National Waste and Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC) State Affiliates provide a detailed overview of industry and policy changes across the country.
NWRIC is the national industry body for commercial waste and recycling operators Australia wide.
It brings together national businesses and affiliated state associations to develop and promote policies and actions to advance waste management and resource recovery in Australia – ensuring a fair, safe and sustainable industry that serves all Australians.
NWRIC state affiliates include the Waste Recycling Industry Queensland (WRIQ), the Waste Contractors and Recyclers Association of NSW & ACT (WCRA), the Victorian Waste Management Association (VWMA), the Waste Recycling Industry of South Australia (WRISA), the Waste Recycling Industry of Western Australia (WRIWA) and the Waste Recycling Industry Northern Territory (WRINT).
WCRA – ACT & New South Wales
WCRA Annual Industry Update & Dinner – Industrial and Liquid Waste Challenges
On 10 June 2021, at Kirribilli WCRA held its annual Industry Update & Dinner. With over 150 guests attending across both events, there was a range of fabulous special guests and speakers.
Glenn Horne, Halgan Liquid Waste and Paul Vujic, from Cleanaway spoke about how the Industrial & Liquid Waste sector has evolved and the current issues and challenges facing the sector.
The past 30 years have seen dramatic changes in Solid Waste operations resulting in improved recycling and reuse of material. Unfortunately within the same period there have not been many significant improvements within the liquid industry.
Some smaller players have entered the industry with similar treatment systems, and while effective, nothing new has developed.
In the 1980’s the NSW State Government built a “World’s Best Practice” treatment facility at Homebush. This facility was able to accept and treat all types of liquid waste and was the major treatment facility, catering for liquid wastes generated across Australia. The Homebush facility remains the major treatment site, and is yet to be challenged for capability, although it is reaching its use by date.
To a waste generator, liquid waste is seen as a secondary waste stream when accompanying the general waste activity. When you compare the liquid waste volumes to general waste annually, it is easy to see why greater solid waste volumes attract resources and capital.
International trends – Environmental regulations aided by larger volumes overseas have seen changes to liquid waste processing plants that have improved the ability to extract and reuse both hydrocarbon and organic materials from liquid waste streams (eg waste to energy).
New technology to achieve better liquid recovery does require higher capital cost. The capital cost compared to the available volumes are possibly the main deterrent to progress ……..but as social expectations and environmental regulations tighten, there will need to be change.
If we are to achieve improved environmental and commercial sustainability, the liquid waste sector will require an investment in improved technology.
The liquid waste industry requires more certainty around the regulatory framework providing better foundations for the sector. A good example is the Used Lube Oil (ULO) and PSO, where there have been excellent environmental and commercial outcomes. On the other hand, an example of where the regulatory framework does not support commercial investment is e waste.
The industry needs to focus on improving risk management across all environmental, health & safety areas.
The smaller market volumes combined with large distances to processing sites are a challenge for waste transporters and specialised liquid treatment plants.
The industry is held back by red tape and time where it can take upwards of 5 to obtain the approvals and build new plants.
In a changing market, this poses challenges across the liquid waste sector.
WRIWA – Western Australia
WRIWA meets with new Environment Minister Hon Amber-Jade Sanderson
The return to power of the McGowan Labor government in WA has ensured the continuation of the Waste Avoidance & Resource Recovery Strategy Action Plan 2030 which is one of the most ambitious plans in Australia to reduce waste to landfill.
WRIWA President Mike Harper met with the new Minister for the Environment, the Hon Amber-Jade Sanderson MLA on 14 June 2021 (Ms Sanderson also holds the portfolios of Climate Action and Commerce).
Mike Harper commented: “I was very pleased with the Minister’s commitment to the Waste Strategy 2030 which over the last four years has started to produce major improvements in WA’s recycling rates. It was a very productive meeting, and I came away confident that we are well on track to achieving the first objective of the Strategy: which is increasing material recovery to 70% by 2025.
“I raised the two pressing issues of levy avoidance and the need for consistent compliance action. Fortunately, the Minister was very willing to engage on these issues and indicated that she wants speedy resolutions. We have proposed a fast-track solution for levy avoidance and the Minister has committed to investigating this possibility. Levy avoidance is costing the State at least $2 million per week. At the meeting I reaffirmed WRIWA’s commitment to working collaboratively with the government to resolve this issue.
“I have invited Minister Sanderson to view the Roads to Reuse Crushed Recycled Concrete plant, the Commingled C&D Recycling Plant and the Sims Metal Recycling Plant based in Kwinana. We have also invited her to meet our members from across the industry and to hear first-hand our issues with both compliance and levy avoidance and continue the discussion on possible solutions.
Construction and Demolition (C&D) Waste Roundtable; Roads to Reuse (RTR)
At a forum jointly chaired by Acting Director General Transport WA, Peter Woronzow, and the Chair of the WA Waste Authority, Reg Howard-Smith, industry, and State government representatives met on 12 May 2021 to discuss the outcomes of the Roads to Reuse Pilot Project.
The Pilot Project report strongly endorsed the use of crushed recycled concrete in State infrastructure projects. As a result, Main Roads WA (MRWA) has committed to using 200,000 tonnes of qualifying product in 2021, then doubling this quantity in 2022.
To date, five contractors across WA have completed the Material Acceptance and Sampling Plan (MASP) process which qualifies them to supply to MRWA. The MASP is a rigorous quality assurance process designed to ensure the recycled product meets stringent environmental and health criteria. Developed over a two-year period by MRWA, the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) and WA Health, these criteria allowed recycled product to be trialled in late 2019.
Officers from WA Health commended the strong environmental and health measures which form part of the product specification, commenting that these measures are designed to give the WA public strong protection. WA Health supports the application of these standards to all C&D processing.
Peter Woronzow also commended the project commenting that: “It was a once in a generation opportunity for MRWA to engage in recycling, that the adoption of RTR.
WRINT – Northern Territory
WRINT and councils work to address legacy waste
Initiated and led by local members, WRINT in collaboration with the Alice Springs Town Council, Central Desert Regional Council, MacDonnell Regional Council, LGANT, the NT EPA, and Charles Darwin University have received a grant from the Department of Water, Agriculture and Environment (DAWE) to undertake a project that will provide an insight to the potential employment and other opportunities that may arise from resolving the challenges of managing legacy waste in remote and regional areas of Australia and existing waste and recycling practices across the region.
The Councils have responsibility for a combined area of more than 550,057 square kms, incorporating 68 separate formal waste facilities, as well as 25 Community and 43 individual Homeland areas. In terms of its regional and remote focus the project scope will undertake a review of an area stretching from the Western Australia border with the NT across to the Queensland / NT Border through Central Australia, including Alice Springs with its community of 28,000.
The outcomes of this work will provide core information and assessment that will inform possible opportunities for recovery and recycling of the identified legacy waste. The project is part of the response to the National Waste Policy Action Plan action 3.17: Increase access to resource recovery and waste management infrastructure for regional, remote, and indigenous communities in every state and territory to the federal Department of Water, Agriculture and Environment.
WRIQ – Queensland
National survey on benefits and effectiveness of waste and recycling grants
The Waste Recycling Industry Association of Queensland (WRIQ) in partnership with NWRIC and state affiliates have begun a National Review of Grants funded by waste and landfill levies.
This project continues work initiated by the National Waste Recycling Industry Council’s White Paper, Review of Waste Levies in Australia, which identified that only about 25% of levies are returned to the sector (including funding of broader environmental initiatives).
It includes both a review of state government budget papers and announcements on levies collected and grant expenditure as well as a survey of stakeholders in the waste and recycling sector, their experiences with government grants, the timeliness of grants, if they are fit for purpose and what could be done to improve the process.
From this research we intend to provide a suite of recommendations to State and Federal Governments about how grants have helped our sector, how they could be improved and what other mechanisms could support the sector in increasing resource recovery and reducing waste to landfill.
WRIQ (on behalf of NWRIC and state affiliates) invites anyone from across Australia who has expressed interest in state government grant programs for waste and recycling (and related areas) to email firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest and receive your copy of the survey link and fact sheet about this project.
You do not need to be a member of WRIQ or our state affiliates to participate in this study.
For more information about the survey contact Mark Smith Mark.Smith@wriq.com.au