More household food and garden waste will be kept out of landfill, thanks to $12 million in funding for councils across New South Wales.
Thirty councils across Melbourne have secured reliable disposal of household waste to landfill for the next four years.
Residents in the City of Mount Gambier in South Australia will have the option to pick up kerbside bulky waste via a ‘call and collect’ system.
The City of Mount Gambier will trial a kerbside bulky waste collection over a six month period from 1 July 2020.
Each residential property will be eligible for one pick up of up to two cubic metres of bulky waste via a ‘call and collect’ system, part of the council’s initiative towards supporting residents during COVID-19.
The service is proposed to have cost implications of up to $200,000 over the trial period with resources allocated via the ‘Our City, Our Response’ COVID-19 strategy, which will seek to employ locals who are experiencing unemployment as a result of the pandemic.
Mayor Lynette Martin OAM said hard waste has been an issue for some time in the city.
“Council often receive feedback requesting a service of this type, so this presents an ideal time to test the service provision in a measured way,” she said.
“It is hoped that the trial will test if hard waste collection will be a suitable option long term to ensure that items are separated correctly to maximise recycling and reuse, and minimise waste to landfill.”
Conditions will apply to the service in terms of the types of waste that will be accepted with an aim to reduce waste to landfill and encourage responsible disposal of household items.
Aaron Izzard, City of Mount Gambier Environmental Sustainability Officer, said since the establishment of the ReUse Market, residents have had the option to dispose of good quality items for free at the Waste Transfer Station, however there are many residents who are unable to transport these goods.
Izzard said the overall goal is to ease the burden of cost and transport for disposing items, whilst also reducing illegal dumping.
“Examples of items that could be accepted include televisions, furniture, white goods and material offcuts such as timber, iron etc, while those that would be considered unacceptable include asbestos and other hazardous waste, car batteries, shoes and clothing, gas bottles and tyres and car parts to name a few,” he said.
Elected Members endorsed the ‘by-appointment’ waste option at Council May meeting on Tuesday May 19.
Further information about how residents can access the service will be released by Council in the coming weeks.
The Victorian Government will tackle ongoing waste management issues with $11.3 million in immediate financial relief to councils and infrastructure investment.
Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said SKM Recycling were significantly undercutting the prices of other recycling providers, and since they stopped accepting waste, many councils are paying double what they were for recycling services.
“To alleviate this financial pressure, the state government will deliver a $6.6 million package to the 33 affected councils over the next four months, providing a rebate that will cover the additional costs they are incurring to deal with their recyclable waste,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.
“The state government also stands ready to work with the receiver of SKM Corporate, and any prospective buyer to remove the stockpiles at SKM-managed sites and offsite storage of material.”
Ms D’Ambrosio said it had become clear that the quality of Australia’s recyclable material is compromised due to its high rate of contamination.
“To that end, the state government will also work with councils and industry stakeholders on a major overhaul of kerbside collection to improve the quality of recyclables being collected by councils,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.
Council’s hoping to receive assistance will have to provide evidence that alternatives to landfill are being sought, agree to participate in collaborative procurement and provide information on current contractural rates and conditions.
The government has also announced new grants worth $4.7 million, to support projects that will improve the quality of recycled materials through better sorting and processing.
“At the most recent Council of Australian Governments meeting, the Prime Minister acknowledged that recyclable waste is a national issue, as well as an opportunity to rebuild a domestic recycling sector that can provide products to local markets,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.
“To achieve this, targets will also be considered to drive investment in end uses, such as glass for road base and railway sleepers made from plastics.”
A total of $13.3 million in grants is now available to councils, waste companies and not-for-profit organisations to divert food and garden waste from landfill.
NSW EPA Head of Organics Amanda Kane said the Organics Infrastructure grants fall under the EPA’s $802 million Waste Less Recycle More initiative, which aims to establish wider organics recovery infrastructure.
“The grants support the purchase of a broad range of infrastructure and equipment to recycle food and garden waste that would otherwise be sent to landfill,” Ms Kane said.
“Through the grant program, $43 million has already been provided to fund 89 projects that have made a positive impact on local communities.”
Environmental Trust Director Grants Tina Bidese said funding would be delivered through a partnership between the EPA and the NSW Environmental Trust.
“Working together, the Environmental Trust and EPA are offering a major opportunity for matched investment in infrastructure to recover more food and garden waste,” Ms Bidese said.
“In doing so, we’re reducing the environmental impacts of organics waste in landfill and making the most of a valuable resource that can be recycled into compost, where it benefits soils and helps crops grow.”
Applications for five grant streams are available:
— Organics Processing Infrastructure: up to $3 million for new organics facilities or facility upgrades to process more food and garden waste.
— Onsite Business Recycling: up to $500,000 for infrastructure and equipment for on-site processing or pre-processing of source separated food and garden waste.
— Food Donation Infrastructure: up to $500,000 to not-for-profit organisations for equipment to collect, store and redistribute quality surplus food.
— Product Quality: up to $500,000 for equipment to improve recycled organics product quality.
— Transfer Stations: up to $500,000 for infrastructure to establish new or upgrade existing transfer stations to receive food and garden waste
The EPA is hosting two webinars 17 July 2019 to assist potential applicants.
Applications close 29 August 2019.
The Victorian Officer for the Protection of the Local Environment (OPLE) program has received a further $3.4 million in state government funding.
The expanded funding will enable the recruitment of 4-6 extra OPLEs for 4-10 partner councils.
The program gives councils on-the-spot access to EPA capabilities and aims to build upon the EPA’s relationships with local governments to enable faster identification and resolution of smaller-scale waste issues.
EPA has opened an expression of interest period and is encouraging all local councils to apply.
OPLEs are authorised officers who have powers under the Environment Protection Act to issue pollution abatement and clean up notices.
EPA CEO Dr Cathy Wilkinson said in their first 14 months, OPLEs completed 857 inspections of 605 sites and served 81 notices.
“Local community issues, such as water pollution and management, noise and illegal dumping and odour were common areas the officers dealt with,” Dr Wilkinson said.
“The new OPLEs and council areas will also help EPA combat illegal industrial and chemical waste stockpiling.”
Dr Wilkinson said current participating councils had reported improved response times to pollution reports and increased collaboration, information sharing and expertise since the OPLEs began work in February 2018.
“OPLEs respond to issues relating to noise, dust and odour and waste management issues arising from small to medium size businesses,” Dr Wilkinson said.
“OPLEs also provide local industry, business and community members with the knowledge and skills they need to help prevent, identify and resolve environmental issues.”
All Victorian councils are eligible to apply and must submit applications by 10 July.
The NSW EPA has partnered with police, the ACT Government and local councils to target rogue operators supplying waste soil from construction sites advertised as clean fill to property owners.
Compliance and road side checks were part of the crackdown to ensure fill going to a site had the appropriate council approval to accept it.
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By targeting rogue operators during transport, the NSW EPA aims to stop contaminated and non-compliant materials being illegally dumped or passed off as clean fill to innocent land owners.
Accepting large amounts of fill can create potential dust issues and pollute waterways.
NSW EPA Senior Officer Janine Goodwin said in some of the worst cases, operators are providing unsuspecting residents with soil cheaply or for free that is contaminated with construction and demolition waste, heavy metals or even asbestos.
“Councils require landholders to apply for development approval to bring larger volumes of fill onto private property. If a property is used to accept this material without proper council approval, both the landholder, the owner of the waste and the transport contractor may be fined and the landholder may discover they have to pay to have the material removed,” Ms Goodwin said.
“We have been checking things like documentation to make sure the waste is correctly classified and going to a site that has consent to accept it.”
ACT EPA’s Narelle Sargent said waste being transported between the ACT and NSW needs approval.
“Transporters and builders are on notice that the illegal transport and disposal of waste will not be tolerated in the ACT region, and large penalties apply,” Ms Sargent said.
The NSW EPA has opened applications to grants worth up to $250,000 to establish five ‘Love Food Communities’ across the state.
The funding aims to assist councils tackle the issue of food waste across an entire community, including homes, businesses, schools, supermarkets, clubs, pubs and community groups.
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All projects involved will include delivery of the EPA’s Food Smart and Your Business is Food programs for households and businesses.
The Food Smart program aims to educate NSW households about reducing food waste, with participants receiving a toolkit with bag clips and food huggers to reduce food waste. Your Business is Food provides businesses with information, advice and resources to reduce the amount of food that is disposed of.
Applications to the grants are open to local government in two stages. Stage one is the submission of an Expression of Interest by 19 November 2018, which will be assessed by an independent panel.
Successful applicants will be invited to the second stage to develop a detailed project plan. Funding of up to $20,000 is available for the project planning stage.
Final applications must be submitted by 18 March 2019.
For more information and to access the application form, click here.
Queensland’s Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch officially opened the Future Waste Resources Convention in Ipswich, speaking to waste and recycling industry representatives from across the state.
The minister told businesses and local councils that the state government’s priority is to work with the community and industry to reduce landfill and encourage resource recovery.
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“I’m delighted to see that industry leaders are looking to the future, and preparing to make the most of the opportunities ahead,” Ms Enoch said.
“We are in a fortunate position to have internationally competitive businesses right here in Queensland, using cutting-edge technologies and processes for turning waste into valuable and profitable, products and services.
“We want to build on that competitive advantage,” she said.
The convention, located at Ipswich’s Workshops Rail Museum, focuses on realistic solutions to current challenges.
“Changing how we manage waste in Queensland will create jobs and drive significant economic growth as we make better use of resources and develop new industries,” Ms Enoch said.
Waste Recycling Industry Association of Queensland CEO Rick Ralph said the convention has brought together more than 250 attendees from across the industry, and state and local government.
“This is the largest convention of its kind in Queensland history, focussing on future waste and recycling solutions for the state,” Mr Ralph said.
“It is wonderful the convention is being held at one the oldest manufacturing centres to show the possibilities for the future.”
Environmental services provider Veolia has released several case study videos to showcase examples of environmental and economic sustainability.
The videos aim to challenge perceptions around sustainability and feature some of the company’s significant projects and industry partnerships.
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The case studies include Veolia’s projects in metropolitan, regional, rural and remote communities across Australia and New Zealand.
Clients and projects shown in the videos include the University of the Sunshine Coast, NSW Health Illawarra-Shoalhaven Local Health District (ISLHD), Seqwater, Hunter Water and Auckland Council.
Veolia Executive General Manager – Refractories and Energy Grant Winn said the University of the Sunshine Coast and the NSW Health ISLHD projects demonstrated Veolia’s capability to consider a client’s long-term needs and deliver strategies that targeted operational efficiency and continuous improvement.
“Our role as a partner is to identify, implement and monitor a client’s energy performance to deliver tangible, long-term benefits, while also taking into consideration macro-environmental concerns that could impact their operations,” Mr Winn said.
Veolia Group General Manager, New Zealand Alex Lagny said Veolia’s partnership with Auckland Council is developing waste management in a region that had only recently transitioned from bags to bins.
“We are working closely with the council to drive improvements and a better understanding of practices through data and insights. It’s an exciting space for us, as Veolia looks to expand its waste management capability in the country.”
To watch the videos, click here.