Fed Govt delays glass waste export ban

COAG’s export ban on unprocessed glass has been delayed due to restrictions related to COVID-19, and will now commence 1 January 2021.

According to Environment Minister Sussan Ley, COVID-19 restrictions made it “impossible” for parliament to pass legislation in time for the original 1 July 2020 deadline.

“We will introduce new legislation later this year to implement the waste export ban, giving interested stakeholders an opportunity to review the draft legislation,” she said.

The schedule for implementing the export ban on waste plastic, paper and tyres remains unchanged.

As part of the national response to the COAG export ban, the Federal Government is asking industry and state and territory governments to work together to bring forward project proposals that deliver a national solution for mixed-paper recycling in Australia.

“Australia has a once in a generation opportunity to improve waste management and recycling through national leadership and by funding infrastructure investments and encouraging new technologies,” Ms Ley said.

Assistant Waste Reduction and Environmental Management Minister Trevor Evans said Australia exports approximately 375,000 tonnes of mixed wastepaper and cardboard each year, but the ban will see a shift to recycling these materials domestically by 2024.

“The Federal Government is particularly interested in paper-recycling facility proposals that adopt new innovations for recovered paper and generate new jobs in rural and regional Australia,” he said.

Applications to the Federal Government are due 31 July, with a decision on successful projects expected at the end of August.

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NSW seeks industry partner for paper and cardboard processing

The NSW Government is seeking an industry partner to co-develop a funding proposal for new paper/cardboard processing capacity in preparation for the 1 July 2024 COAG export ban on mixed waste paper and cardboard.

Following COAG’s March 2020 agreement to phase out exports of certain waste materials, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the Federal Government would co-invest in recycling infrastructure with state and territory governments and industry.

The Federal Government has now invited state and territory governments to submit funding proposals for new paper and cardboard processing.

“These proposals need to be for economically viable projects that best address national pressures, utilise best-practice methodology, know-how and technology, achieve value for money and maximise industry financial contributions,” a NSW Government statement reads.

The Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR) has welcomed the announcement, and is optimistic about further funding announcements in due course.

“If governments’ ongoing efforts in developing the right policy and funding settings for the impending COAG waste exports bans are anything to go by, then there is much Australia can look forward to in its goal to build domestic recycling capacity and future-proof our essential waste and resource recovery sector,” a WMRR statement reads.

With COVID-19 impeding growth and progress for numerous industries, WMRR CEO Gayle Sloan said the association is encouraged by the scale of work being undertaken to ensure Australia has the necessary strategic policies to build a sustainable environment and lay out a roadmap for recovery.

“One of the things we’ve been saying to all governments is that planning for the bans must continue so that Australia can emerge out of COVID-19 with a viable and resilient sector that drives domestic processing of materials and importantly, provides local revenue and jobs – not just during the infrastructure development phase, but also across operations throughout the lifespan of facilities and services,” Ms Sloan said.

“The release of this EOI is proof that the government agrees that there are opportunities in our sector – both in the domestic recovery of materials and the recovery of economies.”

According to Ms Sloan, the COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the need for Australia to build a resilient domestic economy.

“The WARR industry stands ready to continue working with governments to capitalise on these opportunities and create remanufacturing jobs and investment throughout Australia,” she said.

“This is a sector where the well will not run dry because where there are people, there are and will be waste (resources) ready to be remanufactured back into the products they once were.”

Applications to the Federal Government are due 31 July, with a decision on successful projects expected at the end of August.

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Loaning for expanded industries: Caterpillar

Deborah Friedlander of Caterpillar details the loans and leasing process of Caterpillar Financial Services ahead of the waste sector’s forecast expansion.

With Australia’s forthcoming waste export ban set to commence periodically over the next two years, onshore waste and resource recovery infrastructure will require significant capacity expansion.

As highlighted in the Federal Government’s export ban consultation paper, for instance, 4.4 million tonnes of waste was exported between 2018-19, 1.4 million tonnes of which will fall under export ban legislation.

While 1.4 million tonnes may seem like an overwhelming amount of material to suddenly have onshore, its total declared value, according to the Federal Environment Department, was $291 million, suggesting significant, presently untouched economic potential.

As such, large-scale investment will be essential to enhance collection, recovery and recycling capacity and to develop domestic reuse options, technologies, procurement pathways and markets.

Deborah Friedlander, Managing Director of Caterpillar Financial Australia, says forecast infrastructure growth also demands concurrent investment in new and expanded waste handling equipment.

With over 16 years’ experience working with construction machinery and equipment manufacturer Caterpillar, Deborah has watched as industries expanded and contracted alongside global and national shifts in policy and economic environments.

Understanding the cyclical and often unpredictable nature of shifting industries, Deborah says, is a core component of her work and the wider operations of Cat Financial.

Drawing on this experience, and her belief that sustainability represents “the way of the future”, Deborah suggests the waste industry is set for a period of ongoing expansion.

As new facilities develop, be they transfer stations, plastic processing plants or even sustainable landfills, Deborah says operators will require reliable access to equipment and financing.

She adds that through Cat Financial, anyone from smalltime council operators to thousand tonnage resource recovery facilities can access financing.

Cat Financial provides loans and leasing for all Cat equipment, from mini excavators to huge ultra-class mining trucks, she explains, for loan terms usually between three to five years.

Deborah adds that Cat Financial provides competitive fixed term interest rates, as low as two and a half per cent for smaller Cat machines.

“Whether clients need a low introductory rate to get their business started or physical damage insurance to help prepare for the unexpected, we can help,” she says.

“Clients can count on our team of industry experts to help them get the equipment they need and the financial support required to keep operations up and running.”

Given the waste industry is so varied, Deborah says it’s important operators acquire the right machine to support their processes. She highlights that Caterpillar and its dealerships have specialised waste industry experts able to create custom solutions, built to fit unique needs and challenges.

“When a client’s business is demolition, scrap recycling and waste, they put a variety of tools to tough use, every day. And we’re ready to help them get the finance and extended protection support they need,” she says.

“We’re not just selling machinery – we’re operating as solutions providers.”

Cat Financial, Deborah says, aims to provide a fast and effortless customer experience, with credit approvals usually processed within a few hours of receiving the application documentation. She adds that finance documents are short and can be signed online.

“We also don’t require onerous covenants from customers or charge unexpected fees. The funding is ready to go when the machine is, which helps our customers get into their new machines fast and get to work delivering their projects,” Deborah says.

Deborah adds that following the banking royal commission, many customers have felt nervous about approaching lenders for financing.

“No-one should feel nervous about approaching financing with us. We make it easy and have a set criterion that is incredibly straightforward,” she says.

According to Deborah, the Cat Financial customer service team is authorised to provide six months of payment relief with very little administration.

“Unlike a bank, we want Cat customers for life, so we work very hard to build loyalty and preserve it. If one of our customers needs leeway or financial assistance, we are ready and able to support them through that process,” she says.

“For instance, it’s very hard to look past the bushfires right now. We’ve contacted all our customers in affected areas and will be working closely with them over coming months.”

There will be a period of rebuilding ahead, Deborah says, with Cat Financial committed to assisting that process. She adds that Australia’s bushfire crisis has renewed the nation’s focus on sustainability, which is a core value of Cat Financial and the Caterpillar brand at large.

She says that in 2020, Cat Financial is really focused on financing for rebuild and repairs through competitive rates.

“Our customers often just pay for rebuild and repairs with cash flow from their business, but we want to make it easier to match the expense of rebuilding to the cash flow coming from the machines.

“Cat Financial is invested in the waste and resource recovery industry and want to support its economic health. It’s great to see interest growing in the sector.”

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