MWRRG plans new C&I strategy

The Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group’s (MWRRG) 2018-19 Annual Report, tabled in parliament November 1, examines progress against the Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Implementation Plan.

According to the report, MWRRG is developing a new strategy for commercial and industrial (C&I) waste and advanced waste processing (AWP).

“This year we began developing the evidence base to inform a C&I waste strategy, including 180 waste audits and industry workshops,” the report reads.

“The strategy will initially focus on reducing the volume of plastics and food waste going to landfill.”

Other implementation plan objectives include reducing waste sent to landfill, increasing organic waste recovered, delivering community, environmental and economic benefits and developing a plan for Melbourne’s growing population.

MWRRG’s 2018-21 business plan outlined 45 Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Implementation Plan deliverables, with the 2018-19 report listing 19 completed, a further 19 ongoing and 15 continued.

The highest level of deliverables was achieved in the reducing waste sent to landfill objective, with 6 completed, 9 ongoing and 2 continued.

According to the report’s Message from the Chair and CEO, MWRRG continues to support local government through capacity building, collaborative contracts procurement and education.

“Reducing waste sent to landfill continues to be a priority for us,” the report reads.

“We are achieving this in a number of ways, including recycling more green and food waste, a new strategy for commercial and industrial waste and AWP.”

The report lists AWP as a core element of MWRRG’s strategic and integrated approach to reducing waste sent to landfill, alongside recycling, composting green and food waste, and continuing landfill contracts for waste that can’t otherwise by recovered.

“Our work this year has continued to build resilience and strengthen the operation of the waste and resource recovery sector – helping to ensure regular services for the community and a lower environmental impact,” the report reads.

“For the longer term, we have laid the foundations – to reduce waste to landfill, increase organic recovery and recycling – for investment, transparency and diversity in the sector.”

MWRRG 2018-19 highlights include:

Effectively managing $100 million in council contracts annually including four landfill contracts on behalf of 26 councils, one recycling processing contact on behalf of five councils and three organics processing contracts on behalf of 21 councils.

Reducing commercial and industrial waste through 180 commercial and industrial waste audits.

Promoting green waste recycling through the Back to Earth Initiative eastern garden competition, which attracted 58 nominated projects, 18,400 votes from residents and reached 109,000 residents on Facebook.

Empowering councils to deliver effective food waste recycling through a new food and green waste collection guide.

Developing an evidence base to take action through three new social research reports on food waste recycling, advanced waste processing and illegal dumping.

Protecting communities and the environment through three plans for waste and resource recovery hubs, and leading a memorandum of understanding between key state agencies to implement a whole of government approach to land buffer protection.

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MWRRG welcomes new CEO

The Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group (MWRRG) has announced the appointment of a new CEO, effective 2 September.

Jillian Riseley will replace Rob Millard, who has led the organisation since producing the Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Strategic Plan in 2009.

MWRRG Chair Colleen Gates said she was delighted to welcome Ms Riseley to the role.

“Ms Riseley’s commercial and not-for-profit background, networks and situational knowledge demonstrate an ability to embrace disruption, and use innovative approaches to lead organisational and industry transformation,” Ms Gates said.

“Furthermore, Ms Riseley’s experience and skill as a strategist, people leader and relationship builder, will be of great value to the organisation and the waste and resource recovery portfolio more broadly.”

According to a MWRRG statement, Ms Riseley is recognised for her work delivering innovative and sector-wide solutions to environmental issues in local communities.

“Ms Riseley’s extensive experience in senior roles includes complex, multi-stakeholder and regulated environments,” the statement reads.

“She has led significant national consumer affairs and recycling initiatives, and implemented procurement strategies in complex essential service markets.”

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EOI’s to open following SKM shut down

Victoria’s Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group (MWRRG) has announced that expression of interest for recycling services will open this month, following the temporary closure of SKM Recycling facilities.

SKM, which has contracts with 33 Victorian councils, announced it would not accept material from 26 July, following EPA regulation and compliance issues.

According to a media statement, MWRRG has been in daily contact with affected councils, state government, the Municipal Association of Victoria and other recycling service providers to assess their capacity to take extra recyclables.

MWRRG is now progressing plans for new collaborative procurements for recycling services, working with 11 council clusters comprising more than 60 councils across the state.

“By councils working together, larger contracts will be offered to the industry to encourage investment in recycling infrastructure and technology, and to attract new candidates to the Victorian recycling sector,” the statement reads.

“Industry will be asked to provide an expression of interest on the collaborative procurements in August, with detailed submissions expected by the end of the year. Contracts are expected to be in place by June 2020.”

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EPA Victoria orders recycler to stop accepting material

The Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group (MWRRG) is initiating a range of measures to support councils, following a EPA Victoria notice that SKM Services stop accepting recyclable material at its Laverton North site.

EPA issued the recycler with notices on 19 June that required it bring outdoor stockpiles at Maffra Street, Coolaroo and Laverton North into compliance with the Victorian Waste Management Policy by 3 July 2019.

An EPA media statement said regulatory action followed an inspection that revealed waste on site had increased following an extension of time for compliance.

Additionally, a fire broke out at the Laverton North site 9 July that EPA believes began on a conveyor belt.

“EPA is of the opinion that SKM understood its obligations under the notices, but had not demonstrated a move towards achieving compliance at the Laverton North site,” the statement reads.

“The company will still be able to process waste at its Laverton North site while the notice is in place, but will not be able to receive any new materials until EPA is satisfied that it has achieved compliance with the Victorian Waste Management Policy.”

MWRRG is seeking confirmation from SKM that it has alternative provisions in place to ensure it can continue to provide service to up to 10 affected local councils.

MWRRG CEO Rob Millard said MWRRG’s focus is on ensuring minimal disruption to residents by working with affected councils, other recycling facilities and landfill operators on immediate and long-term solutions.

“Following China’s decision to limit the importation of recyclables, MWRRG has been developing collaborative procurements for recycling services, working with 11 council clusters comprising more than 60 councils across the state,” Mr Millard said.

“By councils working together, larger contracts will be offered in the industry to encourage investment in recycling infrastructure and technology, and to attract new candidates to the Victorian recycling sector.”

Mr Millard said industry would be asked to provide expressions of interest on the collaborative procurements in August, with detailed submissions expected by the end of the year.

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Illegally dumped waste costs Melbourne $10.8 million a year

Cleaning up illegally dumped material costs Melbourne $10.8 million a year, according to a Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group (MWRRG) survey.

Following the survey, MWRRG conducted research into factors that contribute to illegal dumping in the region.

MWRRG Litter and Illegal Dumping Program Coordinator Jess Hand presented the findings at Waste 2019 in Coffs Harbour early this month.

“They want to give their items a second chance at life, people justify putting items on the kerb as a form of giving or a charitable act,” Ms Hand said.

The research found proximity to a transfer station made no difference to knowledge of disposal options, participants over 50 however are more likely to use one.

“There is also a misperception among participants that all hard waste collected by councils goes to landfill,” Ms Hand said.

“We need to make sure residents know how to rehome or recycle items responsibly, using charity stores, online marketplaces or council waste disposal channels.”

In 2016-17 metropolitan councils in Victoria collected more than 100,000 tonnes of hard waste, which MWRRG indicates as material unable to be collected through kerbside collection, such as white goods, mattresses, e-waste, general household goods and furniture.

Of metropolitan Melbourne’s 31 councils, all offer a kerbside hard waste service to residents in addition to kerbside bin collections, however only 19 operate a transfer station.

Ms Hand said the findings will be used to inform the development of an illegal dumping prevention resource kit for metropolitan councils.

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MWRRG’s FOGO guide for councils

Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group has developed a comprehensive guide to help councils design, implement and maintain a high-performing food organics and garden organics service. 

Read moreMWRRG’s FOGO guide for councils

Business case for western Melbourne’s resource recovery

A new business case for a new Centre of Excellence for Resource recovery will be developed for western Melbourne.

The Victorian Government, the Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recover Group, waste industry and local councils will come together to develop the business case as part of the Western Metropolitan Partnership.

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It will act as an advisory group established by the state government to provide a way for communities to directly engage with state and local governments. The partnership will also aim to provide advice on the top priorities for jobs, services and infrastructure.

In 2017, the partnership advised there was a need for well-planned suburbs and improved waste management.

Local government areas covered by the partnership include Maribyrnong City Council, Brimbank City Council, Melton City Council, Hobsons Bay City Council, Moonee Valley City Council and Wyndham City Council.

The business case will be delivered under the $37 million Recycling Industry Strategic Plan.

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