When a framework for product stewardship was introduced in Australia 11 years ago, the aim was for all tiers of government and industry to unite to turbocharge the circular economy and reduce products and materials ending up as landfill.
Stepping up to the mark, REMONDIS has made extraordinary contributions. From drink containers and bags to unwanted paint, REMONDIS has established itself as a go-to player, drawing on international expertise to devise strategies and deploy technologies that ensure cost efficient handling processes and the best environmental, economic and social outcomes.
Containers for Change
Look at, for example, Western Australia’s ‘Containers for Change’ Container Deposit Scheme (CDS), launched in 2020. About 1.5 billion beverage containers are purchased every year in WA and account for nearly half of all litter by volume. How to reverse that trend? Add an industry-funded 10-cent cash refund for each container, establish more than 200 collection points, and watch the containers pile in.
On the social side, the WA scheme is driven by a not-for-profit organisation – Western Australia Return Recycle Renew Limited (WARRRL) – enabling employment opportunities for hundreds of socially disadvantaged people.
With enormous logistical challenges, it’s no small or simple task. That’s why REMONDIS was engaged to handle roughly half of all items collected, namely non-glass containers. REMONDIS’ specialised weighing, compacting and transporting practices ensure about 9000 fewer truck hours per annum and save 255,000 litres of fuel and 1,000,000 kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions per annum.
On the social side, who couldn’t be touched by the results of REMONDIS’ employment targets for disadvantaged, disabled and Indigenous employees. Of particular note is three Indigenous drivers recruited into the scheme from the beginning – who are now uniquely skilled and settled into the groove of their work. The difference made to individual lives and their families can’t be understated.
“We’re at the heart of CDS activity in WA and proud to be contributing to so many terrific outcomes,” says Chris Gusenzow, REMONDIS Australia Western Australia Manager.
“It says something that we’ve recently been honoured with national recognition at the Waste Innovation and Recycling Awards, which has us champing at the bit to replicate what we’re doing in WA in other parts of Australia.”
Big Bag Recovery
REMONDIS also supports Australia’s ground-breaking Big Bag Recovery Product Stewardship Scheme.
With 40,000 garbage truck loads of large bags going to landfill across Australia each year, REMONDIS welcomed the challenge of being the National Collections Manager for Big Bag Recovery. The brief includes sorting, counting and baling polypropylene and low-density polyethylene bulk bags and sacks that carry everything from fertiliser, seeds and animal feeds to flour, sugar, salt and sand.
The bags are processed into re-usable resin pellets used to make new products.
A key has been supporting industries and regions across Australia where such bags are used, and the establishment of drop-off points at local council, community group and commercial locations.
Communication with industry and local government underpins reclaim rates, aided by a mobile REMONDIS-designed app that assists with recording bag movements. Any businesses that generate or use big bags can contact Big Bag Recovery to join the Australian Government Accredited scheme, which helps businesses meet their packaging Social and Regulatory goals.
“Given that some 60,000 tonnes of big bags are used in Australia each year, Big Bag Recovery had to go hard at devising smarter ways of reclaiming and recycling,” says John McNab, Project Manager at REMONDIS Australia’s Integrated and Managed Services (IMS) division. “Through industry communication, collaboration and common sense we’re making it easier for everyone in the supply chain to give these bags second lives.”
The Paintback Product Stewardship Scheme, which commenced in 2016, has resulted in about 36 million kilos of unwanted paint and packaging captured at more than 165 drop off points around Australia. REMONDIS has partnered in the scheme since 2020, contracted to handle collections, processing and decanting across Queensland, the Northern Territory and Victoria.
“As is the case across all our product stewardship offerings, new infrastructure, smart systems and technology have achieved better alignment with the outcomes Paintback is striving for, such as devising new ways to convert unused paint and packaging for use in a variety of industrial applications,” says Nathan Radley, REMONDIS IMS General Manager.
“Once again app technology comes to the fore, with our custom-built tracking app enabling us to keep tabs on paint collections in real time. Beyond being able to tell what’s coming from where, we get intel on which local councils are best contributing to the scheme and which areas have the biggest contamination problems, enabling targeted education to ensure that such problems are reduced.
“We’ve also built handling facilities from scratch, meaning we’ve got invaluable experience when we take on new work in new locations.
“For REMONDIS, product stewardship is about taking the lead in rolling out ideas, infrastructure and systems in conjunction with partners with niche expertise from industry, government and not for profit sectors. Tried and tested practices in one location can usually be replicated or modified to work quickly and effectively in other locations, regardless of the matter being recycled.”
For more information, visit: www.remondis-australia.com.au