South Australia’s recycling industry will receive a $30 million boost with the Federal and State Governments signing up to a National Partnership on recycling infrastructure.
South Australians have recycled, reused and recovered their way to the best diversion rates on record, with 83.8 per cent of all waste diverted from landfill in 2018-19.
South Australia has become the first state in the country to ban single-use plastics, with legislation passed in parliament 9 September.
Nine South Australian councils have bought more than 17,000 tonnes of recycled materials during the first six months of a circular procurement pilot project.
The South Australian Government has launched a new Which Bin campaign to encourage South Australians to improve their household waste management.
According to Environment Minister David Speirs, the new statewide Which Bin campaign builds on the award-winning 2019 education program, which follows Vin and his family in their quest to recycle more effectively.
The South Australian Government has approved $1.7 million in funding for projects designed to reduce household waste sent to landfill.
Environment Minister David Speirs said the funding, delivered through Green Industries SA, will assist councils upgrade and modernise waste collection and recycling services and increase kerbside diversion rates through innovation and improved efficiencies.
“Twenty-two regional councils will also benefit from transport subsidies, which will support councils’ continued recycling efforts by offsetting some of the extra costs associated with processing and transporting collected recyclables,” Mr Speirs said.
Councils awarded under the Regional Transport Subsidies Program include the City of Mount Gambier, Berri Barmera Council, City of Port Lincoln and the Fleurieu Regional Waste Authority, which represents Alexandrina, Victor Harbor, Yankalilla and Kangaroo Island councils.
According to Mr Speirs, funding is allocated under three programs – one to reduce food waste sent to landfill, another to help councils modernise their collection systems and the other for regional council transport subsidies.
“Improved waste management is not only good for the environment, but it contributes to South Australia’s economic growth by creating jobs and developing new business opportunities to recycle and reuse our resources right here in South Australia,” he said.
The largest area for improvement in council kerbside systems is food waste, Mr Speirs said, which makes up approximately 40 per cent of the weight of household residual waste bins sent to landfill.
“By supporting councils to improve their collection of food waste we can lower waste management costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create a valuable resource like compost,” he said.
“I congratulate the seven councils awarded funding under the Kerbside Performance Plus (Food Organics) Incentives Program for their commitment towards implementing systems which assist with the diversion of food waste from landfill.”
Under the program, councils receive a subsidy for the cost of bench-top containers, compostable bags and production of householder education material.
Awarded councils include the City of Port Adelaide Enfield, which received $106,765 to reinvigorate an area-wide system for 20,900 households, and the City of Tea Tree Gully, which received $73,588 to improve its opt-in service for 8000 households.
Twelve local government organisations have also received funding to help modernise their collection services to increase landfill diversion, decrease contamination levels and improve data collection.
“Congratulations to the 12 local government organisations who are willing to push the envelope with investment in alternative delivery models and technologies such as smart bins to improve operational efficiencies,” Mr Speirs said.
Local government organisations awarded under the Council Modernisation Program include East Waste, which received $90,000 for Fight Food waste CRC audits and research, and Holdfast Bay, which received $97,900 for a weekly food and green organics collection pilot.
Commingled recyclables stored by SKM Recycling in South Australia have become too degraded to be recycled with currently available technology, according to an independent waste expert.
South Australian Environment Minister David Speirs said the material will be moved to a landfill cell at Inkerman and recovered if appropriate technology and infrastructure becomes available.
“SKM was made insolvent in July 2019, leaving more than 10,000 tonnes of commingled and PET materials at Wingfield and Lonsdale,” Mr Speirs said.
“All avenues to recycle the materials were explored but unfortunately there were no other viable options in the immediate future.”
Mr Speirs said leaving the material stored at the Wingfield and Lonsdale sites is unacceptable, as it will continue to deteriorate.
“Inkerman landfill has the capacity to receive and store the material in a separate part of the existing landfill cell until such time the infrastructure is available in South Australia to process the materials,” he said.
According to Mr Speirs, re-location requires an exemption under the Environment Protection (Waste to Resources) Policy 2010.
“South Australia is a nation leader when it comes to recycling and resource recovery, and I hope to see future innovation in this sector that will allow these materials to reprocessed,” he said.
South Australia is using 100 per cent recyclable materials to seal parts of its $354 million Regency to Pym Street project.
Infrastructure Minister Stephan Knoll said over 110,000 plastic bags, 324 kilograms of recycled canola oil, 2500 printer cartridges and 207 tonnes of recycled asphalt were used to seal the project’s construction office car park.
“The project will also be supporting a trial of the addition of plastic to the asphalt mix on a section of road pavement, and will be exploring further opportunities to use recyclable materials on other aspects of the works,” he said.
According to Mr Knoll, the project saved 9.4 tonnes of carbon dioxide by using recycled materials, which is equal to taking nine cars off the road.
Environment Minister David Speirs said South Australia would continue to lead the nation in sustainable waste management.
“South Australia has been a nation leader in waste management, pioneering container deposit legislation, banning plastic bags and being the first mover as we look to remove single use plastics,” he said.
“The state government is leading by example, and is exploring innovative ways in which we can reduce our carbon footprint and support sustainable waste management initiatives.”
A taskforce, with representation from 15 different organisations, has meet to help inform the next steps towards banning single-use plastics in South Australia.
The state government asked the taskforce to consider what impacts legislation might have on businesses and the community, and provide advice on what a phase out of single-use plastic straws, cups, drink stirrers and food service items might look like.
Environment Minister David Speirs said the taskforce is made up of a range of interested stakeholders, including environmental groups, business representatives, the hospitality industry and disability advocates.
“The group will discuss solutions and alternatives as part of any move to phase out single-use plastics, to ensure South Australians can transition smoothly,” Mr Speirs said.
“The taskforce will also seek presentations and meetings with those with a stake in any future changes to legislation, and will assist communication with the community and business.”
According to Mr Speirs, South Australia leads the nation in issues of environmental responsibility.
“The issue of our plastic use and plastic pollution is one of the most pressing topics of our time, and we won’t be left standing on the sidelines watching the impact on our environment go unchecked,” Mr Speirs said.
“We know that our interstate colleagues are eagerly awaiting the outcomes from our taskforce and from our plastic free precinct trials. We want South Australia to again lead the way nationally and provide a blueprint for how to reduce single-use plastics.”
Legislation banning single-use plastics in South Australia is expected to be introduced into parliament in the first half of 2020.
Members of the single use plastics task force include:
Australian Food and Grocery Council
Australian Hotels Association (SA)
Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation
Conservation Council SA
Environment Protection Authority
Green Industries SA
KESAB environmental solutions
Local Government Association of SA
National Retail Association
JFA Purple Orange
Disability Elders of All Ages
Restaurant and Catering Industry Association
SA Independent Retailers
Waste Management Resource Recovery Association