolia acquires two companies from Cleanaway joint venture buyout

Veolia Australia and New Zealand has completed a buyout of its joint venture with Cleanaway Waste Management, purchasing Western Resource Recovery (WRR) and Total Waste Management (TWM) in December.

The two waste management companies established Western Resource Recovery and its treatment arm Total Waste Management in 2000 as a joint venture, Veolia assumed operation on 11 December, 2018.

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Veolia Acting Group General Manager for Western Australia Clay South said the company is pleased to become the sole operator of the two businesses and will continue reliable operation for existing customers.

“The liquid and hazardous waste treatment market is a key strategic growth area and by wholly owning both operations Veolia now offers a competitive liquid waste collection and treatment service in Western Australia,” Mr. South said.

The operational footprint of WRR and TWM is large, spanning Western Australia from Perth to Karratha, this provides waste management services to 3500 retail and industrial customers across the state.

The deal will see Veolia solely owning and managing six depots in the region, with infrastructure in Perth (Welshpool), Geraldton, Kalgoorlie, Karratha, Port Hedland and Bunbury.

Across WRR and TWM, Veolia will now manage 61 full-time employees and a fleet of 25 trucks.

Veolia have also acquired a liquid treatment plant and tank farm.

 

East Rockingham first waste-to-energy project for SUEZ

WA’s East Rockingham Resource Recovery Facility has awarded waste management giant SUEZ a 20-year minimum contract as waste management partner.

SUEZ has partnered with a consortium of four companies running the facility – Hitachi Sozen INOVA (HZI), Tribe Infrastructure Group and New Energy Corporation, which won a series of competitive tenders for long-term contracts in the Perth metropolitan area before securing the East Rockingham partnership.

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The facility encompasses the design, construction, financing and operation of a greenfield waste-to-energy facility, 40 kilometres south of the Perth CBD.

The project aims to treat approximately 300,000 tonnes of waste per year from municipal, commercial and industrial sources including up to 30,000 tonnes per year of biosolids.

Energy generation targets are expected to reach 29 megawatts of renewable energy, enough to supply 36,000 homes following the start of construction slated for 2019.

SUEZ will provide 65,000 tonnes per year of commercial and industrial waste, maintenance services, removal of non-processable waste at its Bibra Lake and North Bannister facilities and the purchase of renewable electricity generated for its Perth operations.

This is the second waste-to-energy plant planned for the Rockingham-Kwinana industrial region.

Repurpose It goes Volvo buying excavators and loaders

Australian waste-to-resource company Repurpose It have opted for Volvo Construction Equipment’s excavators and loaders for their Victorian plant.

The five new machines will assist the company’s loading and handling duties to assist in their recycling operation that sees large quantities of waste material re-used in the construction industry.

One Volvo EC250DL and two EC220DL units were chosen for excavation duties on the site, Repurpose It aims to input the tools on general earthmoving, screen feeding, sorting and stockpiling projects.

The company chose the L110F and L220H two-wheeled loaders for their loading work which will see hopper fed into their new recycling plant.

Repurpose It CEO George Hatzimanolis said that the company was happy to choose Volvo as the manufacturer alings with their energy efficiency commitments and engineering values.

“Our business is focused on reducing our carbon footprint and working towards a more sustainable future, as is Volvo,” Mr Hatzimanolis said.

“We were also attracted to the quality that comes with Volvo machines.”

The two EC220DL excavation units chosen for the site uses Volvo’s modern D6 diesel engine reporting 10% extra fuel efficiency over its competitors.

The Volvo machines were purchased from Dandenong’s CJD Equipment, Volvo’s exclusive Australian distribution partner.