Consistent application

Consistent application

Marcus Geisler, WA Waste Authority Chairman, provides an update on reforms contained in the new Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030.

After revamping its waste strategy in draft mode to 2030 at the end of 2018, the WA Government at the beginning of this year released its updated Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030.

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.

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.

Other headline strategies are to review the scope and application of the waste levy, with a future schedule that contains a five-year horizon. Statewide communications will need to support waste education. Data collection and reporting systems will also be updated.

With shared responsibilities across government, the business sector and community, the new strategy highlights the challenges that lie ahead.

The action plan shows that WA generated 6.2 million tonnes of waste in 2014-15, a reduction of five per cent on the previous year. 

Waste to landfill is down 20 per cent at 3.61 million tonnes, though the strategy aims to ensure material recovery increases by 75 per cent by 2030. 

Marcus Geisler, WA Waste Authority Chairman, tells Waste Management Review a new target has been included for 2020, which is that from this date, energy is recovered only from residual waste.

He says that a schedule of future waste levy rates will also be established as part of the strategy for the scope and application of the levy’s review, adding that it must meet the objectives of the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030.

Local governments will also be required to implement their waste plans to align with the strategy, with better practice guidelines to be developed by the Waste Authority.

He says that waste plans are not considered a one-size-fits-all approach and the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) is developing guidance and templates to allow for consistency and flexibility. 

“Waste plans will summarise a local government’s current services, performance, policy and contractual commitments and provide an opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of existing waste programs and initiatives. They will also provide an evidence base to inform decision-making.”

Marcus says that feedback from materials recovery facilities and councils has been supportive and positive, with local governments recognising the benefits of consistency, but funding is a perceived issue. 

He says that eight metropolitan local governments have committed to, or are already delivering, a three-bin FOGO kerbside service, with some 40 per cent of households in the Perth metro. Additionally, four metropolitan local governments and four regional local governments committed to, or are already delivering, a FOGO service. 

“By ‘committed’ we mean that the local government will be implementing the system in the next 12 months,” he says.

He sees the most potential in organic waste to increase recovery, with a recovery rate of up to 65 per cent possible, as demonstrated by the cities of Bunbury and Melville that have already adopted FOGO. 

“I can reveal that the cities of Fremantle and Melville and towns of Bassendean and East Fremantle will be implementing FOGO systems in 2019.” 

In terms of mandatory data reporting, the DWER is currently working on amendments to the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Regulations 2008. 

This will require annual reporting to the Waste Authority and record-keeping of waste and recycling data by local governments, waste recyclers and licensees of major regional landfills. 

Consultation was undertaken on the proposed amendments in 2016 and the regulations are expected to be gazetted in 2019. 

The DWER intends to consult on the draft methods that will underpin reporting prior to enforcement of mandatory reporting. 

And as far as the Roads to Reuse program goes, Marcus says it remains in pilot phase. 

“It is during the pilot that Main Roads Western Australia intends to use 25,000 tonnes of construction and demolition (C&D) products in road construction.”

He says that the 25,000 tonnes of C&D material is a relatively small quantity when compared to total C&D waste generated in Western Australia. 

“It is intended for the pilot to establish a regime for the widespread use of recycled C&D products that would see significantly larger quantities of recycled C&D material used. The achievement of this will also be supported by a testing and auditing regime to provide confidence about the material.”

The objective of the pilot program is to test the extent to which producers can supply C&D products, assess the effectiveness of the independent audit process to verify producers processes and products and test purchasers’ confidence.

“Subject to ongoing DWER independent audit testing and following a successful pilot, Main Roads Western Australia is planning to use over 100,000 tonnes of crushed recycled concrete on selected projects in 2019, and over 200,000 tonnes in 2020, with access to Roads to Reuse program funding as appropriate,” Marcus says.

“Many look to Main Roads as a leader. If they use recycled material, others will be more confident in using it too, including local government, in potentially high volumes.” 

Marcus says that the auditing arrangements and product specifications that support the Roads to Reuse pilot and program is also anticipated to improve the quality of C&D waste that is generated and sent for recycling. 

“The Waste Authority hopes that this will create an enabling environment for generators of recycled C&D products to participate more fully and more responsibly in making these available to the market.”

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