A new era for organics in NSW: DPIE

Through the Net Zero Emissions Plan and upcoming 20-year waste strategy, the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment is planning for the next phase of organics recovery in NSW.

The NSW Government’s recently released Net Zero Emissions Plan signalled a paradigm shift in state emissions policy.

With a plan to hit net zero by 2050 and 35 per cent reductions on 2005 by 2030, the NSW and Federal Governments will invest almost $10 billion over 10 years to reduce emissions in the state.

For the organics recycling sector, the headline target is net zero emissions from organics waste by 2030.

As organics waste comprises around 40 per cent of the red-lidded kerbside bin, the next steps for statewide recovery will focus on lifting recovery rates.

This is being explored through consultation on the NSW 20 Year Waste Strategy, looking at regulatory settings, infrastructure needs, end uses and renewable energy.

Amanda Kane, Manager Organics at the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE), heralds it as an exciting step forward for organics recovery in NSW.

“The plan aligns waste with a major climate action program for the first time, while also recognising that there are multiple benefits for organics recovery,” Amanda says.

She says the net zero emissions organics target links in well with the National Food Waste Strategy target to halve food waste by 2030, supported by the National Waste Strategy Action Plan.

Action points to meet net zero emissions will align with the 20-Year Waste Strategy, which closed for consultation on 8 May. The Cleaning Up Our Act Issues Paper, which was a key part of the consultation, canvassed options for the management of organics in the future.

This may include mandating source separation at a generator level and standardising household and business collections – supported by critical infrastructure and concepts such as joint procurement.

In the meantime, the NSW Government is providing $24 million in funding to support local councils and the alternative waste industry.

Last year DPIE awarded almost $3 million to FOGO collection projects, with services now planned or up and running in 50 local government areas.

The funding package, which opened in mid-May, aims to help affected councils and the industry to implement or improve kerbside organics waste collections, purchase new equipment and upgrade facilities.

It includes $5 million in Local Council Transition grants to support councils impacted by Mixed Waste Organics Outputs (MWOO) regulatory changes with a range of project options, including strategic planning, options assessment, community engagement, rolling out new organics collection services or improving their existing organics services.

Amanda says with the bulk of funding for Waste Less, Recycle More coming to a close, a new round of collection grants will help to continue to support councils upgrading to food and garden organics (FOGO) collection in NSW.

On the commercial side, organics infrastructure funding for onsite systems was awarded last year to major institutions such as AMP Capital Investors, the City of Sydney, David Jones Food Hall and Taronga Zoo.

“Our goal has always been to increase processing capacity to match the increased supply where it’s needed, and we will continue to need to do that as we work towards the Net Zero Emissions goal,” Amanda says.

The infrastructure investment in the last round of Organics Infrastructure grants funding included $6.5 million for infrastructure announced last December – helping to build organics capacity in metropolitan Sydney.

One recipient was Australian Native Landscapes, which received $2.9 million to expand the capacity of its Badgerys Creek facility to process 45,000 tonnes more food waste into compost each year.

BetterGROW was also the recipient of a $1.5 million grant towards a 30,000 tonne per annum organics resource recovery facility at Wetherill Park.

Late last year, DPIE also awarded almost $3 million to five more collection projects, with FOGO services planned or up and running in 50 local government areas in NSW.

The funding boost aims to support local government while the 20-Year Waste Strategy remains in development. DPIE, with the EPA, will continue to undertake research into organics to improve investor confidence in collection and processing.

As part of this, a series of new datasets have been released that will inform the next steps for resource recovery and organics diversion.

This comprises an analysis of the performance of food and garden organics collections in NSW.

DPIE engaged consultants Rawtec to independently review and analyse kerbside red and green lid bin audits undertaken by councils across NSW.

Released in April 2020, the Analysis of NSW Kerbside Green Lid Bin Audit Data Report audited 38 areas/councils to understand the performance of kerbside residual waste and organics services.

Performance was measured at an individual household level by audited area/council and according to the bin size/frequency of collection.

Across all audited councils, the average proportion of available food and garden organics diverted from landfill was 85 per cent.

On average 44 per cent of available food waste was diverted from landfill, though this varied across the areas from five to 78 per cent. Garden organics rated higher in diversion rates, with 98 per cent of available garden organics diverted.

Contamination news was highly positive, with only a 2.2 per cent contamination rate by weight in the FOGO bin.

The research concluded that FOGO services were performing well in organics diversion. However, there are opportunities to improve diversion rates through food waste education.

It showed that reducing access to landfill disposal options through smaller residual waste bins and user selected services led to higher food waste diversion.

The best configuration was a small 120/140 litre residual waste bin, collected fortnightly and a large 240-litre FOGO bin collected weekly.

Amanda says the new report reaffirms that most people are doing the right thing and targeted education would improve results.

As part of ongoing education, DPIE has launched the FOGO Education Deep Dive – a project involving 24 FOGO council educators from around NSW.

The project will explore household behaviour in the kitchen and kerbside and test various interventions to further reduce contamination and increase recovery.

“Everything is aligning to recognise the value of organics as a waste stream and the opportunities for recovery, valorisation and beneficiation,” Amanda says.

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Focusing on the future through positive reform

In response to the NSW Government’s issue paper Cleaning Up Our Act, a number of priority steps have been identified, writes Rose Read, CEO of the National Waste and Recycling Industry Council.

The NSW Government’s issue paper Cleaning Up Our Act: The Future of Waste and Resource Recovery outlines the current challenges facing the waste system and proposes a vision for the future NSW circular economy including options for reform.   

What is pleasing about the paper is that the NSW Government clearly recognises the current waste and resource recovery system is inadequate to meet the state’s growing needs, let alone the transition to a circular economy.

Business as usual won’t fix it, and if we fail to act now to disrupt this trend, the NSW waste system may not be able to cope.

From an infrastructure perspective, the nuts and bolts of the waste system, the issues paper clearly recognises the system’s current limitations and gaps.

From collection challenges and the lack of capacity to process, recover and treat waste, to the limited resilience in the system to ensure service continuity and reliability.

It also acknowledges the essential nature of waste and recycling infrastructure, the workforce supporting it, and community well-being.

Importantly, the government’s vision gives more weight to waste avoidance and creating markets. The NWRIC welcomes this, and it is consistent with the current National Waste Policy. 

It also clearly acknowledges that responsibility for waste isn’t just with those who collect, recycle and dispose of waste or the community.

More so, it identifies that those enterprises that make, sell and construct are key players who must adopt a stronger sense of environmental responsibility for their products across the entire supply chain and material lifecycle.

The paper also places explicit emphasis on waste being seen as a resource that should positively contribute to a sustainable future.

This shift reflects the principles of a circular economy, building social, environmental and economic capital, as opposed to simply reducing environmental harm.

The options proposed in the issues paper are comprehensive and far-reaching, reflecting complex interrelationships and the need for system-wide reform that meets growing public expectations.

The challenge now is to prioritise these options, ensuring an implementation-oriented plan that can deliver measurable outcomes over the next five years from 2021.

Considering our current status, we need to look to the future and design a process that can navigate a clear pathway to change and reform.

In its response to the issues paper, the NWRIC identified a number of priority steps to a more sustainable, affordable and reliable waste and recycling sector.

From a material perspective, priority should initially be given to organics, plastics and glass.

Specifically, this means diverting organics from landfill and increasing the recovery of plastics and glass. This will require system-wide changes and collaboration with other jurisdictions.

Creating markets for recovered materials is also key to making services affordable and sustainable.

The challenge here is not only to address the current quality and supply issues, but more importantly to enable recovered plastics and glass to effectively compete with virgin materials as an affordable alternative.

Several reforms are required to achieve this price parity. Improved source separation at the point of collection, increasing processing capacity, and agreed minimum recovered resource supply specifications will go a long way.

But most importantly, we need to require those who make, sell and construct to use more recovered materials in their packaging, products and infrastructure.

This can initially be driven by taking a stronger product stewardship approach and mandating minimum recycled content in plastic containers.

Requiring all government funded infrastructure projects to demonstrate how they will optimise their use of recycled materials and report on the type and volume of recycled materials and products used, will also be essential.

To encourage private sector investment and technological innovation, the government must provide for dedicated precincts in local and state planning policies, streamline the planning approval and environmental licensing process, and reform the current resource recovery order and exemption framework.

Such changes will help deliver certainty to industry; a much-needed requirement.

Reliability in the system is also paramount. The NSW Government must increase landfill capacity, and proactively support the importance of energy recovery as a viable solution to treat residual waste that cannot be recycled including, contaminated organics.

Finally, greater effort is required to eradicate sub-standard and illegal practices. The approach taken by Victoria to support a waste crime prevention inspectorate is commended.

For too long unlicensed and illegal waste activities have been allowed to occur across the state, harming the environment and putting the community at risk.

The NWRIC considers that all waste and recycling operations must be conducted in accordance with state, national and international environmental, health and safety regulations. Failure to do so is unacceptable.

Of course, essential to any effective strategy and action plan will be clear objectives, targets, data collection to review performance year-on-year, timely progress and adequate funding.

NSW is in a strong position to make these changes quickly. With more than $750 million raised per annum through the state waste levy and only 20 per cent being currently spent on waste and recycling activities, there is ample scope to implement the necessary changes.

This will serve to encourage the greater private investment necessary to create a more sustainable, reliable and affordable waste and recycling system.

The current climate clearly demonstrates that waste and recycling is a service essential to the health and well-being of NSW.

In this regard, the issues paper provides a positive outlook on how NSW can future proof its waste and recycling system as it transitions to a circular economy and recovers from COVID-19.

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NSW opens $1.5M grants to tackle illegal dumping

The NSW Government is encouraging councils, public land managers and community groups to apply for grants to tackle illegal dumping in their local area.

The grants are a part of the NSW Combating Illegal Dumping Clean-up and Prevention program, which has awarded $6.7 million to projects to combat illegal dumping since the program commenced.

According to Circular Economy and Resource Management Executive Director Sanjay Sridher, illegally dumped waste clean ups costs millions of dollars in taxpayers money each year.

“We want to see as many applicants as possible apply for funding, with previous grants being put to great use to tackle local dumping hotspots,” he said.

“This has included the installation of gates, signs, surveillance cameras and fencing to tackle illegal dumping, along with the removal of thousands of tonnes of illegally dumped waste.

“I encourage any councils, public land managers or community groups that want to tackle an illegal dumping problem in their area to visit the website and apply for one of these grants.”

Funded under the Waste Less Recycle More initiative and administered by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE), grants can be used to implement prevention and clean-up action on publicly managed land, or to establish illegal dumping baseline data.

An additional $1.17 million is also available for community groups, councils and businesses to address litter in their local area through DPIE’s community litter and cigarette butt litter prevention programs.

The litter grants can be used to fund a number of litter initiatives including community education and engagement, clean-ups and new bin infrastructure, with programs aimed at addressing littering and strengthening the capacity of communities to take local ownership.

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$20M for NSW AWT industry and councils affected by MWOO

Councils and the alternative waste treatment (AWT) industry can apply for $20 million in funding from the NSW Government to improve kerbside waste recycling.

According to Environment Minister Matt Kean, the funding is part of the state government’s $24 million AWT transition package, designed to help councils and industry achieve better food and organics waste separation and innovate how they recycle.

The funding follows the NSW EPA’s 2018 decision to restrict the use of mixed waste organics outputs (MWOO).

“It aims to support councils and the industry to plan and introduce separate food and organics waste services at the kerbside, making the most of the valuable resource that is household food and garden waste,” Mr Kean said.

“This is about the government supporting innovative, sustainable resource recovery of general waste that will be environmentally, socially and economically beneficial.”

Available funding includes $12.5 million via the Organics Collections grants program, $5 million in Local Council Transition grants and $2.51 million in Research and Development grants for new or alternative uses for general waste.

Local Government NSW President Linda Scott said councils want to work with the NSW and Federal Governments to save recycling, minimise waste and build a circular economy.

“This much-needed funding will assist councils and council-led AWT industries to help keep food and garden waste out of landfill – a goal that we share with Environment Minister Matt Kean to support our environment,” she said.

“I welcome this new NSW Government funding to support recycling in our communities, as only in partnership can we ensure we save recycling in NSW.”

The Organics Collections grants program aims help councils impacted by MWOO regulatory changes switch to garden only or food and garden organics collection services, with individual grants of up to $1.3 million.

A total of $16 million is available under this funding round, with an additional $3.5 million available to non-affected councils.

Similarly, Local Council Transition grants aim to support councils impacted by MWOO regulatory changes with a range of project options, including strategic planning, options assessment, community engagement, rolling out new organics collection services or improving their existing organics services.

Research and Development grants are designed to support initiatives to develop alternative end markets or new products for general waste, either to accelerate or enhance existing projects or fund new research and development.

An additional $3.75 million for processing infrastructure is scheduled to open for applications next month through the Organics Infrastructure Large and Small program.

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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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NSW EPA records 34 per cent increase in illegal dumping

Members of the public are being asked to report illegal dumping in their communities, after the NSW EPA recorded a 34 per cent increase in illegal dumping last month compared to April 2019.

Environment Minister Matt Kean said illegally dumped waste can harm human health, pollute the environment and cost millions of dollars in taxpayer clean up money each year.

“Most people do the right thing and book in a waste pick up service with their council or sell items in good condition through online forums, but some don’t,” he said.

“Leaving waste on the kerbside without contacting your council could be illegal dumping and cost thousands of dollars in fines.”

Reports to the RIDonline database, which is used by NSW councils and government agencies to record and manage illegal dumping, show incidents of dumped household waste were up 42 per cent, with green waste and mulch up by 30 per cent.

The EPA, which is now a part of the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, has advised residents to book waste collections with their local council and to store unwanted good safely until they can be disposed of.

“COVID-19 is also putting stress on charity stores and volunteers. If your local op shop or charity bin is closed, don’t leave your donations outside. Look for an alternative nearby, or revisit when the store is open,” an EPA statement reads.

“Goods left outside op shops and charity bins often become waste, costing charities to clean up and dispose of.”

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Neutralising biohazards: Weston Thermal Solutions

Weston Thermal Solutions and Pink Environmental Services are upping their capacity to assist medical waste producers to deal with a surge in infectious material in the wake of COVID-19.

Since first reported to the World Health Organization in December 2019, COVID-19 has spread rapidly to every continent in the world, barring Antarctica. The World Health Organization declared the situation a global health emergency on 30 January 2020, with movement restrictions soon enacted world-over.

In light of the global pandemic, hospitals and waste management operators are bracing themselves for a surge in waste-contaminated with infectious materials.

While there is no current data on how much medical waste is being produced as a result of COVID-19, the recommended use of disposal personal protective equipment alone is set to see hospital waste generation skyrocket.

To help operators manage the surge, Belinda Paton, Weston Thermal Solutions (WTS) General Manager, says WTS – the thermal processing arm of The Weston Group – is working to increase the quantity of waste they receive.

“As demand increases on our healthcare system during this time, generated waste volumes also increase. To address this, we’re working hard with medical waste producers to provide a streamlined collection and disposal service,” Belinda says.

“Removing this waste in a timely and safe manner minimises the risk to healthcare staff, patients and the community as a whole.”

Belinda Paton, Weston Thermal Solutions General Manager

The Weston Group, which traditionally processes industrial waste and manufactures steelmaking supplies, recently diversified its operations to include the thermal treatment of various hazardous wastes, under the name WTS.

Using state-of-the-art technology, in conjunction with the strictest emission criteria in Australia, WTS opened its innovative thermal destruction plant at Kurri Kurri in NSW’s Hunter Valley last month.

Working with Pink Environmental Services (Pink), which collects and consolidates medical and hazardous waste, WTS has the capacity to thermally process 800 kilograms of waste each hour – with a proposed annual throughput of 8000 tonnes.

As a critical part of the WTS supply chain, Pink, which was established in late 2019 as the collection arm of WTS, works to consolidate waste generated by hospitals and waste management operators for bulk shipment to the Kurri Kurri plant.

Due to the nature of hazardous waste management, David Bullard, Pink General Manager, says safety is at the forefront of Pink and WTS’ approach to every issue.

“The risk profile is such that, you have to approach and treat everything as though it could kill, maim or even severely injure, because when you do, you mitigate the risk at that level,” he says.

“This leads to a safer working environment, which is absolutely paramount in the approach we take at Pink. It’s Pink’s intention to operate at industry best practice and then push beyond, so Pink then sets the standard.”   

As waste is considered an essential service, David says it’s Pink’s role to support those on the front line, and provide whatever services are required to support their operations.

“Pink has offered its support to many companies that are conducting primary collections, providing the disposal services, and working with the relevant government authorities,” he adds.

“At Pink, we believe the best way to minimise risk in the current circumstances, for industry, the community and the environment, is to earmark all COVID-19 contaminated material and potential COVID-19 contaminated material for ultra-high thermal destruction, rather than sterilisation and landfill.”

Belinda shares similar sentiments, citing thermal destruction as arguably the most secure way to destroy pathogenic substances including the COVID-19 virus. Belinda adds that through the process, only ash which has been treated for prolonged periods at high temperatures is sent to landfill.

“This generally represents only 10 per cent of the initial waste load, thereby drastically reducing the burden on landfills and extending their operational lifespan,” she says.

David Bullard, Pink Environmental Services General Manager

By neutralising the potential for bio-hazardous waste streams to negatively impact community health and the environment, Belinda says thermal treatment facilitates a disposal option for waste streams that cannot be disposed of via other means.

“While always an important link in the waste management chain, thermal treatment is particularly critical in these challenging times,” she says.

WTS’ new plant features a primary combustion chamber rotary kiln, which Belinda says enhances thermal processing by providing greater contact between waste and combustion air.

“The rotary kiln primary chamber is an ashing, co-current operation, with material loaded into the primary combustion chamber for initial processing,” Belinda says.

Following combustion, the resultant ash material is discharged from the kiln and maintained on a stationary burnout hearth for up to eight hours, to ensure complete burnout of all carbonaceous matter.

To safely manage hazardous and medical waste, WTS employs strict inspection and quarantine protocols to all incoming waste. This, Belinda says, ensure the status, classification, storage requirements, optimal treatment mode and destruction verification of all incoming streams.

“Good chemical hygiene is crucial while working with hazardous and bio-hazardous waste, so our treatment process is designed to be almost entirely automated, with no physical contact between operators and hazardous waste,” Belinda explains.

This is achieved through the design and use of a tippler bin to deposit waste directly into the loading system of the thermal destruction process.

“The site also has a cool room facility to maintain putrescible waste below 4°C at all times until processing occurs. Bin disinfection processes are also applied to ensure the safety of bins/receptacles exchanged/returned as part of the service,” Belinda says.

According to David, regulatory authorities have approached WTS and Pink regarding their capacity to assist in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While approved to thermally destroy other inputs, we are currently focusing our attention and plant capacity on processing clinical and related wastes,” he says.

“We want to ensure that we are positioned with sufficient storage and processing to support the NSW effort in this crisis situation.”

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WARR facilities fast-tracked under NSW acceleration program

The West Nowra Landfill expansion and Visy’s Dry Recyclables Facility have been named in the first tranche of NSW Planning System Acceleration Program projects.

Earlier this month, the NSW Government announced it would fast-track planning processes for State Significant Developments – including waste management facilities – to keep the development sector moving through the COVID-19 crisis.

The first set of fast tracked projects were announced this week, with the $191 million West Nowra Landfill expansion set to see the construction of six additional landfill cells. Furthermore, Visy’s new $23.8 million facility will have the capacity to process up to 155,000 tonnes of dry kerbside recyclables a year.

Additional fast-tracked projects include the construction of a resource recovery facility facility in Penrith, waste management upgrades to Horsley Park’s Brickworks plant and Snowy 2.0 main works.

NSW Planning and Public Spaces Minister Rob Stokes also released the NSW Government’s Priority Projects Criteria – a set of guidelines that will determine which development projects are fast-tracked through the program.

To be considered for a fast-tracked assessment, the development application or rezoning must already be in the system, deliver a public benefit, demonstrate an ability to create jobs during construction and once complete, be able to commence construction within six months.

A total of 24 projects have been identified in the first round of fast-tracked assessments, which according to Mr Stokes, will inject $7.54 billion into the state’s economy.

“It’s important to note that this is not a greenlighting exercise, the same stringent checks, balances and community consultation that ensures transparency, public benefit and merit-based assessment of projects remain,” he said.

Despite general support for the program, Local Government NSW (LGNSW) has warned that failure to include environmentally sustainable waste and recycling measures in the criteria is a missed opportunity, particularly in light of the “rapidly approaching” national export ban.

LGNSW President Linda Scott said it was encouraging to see waste management and recycling facilities accounting for four of the 24 fast-tracked projects. However, she said the logical next step would have been to embed recycling principles in the actual fast-tracking criteria.

“Minister Stokes’ announcement is a missed opportunity to begin to create a state in which home-grown recycling and sustainable, smart waste management is built into everything we do,” Ms Scott said.

“It would have sent a very clear planning message: we’re going to do things better from now on, and we need to be working together to ensure some lasting and sustainable good comes out of these difficult times.”

Despite this, Ms Scott said local government supports the principled focus on the creation of jobs to address the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in the short-to-medium-term.

“Councils certainly welcome a commitment of state government resources to help free up blockages in the planning approval pipeline,” she said.

“LGNSW has long argued that the NSW Government has a key role to play in addressing the ‘hidden’ approval delays which occur when other state agencies are required to sign off on a project.”

Ms Scott added that it is important to ensure that short-term responses and system reforms do not undermine transparency and good planning principles, or encourage poor quality development that would cost the communities dearly in future years.

“We are calling on the government to guarantee a stronger role for council-led Local Strategic Planning Statements, and guarantee they will play a key role in assessing overall strategic merit,” she said.

“There will need to be further consultation with councils to ensure this fast-track program really does deliver for the people of NSW and the public good, rather than simply pouring money into the pockets of developers.”

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Final weeks for public feedback on the future of waste in NSW

Over 10,000 people have already provided a submission on the NSW Government’s plan to tackle the use of plastics, reduce waste and pollution and increase recycling across the state.

There are currently two papers open for consultation until Friday, May 8.

The issues paper Cleaning Up Our Act: The Future for Waste and Resource Recovery in NSW was released for public consultation last month, to help shape the development of the NSW 20-Year Waste Strategy.

The NSW Plastics Plan discussion paper outlines actions to reduce single-use plastics in NSW and help the shift towards a circular economy. 

For more information on the policy proposals click here.

The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment said in a statement that the plan is crucial considering in 2018-19, 60 per cent of all littered items were made from plastic and by 2050 there will be more plastic by weight in the ocean than fish. 

The second paper open for public submissions is the Cleaning Up Our Act: The Future for Waste and Resource Recovery in NSW issues paper.

The Cleaning Up Our Act plan outlines options to reduce waste and increase recycling, guides the opportunities and strategic direction for future waste and recycling infrastructure, and for growing sustainable end markets for recycled materials. 

A NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment spokesperson said there has been a fantastic response to the consultations on the 20 Year Waste Strategy and Plastics Plan.

“We have received thousands of submissions and encourage more people to have their say, with consultation running until 8 May,” the Department spokesperson said.

The Department spokesperson said to adapt during COVID-19, the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment has moved planned face to face engagement, to hold online forums and a webinar. 

“The online forums allowed participants to take an in-depth look at the issues and opportunities presented by the 20 Year Waste Strategy and Plastics Plan papers, with a strong level of engagement from industry, councils, peak bodies and government agencies,” they said.

The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment will analyse all submissions following the closure of the consultation period next month.

“Submissions will be analysed and taken into consideration when developing the 20 Year Waste Draft Strategy and there will be an opportunity to provide feedback on the draft strategy in late 2020,” the Department spokesperson said.

“The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment is looking forward to analysing the submissions and developing an innovative and impactful 20 Year Waste Draft Strategy in late 2020.”

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