Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030 released

The WA Government has released its Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030 to guide the state in becoming a sustainable, low-waste circular economy.

The strategy is supported by an action plan that includes a commitment to use more than 25,000 tonnes of recycled construction and demolition waste as road base under the Roads to Reuse program. It also includes a strategic review of WA’s waste and recycling infrastructure by 2020 to guide future development.

Historically, Western Australia has generated the highest volume of waste per capita in the nation, and has had among the lowest rates of waste recovery.

A cornerstone of the waste strategy is a new target that will ensure all Perth and Peel households will have a third kerbside bin for Food Organics and Garden Organics (FOGO) by 2025.

Under the three-bin FOGO system, food scraps and garden organics are separated from other waste categories and reused to create high-quality compost.

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The government in a statement said implementing this system will ensure Western Australia can meet the targets set out in the waste strategy, the amount of waste going to landfill is reduced and more household waste is recovered, reused and recycled.

The WA Government will work with local governments to adopt the three-bin FOGO system and ensure it is rolled out successfully.

The Southern Metropolitan Regional Council trialled the FOGO system across 7000 households in 2017. The trial received strong support from locals, and the City of Melville plans to roll it out permanently in June.

The state government will work with regional councils to address their own unique waste challenges.

The ambitious targets outlined in the strategy – a 20 per cent reduction in waste generation per capita and a 75 per cent rate of material recovery by 2030 – will build on the momentum achieved by the introduction of the WA Government’s container deposit scheme in early 2020 and the ban on lightweight plastic bags.

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said the state government will work collaboratively with local governments and the community to achieve these ambitious targets.

Operation Rubble statewide NSW crackdown

A coordinated statewide multi-agency crackdown in NSW on illegal dumping and waste transportation has disrupted the criminal waste trade.

For the first time, the states five Regional Illegal Dumping (RID) Squads and Programs led a multi-agency unannounced roadside operation to crackdown on illegal operators. The operation brought together the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA), NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS), the NSW Police and local councils.

During the November 2018 operation, waste transport vehicles were intercepted and checked for waste transport and disposal compliance, as well as vehicle and road safety compliance.

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The month-long operation 468 heavy vehicles saw stopped, with the resulting compliance actions:

  • 130 RMS defect notices and 31 NSW Police infringement notices were issued.
  • 22 penalty notices and 16 official cautions were issued by the RID Squads, totalling $16,447. Notices and cautions were issued to waste transporters for offences including uncovered loads and allowing waste to escape onto the road.
  • Four trucks carrying loads of waste to unlawful sites were redirected to lawful waste facilities.
  • The disposal sites of 45 waste trucks are being inspected by the RID Squads and the EPA to check whether the waste was lawfully disposed. Follow up regulatory action will be taken where necessary.

This operation aligns with other initiatives underway to tackle this scourge, including the EPA’s Waste Crime Taskforce which targets organised criminal activity and disrupts the waste dumping business model.

RID Squads and Programs are regionally-based teams specialising in combating and preventing illegal dumping, co-funded by the EPA and member councils. The RID Officers work for local councils, working across council boundaries using a strategic, coordinated approach to combat and prevent illegal dumping while focusing on particular issues in their region.

They work across 35 local government areas. These include the Western Sydney RID Squad, Sydney RID Squad, Hunter and Central Coast RID Squad, Southern Councils Group RID Program and ACT-NSW Cross Border Program.

Boral’s aggregate spreader to improve road construction safety

Building material company, Boral, has unveiled a new road surfacing truck to make the task safer for workers.

The new Boral FMAS, a Forward Moving Aggregate Spreader, reportedly revolutionises the method of spray seal road construction in Australia.

Until now, according to Boral, the process involved road crews working with reversing trucks that applied the aggregate through an elevated tipper body, increasing the safety risks to workers.

To improve safety and maximise visibility, the Boral FMAS disperses aggregate from the front of the truck via a conveyor belt and spreader box.

Boral National Asset Manager – Asphalt, Stuart Partridge, said Boral designed and developed a Forward Moving Aggregate Spreader following a call to industry by the Victorian roads authority – VicRoads – as a result of a serious accident involving a VicRoads worker some years ago.

“Surfacing roads has remained one of the most potentially challenging tasks faced by construction crews because of the nature of the material being used and the way that material is applied,” he said.

“Rollover accidents, blind spots, and high reversing tippers that can be at risk of interfering with power lines or overhanging trees, are just some of the problems associated with the current range of spreaders.

“So, the task here was to come up with a solution to improve safety for road crews, including drivers, while at the same time making the process quicker, and more efficient with higher quality.

“This invention allows locally manufactured and approved trucks to be substantially modified while still meeting regulatory standards, which is why VicRoads has mandated that forward moving aggregate spreaders should be in use on all its projects by 2022 – a move we hope will be followed by other State road authorities nationally.”

Boral Australia Chief Executive, Joe Goss, said the new Boral FMAS was a demonstration of the company’s commitment to zero harm, placing the safety of all employees and the community in general, at the very centre of the company’s mission.

“This invention speaks to the importance Boral places on keeping our workers safe and our commitment to innovation across all of our products and activities,” he said.

“I want to congratulate Stuart and his team for coming up with such an important invention – and one that will be embraced by the industry nationally and in our view, internationally also. It not only delivers a major improvement in safety standards but will also help to lower the cost of road surfacing because it supports a more efficient and productive process.”

IVECO Australia Managing Director, Bruce Healy, said the company was extremely excited at being involved in the development of Boral’s new Forward Moving Aggregate Spreader.

“Boral has shown innovation and forethought in researching and ultimately developing this vehicle in line with the new industry safety standards in Australia,” said Healy.

“IVECO has a long and proud history as one of Australia’s preferred suppliers of concrete agitators and the like for this industry, so naturally we were very pleased to participate in this project.

“As a local manufacturer with an extensive engineering centre in Melbourne, we were able to advise Boral on the best IVECO platform on which to build their vehicle – the Stralis AD 8×4 – and offer support during the development and build process.

“I’m confident that the new FMAS model will be well-received by the market.”

Fire risk of Geelong recycling stockpiles a warning: EPA Victoria

Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) says a $8060 fine issued over non-compliant stockpiling of recyclable waste north-west of Geelong should serve as warning for waste management companies across the state.

EPA South West Manager Carolyn Francis said the loose stockpiles of combustible timber waste could pose a significant challenge for fire services if they were to catch fire.

“If those stockpiles ignited, firefighters could face major challenges protecting the health and environmental safety of the surrounding area,” Ms Francis said.

EPA issued the site operator with a fine for not complying with a legally binding remedial notice to manage the stockpiles in line with EPA Waste Management Policy requirements.

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The unsafe stockpiles were detected through the Victorian Government’s Resource Recovery Facilities Audit Taskforce, which has been auditing recycling facilities to identify non-compliance, including the stockpiling of materials that pose a fire risk to community safety and the environment.

Despite EPA issuing the operator with a remedial notice in October 2018, a follow-up inspection in December revealed that the operator had not completed the works required to improve stockpile sizes and management.

The operator has since started work to meet materials recycling guidelines at the premises, with EPA continuing to closely monitor its progress. A further two remedial notices are due for compliance shortly.

“The EPA Guidelines on the management and storage of combustible recyclable and waste materials were established to reduce the risk of fire, and the impacts of smoke and fire water run-off.  They cover issues including separation distances, firefighting facilities, staff training, emergency management planning and preventative behaviours including regular inspections and hazard identification,” Ms Francis said.

Ms Francis said EPA takes a zero-tolerance approach to non-compliance against the Waste Management Policy requirements and expects the recycling industry to take their compliance obligations seriously.

“EPA is continuing inspections of these premises to ensure compliance and reduce the risk that a fire could cause to the community and the environment,” Ms Francis said.

Under the Environment Protection Act 1970 and the Infringements Act 2008, the company has the right to have the decision to issue the infringement notice reviewed or alternatively to have the matter heard and determined by a court.

90 per cent of Australians want locally made products: survey

Ninety per cent of Australians are more likely to buy Australian-made products than those from overseas, indicating demand for sustainable products, a new Roy Morgan study has found.

The survey of 15,000 Australians, aged 14 and over, measured how likely Australians were to buy products from Australia and large players such as USA, China and the UK.

The survey, conducted between October 2017 and September 2018, compared results from a survey between October 2013 and September 2014.

The results were slightly up from four years ago where 88 per cent of Australians said they were more likely to buy Australian-made products.

Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine said although these figures are still very high across all age groups, it is those in Generation X (92 per cent) and Baby Boomers (91 per cent) who are even more likely to prefer Australian-made products than other generations.

In the study, 90 per cent of respondents indicated that they would be more likely to purchase food products that were made in Australia, 76 per cent more likely for clothes, 73 per cent for wine, 62 per cent for sporting goods, 62 per cent for electrical goods and 52 per cent for motor vehicles.

Australian Made Campaign chief executive Ben Lazzaro said Roy Morgan’s research highlights the importance that Australian’s place on buying local.

“There is an increasing demand for authentic Aussie products produced in our clean, green environment and manufactured to our high standards.

“Awareness around country of origin labelling has increased in recent years, with more Australians wanting to know where their products come from.

“The Australian Made logo is the most important tool for consumers in identifying authentic Aussie products,” said Lazzaro.

The respondents were asked to indicate whether they would be more likely or less likely to buy products made in Australia, Canada, Chile, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, UK and USA.

In the year to September 2018, 60 per cent of Australians aged 14+ said they’d be more likely to buy products made by our closest neighbour New Zealand, up per cent from 2014.

However, the biggest improvement in sentiment over the past four years was for products from Canada. Now 54 per cent of Australians aged 14 and over are more likely to buy products made in Canada, up from 45 per cent four years ago.

Australia’s largest trading partner overall, including for both imports and exports, China is the saw a decrease.

The year to September 2018, 34 per cent of Australians aged 14 and over said they’d be more likely to buy products made in China, down 1 per cent from four years ago.

Western Australia’s Future Battery Industry Strategy

Western Australia is set to grow as a leading exporter of future battery minerals, materials, technologies and expertise.

Increased demand for electric vehicles and energy storage systems has created an opportunity for Western Australia to become a central player in the global battery value chain.

On January 31, the government of Western Australia launched the Western Australian Future Battery Industry Strategy to increase exporting opportunities.

Premier Mark McGowan said the unprecedented growth of the future battery industry represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Western Australia.

“[The strategy] will drive the development of the Western Australian battery materials industry that will create local jobs, contribute to skills development and economic diversification, and maximise benefits to regional communities.

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“This is an exciting opportunity for Western Australia to be recognised as a world-leading producer and exporter of future battery materials, technologies and expertise, with huge potential for industry growth and job creation across the battery value chain,” said Mr McGowan.

Western Australia is a large producer of lithium and a leading producer of other battery metals including nickel, cobalt and rare earths.

One of the first initiatives of the strategy is to further develop and strengthen relationships with investors and manufacturers in global battery and electric vehicle supply chains.

The next steps for the government include filling current and future skill gaps, and facilitating access to infrastructure and funding for technology SMEs.

Other measures include exploring initiatives to increase the uptake of batteries across the state and globally. These include opportunities through assembly, installation and management of energy storage systems.

Additionally, the government will commit $6m if it is successful in its bid to host the Future Battery Industries Cooperative Research Centre in Perth.

Mines and Petroleum minister Bill Johnston said the strategy signifies a commitment to establishing a world-leading, sustainable, value-adding battery industry in Western Australia.

“The growing global demand for battery technologies presents an opportunity for Western Australia to build on its expertise in the resources industry and move further along the value chain into downstream processing activities.

“Western Australia has all the battery minerals you need to make batteries and energy technologies, we also have a stable and robust economy with low sovereign-risk, and we’re world-leaders in research and development,” Mr Johnston said.

QLD recycling and waste report highlights need for action

A report released by the Queensland Government shows an increase in the amount of waste from interstate sources in the last financial year, while Queensland’s reported waste generation also exceeded 10 million tonnes for the first time.

The Recycling and Waste in Queensland 2018 was released this week at the National Waste Recycling Industry Council quarterly meeting.

The Recycling and Waste in Queensland report is prepared annually based on data supplied by local governments, the waste and resource recovery industry and recyclers across the state.

The report shows that in 2017-18, 10.9 million tonnes of headline waste was reported with a 45 per cent recovery rate. Of this, 82 per cent of materials were recovered in Queensland. In addition, the report shows a 37 per cent increase in waste from interstate sources.

The overall recovery rate increased slightly from the previous financial year by 0.9 per cent.

Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said the report demonstrated the urgency needed to improve Queensland’s waste management.

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“This report provides a snapshot of how waste and recyclables were managed, recovered and disposed of in 2017–18 financial year,” Ms Enoch said.

“Alarmingly, more than 1.2 million tonnes of waste was trucked over the border into Queensland in 2017-18.

“If you lined up all of these trucks, the line would stretch from Brisbane to past Mackay.”

“The Palaszczuk Government is moving ahead with its comprehensive waste management strategy, which is underpinned by a waste levy that is proposed to begin on July 1 this year. This will stop the trucks and create incentives to divert waste away from landfill while encouraging more recycling and resource recovery initiatives.”

Ms Enoch said the Recycling and Waste in Queensland 2018 report also showed Queensland generated nearly 11 million tonnes of waste in 2017-18, which was an increase of 1.1 million tonnes compared to the previous year.

“This represented an 11 per cent increase, which is concerning when you consider our population only grew by 1.6 per cent in the same time period,” she said.

Ms Enoch said it was promising to see recycling rates increase, but there was still room for improvement.

“In 2017-18, Queenslanders increased their recycling effort for household and business wastes by 580,000 tonnes, resulting in close to five million tonnes of materials being diverted from landfill.

“However, we still recycle only 45 per of the waste we generate, which needs to change.”

Rick Ralph, Chief Executive Officer, Waste Recycling Industry Association said that the waste and recycling industry in Queensland is looking forward with confidence.

“With government reforms to policy and regulation, industry can invest which will create new jobs by increasing the states resource recovery performance,” Mr Ralph said.

You can read the full report here.


NSW EPA’s Local Litter Check goes digital

The NSW Environment Protection Authority has moved its flagship Local Litter Check tool online.

The Local Litter Check has been a key part of the EPA’s litter grant program for five years, enabling grant recipients to detail their specific litter problem and track the effectiveness of their intervention program.

 Local Litter Check is a free tool for people in the community, councils and other land managers. The tool helps understand and design solutions for local litter problems.

The check is a series of steps that guide users to gather evidence about site characteristics and litter behaviour in a local litter hotspot, such as a park, beach or bus stop. Using Salesforce software, users do a physical count of how much litter is in the area, enter the information and a data aggregator then helps them to determine what action should be taken to tackle the local litter problem.

EPA Litter Prevention Unit Head Rupert Saville said the digital move would help more community members join the battle against litter.

“Making a litter prevention tool paperless – it’s a perfect match,” Mr Saville said.

“The format may have changed but the tool stays the same – a physical count of litter, together with a site assessment and community surveys are still the best ways to gather evidence to understand and solve a local litter problem.

“Our system now consolidates this data in the one place to help us know what’s happening with litter across NSW.

“It will enable even more corners of the community to prevent litter and work towards the Premier’s Priority of reducing litter volume by 40 per cent by 2020.”

The online version aims to provide quick and accurate data for before-and-after analyses and is compatible with desktop and mobile devices. The paper form will remain available as a backup.