NWRIC discusses export ban with Minister Ley

The National Waste and Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC) has asked Environment Minister Sussan Ley to bring the ban on whole bale tyre exports forward to July 2020, in parallel with glass.

According to an NWRIC statement, the potential harm to humans and the environment by exporting whole baled tyres is significant, with ample capacity to process the material into value added products domestically.

NWRIC members made the request at their quarterly meeting in Canberra this week, which Ms Ley attended to discuss export ban execution and the implications of the proposed timetable.

At the meeting, council members indicated their support for the intent of the ban, and welcomed the strong leadership of the Federal Government, according to an NWRIC statement.

In reference to mixed plastics, NWRIC advised Ms Ley that more time is required for industry to purchase equipment and scale processing capacity. The council also argued for the need to fast track local plastic demand through packaging.

Additionally, NWRIC called the export ban on baled paper and cardboard “illogical,” given local demand is limited and strong existing markets exist overseas.

“This also applies to the export of single resin polymer plastics, such as clean bales of PET and HDPE. The vast majority of this resource is going to legitimate licensed overseas manufacturers,” the statement reads.

How to build local demand for recovered materials for packaging, products and infrastructure was another topic of conversation.

“The minister emphasised the government’s commitment to increase the uptake of recovered materials by changing their procurement practices,” the statement reads.

“She also stressed that businesses must step up too, especially the packaging industry, manufacturers and retailers, by ramping up the use of recycled materials. This program is especially needed in plastic packaging and products.”

NWRIC also argued that for the ban to be successful, new obligations must extend beyond the waste and resource recovery sector, to include organisations importing products to Australia.

“A circular economy requires all parts of the supply chain participate. This also includes consumers who must buy recycled, along with households plus businesses sorting recycling better,” the statement reads.

“Importantly, the minister acknowledged that Australia is a net importer of plastics and paper, so this needs to be considered in implementing the export ban.”

NWRIC members also requested Ms Ley consider banning the export of whole crushed car bodies, white good and waste motor oils.

“All of these products, when exported unprocessed, are causing serious harm to human health and the environment in locations across Asia,” the statement reads.

In addition to the export ban, Ms Ley and NWRIC members discussed the challenges of diverting organics from landfill, and the need for nationally consistent landfill levies.

According to the statement, NWRIC told Ms Ley that there needs to be greater transparency and investment of levies back into developing recovered materials markets, community education, compliance activities, research and data collection. NWRIC members also highlighted the importance of state investment being matched by the Commonwealth.

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NSW awards $1M to community recycling centres

Six NSW councils have received funding to develop recycling facilities for problem household waste such as oils, paints and gas bottles.

Planning and Environment Department Circular Economy Executive Director Sanjay Sridher said $1.125 million would go towards developing the new community recycling centres and permanent drop-off facilities.

“Community recycling centres are designed to capture those tricky items that can’t go in the bin – things like motor oils, car batteries, even old fluoro lightbulbs,” Mr Sridher said.

“These kinds of items have materials in them that can’t be processed through our kerbside systems, but through community recycling centres, most of these problem wastes can be reused or recycled.”

Awarded local government areas include Blue Mountains City Council, Camden Council, Parkes Shire Council, City of Parramatta Council, City of Ryde Council and Wollondilly Shire Council.

According to Mr Sridher, more than 7.5 million kilograms of problem waste has been collected since the program began, including four million kilograms of paint, one million kilogram of gas cylinders and 247,000 kilograms of batteries.

To date, over 100 community recycling centres have been funded in NSW and 92 are currently in operation.

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Researchers develop polyester extraction and reuse method

Queensland University of Technology (QUT) researchers have developed a treatment to extract and reuse polyester from polyester/wool mix fabrics.

Through extraction and reuse, the researchers hope to divert some of the 92 million tonnes of textiles sent to landfill each year.

QUT Institute for Future Environments faculty Robert Speight and Laura Navone found that a commercial enzyme dissolves wool fibres from polyester and wool mix fabrics, without damaging the polyester strands.

“Recycled polyester is a valuable tradable commodity,” Prof Speight said.

“The polyester extracted from fabric can be made into polyester chips and turned into anything from yarn for new textiles to playground equipment.”

Prof Speight said the value of recycled polyester has gone up significantly in recent years, and gives clothing manufacturers a marketing advantage when able to claim recycled material.

“Adidas, for example, has committed to using only recycled plastic by 2024, which includes polyester – contributing to the demand for recycled polyester,” he said.

Prof Speight said the next phase was to partner with recycling companies to scale and commercialise the process.

QUT Co-researcher Associate Professor Alice Payne said Australians send 500,000 tonnes of textiles to landfill every year.

“Australians discard an estimated $140 million worth of clothes each year, with an average lifetime of three months for each item,” Prof Payne said.

According to Prof Payne, polyester is incorporated in much of the 80-150 billion items of clothing made each year.

“Separating and reusing polyester is part of the drive to prevent waste in the fashion industry,” she said.

“Other ways to prevent waste is to use clothing longer, buy second hand rather than new, and circulate, lend, borrow, repair, upcycle or resell no longer wanted clothing.”

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APCO announces new Board Directors

The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) has appointed its Board of Directors for 2020, welcoming industry leaders from across the waste and recycling, packaging and sustainability sectors.

The new Board Directors were officially appointed at APCO’s Annual General Meeting in Melbourne.

According to an APCO statement, Veolia Projects Director Lee Smith will serve as Industry Association Director for a term of three years.

“Also joining the board in the role of Brand Owner Director is Chris Foley, Head of Energy and Environment for Kmart Group for a period of two years,” the statement reads.

“Chris will be replacing long standing board member Renata Lopes.”

Additionally, Reece Group Packaging Manager Jason Goode has returned to the role of Brand Owner Director for a term of three years.

APCO Board Chair Sam Andersen said the covenant was excited to welcome a wealth and diversity of industry experience to the APCO Board.

“This has been a remarkable year of growth and progress for APCO, and we look forward to an even more productive year in 2020 with the support and guidance of the new Board Directors,” Mr Andersen said.

“I’d also like to formally thank our outgoing board directors, David and Renata, who both brought invaluable contributions to our board and generously shared their vast knowledge and experience for the benefit of our members.”

The full 2020 Board includes Sam Andersen, Andrew Petersen, Keith Chessell, Lee Smith, Jacky Nordsvan, Anne Astin, Trent Bartlett, Jason Goode and Chris Foley.

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VIC tables waste inquiry report

An inquiry into the Victorian waste management and resource recovery system has suggested an over-reliance on one company to provide recycling services left the state vulnerable to market collapse.

According to the inquiry, the closure of SKM Recycling left more than 30 Victorian councils without a recycling provider and highlighted the dangers of industry consolidation.

Within this context, the inquiry found that the Victorian Government failed to undertake sufficient oversight of the state’s recycling and waste management system.

Following a seven-month investigation, the Victorian Legislative Council’s Environment and Planning Committee tabled its report on the inquiry on 27 November.

The report lists 33 findings and 46 recommendations, including introducing a container deposit scheme, growing waste to energy capacity and promoting uniform recycling practices across the state.

In reference to container deposit schemes, the committee suggests a Victorian scheme could supplement improved kerbside services and reduce municipal contamination rates.

The report recommends that the state government conduct a cost-benefit analysis, and notes estimates show a scheme could increase the state’s budget net position by $551.5 million over the period 2019-20 to 2029-30.

The Victorian Government should also provide funding and support for all Victorian councils to introduce a seperate bin for municipal glass recycling, the committee suggests.

According to the report, the administration of the state’s Sustainability Fund has been the subject of significant criticism.

In response, the committee recommends that the Victorian Government make it clear what the fund is for, who can access it, how they can access it and how fund outcomes are measured.

“In both its submission and in evidence given in public hearings, the Municipal Association of Victoria indicated that it believes the government needs to use the Sustainability Fund more extensively in supporting local government to address waste management and recycling issues,” the report reads.

“In light of the concerns raised by councils about the accessibility of the Sustainability Fund, the committee recommends the Sustainability Fund be audited to ensure that the fund is accessible and demonstrates which programs have achieved against their specified legislative objectives and been allocated accordingly.”

The committee also recommends that the state’s landfill levy be adjusted to the extent that financial incentives to transport waste from other jurisdictions for landfilling is removed.

Furthermore, the committee suggests that the state government work with the Federal Government and relevant stakeholders to harmonise the levy nationally.

The committee recommends the Victorian Government also work with the Commonwealth to introduce the Australian Packaging Covenant as a mandatory product stewardship scheme, and develop recycled material import requirements for packaging.

Additionally, the committee suggests government introduce recycled content requirements for state and local government procurement, and an obligation for agencies to publicly report on compliance with these requirements.

Other concerns include high rates of industrial and chemical waste stockpiling, inadequate market capacity to process stockpiled material and limited statewide education.

Committee Chair Cesar Melhem said he believes the report will make a significant contribution to the development of better recycling and waste management practices in Victoria.

“The state government should be commended for the actions taken since the recycling crisis become apparent, both in terms of the financial assistance it has provided to local councils and industry players, and in the support it provided to SKM and the role it played in facilitating the sale of the company,” Mr Melhem said.

“These actions will assist the industry in Victoria to set new directions for the industry. We are seeing the recycling rate in Victoria, already the highest percentage in Australia, improve to 69 per cent.”

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Mobile multivitamin: Finlay

Craig Turner, Bio Gro Project Manager, talks to Waste Management Review about improving soil health through high-energy screening.

The viability of Australia’s productive land is being challenged by extreme weather conditions, as droughts and floods alter soil compositions and reduce nutrient levels.

Sustainability Victoria modelling suggests that as a result, the country’s agricultural and horticultural sectors will feel higher rates of climate change than other sectors.

Van Schaik’s Bio Gro, a family-owned company based in Mount Gambier, South Australia that supplies growing media, mulches and composts, are working to limit these impacts by stimulating soil health and reducing organic methane emissions.

Craig Turner, Bio Gro Project Manager, says the company works in partnership with various councils and private organisations to achieve optimum organic resource recovery. He says that currently, it processes in excess of 750,000 cubic metres of organic material per annum.

“The organic material is processed into a range of specialist growing and mulching mediums, soil amendments and biological growth stimulants, perfectly tailored for the urban amenity, intensive and extensive agriculture and viticulture markets,” Craig says.

“To effectively process the organic material, which is inconsistent and varied by nature, we require high-intensity screening equipment, which is why we work with Finlay Screening, Crushing and Recycling Systems.”

Bio Gro and Finlay’s relationship began in the early 2000s, when Finlay supplied the company with a Terex 693 Double Deck screener for mulch processing.

“Finlay offers a quality product with great service and advice, is always fast to respond to any issues we have and supplies a good spare parts service with 24-hour support,” Craig says.

“When we required a new screen to address high moisture level and increase productions times, Finlay was the obvious choice.”

After considerable consultation and on-site testing, Bio Gro purchased a Spaleck Flip Flow from Finlay in 2017.

“We needed a screen that could produce at the required volume without operators having to regularly clean screen decks, which causes downtime and poses a significant safety risk to our staff,” Craig explains.

“Additionally, we wanted a mobile screen that was versatile enough to process the wide range of organic material we receive.”

Craig says Bio Gro uses the Flip Flow to screen and separate compost bark, organic compost and recycled timber, at up to 100 cubic metres an hour.

Spaleck Flip Flow screens are designed to screen damp and wet materials of inhomogeneous origin, with separation cuts of 1.2 to approximately 50 millimetres.

According to Craig, the machine’s base frame is agitated by a shaft and unbalanced motor drive, with vibrations passed to the frame through thrust rubbers to produce reliable and high-energy screening.

A key component of the mobile system is the Spaleck 3D Combi Flip-Flow screen, which Craig says screens and loosens material on a top deck with optimal turning.

“The screen deck is mounted above the Flip-Flow deck to form a cascade, with 3D screen segments to reduce loads for the flip-flow screen mat,” he says.

“This increases the mat service life and guarantees optimum screening results. Plus, the screen mats are secured without screws, meaning there are no sharp edges or safety hazards.”

Craig adds that the 3D screening segments guarantee correct particle size, with no long pieces or extraneous material passed to the tension shaft screen on the lower deck.

“The Flip Flow has far exceeded our expectations and helped Bio Gro reduce safety risks, improve output performance and meet all our product quality requirements,” Craig says.

“The screen hasn’t suffered any blockages or downtime to date, which means we can consistently produce nutrient rich mulch and soil amendments to feed our land and protect the environment.”

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Clean rent: Tennant Company

If you’re planning to add some cleaning machines to your toolkit, you’ll first need to decide whether you want to buy, finance, or rent your equipment, writes Tennant Company. 

So, what are the benefits of cleaning equipment hire? Why is it becoming so popular? And is it the best option for you?

Here’s why more companies are choosing to rent:

1. Access better tech now

When you rent, you don’t have to wait until you can afford to buy new equipment outright. It means you can add a better piece of equipment to your inventory now and start enjoying the benefits from upgraded technology right away. Benefits like saving time, saving money, operating more efficiently and getting a better, cleaner result.

2. Flexible upgrades

When you rent instead of buying your machines, it can be easier to switch to a different type of equipment if your needs change or upgrade as you go along. There’s no need to wait until the end of your machine’s life or try to find a secondhand buyer. Simply trade-in your existing rental machine for a newer model. Or add a new machine to your fleet any time you need to increase your capacity and handle a new or bigger cleaning challenge.

3. Stay on budget

Many companies can’t pay for a new piece of equipment outright – they might have to wait 3-6 months to save up for a new machine. Fortunately, you can stay within your budget and get your equipment right away with renting, because the costs are spread out over the life of your machine. Renting means you have predictable, affordable payments coming out each month instead of one lump sum.

4. Grow your business

Renting means you can spread your immediate funds across other investments that help grow your business. Investments like company vehicles, upgraded branding, marketing campaigns, and additional team members. Renting gives you the flexibility and funds to move quickly and seize new opportunities.

5. Get tax benefits

When you rent your machine, it’s considered an operating expense, whereas when you purchase your machine outright, it’s considered a capital expense (used to buy an asset). This means that renting can come with tax benefits, although you should definitely confirm this with your accountant (we don’t provide financial advice).

At the moment, if you’re a small business in Australia, the threshold for upfront asset write-offs is $30,000. If you purchase a piece of equipment for more than this, you’ll need to depreciate it and claim the tax over time. On the other hand, monthly rental payments can be 100 per cent tax-deductible, with no need to worry about depreciation rules or tracking your tax deduction over the life of your equipment. But once again, you’ll need to seek independent advice from your accountant to confirm your eligibility and how tax deductions work for your company.

6. Simplify ongoing costs

Finally, monthly rental payments can help simplify things by bundling the ongoing cost of your machine into one simple monthly payment. Cleaning equipment needs ongoing servicing and maintenance. When you hire cleaning equipment with Tennant ANZ, we combine your Factory Direct Servicing with your rental payments so you get one fixed price payment every month and a full maintenance (comprehensive) service program.

Renting cleaning equipment from Tennant

What makes Tennant’s cleaning equipment hire different?

It’s an in-house service. That means instead of dealing with a supplier or redistributor, you get to deal directly with the equipment manufacturer. Plus, access our Factory Direct Servicing, using Tennant True Parts to protect your investment and ensure maximum uptime.

It also means you can be confident you’re getting the best possible machine and expert training. As well as ongoing support from a service team of 40+ technicians who have deep knowledge of how your equipment works.

And since we’re a nationwide company, our strategic account leaders are here to help you get centralised pricing for all your locations across Australia and New Zealand.

Another huge Tennant difference is technology.

All our rentals come with IRIS Asset Manager for data management, allowing you to ensure your rental machine is being used exactly how you want. Keeping tabs on your most important assets has never been easier.

And your Tennant floor scrubber hire comes with Ec-H20 NanoClean technology for highly efficient water-based cleans. This minimises your chemical purchases during the rental period.

Finally, we’ve got a huge range available for hire. You can choose from a variety of Tennant machines available for rent, from our S10 to a S30, and from T300 to M30.

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$30M stockpile clean-up continues

Thousands of cubic metres of material will leave a waste stockpile in Geelong this week, as the EPA begins removing truckloads of contaminated soil.

The Victorian EPA used powers granted under the Environment Protection Act 1970 to take over management at the stockpile in April, after the previous operator let recycling waste grow to dangerous levels.

In a statement at the time, Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said the process could take several years, with the state government providing $30 million for clean-up and fire prevention measures.

According to Ms D’Ambrosio, the stockpile contains an estimated 320,000 cubic meters of waste including timber, concrete, brick, plaster, glass and ceramics.

EPA South West Region Manager Carolyn Francis said the contaminated soil will be removed in a closely monitored operation over the next four weeks.

“The soil contains a variety of contaminants including metals, plastics and some asbestos, so the removal operation has been carefully planned,” Ms Francis said.

“The soil will be kept damp during loading to prevent any problems with dust, then sealed in plastic on site for safe transport in covered trucks to a licensed landfill in Melbourne, and will be tracked to their destination by EPA’s electronic Waste Transport Certificate system.”

Ms Francis said the EPA will run additional asbestos fibre air quality monitoring at the site during soil removal, which will be managed by an independent occupational hygienist.

“The removal of this hazard will clear some of the land around the edges of the property and remove a potential source of dust from the site,” Ms Francis said.

The site’s land will likely be sold to recover costs following the cleanup, according to the EPA’s website.

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