The Victorian Government is fast-tracking the development of regional and rural recycling infrastructure, as it works to streamline kerbside recycling across the state.
Further investment in waste recovery and processing infrastructure is needed for economic growth in South Australia, according to the state’s newly released 20-year infrastructure strategy.
The NSW Government has allocated $3.4 million to assist rural and regional landfill upgrades and closures in Western NSW, the Central West Murray and Northern Tablelands.
Environment Department Acting Director of Resource Recovery Amanda Kane said the Landfill Consolidation and Environmental Improvements Program aims to support environmental outcomes in regional councils, including closing down and consolidating landfills.
“The grants provide up to $200,000 to rural and regional councils who manage licensed and unlicensed landfills,” Ms Kane said.
“The funding supports projects that improve landfills to better protect the environment, such as installing signage, litter and security fencing or infrastructure to sort and recycle materials.”
According to Ms Kane, the grants also support the closure of landfills that have long term legacy issues, while ensuring residents still have access to services.
Projects include landfill closures in Lithgow, Parkes, Hilltops, Bellingen, Upper Hunter and Mid Coast, and improvement works in Bourke, Gilgandra, Walgett, Richmond Valley, Bland, Tenterfield, Leeton, Parkes, Tamworth and Dungog.
The program is delivered through a partnership between the Environmental Trust and the NSW EPA, as part of the state’s $802 million Waste Less, Recycle More initiative.
The NSW EPA, in partnership with Infrastructure NSW, is developing a 20-year waste strategy for the state.
The strategy aims to set a 20-year vision for reducing waste, driving sustainable recycling markets and identifying and improving the state and regional waste infrastructure network.
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It will also aim to provide the waste industry with certainty and set goals and incentives to ensure the correct infrastructure decisions are made to meet community needs.
Stakeholders, including local government, industry experts and the broader community, will work with the EPA over the next six months to provide an evidence base and address the key priorities for the waste and resource recovery sector.
This will include examining similar waste strategies in Australia and around the world.
A long-term vision and roadmap will include new long-term goals for waste generation and landfill diversion, new policy positions and strategic decisions that aim to avoid waste and improve resource recovery, and a plan for new or enhanced policies to improve waste collection.
A framework for the delivery of an integrated state network will be part of the roadmap, along with aims to align policy and regulation to achieve long term strategic objectives and a plan to strengthen data quality and access.
The strategy is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.
The WA Government is seeking applications for a scheme coordinator to implement its container deposit scheme (CDS).
A scheme co-ordinator will establish and operate the collection network and will be responsible for managing the scheme’s finances.
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The successful applicant will be a not-for profit company and be appointed by WA Environment Minister Stephen Dawson.
New refund points and container sorting and processing plants will create 500 jobs across regional and metropolitan WA.
The scheme is part of the state government’s undertaking to reduce waste, which includes a ban on lightweight single-use plastic bags and a review of the state’s waste strategy.
Applications are open on the Tenders WA website and will close on 5 December 2018. The scheme will commence in early 2020.
Mr Dawson said Western Australians are overwhelmingly in favour of a container deposit scheme with 97 survey respondents supporting the scheme.
“Appointment of the scheme co-ordinator is a crucial step in the rollout of this container deposit scheme, and I look forward to working with the successful candidate to deliver the best scheme for all Western Australians,” he 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.
A due diligence study can now be undertaken for the construction of a $300 million municipal waste to energy plant in the Ballarat West Employment Zone.
It comes as a result of the City of Ballarat signing a Waste to Energy Heads of Agreement with the Malaysian Resources Corporation Berhad (MRCB).
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The City of Ballarat has been planning for a waste to energy facility for five years, which would divert 60 per cent of the city’s waste into an energy source for industries and reduce the current regional landfill’s environmental impacts.
Currently, 30,000 tonnes of waste are deposited in the landfill each year, with waste disposal costing more than $18 million per year.
It is estimated that the plant would increase the size of Ballarat’s economy by $202 million through building and flow on effects, with about 420 jobs created during construction and 120 ongoing jobs.
MRCB’s technology partner, Babcock and Wilcox Volund, built its first waste to energy plant in 1931 and has gone on to build more in the United States, China, Sweden, Ireland, Denmark, Malaysia and Korea.
City of Ballarat Mayor Cr Samantha McIntosh said the Western region was already a leader in renewable energy production, particularly wind energy, but this announcement would further enhance its standing.
“Signing this Heads of Agreement means we are one significant step closer to a Waste to Energy plant in Ballarat that would be a regional solution to our waste reduction issues while providing an affordable and reliable energy source,” Cr McIntosh said.
“It would also be a driving force in attracting industries and employment to BWEZ by delivering a uniquely competitive advantage.”
“We will also maintain our commitment to minimising waste through continual education about re-use and recycling.”
MRCB’s Group Managing Director Imran Salim arrived from Kuala Lumpur to witness the Heads of Agreement signing by Ravi Krishnan, CEO of MRCB International.
“MRCB is delighted to be in Ballarat and looks forward to working closely with the City of Ballarat and the wider community on providing a world class facility,” Mr Salim said.
A three-metre-long soft drink bottle will tour regional Victoria to call for a statewide container deposits scheme.
The Boomerang Alliance, representing 47 community groups and local government organisations, aims to rally thousands of Victorians and local MPs to encourage the state government to install a container deposit recycling scheme.
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Currently, Victoria and Tasmania are the only two states that do not have a scheme planned or implemented in Australia.
The ‘Big Bottle Tour’ will begin in Stawell on Saturday 31 March and continue for two weeks travelling from Warrnambool, Port Fairy, Melbourne, Mildura, Echuca, Beechworth, Bendigo, Castlemaine and Ballarat.
The tour will collect drink containers along the way and deliver them to the premier, along with a message from regional Victora about the importance of waste and littering issues in regional communities.
Landcare, Coastcare, Boomerang Bags and Plasticwise groups, and the Scouts have joined the Boomerang Alliance to highlight the benefits of these types of schemes in local communities.
“With the recycling industry in Victoria on the brink of collapse due to contaminated kerbside collections, the Victorian Government needs to act quickly to implement a viable long-term solution that will deliver clean material acceptable for recycling and grow domestic reprocessing,” said Director of Boomerang Alliance Jeff Angel.
“Victoria could lead on the circular economy around plastics but only by closing the loop and maximising the quality of reclaimed resource – container deposits schemes continue to prove their effectiveness in achieving this objective,” he said.
“As Victoria drowns in a sea of contaminated kerbside recycling, the time to act is now. Can the Andrews’ Government continue to ignore the evidence and oversee not only the destruction of Victoria’s recycling industry, but also the ongoing damage to its iconic environment?”
Port Fairy Sea Scouts Group leader Michelle Arnold welcomes the campaign and its three-metre large bottle to Port Fairy in a bid to get others to support the initiative.
“We see how well this scheme works for the scouts in South Australia. We have the setup to receive containers, we have eager scouts to go collecting and if you look at our scout hall, we certainly could put the funding to good use,” she said.