Battery stewardship a priority for National Waste Policy

A recent of meeting of Environment Ministers has endorsed the work the Battery Stewardship Council (BSC) as a priority under the National Waste Policy, according to a statement from the Australian Battery Recycling Initiative (ABRI).

In a letter to ABRI, Acting Chief of Staff for the Queensland Environment Minister Hannah Jackson said there was an agreement from all jurisdictions that the scope of the proposed battery stewardship scheme would be expanded to cover all batteries, including energy storage and non-rechargeable batteries.

“This is a pivotal moment for the scheme as it enables much needed funding to flow through the QLD Environment Department on behalf of all jurisdictions,” the statement reads.

“This will enable the BSC to conduct planned consultation with members to refine the proposed approach.”

Of the 400 million batteries that enter the Australian market each year, less than three per cent of non-car batteries are recycled in Australia, according to a 2014 trend analysis and market assessment report, prepared on behalf of the National Environment Protection Council Service Corporation.

A National Waste Policy Action Plan is currently being prepared, with the scheme listed for introduction by 2022.

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National Symposium on the Beneficial Use of Recycled Organics

The 2nd National Symposium on the Beneficial Use of Recycled Organics will be held 20 – 21 June at the Brisbane Riverview Hotel.

Hosted by the Queensland Government and Griffith University, the symposium will see over 100 delegates from universities and government agencies, as well as environmental consultants, land managers and farmers.

To better understand the beneficial use of recycled organics in our environment, the symposium will examine learnings from its application to agriculture, mining, urban environments and infrastructure.

Speakers will discuss research into the use of recycled organic products to enhance agricultural production in degraded and marginal landscapes and enable the environmental rehabilitation.

Queensland releases resource recovery roadmap

Queensland’s Resource Recovery Industries 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan aims to support modernisation in current industries and advance product development in underdeveloped end markets.

State Development Minister Cameron Dick is encouraging all Queenslanders to read the newly released draft and provide feedback.

“The ongoing development of markets for recycled and repurposed material through investment in modern efficient facilities and processes will reduce the amount of waste going to landfill and assist Queensland to become a zero-waste society,” Mr Dick said.

“Working closely with industry and other stakeholders, we’ve developed a series of roadmaps focused on emerging priority sectors with global growth potential.”

The roadmap outlines four strategies to enable growth in the resource recovery industry – accelerate the project pipeline, develop market and supply chains, create responsive policy and legislative frameworks and develop applicable technology.

The draft outlines a number of proposed actions including delivery of the $100 million resource recovery industry development program and developing a comprehensive analysis of the resource recovery market sector, including the identification of supply chain efficiencies and the promotion of new market opportunities.

The state government will also work to provide facilitation services, ensure the availability of suitable industrial land and investigate opportunities for the inclusion of recycled products in government procurement policies.

According to the roadmap’s key date timeline, a waste and resource recovery infrastructure plan will be established by September and an energy-from-waste policy released shortly after.

Mr Dick said through these initiatives the state government hopes to see more material re-enter the production cycle.

“We’re actively looking for opportunities to support new resource recovery sector projects through programs such as the resource recovery strategy and industry development activities,” Mr Dick said.

“Government will support industry to overcome some of the typical barriers encountered by emerging or new technologies, including access to funding, business case development, commercialisation partnerships and the de-risking of projects.”

The Resource Recovery Industries 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan complements the draft Waste Management and Resource Recovery Strategy released in February 2019.

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QLD container refund scheme hits half a billion returns

Half a billion containers have been returned and more than 640 jobs created through Queensland’s container refund scheme, Containers for Change.

Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said more than 173,000 Queenslanders now have a scheme ID, which shows the state is getting behind the initiative.

“Containers for Change continues to go from strength to strength, providing financial incentives for recycling cans and bottles,” Ms Enoch said.

“The scheme has also helped create more than 640 new jobs and is providing more business opportunities across Queensland.”

Ms Enoch said $50 million had been returned to Queenslanders, charities and community organisations through the scheme.

“When people take their bottles and cans to be recycled, they can choose to get the 10 cent refund or choose to donate that money to charities or community groups,” Ms Enoch said.

“About 3400 community groups, schools, charities and sports clubs are benefitting from the refunds.”

Ms Enoch said since the scheme started on 1 November 2019, there has been a 35 per cent reduction of containers ending up as litter in the environment.

“This scheme, along with the ban on single-use plastic bags also implemented last year, are making a real difference to plastic pollution ending up in our environment and waterways,” Ms Enoch said.

Container Exchange, the organisation that runs the scheme, Chair Mark O’Brien said new refund depots have been opening up across the state in recent weeks.

“We now have more than 275 container refund points providing customer access to container refunds,” Mr O’Brien said.

“Container Exchange will continue to grow the Containers for Change scheme to provide opportunities for customers, charities and community groups to receive refunds and raise funds.”

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Container deposit site to open in Queensland’s Hervey Bay

Environment Minster Leeanne Enoch has announced that a new container deposit site will open in Urangan, a suburb of Hervey Bay in Queensland’s Wide Bay region.

The site will be run by container refund scheme operator U Can Recycle, who operate 14 other container refund points across the state’s network.

“We’ve seen an overwhelming demand for more sites in the area and across Queensland, with 400 million containers already returned in the state,” Ms Enoch said.

“The Wide Bay region has the third highest return rate in Queensland and the new depot will accommodate this strong demand and create local jobs.”

According to Ms Enoch, over 37.3 million containers have been returned in the Wide Bay region since the scheme launched in November 2018.

“That’s $3.73 million going back into the Wide Bay community. I’m delighted to see the continued growth of container refund points across Queensland,” Ms Enoch said.

U Can Recycle General Manager Jason Irwin said he was thrilled to expand the companies services in Hervey Bay.

“We have 12 new local staff members on board all ready to go, including three long-term unemployed people,” Mr Irwin said.

“Our depot is on a huge two-and-a-half-acre block, which means we can receive higher volumes, improve traffic flow and reduce wait times for our customers.”

Mr Irwin said the facility features a drive-thru process, a cash refund option and an air-conditioned waiting room for customers.

“I’m planning to add a café in after we’re up and running,” Mr Irwin said.

The Urangan depot is one of five sites set to open this week including facilities in Cooroy, Atherton, Duaringa and Beerwah – with more openings scheduled in May.

Container Exchange Chief Executive Officer Ken Noye said the organisation is working hard to ensure everyone in Queensland has a chance to participate in the scheme.

“New sites continue to be added to the network to accommodate for the unprecedented volume the scheme has seen in the first five months,” Mr Noye said.

“We’re travelling along nicely towards meeting our goal of having 307 container refund points open by the end of 2019 – after this week there will be 274 sites across Queensland.”

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400 million returns for QLD container refund scheme

Queensland’s container refund scheme Containers for Change, has seen the return of 400 million containers since beginning in December.

The scheme, which is run by not-for profit organisation Container Exchange, provides a 10-cent refund for recycling cans and bottles.

Queensland Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said the scheme has generated $40 million for residents and community organisations.

“It provides a financial incentive to recycling containers, and there is also the option for people to donate their refunds to charities and community organisations,” Ms Enoch said.

“Container redemption volumes are about a third higher than forecast, and Containers for Change continues to defy expectations.”

Ms Enoch said containers are the second most commonly littered item in the state, with Queenslanders using nearly three billion every year.

“More refund points are becoming established, creating more business opportunities and making the scheme more accessible for Queenslanders,” Ms Enoch.

“The scheme has also created more than 620 jobs across Queensland, which is fantastic.”

Container Exchange CEO Ken Noye said when the program launched it had 230 container refund points statewide, which over five months has grown to 270.

“We’re now seeing things settle down at most depots and bag drop-off points due to a steady increase in the number of container refund points around the state,” Mr Noye said.

Seven new deposit points are scheduled to open by the end of April at Hervey Bay, Atherton, Bribie Island, Cooroy, Yamanto, Airlie Beach and Beaudesert.

Regional breakdown:

  • Greater Brisbane: 174.2 million
  • Gold Coast: 36.8 million
  • Sunshine Coast: 19.9 million
  • South East (including Ipswich): 3.5 million
  • Darling Downs: 28 million
  • Wide Bay: 35.9 million
  • Fitzroy/Central Queensland: 30.6 million
  • Mackay: 11.9 million
  • Townsville/North Queensland: 33.3 million
  • Cairns/Far North Queensland: 26.5 million
  • South West: 5.9 million

Total: 406.5 million

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Queensland to host Asia-Pacific Climate Week

The Queensland Government has announced it will host representatives from across Australia and Asia-Pacific at Queensland’s first Climate Week from 2-8 June.

At the Circular Economy: It’s Our Future forum this week, Queensland Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said the state government was committed to driving conversations about tackling climate change and improving waste management.

“Climate Week Queensland is an opportunity for our state to showcase its credentials in the climate change policy space both domestically and internationally,” Ms Enoch said.

“The Queensland Government has committed to a target of zero net emissions by 2050, with an interim target of reducing emissions by at least 30 per cent by 2030.”

Ms Enoch said the event would provide an example of what needs to be done across the globe.

“We know we need to move to a more circular way of thinking when it comes to waste management — where waste is considered a valuable resource instead of the current method where we ‘take, make and dispose,’ Ms Enoch said.

“Share knowledge, discuss how a circular economy can combat climate change, and examine ways to make this happen.”

Ms Enoch said the state government’s draft Waste Management and Resource Recovery Strategy will help put Queensland on the path towards a circular economy.

“This long-term strategy includes initiatives such as the container refund scheme and the ban on single-use plastic bags, and focuses on shifting attitudes to encourage more recycling and a re-use mindset,” Ms Enoch said.

“Our strategy, which is underpinned by a waste levy on landfill that will come into effect on 1 July, will grow the recycling and resource recovery sector, while reducing the amount of waste ending up in landfill.”

Ms Enoch said this shift towards a circular economy is key to combating climate change and aligns with state government plans for a more sustainable, low carbon economy.

“It was great to hear at the forum how entrepreneurs, start-ups and researchers have been contributing to the development of a circular economy in Queensland,” Ms Enoch said.

“Important initiatives that change how we think about, better use, and manage materials, resources and waste are critical to a future that supports new industries and creates more jobs.”

Climate week activities will include a public program of arts, music, and panel discussions, a First Nations summit and climate leadership training with Al Gore.

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Cairns material recovery facility receives $6.9 million for upgrades

Cairns’ material recovery facility will soon have double the processing capacity after a $6.9 million award for upgrade works.

The facility will receive $3 million from round four of the Queensland Government’s $295 million Building our Regions (BoR) program, and $3 million from Cairns Regional Council.

Member for Cairns Michael Healy said the facility improvements would lead to better recovery and recycling results for Cairns, and support more than 22 jobs during upgrade works.

“The upgraded infrastructure will allow the facility to double its processing capacity to 30,000 tonnes of recycling,” Mr Healy said.

“This will see a significant jump in waste diversion from landfill, which will increase to a whopping 90 per cent – up 40 per cent from current figures.”

Mr Healy said work would soon begin to extend the receival hall, with a new glass sorting and processing plant to follow.

“Reducing landfill waste aligns with the state governments objectives, as well as our new resource recovery and waste strategy, and Queensland’s Container Deposit Scheme,” Mr Healy said.

State Development Minister Cameron Dick said local recycling opportunities created by the upgraded facility would be significant.

“We’ll see more items collected locally, diverted from landfill and, where viable, recycled – all here in Cairns,” Mr Dick said.

“This is a smart, circular approach that will raise the quality of recycling in our state and give us better access to relevant global export markets.”

Mr Dick said the scaled-up facility will help lessen the region’s environmental footprint and lower the cost of recycling for the far north.

“It will also potentially allow the city to participate in recycling collection services from other local governments and commercial premises,” Mr Dick said.

Cairns Regional Council Mayor Bob Manning said the new infrastructure would increase the facility’s viability, and create an economic opportunity to decrease waste while improving recycling rates.

“We know our community takes its environmental responsibilities seriously given where we live. This much needed upgrade to the material recovery facility will provide fantastic benefits to Cairns and the region,” Mr Manning said.

“It will not only allow us to significantly increase the recovery rate of recyclables, but also as a consequence significantly reduce the amount of waste needing to go to landfill.”

Round 4 of BoR will see the state government partner with 37 councils on 49 projects, work Mr Manning said would create an estimated 657 jobs.

Under previous rounds, the program has allocated $225 million to 174 critical infrastructure projects across the state generating 1762 jobs and attracting additional investment of $353.5 million from councils and other organisations.

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National Clean Technologies Conference & Exhibition

The new National Clean Technologies Conference & Exhibition (NCTCE) will be held on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast at the Event’s Center 29-31 May.

The nationally focused event will cover multiple clean technology growth areas including, energy, waste, water, built environment and transport.

The event, themed Creating Connections: Building Business, aims to play an important role in bringing together key stakeholders across the industry to drive growth, innovation and investment. It also offers an opportunity for the clean technology industry to collaborate, be inspired, find opportunity and do business.

Attendees will hear from international and national leaders from the clean technology industry with real world experience, discover new technology, explore how we can create healthy, resilient and sustainable places, find out how regional Australia can take advantage of the rapidly growing sector and learn about commercialising and deploying new clean technology innovations and develop successful partnerships.

The program will focus heavily on commercialisation, creating effective business clusters, the potential of the circular economy, innovation case studies and success stories, investment and funding channels.

The NCTCE will feature 250 delegates, 40 exhibitors and 55 speakers, including Deputy Lord Mayor of Melbourne Arron Wood, Veolia Sustainable Solutions Manager Angela Cooney and European Cluster Manager of the Year Bianca Dragmir.

The program includes local study tours, workshops and two full days of conference sessions.

For more information click here.

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