Cleanaway has officially reopened its Perth Material Recovery Facility, following a catastrophic fire in November 2019.
Western Australia’s Eastern Metropolitan Regional Council (EMRC) will provide a $5 million dividend to member councils to ensure the delivery of essential services such as waste management during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The move follows an earlier decision to distribute $13.8 million to pay for bins, caddies, community education and related costs of members council’s forthcoming kerbside FOGO system.
The EMRC, which represents six member councils in Perth’s Eastern Region, voted unanimously in favour of the COVID-19 dividend at a special meeting on 16 April, with funds payable by 30 June.
According to an EMRC statement, the money will be drawn equally from the EMRC’s Municipal Fund and Future Development Reserve.
“The $5 million COVID-19 dividend will be distributed to the EMRC’s six member councils before the end of the financial year to help them implement and maintain emergency support measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the statement reads.
The EMRC has also agreed that it will not adjust the secondary waste reserve charge applied to landfill tonnages from member councils for the 2020/2021 financial year.
EMRC Chairman Jai Wilson said EMRC councillors understood the pressures their member councils were under to keep rates down, while at the same time delivering essential services to their communities.
“That is why we have taken decisive action to pay a dividend of $5m to assist our member councils with their upcoming budgets and ease some of the cost pressures on our communities,” he said.
“I would like to thank councillor Mel Congerton for moving this motion, and all my fellow councillors for acting decisively to unanimously support his motion.”
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A campaign which aims to raise awareness about the amount of waste households produce in WA has been gaining attention throughout Australia.
It’s been featured on the War on Waste and the mainstream press and it was presented at this year’s Waste 2019 Conference.
Face Your Waste has reached two million households – an extraordinary result in a state of just over 2.5 million. The campaign allows households to volunteer as bin ambassadors and use a transparent bin.
Mindarie Regional Council (MRC), one of WA’s largest waste authorities in Perth’s north, devised Face Your Waste two years ago with a view to making its residents more conscious of the waste they were producing. The authority is responsible for member councils that include the cities of Joondalup, Perth, Stirling, Vincent and Wanneroo and the towns of Cambridge and Victoria Park.
Australians generated 13.8 million tonnes of core waste in 2017 (excluding hazardous waste, ash and landfill gas), according to the National Waste Report 2018. In the Perth metro area this was 539 kilograms per capita in 2016-17.
Face Your Waste was spawned off the back of a lack of awareness of what happens to our waste after it leaves the kerbside.
The idea was to confront residents with their waste and inspire better outcomes. Its aims are to reduce contamination, waste to landfill and most importantly, waste creation in the first place.
Face Your Waste provides practical tips on how to reduce/avoid waste as traditional campaigns talk a lot about dealing with waste better as opposed to not creating so much. It is also aiming to be relatable with a comedic campaign spokesperson “Famous Sharron”, who provides simple tips such as taking reusable bags to the store and favouring quality over quantity.
The message supports that of Own Your Impact, a WA Government initiative focused on inspiring Western Australians to take ownership of their waste.
Geoff Atkinson, Education Manager at MRC, says the campaign has exceeded expectations beyond what council could have imagined.
“It actually got tremendous traction within various aspects of the media and since then basically everyone in the Perth metropolitan area has seen the Face Your Waste message,” Geoff explains.
“We wanted to really capture people’s imagination and get them talking about their waste – a little bit different to other campaigns. While they’re important, it can be easy to gloss over the issue and think that’s someone else’s waste.”
The program was first rolled out in April last year at a variety of households over a two-week period, using its 20 clear bins. MRC’s feedback found that a standard bin cycle was not enough to make a change and soon moved to a complete month.
He says that initial tests showed the 240-litre bins were robust enough to withstand side lift and rear loader trucks. The success of the program has seen more than 350 bin ambassadors registered in the first six months.
Geoff says feedback has been overall positive. He says that anecdotally, people taking part in the trial are making conscious decisions to purchase differently.
“From what we gather with the research we’ve done, transparent bins haven’t been used anywhere else and it’s actually quite unique,” Geoff explains.
Although some residents are concerned about people knowing what’s in their bins, the concept is voluntary and therefore would not affect households that don’t want to participate. The program is not intended to penalise householders in any way but rather increase community engagement.
“We’re not looking to roll this out to all households on a permanent basis. I think it has a novelty factor about it. If everyone had clear bins I wonder if it would work as it would become normalised,” he says.
Anecdotally, the project has drawn attention to how much waste households produce each month.
“When you put your bins out, you don’t really know whether what your putting out is a normal amount or how it ranks in terms of what others put out. So with these bins you can make a comparison to your neighbours.”
He adds that this provides a benchmark for others to look to eliminate unnecessary waste while also potentially identifying contamination more easily.
“It provides a bit of community competition where they can share stories and exchange ideas and make decisions on how they can do it better,” Geoff says.
“Some people thought they were doing things right but then go to see what their bin looked like and realised they produced a lot of avoidable waste or recyclables.”
He says where they have been used at events, including business training, they have proved a useful tool in improving contamination education.
He says numerous other councils in Australia and New Zealand have expressed interest in replicating the concept. The idea might also be able to be linked to other initiatives such as food and garden organic rollouts or single-use plastic bag bans to encourage waste reduction.
“The broader idea behind this campaign is that it can reduce contamination and the amount of waste being produced in the first place. It’s putting it back to grassroots and taking ownership that can be dovetailed into other campaigns,” he says.
As to the project’s next steps? Geoff says that MRC will look to measure waste reduction outcomes and provide some data on the longevity of behavioural change.
“It’s important to know if people keep reducing their waste after reverting back to normal bins and it creates a pattern of behavioural change that allows people to keep doing the right thing afterwards.
“It’s not how much waste you’ve got in the bin, but how much you can reduce over time. If you’re producing a bin full because you have a number of people in the household, that is fine. It’s about taking steps to bring that amount down.”
The Western Metropolitan Regional Council (WMRC) has halved the cost of gate fees and upgraded their domestic recycling program.
Depositing general, bulk and green waste at WMRC’s Perth resource recovery facility will now cost member councils significantly less, with the facility also offering free drop-offs for e-waste and tyres.
WMRC Chief Executive Officer Stefan Frodsham said the changes form part of a new strategy and fee structure, designed to attract more business to the West Metro Recycling Centre in Shenton Park.
“We surveyed all our member council households last year and it was clear from the results that the majority of people wanted to do more to minimise what goes to landfill,” Mr Fordsham said.
The facility aggregates, compacts and loads municipal solid waste into silos to be transferred to alternative sites for appropriate treatment and disposal.
“In part, the savings are due to our fixed costs now being met by members on a population share basis, but otherwise they result from us passing on the savings from the new lower waste processing and disposal costs we have been able to achieve,” Mr Fordsham said.
“Member councils will also receive tip passes for half the rate charged to non-member councils.”
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For the first time, local council waste and recycling data is available on the Western Australian Government’s MyCouncil website.
Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said the data offers an opportunity for local government communities to better understand their waste footprint and assess progress towards a more sustainable and low-waste future.
“Western Australians want to do the right thing when it comes to waste and by making this data publicly available we can all work collaboratively to reduce waste generation,” Mr Dawson said.
The data, sourced from the Waste Authority’s annual Local Government Waste and Recycling Census, includes the quantities of waste collected, disposed to landfill and recovered by local governments for each type of waste service offered.
“As we roll this out we expect to see improved resource recovery in metropolitan local governments that will be reflected each year on MyCouncil — helping us to meet the state government’s target of at least 75 per cent of waste generated in Western Australia to be reused or recycled by 2030,” Mr Dawson said.
According to Local Government Minister David Templeman, the data shows councils south of the river are significantly reducing waste to landfill, with East Fremantle, Melville, Cockburn and Fremantle all ranking among the top five recycling performers in the Perth metropolitan area.
“Making this data available in a central location on the MyCouncil website will improve transparency around local government waste performance and provide them with an increased incentive to improve their resource recovery performance,” Mr Templeman said.
Top 10 metropolitan recyclers
|East Fremantle (Town)||61%|
Perth’s City of Joondalup has commenced a three-bin rollout with new look SUEZ waste trucks hitting the streets.
The roll-out will encompass 60,000 residential properties and aligns with the Waste Authority’s Waste Strategy (more information here) to improve waste avoidance and resource recovery. The trucks promote green waste sorting, waste and recycling, displaying the text “Let’s sort” to align with each of the three processes.
The three-bin system has been partly funded by the Better Bins program – a $20 million WA Government initiative that provides funding to local governments to implement better practice kerbside waste collection.
The bin lid colour change will bring the city in line with the Australian Standard – red for general waste, lime green for green waste and yellow for recycling.
During the bin roll-out the city will deliver a new 140-litre red lid bin for general waste and replace the old general waste bin lid with a new lime green lid. The bin will then be used for green waste.
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Joondalup Mayor Albert Jacob said the roll-out of the three-bin system was a significant milestone for the city and the new method of collecting household waste would deliver huge benefits for residents.
“The new system is an integral part of the city’s commitment to meeting the WA Government’s target of diverting 65 per cent of municipal solid waste from landfill by 2020, which is also a key aspiration of the City’s Waste Management Plan,” Mayor Jacob said.
“There has also been a significant increase in disposal costs at landfill from $120 per tonne in 2013-14 to $205 per tonne in 2018-19, and this figure will continue to rise.
“Changing from a two-bin system to a three-bin system provides an opportunity to generate both cost savings for the city, and therefore our ratepayers, as well as reducing the amount of waste that is sent to landfill.
“I encourage residents to embrace these changes and to be more ‘waste wise’ by thinking about ways to reduce the waste they create in their daily lives.”
The new 140-litre red lid general waste bin will have an information pack attached to the lid, providing information on collection days and how to use each bin.
WA’s East Rockingham Resource Recovery Facility has awarded waste management giant SUEZ a 20-year minimum contract as waste management partner.
SUEZ has partnered with a consortium of four companies running the facility – Hitachi Sozen INOVA (HZI), Tribe Infrastructure Group and New Energy Corporation, which won a series of competitive tenders for long-term contracts in the Perth metropolitan area before securing the East Rockingham partnership.
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The facility encompasses the design, construction, financing and operation of a greenfield waste-to-energy facility, 40 kilometres south of the Perth CBD.
The project aims to treat approximately 300,000 tonnes of waste per year from municipal, commercial and industrial sources including up to 30,000 tonnes per year of biosolids.
Energy generation targets are expected to reach 29 megawatts of renewable energy, enough to supply 36,000 homes following the start of construction slated for 2019.
SUEZ will provide 65,000 tonnes per year of commercial and industrial waste, maintenance services, removal of non-processable waste at its Bibra Lake and North Bannister facilities and the purchase of renewable electricity generated for its Perth operations.
This is the second waste-to-energy plant planned for the Rockingham-Kwinana industrial region.
The WA Government has revamped its waste strategy, with shared responsibilities across government, the business sector and community.
The Western Australian Government is planning to roll out a campaign that targets littered cigarette butts and packaging after it was found they made up more than a third of the state’s litter.
Keep Australia Beautiful WA’s 2017-18 National Litter Index (NLI) has found discarded butts were responsible for pushing up the state’s litter statistics with a 21.9 per cent increase in cigarette litter. The butts and packaging accounted for 3376 of the 9550 litter items recorded by the count.
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Littering had increased by 2.6 per cent across WA compared to the previous year’s results, but overall littering was still 21 per cent lower than what had been recorded in 2015-16. Takeaway packaging litter in WA had been reduced by 11.3 per cent, according to the NLI with beverage containers also down by seven per cent.
The NLI is measured twice each financial year each state and territory. Litter across 151 sites within 50 kilometres of Perth’s CBD is measured as part of the index, looking at highways, beaches, retail and shopping areas, car parks, recreational parks and residential and industrial areas.
Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said cigarette butts are the most littered item in Australia.
“Littered cigarette butts do not break down and are often washed into waterways, causing contamination,” Mr Dawson said.
“They can be mistaken for food by our wildlife and are a blight on the beauty of our state’s natural environment.
“The efforts of the majority are being undermined by the selfish acts of the few who litter. If you are a smoker, please dispose of your cigarette butts responsibly into waste bins. Failing to do this is an offence,” he said.