single-use plastics

Plastic-free public events in ACT

In an Australian first, the ACT Government has declared public events as ‘plastic-free’ under the Plastic Reduction Act, passed earlier this year. It is also engaging with the community and industry on the phase-out of the second tranche of single-use plastic items from 1 July 2022.

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Support for ACT CDS at an all-time high

The release of the ACT’s 2019-20 Container Deposit Scheme Annual Statutory Report has shown support among Canberrans is at an all-time high with strong and growing participation.

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ACT revokes all charity bin licences to combat illegal dumping

The ACT Government has immediately revoked the licences of all charity bins operating on public land throughout Canberra, in a bid to tackle a rise in illegal dumping.

City Services Minister Chris Steel said the decision was made with the support of charity bin operators.

“This decision has been made due to the growing challenges faced by charity operators in managing illegal dumping around the diminishing number of clothing bins around the city,” he said.

“Despite a range of measures to address the problem, including CCTV and improved compliance, some Canberrans are still continuing to dump goods next to bins, leaving our city untidy. It’s unfair for the charities to have to clean up these dump sites, so they have been withdrawing these services.”

According to Mr Steel, COVID-19 has also impacted the availability of charity workforces to manage the bins.

“I am urging all Canberrans to please stop taking items to charity bins from now. We have already started the process of removing the remaining ones from locations around Canberra, and will continue to do so in the coming days and weeks,” he said.

Mr Steel said the ACT Government remains committed to continued collaboration with the charity sector to ensure opportunities for the reuse and recycling of unwanted items.

“Following the public health emergency, we will seek to meet with the charity sector and other interested organisations to work on the future of textile recycling in the ACT,” he said.

“This will involve identifying alternative collection points in the future, as well as looking to improve textile recycling beyond what is already available in the ACT.”

High quality items including clothing, books and homewares will still be accepted by charities with shop fronts currently accepting goods.

“I would also ask Canberrans to be mindful of the current COVID-19 challenges and to consider storing their items at home temporarily during this time and to avoid unnecessary travel. Poor quality and broken goods should go in the rubbish bin,” Mr Steel said.

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ACT MRF stores paper and cardboard amid bushfire crisis

Paper and cardboard processed through the ACT materials recovery facility (MRF) will be temporarily stored to manage the impacts of the bushfire crisis in NSW.

According to Recycling and Waste Reduction Minister Chris Steel, the MRF at Hume processes approximately 470 tonnes of paper and cardboard each week from kerbside recycling bins, local council areas and commercial entities.

Mr Steel said the material is then packaged and sent to a Visy pulp and paper mill in Tumut, for recycling into paper and cardboard products.

“The operator of the MRF, Re.Group, has advised the ACT Government that although the Visy mill at Tumut has not been directly impacted by the fires, a number of their plantations and stored wood chips were burnt around the Eden area,” Mr Steel said.

“Visy’s products are manufactured using a combination of recycled content and wood chips, and the impact of the fire on the plantations means that Visy temporarily needs to slow production of recycled paper and cardboard.”

As Visy has been unable to accept all of the ACT’s paper recycling at this time, Mr Steel said the Hume MRF has reached storage capacity.

“While about half the volume of paper and cardboard will continue to be sent to Visy each week, the ACT Government has taken the decision to temporarily store the remaining material at Mugga Lane and West Belconnen resource management facilities over the coming weeks,” Mr Steel said.

“The additional storage locations have been determined in consultation with ACT Fire and Rescue to minimise fire safety risks, and ACT Fire and Rescue has also been involved in assessing the stockpiles at the Hume MRF.”

Mr Steel said temporarily storing the baled paper will help prevent land filling in the short term, while the state government waits for the recycling industry to recover from the fires and process the material.

“Landfilling is the last resort, and will only be considered if the recycling industry is unable to recover and increase production levels, and stored material can no longer be safely managed,” Mr Steel said.

“The ACT Government will continue to work closely with Re.Group to review arrangements and explore all options to avoid landfilling paper and cardboard. Re.Group are actively looking for other markets to sell the recycled paper and cardboard to and have been advised by Visy that they are working to resume full operations as soon as possible.”

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ACT opens bulky waste collection tender

The ACT Government is seeking applications for a service provider to implement its bulky waste collection service, expected to roll out mid-2020.

City Services Minister Chris Steel said local industry participation will be a key evaluation criteria in the selection process.

“The government is cracking down on illegal dumping, but at the same time we will also provide an accessible service for households to drop off unwanted bulky items to encourage good behaviour,” Mr Steel said.

“Greater weighting will be given to tenderers that can demonstrate a commitment of engagement and involvement of local businesses.”

The rollout of bulky waste will see each household receive a single collection per year of up to two cubic metres for items including damaged furniture and worn-out household appliances.

According to Mr Steel, residents will be able to book collections online, with exact service details to be determined in consultation with the service operator.

“We’ve rolled out green bins across the city and we’re rolling out bulky waste collection to provide better city services in Canberra,” he said.

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