Acquisitions in the spotlight part two: Cleanaway

Waste Management Review talks to some of Australia’s largest waste management companies about the role of scalability in the future of the waste sector. 

This article is the second in a three part series featuring Bingo Industries, Cleanaway, Corio Waste Management and SUEZ. 

With more than 300 sites, 115 prized infrastructure assets and around 6000 employees and 4950 vehicles, Cleanaway is Australia’s largest waste management company. 

At the heart of its approach to scaling up and supporting Australia’s recycling woes is Cleanaway’s Footprint 2025 strategy – a plan to significantly grow its infrastructure by 2025. Launched in 2015, Footprint 2025 continues to expand.

It’s already done so in 2019 with a new waste transfer station and resource recovery facility in Sydney licensed to process 300,000 tonnes of putrescible waste per annum. In addition, its recent infrastructure moves also include a new South East Melbourne Organics Facility, a 50 per cent stake in ResourceCo’s process engineered fuel facility in Sydney and a transfer station in Perth.

Official data on market share is difficult to come by, but CEO Vik Bansal estimates the company controls around the mid to high 20 per cent of the total waste management market.

Its annual report shows the integration of Toxfree is on track to achieve a $35 million synergy target by June 2020. Cleanaway’s acquisition of Toxfree in 2018 was unopposed by the ACCC and concluded that increased vertical integration would be unlikely to substantially lessen competition due to competitive constraints imposed by alternative suppliers.

The official review shows customers can and do disaggregate contracts if they are dissatisfied with pricing and/or service levels. Likewise, there are other large suppliers present in multiple waste streams and geographical areas throughout Australia.

Cleanaway’s net revenue, which represents gross revenue less landfill levies collected and passed through the customer, increased by 35 per cent in 2018-19 to $2.11 billion compared to the prior corresponding period. Its growth was driven by a combination of organic growth and the Toxfree acquisition.

“We have spent about $150 million building prized waste infrastructure across the country which includes transfer stations, resource recovery centres, used oil refinery and liquid, hazardous and non-hazardous waste processing facilities organically and via the acquisition of Toxfree,” Vik says.

Its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation increased 34 per cent to $433.7 million in 2018-19 due to improved profit performances across solid waste services, industrial and waste services and liquid waste and health services. In its annual report, Cleanaway highlights itself as having an excellent balance sheet with debt ratios well within banking covenant requirements.

The annual report declares volatility in the commodities supply chain has led to increased sorting costs and instability in commodity pricing. Vik has often maintained Australia’s recycling crisis presents an opportunity rather than a threat to the viability of the sector.

“It is the right thing for the waste industry in Australia and in general. There is something not right about waste going to developing countries and them sorting it out. We just don’t want that to happen,” Vik says.

He says that being a publicly listed entity places additional pressure on Cleanaway as a company, but it’s a challenge it is pleased to take on.

“Because we are a listed entity and have to go to market every six months, our changes become a lot more visible than an international subsidiary or a company which is not listed,” he says.

The positive side effect of market fluctuations is that Cleanaway has fast-tracked much of its Footprint 2025 strategy to support the local marketplace.

Following the collapse of SKM Recycling Group, Cleanaway Waste Management acquired the senior secured debt in the group for around $60 million with the exception of its glass recovery services business. This includes the property, plant and equipment from a network of five recycling sites, comprising three materials recovery facilities (MRFs), a transfer station in Victoria and a MRF in Tasmania. SKM also has two sites in South Australia.

KordaMentha have been appointed the receivers of the group. At the time of Waste Management Review’s interview with Vik, Cleanaway was looking to acquire the assets and return them to a sustainable footing as part of the sale process being undertaken by the receivers.

Prior to the publication date, Cleanaway was successful in its bid for SKM assets with completion of the process on track for the end of October. One of its sites in the network includes an advanced plastic sorting facility in Victoria.

Commenting on the acquisition, Vik said significant progress had been made in clearing waste stockpiles from the sites, repairing plant and equipment and bringing the sites to required safety, environmental and operational standards.

“We expect to gradually restore operations in Victoria over the coming months,” he said.

Speaking to Waste Management Review, Vik agrees some systematic changes are needed to support the future viability of the industry. However, he concedes collection will be difficult to consolidate due to the low barriers to entry.

“There is something fundamentally wrong about the industry structure. Aside from Visy, there is not even a single big waste management player which is upstream and vertically integrated. There is not even a single big waste management player in commingled recycling in Victoria.

“China’s National Sword has triggered the industry structure to go back on a balanced, even, long-term sustainable footing and hence our interest in SKM assets.”

“A company like Cleanaway cannot have a Footprint 2025 strategy flowing through without commingled assets in Victoria. That is part and parcel of a vertically integrated waste management company.”

It was speculated that Cleanaway was interested in buying SKM’s glass recycling business not covered by the receivership. Vik says that while Cleanaway was initially interested in this, the acquisition is now in doubt given the scale of glass stockpiles.

Instead, should Cleanaway acquire SKM’s assets, Vik says Cleanaway will look at building its own glass beneficiation plant.

He says that Cleanaway’s future focus will be to become a downstream processor.

“We see ourselves investing in plastic pelletising and going downstream on glass crushers,” Vik says.

Vik says that Cleanaway’s view is that Australia needs to move to a harmonised national four-bin system with mandatory FOGO and glass bins the key to improving commodity value.

“We are ready to invest a lot more in different parts of the country if we can see that certainty of policy and harmonisation,” he says, adding there is a fair amount of Footprint 2025 still to be revealed.

Likewise, he says that whenever Cleanaway invests, it looks at the entire value chain, including location, policy framework and its total market share.

Vik says that each state should have a container deposit scheme but recognises it might be difficult to harmonise all at a national level.

He says this system would then become best practice through better education, investment in infrastructure and manufacturer and consumer acceptance of recycled material as the final piece of the circular economy puzzle. 

Footprint 2025 is going from strength to strength as Cleanaway in October announced a joint venture with Macquarie Capital’s Green Investment Group to develop a waste-to-energy (WtE) project in Western Sydney.

A site has been acquired for a potential facility in Eastern Creek and an environmental impact statement is being prepared and released for public consultation early next year. The site is expected to cut Western Sydney’s annual landfill volumes by 500,000 tonnes – almost a third of the red bin waste generated per year in the local area.

CONSOLIDATION DEBATE

Trevor Thornton is a lecturer in hazardous materials management at Deakin University and has prior experience with the Environment Protection Authority Victoria.

He says the metropolitan areas certainly benefit, but one concern would be whether the same level of service is afforded to regional areas.

“I’ve heard some issues about large companies that get a statewide contract but just outsource a lot of the more distant rural areas under their banner, but they don’t get the same service to the client.

“But I think in the main, if you’ve got five or six companies offering the complete service, I think that’s a good thing.”

Likewise, he believes the purchase of ailing companies such as SKM can only be a good thing, and that if additional oversight is required, that would be a matter for the ACCC.

He says the trend towards consolidation in Australia would mirror that of other more populous nations such as the US, Canada and parts of Europe.

Corio Waste Management CEO Mathew Dickens

Mathew Dickens, CEO of Corio Waste Management, a family-owned business focused on waste collection and organic waste treatment based in Geelong, sees an opportunity from consolidation to compete with the major players.

“Consolidation does lead to less competition, but it can also mean the acquirer has more to lose as you have most of the market share and that can only go in one direction, but for companies my size it creates opportunity,” he says. 

Mathew says with further consolidation, Corio can aim to compete on service standards, respond quickly to changing customer requirements and provide a point of difference as a family-owned business.

“From a customer perspective it [further consolidation] would mean less choice and higher prices, and that’s not a problem for us as we don’t compete on the basis of price. We know what our costs are because we measure and analyse them all the time,” he says.

He says that Corio tends to focus on what it can offer in terms of variety and frequency of service, collection standards and customer service.

Mathew says the recent consolidations are nothing new but rather history repeating itself in an industry cycle where consolidation inspires new entrants into the industry.

In the US, integrated companies such as Waste Management Inc, Clean Harbors, Republic Services and Advanced Disposal dominate the market.

Mathew points out that Republic Services is an example of smaller operators merging to become a larger organisation, a trend that could always repeat itself locally.   

Republic Services is one of the largest providers of non-hazardous solid waste and owns around 207 transfer stations and 190 landfills, according to Superperformance SAS data.

He says there will still be room for niche, specialised operations that handle smaller volumes.

“If there is going to be a remanufacturing industry that’s developed onshore, you need to spread that risk,” he says.

Mathew says that Corio remains focused on growing its organic waste collections in Geelong and Melbourne treated at its composting facility
based in Shepparton.

“We want to build tunnel composting facilities in other regions in Victoria. It relies on government contracts, but we’re confident we can make it happen,” he says.

Next week’s instalment features an interview with SUEZ CEO Mark Venhoek. 

Click here to read part one

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Particle size innovation

Melbourne’s Knox Transfer Station is pioneering refuse-derived fuel using an Australian-first technology to achieve a small particle size.

Over the years, Melbourne’s Knox Transfer Station has grown from being more than just a transfer station to a hard waste processor for a number of councils.

Operated by KTS Recycling and located in Wantirna South, the company also runs transfer stations in Coldstream, Skye and Wesburn.

Craig Davis, Process Manager at KTS, joined the company 14 months ago to support the company’s entrance into the refuse-derived fuel (RDF) market. RDF is used as a renewable substitute for fossil fuels in cement kilns and specialised energy-from-waste plants.

The motivation for KTS to get involved with RDF was inspired by its collection of hard waste and mattresses through parent company WM Waste Management Services. To maximise resource recovery and find a home for residual plastics, textiles, wood and other materials, the company started looking at RDF around five years ago.

“We were shredding and extracting metals from hard waste and mattresses and hand sorting cardboard and timber with the remaining material going to landfill,” Craig explains.

KTS’ expansion into recycling mattresses initially saw it shred and recycle metal with the remainder sent to landfill, but it believed it could be doing more.

“We didn’t just want to be seen as a wheel’s business and a processor, we wanted to do something different and stay ahead of the curve,” he says.

PROCESS ENGINEERING

In late 2017, KTS Recycling began to establish an interim RDF manufacturing facility at its Knox Transfer Station with support from Sustainability Victoria’s Resource Recovery Infrastructure Fund.

Extensive trial and error was required to ensure the material could meet specification, in particular the particle size for the fuel’s end user.

Craig’s background working with various shredders and grinders at SUEZ and Veolia helped fast track the process, experimenting with a number of different shredders, trommels and screens on-site.

However, despite extensive experimentation, no processes could consistently achieve its less than 50-millimetre output particle requirements. This led KTS to look outside of its existing resources and investigate a new and innovative resolution.

Owner Mark Jeffs flew to Europe last year to check out the UNTHA XR3000 mobil-e in action. As a specialist in machinery and manufacturing technology, Craig also went overseas earlier this year to inspect and test the XR3000.

Mark and Craig were both impressed by the single-pass shredding and lower rotation speed capabilities of the technology. As lower speeds generally have lower wearing costs and a reduced fire risk, the machine was seen as highly advantageous for KTS.

The XR3000’s ability to handle up to 30 tonnes of commercial, industrial and wood waste per hour was also a big plus.

Having previously engaged with FOCUS enviro on a number of other waste processing and technology choices, KTS turned to the company to provide an RDF solution.

FOCUS enviro then called on the product knowledge and experience of its technology partner UNTHA.

After discussing KTS’ requirements, the 37-tonne mobile machine was shipped to their Knox headquarters in July 2019, becoming the first ever Australian company to use the technology. The UNTHA XR3000 mobile-e has been applied successfully in more than 9000 successful installations worldwide.

A diesel mechanic by trade, Mark has achieved a long line of innovations through KTS and parent company WM Waste Management, including becoming one of the first organisations to trial and purchase electric refuse vehicles.

Mark says that alternative fuel is becoming more and more important in Australia and as a progressive environmental company KTS wanted to stay ahead of the curve.

“We acknowledged that by investing in world class RDF production technology, we could produce a high-quality resource, efficiently, and hopefully really drive the market for this crucial energy source,” Mark says.

Rod Tanner, Business Support Manager at KTS Recycling, says one of the most important criterions of the company’s operations is to ensure a reliable small particle size.

“The challenging aspect to our operations is that we make our product today, but we don’t really get feedback from the markets until weeks later so we have to do a lot of our testing locally to ensure we get our products right.”

Michael Strickland, KTS Project Manager, says that there would be big ramifications if deleterious materials ended up in the fuel.

COUNCIL COLLABORATIONS

Rod says the majority of customers in hard rubbish are local government and are accountable for landfill diversion targets, making the business case even more attractive.

“We service customers all over Melbourne and even some regional councils as far as mattresses go,” Rod says.

“We’ve actually got a contract with the North East Regional Waste Management Group so we service all the way up to Albury-Wodonga.”

He says that with more than a dozen customers working with KTS Recycling, the company is looking at opening up conversations with more commercial and industrial operators.

KTS’ process will involve taking RDF-compliant material from its other sites and processing it in Wantirna South.

Rod says that at this stage the main material going through the UNTHA is typical kerbside hard waste collected items, including mattresses and foam. Depending on calorific value results over the coming months, the company will also look at increasing its commercial and industrial waste processing.

Rod says that KTS is committed to doubling its initial output of RDF over the next four years.

While RDF remains relatively niche in Australia, the markets in Europe have grown exponentially.

According to data compiled by the UK association RDF Industry Group, the proportion of refuse-derived and solid recovered fuel has been steadily increasing each year since it began in 2010 to 2017. The sector is worth around £0.5 billion ($0.89B AUD) annually and RDF production supports more than 6800 jobs in the UK.

Gary Moore, UNTHA Director for Global Business Development, says the company is continuing to work with itscustomers to maximise throughputs, minimise impurities andmaximise margins.

“Australia is one of the world’s most exciting countries when it comes to waste-to-energy potential, and it’s great to now be a part of it,” Gary says.

A CHANGE IN DIRECTION

At the August Council of Australian Government’s meeting, federal and state and territory environment ministers agreed to work towards banning recyclable waste being exported overseas.

While a timeline has yet to be established, Robbie McKernan, FOCUS enviro Director welcomes the move and sees it as an opportunity for surplus non-recyclable material to be manufactured into RDF.

“The prime minister’s announcement will only fuel the need for alternative pathways for material that would otherwise be sent overseas,” Robbie says.

“RDF is a high quality resource and its success is well documented in markets around the world.”

Robbie says RDF is a first class alternative to landfill and can be supplied to many different types of energy facilities using fossil fuels.

Calorific value is another challenge and KTS is working on bringing its moisture content down. To rectify this, KTS is continually trialling a combination of different waste compositions with one of them including mattresses.

To support the shredding process, KTS has also acquired an EDGE density separator from FOCUS enviro to remove inert materials such as glass, ceramics and concrete prior to feeding material into the UNTHA.

KTS’ RDF process sees waste come in and be sorted and shredded into various piles before removing inerts through the EDGE density separator. The shredded materials are baled and wrapped into their finished product.

The new XR3000 mobil-e takes advantage of an electromechanical drive without having to forgo the advantages of a mobile machine.

Consistent 30-millimetre to 400-millimetre particle sizes are achievable.

Three different cutting concepts are available depending on the material and fraction size – a ripper, cutter or knife system. The system comprises an internal pusher that allows the material to be pressed against the shredding shaft to maximise production.

Robbie says FOCUS enviro now offers the complete alternative fuel production industry pre-shredders, density separators, industrial baling and bale wrappers and all technology components requirements to manufacture RDF.

“This means our clients can source a complete RDF production line from a single supplier in Australia which is unmatched in the industry,” Robbie says.

Robbie says the UNTHA X3000 mobil-e is unlike anything FOCUS enviro has previously seen in the marketplace.

“We had the chance to see it in the factory and some customer sites in the UK but it’s only when you see the machine in action that you understand it is in another league entirely,” he says.

“We’ve supplied shredders for decades so we were completely taken aback by the jump in machine capabilities and process diagnostics, from the drive system to pusher arm and the knife changeover features.”

Robbie says the ability to produce a homogenous and defined output fraction in a single pass has opened up more opportunities in difficult-to-shred applications.

“UNTHA are now dominating the plastic granulation, tyre-derived fuel, mattress, biomass, pulper ropes and e-waste resource recovery market with their ability to reduce materials efficiently with consistent size and minimal fines,” he says.

He adds that post-consumer and production waste plastics is another example where the machine is working with little to no competition in performance on an industrial level.

The range of shaft and cutter configurations means the shredders are suitable for thermoplastics, duroplastics and elastomers.

In the burgeoning waste-to-energy market, the shredder is also ideal for gasification or biomass markets.

“At the end of the day we’re making a product that substitutes black coal and cement kilns have to burn products regardless so if you can use a renewable fuel that’s best practice from a greenhouse gas perspective,” Michael says.

Craig says that the early results are highly positive and KTS has been able to trial new materials such as car and truck tyres, which has already reduced disposal and transport costs, allowing KTS to send pre-shredded tyres to an end user.

The testing forms part of KTS’ broader vision to be a geographical hub for PEF in Melbourne.

“Understanding where our waste stream is sitting will allow us to explore options for new residuals. We’re learning as we’re going, but we’ve already come a long way,” Craig says.

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Waste of the nation

Waste Management Review speaks to Australia’s first Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management Trevor Evans about his future priorities.

The Liberal Government’s May re-election saw a shakeup of the Department of Environment and Energy. While Energy Minister Angus Taylor retained his position, Melissa Price, who served as Environment Minister from August 2018, was replaced with Sussan Ley.

Cabinet shakeups aren’t uncommon following an election, and as such, the appointment of a new Environment Minister was not particularly noteworthy on its own. What was significant, however, was the introduction of an entirely new parliamentary portfolio, the Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management.

The role was awarded to Queensland Member of Parliament Trevor Evans, who has held the seat of Brisbane since 2016. He is one of the youngest MPs elected to the House of Representatives.

Waste Management Review spoke to Trevor in June.

According to Trevor, Minister Ley will still hold final responsibility for all matters inside the portfolio. His role as assistant minister will be to assist in the fulfilment of waste targets and policy drafting.

“As my title suggests, I have a particular focus on the government’s initiatives and funding around waste reduction and recycling, and some of our environmental management,” Trevor explains.

“This new role is a really exciting one for me personally, as I’ve always been an incredibly passionate advocate for Australia’s unique environment.”

As a child, Trevor says he wanted to be a zookeeper because of his love of Australian animals.

“Instead, I find myself in the house of animals that is Parliament House,” he jokes.

“I’m taking the passion that I’ve always had for our local environment, building on a lot of local work I’ve done in my Brisbane electorate on conservation and bringing those passions to this role.”

Highlighting the importance of industry led initiatives was a common thread throughout Waste Management Review’s conversation with Trevor, who before entering politics served as National Retail Association President.

“I’ve done a lot of work at the coalface when industry meets consumer demand,” Trevor says.

“I was there at quite an interesting time, where industry and the retail sector were starting to react and plan for the first product stewardship schemes.”

Trevor says it’s this background that informs his belief that private sector is best placed to deal with the complexities of individual product areas and international supply chains.

Trevor plans to use his new position to grow conversations around waste reduction and recycling.

“I believe there is a huge information and awareness gap at present, where many members of the public are incredibly passionate and want to be as involved as they possibly can,” he says.

“I think one of the key aspects of the role will be helping to bridge that gap. I’ll be doing everything I can to help everyone have the best information at their fingertips.”

In the lead-up to the federal election, the waste industry saw unprecedented bi-partisan support.

An ‘election score card’ created by multiple industry associations showed that both major parties had outlined substantive commitments to recycling infrastructure, establishing local markets for recycled content and developing solutions for plastic waste.

So after the election, the waste industry was not asking, ‘what policies will the Liberal Party propose?’ but rather, ‘will they make good on their promises?’

Trevor says the central responsibility of the assistant minister portfolio will be the rollout of the government’s $167 million package of initiatives and funding programs.

Programs include the $100 million Australian Recycling Investment Fund, $20 million Product Stewardship Investment Fund and $20 million for plastic recycling through Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) grants.

“On top of that, I have responsibility for the Federal Government’s role in the new National Waste Policy,” Trevor says.

“The first priority in that space is to work with the states and territories on the action plan.”

The National Waste Policy, which provides a framework for collective action on waste by industry, government and communities, was updated in 2018 after the failure of the 2009 policy.

The policy highlights the importance of interjurisdictional collaboration and proposes targets such as reducing total waste generation by 10 per cent by 2030. Other targets include an 80 per cent average recovery rate from all resource recovery streams by 2030, 30 per cent recycled content across all goods and infrastructure procurement by 2030 and phasing out problematic and unnecessary plastics by 2030.

During the election cycle, the Labor Party proposed mandatory targets for all government departments to purchase products made from recyclable material.

When asked by Waste Management Review whether the Liberal Party has plans to implement similar measures, Trevor says the biggest opportunity for government to pursue that idea would be through the National Waste Policy.

“Different states and territories and different levels of government will bring different things to the table there,” he says.

“You can expect that governments’ own procurement processes will be a big part of the negotiations in terms of how all levels of government come to the table to achieve the National Waste Policy.”

While Trevor didn’t confirm specific procurement figures, government has committed to working with state, territory and local government on getting more recycling content in road construction – building on the $2.6 million 2019 budget allocation to the Australian Road Research Board.

Trevor says developing the National Waste Policy implementation plan, securing appropriate funding and setting robust targets will be his core concerns over the coming year. He adds that the policy is still in the planning stage.

“The most important priority in that space is to work with the states and territories on the action plan to underpin the strategy.”

LOCAL INDUSTRY

According to Trevor, the Federal Government is heavily invested in improving recycling rates and growing the local recycling industry.

“For us, the centrepiece for our efforts to grow a local recycling industry is the $100 million in funding we are proving to support proposals and more local industry in the recycling chain,” he says.   

The Australian Recycling Investment Fund is a new initiative, which Trevor says is designed to support the manufacturing of low-emission and energy-efficient recycled content products, including recycled content plastics, paper and pulp.

The fund will be administered by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, which according to Trevor, will receive guidelines from government about the mandate and how to best invest in new industry.

Whether there were any specific projects in the investment fund pipeline, Trevor says not yet.

“There will be a period of time where we will ensure that scheme is set up and properly instructed with key criteria from government. Then there will no doubt be invitations put to industry to participate in that process,” he says.

Trevor says government have also provided a further $20 million to the pre-existing CRC grants program, to support plastics innovation and research.

“CRCs are a place where the tertiary education and research sector come together with government and business to look at challenges in a shared way, and collaborate when it comes to ideas and innovation,” Trevor says.

“The grants are already delivering great results in many key industries to Australia’s future, so funding CRC work specifically to encourage research, in and around plastics, will lead to some really world-leading solutions here in Australia.”

Trevor says growing industry will be a central priority for his government, particularly given stresses caused by changes to international import regulations.

China’s National Sword policy is the obvious cornerstone. Other restrictions have taken place in India, which banned solid plastic imports in March, and Malaysia, which launched an investigation into international plastic imports in June.

“It is important to note that Australians want, and should expect, that our country supports international recycling supply chains,” he says.

According to Trevor, it is beneficial for Australia to be involved in international recycling chains, both on an economic and environmental level.

“What we have to be conscious of is that there are strict rules around the quality of waste streams being traded around the world,” he says.

“Where companies do the wrong thing, it’s very reasonable for us to expect there to be appropriate compliance and enforcement efforts. Companies that do the wrong thing let down not just their industry, but all Australians that want to see those recycling chains succeed.”

HARMONISATION

Talking about challenges that arise from a lack of centralised policy, specifically around waste levies and interstate transport, Trevor says harmonisation was one of many competing policy goals.

Additionally, Trevor says he will address considerations of the proximity principle at the meeting of environment ministers later this year.

“I can say – at this stage – I do see a case for harmonisation, or increased harmonisation, in many aspects of the waste and recycling industries,” Trevor says.

“There is a case to be made there, however, at this stage, while we are negotiating with the states and territories on the action plan, I’m not going to get too prescriptive about where that needs to be.”

In reference to the effectiveness of banning problematic waste streams, Trevor says state level initiatives have seen positive benefits.

He adds that changing consumer behaviours requires cooperation between government and industry, along with awareness at the small business level.

“I think blanket bans are a clunky policy tool. What’s better is to look at proactive ideas around true cost and substitution,” he says.

“There is certainly some scope for harmonisation between the different approaches between states and territories, and that’s something I hope to influence.”

Trevor makes notes of early state actions around single-use plastics. He adds rather than straight out banning plastic bags, which would come up against genuine questions of consumer convenience, commercial industry worked closely with consumers and government to move towards substitutes.    

“Now the attention, rightly, focuses on some of the heavyweight plastic bag substitutes that have come in, along with some of the definitions of compostability and biodegradability.”

In reference to the Product Stewardship Act review, Trevor says the act is very important piece of work.

“I’m really excited for the opportunity for government to work more closely with industry and look forward to finding ways to achieve real tangible outcomes for something that is very complex and serious,” he says.

Trevor says that while government is not in a position to reveal whether it is looking to introduce more mandatory schemes, it has put $20 million on the table to support the creation of new schemes via the Product Stewardship Investment Fund.

“There is always a debate around the nature of a scheme, in terms of whether they are industry-led, voluntary or mandatory. It is very much a ‘horses for courses’ approach,” Trevor says.

This article was published in the August edition of Waste Management Review. 

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