Federal Govt offer waste battery export guidance

The Federal Government’s Department of the Environment and Energy has released a report that offers guidance on whether a hazardous waste permit is required to export waste batteries to another country.

Batteries can increase the risk of toxic chemicals polluting the environment if not disposed of properly.

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The report clarifies the Federal Government’s position on the status of batteries as hazardous waste under the Hazardous Waste (Regulation of Exports and Imports Act) 1989 (the Act) and Hazardous Waste (Regulation of Exports and Imports) (OECD Decision) Regulations 1996 (the OECD Regulations).

Alkaline, nickel-metal hydride, zinc-carbon and zinc chloride waste batteries are considered by the Federal Government to not require an import permit, as long as they are not flammable, explosive or toxic.

These batteries are considered to be in List B for the Basel Convention for international transport of potentially hazardous waste.

The Federal Government said it is the responsibility of the waste exporter to check whether the destination and transit countries require a hazardous waste permit to import waste batteries.

The report can be read here.

View your landfill in 3D

No longer limited to intensive gaming or high-end architecture, virtual reality is making in-roads in the landfill sector.

Landair Surveys, a leading surveying firm in Australia, has introduced a new way for their landfill clients to interactively view their site data.

Previously, waste managers relied on 2D plans and concept drawings to visualise the relationship between existing site conditions and future operations. However, the rise of 3D viewing platforms has led to the possibility of creating virtual landfills where many different spatial data sets can be viewed simultaneously.

The surveyors at Landair now offer prospective clients virtual landfill models that can be tailored to individual landfill sites or operational requirements. The models can be as simple as an online visual tool to a downloadable interactive viewer allowing the user to take basic measurements and create clipping planes.

  • Examples of current virtual files created for landfill operators include:
  • Design top of waste contours overlaid on existing landfill surfaces
  • Design clay sideliner files overlaid on existing rockface surveys
  • View of proposed finished top of cap levels from site boundaries
  • Month by month landfill cell flyover comparisons
  • Composite as built clay liner and subgrade checks.

landair.com.au/landfills

Vinyl Council research new solutions to recycle PVC

A Vinyl Council of Australia research project has identified new recycling approaches in a bid to use 1.2 million square metres of PVC advertising banners sent to Australian landfills each year.

The REMAKE Project researched the challenges of recycling vinyl coated polyester woven fabrics, including the 5000 tonnes of billboard skins, grain covers, and truck tarpaulins sent to landfill each year.

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Studies were launched into cost effective techniques to create end products and markets for the recycled material. These studies found a number of possible options, from bags, safety floor mats, garden containers and roof tiles.

Three of these designs are being assessed for commercial viability following prototyping.

The project has encouraged industry and government to invest more than $300,000 into PVC recycling. According to the Vinyl Council of Australia, finding a solution to recycling outdoor media is important as the cost of sending billboard skins to landfill is around $200,000 per year.

Commenting on the REMAKE project, Vinyl Council Chief Executive Sophi MacMillan said that more work is needed to find a long-term, market-based, viable solution.

“The durability, weatherability and flexibility of these materials make them an excellent choice for many applications, yet they have been previously difficult to recycle. As a priority recycling area, this project has shown great potential for recovering these resources for use in new products,” Ms MacMillan said.

“Further encouragement by government and the community of circular economy programs like ours would lift recycling rates, support reprocessing of complex products as well as generate jobs and promote innovation. This would lead to a step change in diverting difficult, but quality products from landfill and a move towards greater sustainability,” she said.

“While there is still more work to do, if we find a viable reprocessing technology and end product solution, then this has the potential to be replicated overseas.”

Sustainability Victoria considers submissions for $5 million fund

Sustainability Victoria is currently considering 45 submissions for the second round of applicants to the Resource Recovery Infrastructure Fund.

The Victorian Government have invested $13.6 million into the Resource Recovery Infrastructure Fund to help develop recycling infrastructure and increase the amount of jobs in the resource recovery industry. Projects funded must increase the recovery rate of materials in Victoria.

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$5.1 million was given to 14 projects in round 1, which will collectively recover 17,000 tonnes of plastics, 3500 tonnes of food organics, 100,000 tonnes of timber, and reduce landfill by over 200,000 tones each year.

Recycling Solutions (Vic) is an example of one recipient of the fund. It is establishing an advanced recycling facility that will be able to separate and recycle individual polymer types, which they expect to divert over 10,000 tonnes from landfill a year.

Repeat Plastics Australia have also taken advantage of the fund to establish reprocessing at their Ballarat Recycling Plant to diversify the types of plastic waste it can process.

Round 3 of the Resource Recovery Infrastructure Fund is expected to be released mid-2018.

Glass and plastics could be used to help build footpaths

End-of-life plastics and glass fines could soon be used in the construction of footpaths instead of going to landfill, according to a new study from the Swinburne University of Technology.

The research found plastics and glass fines could be incorporated into concrete footpaths while still meeting the standard requirements, and without compromising the mechanical properties.

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It is estimated that approximately 100,000 tonnes of flexible plastics end up in landfill each year, and only 48 per cent of glass waste is recovered for recycling, according to Sustainability Victoria.

The next step for this project is to include local governments and industries to increase the amount of recycled content in footpath construction.

“The use of recovered plastics and glass fines in concrete footpaths will divert significant quantities of these materials from landfill, while reducing the demand for virgin construction materials,” said Swinburne University of Technology’s Dr Yat Choy Wong.

This research project is one of seven projects that investigate new ways to increase the use of recovered class and flexible plastics.

SA plan for future of waste management

The SA Government has revealed a 30-year plan for the future of the waste and resource recovery industry in the state, estimating almost 5000 jobs could emerge in the future.

The Waste Resource and Recovery Infrastructure Plan outlines a pathway for the industry and will attempt to guide SA with metropolitan and regional profiles. It aims to pave the way for the state to exceed its 81.5 per cent diversion from landfill figure.

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It also aims to increase the amount of waste diverted from landfill and analyse the unique needs, opportunities and challenges facing communities.

New infrastructure is also planned to be developed, including transport and processing equipment, bins, covered compost facilities, monitoring technology, training, market development, and integrated waste data systems.

Projections for future trends within the plan include both a 10 and 30-year scenario. According to the 30-year estimate, the plan could deliver an additional $660.5 million in gross state product and about 4969 full-time-equivalent jobs.

Currently, the waste and resource recovery industry has an annual turnover of $1 billion, contributes $500 million to the GSP, and employs 5000 people across the state.

SA Sustainability, Environment and Conservation Minister Ian Hunter said the SA Government is looking to further build their already successful and growing industry.

“This plan provides a vision where waste is managed as a resource through re-use and recycling, energy recovery is limited to non-recyclable materials and landfill is virtually eliminated,” he said.

“The transition to a more sustainable circular economy requires innovation along with investment and development of new infrastructure and technology to enhance resource efficiency and create business opportunities both locally and overseas.”

“I encourage the public and private sectors to continue to lead the way to a more sustainable future for our State through continued investment in this important sector of our economy.”

You can read the Waste and Resource Recovery Infrastructure Plan here. 

 

Winner of Green Industries SA Women in Waste Award announced

Waste consultant Kat Heinrich has won the annual Green Industries SA Women in Waste Award for her contributions to SA’s waste industry.

Ms Heinrich, a senior consultant for Rawtec, has delivered a range of projects to help with resource efficiency, disaster waste management, state waste accounting and waste infrastructure planning.

The award, established in memory of Pam Keating, includes $5000 to assist with travel, accommodation and conference costs, and mentoring from a senior woman executive in the industry.

SA Environment Minister Ian Hunter said he was delighted to present the award to Ms Heinrich.

“Kat’s new project will address the global issue of food waste by investigating best-practices in Denmark, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and the United States and using this research to drive a step change in food waste reduction and recovery in SA,” Mr Hunter said.

“Congratulations to Kat for her dedication and vision to further SA’s reputation as leader in recycling and resource recovery.”

Ms Heinrich has recently started a blog to share best practices in food waste management from cities globally.

“I am passionate about addressing food waste, which is a significant issue globally, and through this award aim to stimulate a step-wise change in SA,” she said.

“While SA leads the country in waste and resource recovery practices, food waste particularly in the household stream, remains a significant challenge and opportunity for the state.

“Addressing food waste is an important step in transitioning SA to a more circular economy through compost production or other beneficial interventions.”

She said the project will identify potential initiatives that may help SA to take this next step to reduce food waste.

Speakers revealed for Vinyl Council of Australia conference

New insights and information about the future of the vinyl industry are set to be shared by over 30 expert speakers from across the globe at PVC AUS 2018.

Organised about the Vinyl Council of Australia, the event will discuss the latest technical, market and sustainability trends.

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Sustainability and recycling are key themes of the conference, with talks on the developments in the European PVC industry, discussions of the issue of legacy substances, and the research of an effective recycling system.

The technological advances in both processing and machinery will be explored, and how this will allow for growth in the market for PVC windows and handle future challenges.

Senior Director at IHS Chemical Eddie Kok will be providing analysis on the pricing, supply/demand dynamics and whether supply will tighten within the next five years.

“Our second conference, PVC AUS 2018: Shaping the Future provides an unmatched opportunity for council members and their stakeholders to learn about industry trends and developments specific to the manufacturing, use and re-use of vinyl,” Vinyl Council Chief Executive Sophi MacMillan said.

“It’s the only event designed to shape the future of the vinyl industry in the region.”

The event is sponsored and supported by Gernier Extrusions GmbH, Krauss-Maffei Berstorff, and machinery manufacturer Plasmec.

PVC AUS 2018 runs from the 13-15 March 2018 at the Amora Hotel Jamison, Sydney.

SA Government’s response to China waste ban

The SA Government has allocated $300,000 in grant funding to recycling businesses, in a bid to strengthen the local market.

It follows the recent Chinese international waste bans, which saw a crackdown on imports of 24 different types of solid waste from Japan, USA, Australia and other source countries.

China’s National Sword Program and import restrictions have impacted the South Australian recycling industry that relied on exporting material such as scrap plastics, metals, paper, cardboard and textiles overseas.

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The Recycling Market Development Grants Programme, funded through statutory body Green Industries SA, aims to assist businesses to invest in activities that will overcome market barriers to accepting products with recycled-content.

Sustainability, Environment and Conservation Minister Ian Hunter said the grants are a timely aid to bolstering SA recycling businesses.

“Strengthening the local market and secondary re-manufacturing industry will also develop our economy and act as a buffer against the risks associated with selling into overseas commodity markets,” he said.

“Equally important is the need to improve market confidence in using recycled-material products as a viable option so eligible activities for funding include those which validate the quality and performance of local recycled materials or recycled-content products and develop new or expand existing markets for such products.”

Examples of activities that are eligible for the grant include testing product quality to improve the local market’s confidence in recycled products, and developing or expanding existing markets for them.

 

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