VWMA hosts breakfast briefing

Next week the Victorian Waste Management Association (VWMA) will host its first industry breakfast briefing for the year with partners Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Victoria and WorkSafe Victoria.

EPA Chief Executive Officer Dr Cathy Wilkinson and Worksafe Director of the High Risk Dangerous Goods Taskforce Michael Eather will speak at the event, providing attendees the opportunity to hear and discuss important issues affecting the sector.

Ms Wilkinson will discuss EPA priorities for 2019 outlining key aspects of the EP Act and business engagement opportunities.

Mr Eather will provide insights into the high risk dangerous goods taskforce and outline the company’s project to clean up eight work sites in Epping and Campbellfield.

The breakfast will take place at the RACV Club on Tuesday 19 March between 7:30 and 9 am.

Click here for more information

India bans solid plastic imports

India’s Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has announced changes to hazardous waste laws, reversing exemptions from its 2016 ban on solid plastic imports.

Under previous laws, companies in designated economic development areas were exempt from the ban.

The change comes after the country saw an increase in waste imports as a result of the market vacuum generated by China’s National Sword policy.

The export oriented units clause, which gave local governments the ability to procure resources from abroad, has also been removed.

The ministry said changes were made in accordance with the ‘Make in India initiative’ by simplifying procedures and upholding principals of sustainable development and lessened environmental impact.

The ‘Make in India’ initiative was launched in 2014 with the goal of making India a sustainable global manufacturing hub.

The change follows India’s commitment to phase out single-use plastics by 2022.

Some of the features of the Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management & Transboundary Movement) Amendment Rules, 2019, include prohibiting solid plastic was from being imported into the country, including in special economic zones and by export orientated units.

Electrical and electronic assemblies and components manufactured in and exported from India, if found defective can now be imported back into the country, within a year of export, without obtaining permission from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

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27 tonnes of recycled rubber used on race track

A trial last year saw Equine Air paving product installed on 550 square meters of Pakenham Racing Club Tynong approach track.

The product was manufactured as part of a Tyre Stewardship and Flexiroc partnership, using over 3000 equivalent passenger units, or 27 tonnes of recycled rubber.

Results from the trail were positive with riders reporting less concussive force and reduced potential for horse industry.

The unique geotechnical profile design allows the product to be placed over problematic ground conditions and drain quickly after rainfall.

Tyre Stewardship Market Development Manager Liam O’Keefe said the product is one of many developments for the company, as it seeks to grow valuable markets for recycled tyre-derived material.

“Equine Air is one of a new generation of products in the paving and surfacing industry that not only deliver better on-site outcomes but also offer a major beneficial end-use of tyre-derived material.

“The work that Tyre Stewardship Australia, and our project partners, have been undertaking in this space is certain to deliver major practical and environmental dividends in the future,” he said.

Tyre Stewardship Australia’s other new products include new mixes of crumbed rubber asphalt, permeable paving and artificial playing surfaces.

Equine Air suites a wide range of applications such as synthetic fibre tracks, sand tracks, horse walks and mounting yards.

Tyre Stewardship Australia hopes the successful trial will influence other racing tracks to use the material, creating long-term potential for the use of rubber granulate.

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Victorian parliamentary inquiry into ‘waste crisis’

The Environment and Planning Committee will inquire into the “crisis” affecting Victoria’s recycling and waste management system following a parliamentary inquiry push from the Greens.

The inquiry was endorsed by the Victorian Parliament’s upper house on Wednesday.

Victorian councils were forced to send recyclables to landfill after the Environment Protection Authority banned a major Melbourne recycler from accepting waste at its Coolaroo and Laverton North plants in February.

Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio told parliament a third of the councils affected by the ban had found alternative processors and the government was working to help the others.

When operational, the Melbourne recycler receives approximately 50 per cent of Victoria’s kerbside recycling across three facilities.

Victorian Greens deputy leader Ellen Sandell said the inquiry would help develop short-term measures to support councils and limit the amount of recycling ending up in landfill.

The Victorian Greens party is of the view that Victoria has been in the midst of a waste crisis since at least February 2018 and has been calling for solutions to improve market development.

Ms Sandell said she hopes the inquiry will provide direction to develop a state-based recycling industry, highlighting Greens proposals to develop a container deposit scheme and ban on single-use plastics.

“Victorians are doing the right thing and recycling at home, but right now there are no assurances of where it ends up.

“Government support for a state based recycling industry is long overdue and it’s not good enough for Labor to continually push responsibility back onto councils,” she said.

The Environment and Planning Committee plans to report by 13 August.

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circular waste

WA caps waste levy

WA Government Environment Minister Stephen Dawson has announced there will be no increase to the state’s waste levy in the next financial year until a pricing review has been completed.

As part of the state’s new Waste Strategy 2030, the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation will review the levy to ensure it meets new strategy objectives.

The department will establish a schedule of future waste levy rates and look at expanding the geographic extent of the levy, which currently only applies to the Perth metropolitan region.

A minimum five-year schedule of waste levy rates will be published to provide certainty to local governments in planning their waste services, and to drive investment and employment in the waste sector.

Western Australia has seen significant increases to its waste levy in recent years.

In January 2015, fees for sending putrescible waste to landfill increased from $28 to $55 a tonne and inert waste went up from $8 to $40 a tonne. By July 1, 2018 fees for all waste reached $70 per tonne.

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Mr Dawson said that to ensure the waste levy framework is robust, and to allow time for the review to be completed, the McGowan Government will not increase the waste levy for 2019-20.

“I will publish the schedule of rates beyond these years as soon as our review of the scope and application of the waste levy is complete,” Mr Dawson said.

WMRR releases NSW election priorities

The Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR) is urging all parties to commit to six key priorities for the upcoming NSW election.

At the Local Government NSW’s Save Our Recycling Election Summit, WMRR CEO Gayle Sloan said meeting WMRR’s six priorities would future-proof the state’s economy, protect the environment and create jobs in NSW.

“If China’s National Sword policy has taught us anything, it is the need to strengthen and grow both domestic processing/remanufacturing and local market demand.

“All stakeholders need to play their part in responding to this new reality, it is now up to the NSW Government to show leadership and support our vital industry,” she said.

WMRR is urging all parties to commit to the following priorities:

1. The creation of a market development agency similar to Sustainability Victoria (SV) and Green Industries South Australia (GISA).

2. Greater accountability and transparency of the landfill levy, and a return and reinvestment of 50 per cent of levy funds raised each year to support diversion from landfill, grow remanufacturing facilities, and create markets.

3. To underpin waste infrastructure and award funds accordingly, WMRR is calling for a recommitment for a finalisation of the state’s strategic infrastructure strategy, which has been placed on hold by the NSW EPA since July 2017, to strategically develop and approve required infrastructure.

4. To develop a specific Waste and Resource Recovery State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP), including recognition that this infrastructure is critical/essential and requires certainty of both location (by way of designated precincts) and appropriate buffer zones.

5. Enforcement of the proximity principle and development of a common approach to managing ‘waste’ as it becomes a resource, which also requires resource recovery exemptions and orders to be certain and robust.

6. Commitment to sustainable procurement coupled with the development of specifications that include recycled content. Mandate the use of recycled/recovered content in procurement policies for local and state government, including state government agencies, and ensure these are applied in procurement for all building, civil, and infrastructure works.

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Teys Australia revels plans for low emissions energy hub

Beef processing company Teys Australia reveals plans to develop a $42 million low emissions energy hub (LEEH) at its Wagga facility.

The LEEH will result in the facility being independent with all energy needs to be met by the hub which will provide electrical and thermal energy and free up the available power in the grid, particularly during peak periods.

The announcement follows a two million jump in energy costs in the last financial year.

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Teys Australia chief supply chain officer Tom Maguire said the LEEH will have significant returns for the facility, Wagga and the environment.

“The hub will include baseload bio-generation, solid waste digestion, solar PV, energy storage and biomass boilers to produce steam.

“Together these technologies will provide stable baseload power that integrates with the grid, improving energy security, and reducing emissions,” he said.

Mr Maguire said the region’s farmers will also benefit with the ability to sell farming waste to be used for energy generation.

Teys will fund half the hub’s cost and applying for government funding for the remaining half.

The NWRIC’s visionary policy

The National Waste and Recycling Industry Council CEO Rose Read highlights the association’s priorities in 2019 and its long-term plan for resource recovery in Australia.  Read more

Future Recycling unveils revamped transfer station

Future Recycling has fully refurbished its facility with a brand new transfer station in partnership with Sustainability Victoria and the Victorian Government as part of the $35 million Resource Recovery Infrastructure Fund.

At the new $4.5 million transfer station, material is sorted manually to recover the maximum reusable and recyclable content and according to Future Recycling, will divert at least 70 per cent of the waste delivered to the site away from landfill. This will include up to 100,000 tonnes of builders’ waste, general waste, green waste and recyclables such as cardboard, car batteries and metals including white goods and electronics.

The investment includes the latest waste management equipment such as Sennebogen machinery and a brand new, computerised public weighbridge, which records the volume and type of waste, along with the client’s details.

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The site will attract both commercial and public customers and be supported by bin hire, metal recycling, scrap metal and resource recovery services. The traffic flow in the site is well-planned as all deliveries are directed by waste-stream to aid recovery and ensure efficiency.

Future Recycling Managing Director Tyrone Landsman said the company’s aim is to extract as much recyclable material as possible from waste streams to avoid landfill.

“We strive to provide a comprehensive service that is tailored to our business customers’ needs, whilst being safe and innovative in our approach. We are really proud of our new transfer station. And thank Sustainability Victoria and the State Government for working with us on this project,” Mr Landsman said.

The transfer station will provide the local community and businesses with a better option for disposing of their waste and has also created ten full-time jobs with more in the pipeline as the business expands.

Victorian Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio, who was unable to attend the launch, said Victorian Government’s investment in state-of-the-art resource recovery centres such as this is not only good for the environment, it’s helping to support local jobs and industry.

“The new facility is boosting the local community’s recycling levels and reducing the amount of waste that goes to landfill. This grant means the best recycling technology is available right here in Pakenham,” she said.