The decision to push back COAG’s export ban on unprocessed glass does not alleviate the urgent need for recycling reform in NSW, according to Local Government NSW (LGNSW).
Over the past 12 months Hornsby Shire Council has collected 578 kilograms of mobile phones through its recycling centre and MobileMuster drop-off point.
The announcement was made at the Australian Local Government Association’s National General Assembly in Canberra.
MobileMuster Manager Spyro Kalos said the product stewardship scheme partners with nearly 400 councils around Australia and reaches 18 million residents.
“We are proud to partner with councils like Hornsby Shire Council, who represent a community driven to create a vibrant sustainable environment for themselves and future generations to live and work,” Mr Kalos said.
“The awards demonstrate the importance of industry and local government working together to tackle the growing problem of e-waste and making sure it is safely and securely recycled through an accredited program.”
Mr Kalos said it was important to ensure all communities have access to mobile phone recycling, with an estimated 25 million old mobile phones stockpiled in drawers across Australia.
“Local governments are often the first point of contact for residents and small businesses who want to recycle tricky items like their old mobile phones and accessories,” Mr Kalos said.
“In partnership with MobileMuster, councils can help Australians sustainably declutter their old phones, save precious resources and clean up the environment.”
MobileMuster’s Top Local Government Recyclers 2019:
National – Hornsby Shire Council
New South Wales – Hornsby Shire Council
Northern Territory – Darwin City Council
Queensland – Brisbane City Council
South Australia – City of Tea Tree Gully
Tasmania – Burnie City Council
Victoria – Moonee Valley City Council
Western Australia – City of Stirling
MobileMuster’s Top Local Government Recyclers Per Capita 2019:
National – Shire of Mount Marshall
New South Wales – Bellingen Shire Council
Northern Territory – Alice Springs Town Council
Queensland – Douglas Shire Council
South Australia – District Council of Mount Barker
Tasmania – Break O’Day Council
Victoria – Pyrenees Shire Council
Western Australia – Shire of Mount Marshall
The Federal Government’s PFAS Sub-Committee has made nine recommendations to improve its response to PFAS contamination.
It is part of a report tabled by the Chair of the PFAS Sub-Committee, Andrew Laming, and analyses the Australian Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade’s inquiry into the management of PFAS contamination in and around defence bases.
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The report recommends establishing a Coordinator-General with the authority and resources to effectively coordinate Federal Government efforts to reduce PFAS contamination and to ensure there is a consistent approach across community consultations and cooperation with state, territory and local governments.
Improvements to voluntary blood testing program could also be used as a source of longitudinal information on the health effects of PFAS exposure and the effective methods to break PFAS exposure pathways.
The Federal Government has also been recommended to assist property owners and businesses in affected areas for demonstrated, quantifiable financial losses associated with PFAS contamination from defence bases. This could be undertaken through a comprehensive scheme that is flexible enough to accommodate a variety of individual circumstances.
“I would like to thank and pay tribute to the many members of PFAS affected communities across the country who made submissions to the inquiry and who appeared to give evidence at public and in-camera hearings. I trust that this report honours their effort,” Mr Laming said.
The Victorian Government has awarded 76 councils a share of $16.5 million to improve the state’s e-waste infrastructure.
Funding will go towards upgrading more than 130 e-waste collection and storage sites and help local councils to safely store and collect increasing amounts of e-waste.
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The funding aims to assist councils prepare for the state’s ban on e-waste which will come into effect in July 2019.
The upgrades aim to ensure 98 per cent of Victorians in metropolitan areas are within a 20-minute drive of an e-waste disposal point and 98 per cent of regional Victorians are within a 30-minute drive from a disposal point.
Councils will receive discarded electronics which will then be stripped of components for reprocessing or sold on the second-hand goods market.
Applications will also open in November for a share of $790,000 to deliver local education campaigns, with councils able to apply for up to $10,000 in funding.
E-waste is defined as anything with a plug or a battery that has reached the end of its useful life, including phones, computers, white goods, televisions and air conditioners.
The amount of e-waste generated in Victoria is projected to increase from 109,000 tonnes in 2015 to 256,000 tonnes in 2035.
Victorian Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said the funding will ensure the state has one of the best e-waste collection infrastructure networks in Australia.
“We’re delivering on our promise to maximise recycling and minimise the damage e-waste has on our environment,” she 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.”
In a move to get Queensland Councils levy ready, the State Government will invest $5 million before the introduction of the waste disposal levy on 4 March 2019.
Local governments can apply for funding under the 2018-19 Local Government Levy Ready Grant Program to support infrastructure improvements at waste disposal facilities.
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The program will be open for submissions between 31 August and 12 October 2018.
Possible examples of infrastructure are fencing, security cameras, traffic control, weighbridges, gatehouses, upgrading IT or signage.
The grant program is being administered by the department of Local Government, Racing and Multicultural Affairs on behalf of the Department of Environment and Science.
Queensland Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said the Queensland Government want to ensure councils have efficient, accurate and secure levy collection and landfill facilities.
“Local councils with waste disposal facilities where annual disposal of more than 5,000 tonnes of waste is allowed can apply for infrastructure funding for weighbridges and gatehouses,” Ms Enoch said.
“The Queensland Government is committed to making sure there is no impact on municipal waste collection through the introduction of the waste levy.
“There will be no extra cost to putting your wheelie bin on the footpath each week, and we are keeping that commitment,” she said.
Ms Enoch said Queensland’s new waste disposal levy would also lead to the creation of jobs, local waste management and resource recovery solutions, and market development, particularly in regional areas.
“This will provide a growing incentive for the community and business to take advantage of expanding resource recovery and recycling options across the state,” she said.
“The levy will also bring Queensland in line with New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, and Western Australia, which have similar levies.
Queensland introduced a waste levy in 2011, which saw resource recovery companies investing in new recycling and processing infrastructure, however it was later repealed.
Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the amount of waste generated in Queensland was increasing faster than Queensland’s population was growing.
“Reintroducing a waste disposal levy is part of our broader strategy to improve waste recycling and recovery and support jobs growth,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
“Our local councils will play a key role in helping their communities reduce waste and increase resource recovery.”
For more information about the grant program, click here.
Expressions of interests are open for WA councils to roll out the WA Local Government Association’s (WALGA) bin tagging program.
WALGA has received funding from the WA Waste Authority to assist five local governments implement the program, with each local government needing to provide in-house staffing to assist.
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Assistance with the bin tagging program includes designing and printing of bin tags, funding to assist staffing for audits and training to facilitate the implementation of the program.
The program aims to encourage households to separate materials into the correct bin by providing direct feedback on through the tags.
Each tag will provide feedback on the content of a resident’s bins and provide guidance for what can and can’t be placed in the bin.
Bin auditors will conduct an assessment of the contents of each bin at the kerb and collect data for each household. The tag is then placed to provide individualised feedback about the content of the bin.
The program aims to reduce the long term costs for local governments by reducing contamination and encouraging diverting waste from landfill.
Generic tags have been made available for two bin systems and three bin systems for local governments that provide green waste or food organics in garden organics (FOGO) bins.
WALGA has prepared guidelines to give local governments a step by step process to implement the tagging program in their area, which detail the planning, preparation, implementation and evaluation phases of the program.
For more information on how to apply, click here.
A Tasmanian round table discussion has seen local government and the waste industry agree to the creation of a Waste Action Plan, amid the release of a report on the potential framework for a Container Refund Scheme.
Consulting firm Marsden Jacob Associates (MJA) has detailed the model framework for a Tasmanian Container Refund Scheme (CRS).
The report concluded the scheme should include common features with similar schemes, such as the eligible containers and price.
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It has allocated 18 months to set up the scheme and found the total funding requirement over 20 years would be $239 million, of which $138 million are refunded deposits. The costs of running the scheme were found to be around $101 million, or 4 cents per eligible container.
A redemption rate of at least 80 per cent was outlined, with a target of at least 60 refund points. Graduated sanctions were recommended for failing to meet these targets, with a verifiable auditing and tracking system required to ensure the objectives are met.
Potential cost savings for local councils were found, with beverage container litter estimated to fall by half, with an 80 per cent redemption rate.
MJA said in the report that the market should be allowed to determine the operational details of the system. The firm estimates nominal price impacts on consumers who don’t redeem the containers would start at around 10 cents per container and rise over time to 16 cents, with cost impacts on redeemers being around 10 cents lower.
Another finding from the report said the CRS should be run by a single co-ordinator and operator, set up as a product stewardship organisation (PSO). This PSO would be overseen by a board of directors that is representative of the industry and ensures access to relevant expertise.
The Action Plan will aim to consider initiatives like the CRS as part of the broader context across Tasmania. It will be further developed following China’s increased restriction on solid waste imports.
With the implementation of stricter contamination levels for imported waste, the amount of recyclate and waste that it will accept has decreased significantly, affecting Australia’s waste industry.
Tasmanian Minister for the Environment Elise Archer said the government will continue to consider the views of local government, industry, business and the community regarding a CRS and a range of other initiatives in developing the Waste Action Plan.
Local Government Association of Tasmania President Doug Chipman said that local government has welcomed the round table.
“The impacts of China’s restrictions are being felt deeply by councils and the community’s interest in waste management in general has risen significantly,” Cr Chipman said.
“We have five motions on waste at our upcoming LGAT General Meeting and I look forward to collaborating with the State Government in addressing these issues.”
The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) South Australia, with the assistance of South Australia Police (SAPOL), the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) and local government have disrupted illegal waste operations in late May.
The crackdown involved a number of search warrants executed at businesses and residential premises across metropolitan and regional SA in relation to the illegal activities.
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EPA Chief Executive Tony Circelli said this has been a complex investigation with significant outcomes and serves as a warning to those who operate illegally in the waste industry
“The lawful South Australian waste industry provides an essential service for our community and businesses managing around 4.5 million tonnes of waste annually and being responsible for around 5,000 jobs. The legitimate industry works to meet required environmental standards and supports our leading recycling culture,” Mr Circelli said.
“The EPA is committed to maintaining confidence in existing and planned investments by ensuring that unlawful operations are brought to account and do not undercut sound operations.”
Mr. Circelli said the four-month long investigation involved extensive surveillance and resources, and required the EPA to draw on special powers warrants introduced in 2017.
“This law allows the EPA to better regulate waste generated from construction, demolition and earthworks to ensure appropriate and safe transport and disposal,” he said.
The investigation identified more than 1000 tonnes of construction and demolition waste, including material containing asbestos.
“This operation is a great demonstration of the new powers and collaboration across multiple agencies working together to target the illegal operators and support the legitimate waste industry,” Mr Circelli said.
The Waste and Recycling Industry Association of SA (WRISA) President Jim Fairweather said there is no place in the waste, recycling and resource recovery industry for illegal or poor-quality operators that tarnish the reputation of the industry.
“WRISA supports the work of the EPA in upholding environmental standards and licence conditions as steps towards helping to maintain a waste and recycling industry that has the public’s confidence,” Mr Fairweather said.