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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Warrnambool begins kerbside glass collection trial

A kerbside glass collection trial has begun in Warrnambool with 3400 properties.

According to a council statment, the four-bin system means households will have their glass and recycling bins picked up from the first week of February, with rubbish and FOGO bins collected the following week.

“Glass collected will be crushed and re-used in road construction,” the statement reads.

Warrnambool Mayor Tony Herbert said the move to a four-bin kerbside system had the potential to reduce the Municipal Waste Charge for each property by roughly $10 annually.

“It’s expensive to separate these items and when glass breaks and embeds in paper or cardboard, it means that these materials – which are otherwise recyclable – can end up in landfill,” Mr Herbert said.

“As well as obviously being a poor environmental outcome, sending material to landfill is expensive because of the Victorian Government’s landfill levy.”

Mr Herbert said responses to a public survey in 2019 helped council reach its decision.

“The most popular survey response was the introduction of kerbside glass collection, alongside a larger rubbish bin that is collected fortnightly,” he said.

“This means that there are the same number of ‘bin lifts’ and truck movements but with an improved recycling outcome.”

The kerbside glass collection will be supplemented with bottle banks at Bunnings, the Dennington Shopping Centre and Norfolk Plaza. These will accept all household glass.

“The bottle banks allow anyone who isn’t currently part of the kerbside glass collection trial to begin separating their glass straight away,” Mr Herbert said.

“The new four-bin system and the bottle banks are a trial. We will use this effort to gather information about how people use the service and how it might be improved.”

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Macedon Ranges to roll out seperate kerbside glass collections

Macedon Ranges Shire Council in Victoria is rolling out seperate kerbside glass collections, following a successful 2019 trial.

According to a council statment, the decision comes after Macedon Ranges was one of 33 Victorian councils affected by the closure of recycling processor SKM Recycling.

“A new recycling processor has been identified, but only if glass is removed from the household recycling bins,” the statement reads.

In a 2019 statement, Acting Assets and Operations Director Anne-Louise Lindner said residents needed to work with council to find alternatives to landfill.

“We really hope the community will come on board and help us to remove glass from [general] recycling bins,” Ms Lindner said.

“Shards and small pieces of glass can become embedded in paper and cardboard in recycling bins, and contaminate the other recyclables.”

Macedon’s new 140 litre glass-only bins will be collected every four weeks and have purple lids.

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