WA CDS legislative provisions in place

Western Australia’s container deposit scheme (CDS) is in full implementation phase, with legislative provisions now complete.

The Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery (Container Deposit Scheme) Amendment Regulations 2019 set out rules for the scheme co-ordinator, participants, refunds and eligible containers.

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said more than 170 refund points will be in place by June 2020, with at least 229 points to be in place by the end of the scheme’s first year.

“The state government is working to deliver the best CDS in the nation, with more refund points per person than any scheme in Australia,” Mr Dawson said.

“People will receive a 10-cent refund when they return eligible beverage containers to refund points throughout the state.”

According to Mr Dawson, over the next 20 years the scheme is estimated to result in 706 million fewer beverage containers littered, 6.6 billion fewer beverage containers sent to landfill and 5.9 billion more containers being recycled.

“Containers for Change will also help create 500 jobs across the state, with a key objective of the scheme to support employment of people with disability and the long-term unemployed,” Mr Dawson said.

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$10M mercury waste facility opens in WA

A $10 million facility with the capacity to treat 2000 tonnes of mercury-contaminated waste each year has opened in Kwinana, Western Australia.

According to Environment Minister Stephen Dawson, the BMT Mercury Technology facility will accept, store and treat mercury-contaminated waste from various sources, including the state’s oil and gas industry.

“Given the state government’s focus on waste, I am very pleased to see this facility start operations and increase capacity,” Mr Dawson said.

Mr Dawson said the facility is consistent with the Minamata Convention and the Basel Convention, which guide global jurisdictions on the environmentally sound management and transport of mercury.

“Not only does this facility address our priority to manage waste locally, generate jobs and protect the environment, it is also part of our responsibility under global conventions, of which Australia is a signatory,” he said.

Mr Dawson said the facility will prevent waste from being exported for treatment, left in long-term storage or ending up in landfill.

“BMT’s facility is an example of how Western Australia can manage some of the impacts locally, and reduce the risks involved with transporting hazardous materials,” Mr Dawson said.

“It also supports our resources industry, and results in better waste management and environmental protection outcomes for Western Australia.”

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WA awards waste management grants

The Western Australian Government has allocated $1.17 million in waste management grants, following independant panel assessments from the latest Community and Industry Engagement (CIE) program application round.

According to Environment Minister Stephen Dawson, CIE aims to support organisations that promote better waste management operations, behaviours, practices and awareness.

“I’m encouraged by the high level of interest in the CIE program and its objectives to improve the way we manage our waste,” Mr Dawson said.

“The community shift to treat waste as a resource shows that we are well on our way to getting our waste sorted.”

Mr Dawson said awarded projects focus on recovering materials identified in the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030 including plastics, construction and demolition waste and food organics and garden organics waste.

“In line with the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030 released earlier this year, the state government is clear that it wants at least 75 per cent of waste generated to be reused or recycled by 2030,” Mr Dawson said.

“This program is just one way we can support industry and the community and bring some of the best projects to life.”

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Plastic bag litter drops 30 per cent in WA

The amount of plastic bag litter in Western Australia has fallen by 29.9 per cent, according to the latest National Litter Index Report.

The drop follows the state’s introduction of a lightweight plastic bag ban in July last year.

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said the National Litter Index also indicates that the total volume and number of items littered in Western Australia has fallen by 15.7 per cent and 8.5 per cent respectively.

According to Mr Dawson, the state also saw a 18.3 per cent reduction in glass litter, and a 7.1 per cent reduction in paper litter.

“The latest index also found less litter at West Australian beaches with a 58.6 per cent drop, retail precincts falling 46.9 per cent, shopping centres down 9.3 per cent, major roads and highways dropping 8.2 per cent and recreational parks down 1.5 per cent, compared to the previous report,” Mr Dawson said.

“Higher levels of litter were counted on residential streets, rising 4.7 per cent, industrial precincts 3.5 per cent and at car parks, increasing by more than 27 per cent.”

Mr Dawson said cigarette butts and cigarette packaging continue to be the most littered item, making up almost one third of the states litter.

“It is never ok to litter your cigarette butts. There is a serious risk of bushfire caused by disposing of lit cigarettes, as well as being harmful to our wildlife,” Mr Dawson said.

“To raise awareness of this major problem, Keep Australia Beautiful WA has launched a campaign highlighting the effects of cigarette butts on the environment and remind smokers they face fines of up to $500 for littering cigarette butts.”

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EOI’s sought for WA Contaminated Sites Committee

The Western Australian Government is seeking expressions of interest to join the state’s Contaminated Sites Committee, which determines appeals of contaminated site matters.

The independent committee, established in 2006 under the Contaminated Sites Act 2003, makes decisions regarding clean up, remediation responsibilities and classifications of contaminated sites.

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said all current Contaminated Sites Committee members’ roles expire shortly, with three in October and two, including the chairperson, in December.

“WA’s Contaminated Sites Act makes it compulsory to report known or suspected contaminated sites, making this among the most progressive contaminated sites legislation in Australia,” Mr Dawson said.

“The committee has acted effectively in resolving more than 150 appeals over more than a decade, and the new members will no doubt play an important role in ensuring this continues.”

Mr Dawson said government is seeking committee members with knowledge, skills and expertise in environmental or contaminated site management, as well as legal practitioners with experience in environmental or property law.

Expressions of interest close 20 September.

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Funding available for WA waste sector

The Western Australian government has announced a further $1.17 million in funding for projects that will support the state’s waste and recycling sector.

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said the latest round of funding supports the continued development of waste and recycling infrastructure in Western Australia, and reinforces government’s commitment to a cleaner, more sustainable environment.

“Waste is a priority issue for the state government, and we are committed to funding initiatives through the Community and Industry Engagement program,” Mr Dawson said.

“This program gives industry and community groups financial backing for projects that contribute to Western Australia becoming a sustainable, low-waste, circular economy.”

Projects to improve the recovery and reuse of glass, construction and demolition materials, food organics and garden organics, as well as those that encourage behaviour change, are encouraged to apply for a funding grant.

“I encourage the community to access this funding for initiatives that help reduce waste generation, divert waste from landfill and help educate the community and industry,” Mr Dawson said.

Past successful recipients include Green Machines Lab for a plastic reprocessing plant and Good Samaritan Industries for a cardboard recycler system that converts scrap cardboard into packaging material.

Grants are provided as part of the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030, and will be made available through the Community and Industry Engagement program administered by the Waste Authority.

Applications 23 September.

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WA announces CDS launch date

Western Australian Environment Minister Stephen Dawson has announced the state’s new container deposit scheme, Containers for Change, will launch June 2, 2020.

Western Australians will be able to return and recycle their eligible containers at any Containers for Change refund point and receive a 10 cents refund per container.

“Our June 2 start date will give the local charities and businesses, that will operate refund points and be providers in the scheme, enough time to organise the infrastructure and staffing they need to make their participation a success from day one,” Mr Dawson said.

More than 170 full-time or flexible refund points will be open for business in June next year, with 229 refund points to open by the end of the scheme’s first year.

“An array of refund points will be available – from over-the-counter depots providing on-the-spot refunds, to ‘Bag Drops’ that provide the convenience of a ‘drop and go’ facility, with refunds deposited into customers nominated bank accounts once their containers are counted,” Mr Dawson said.

“Mobile refund points and reverse vending machines will also be in operation.”

Mr Dawson said beverage containers account for 44 per cent of all litter by volume in Western Australia.

“WA’s container deposit scheme will create positive change for our environment by encouraging people not to litter, and provide a fundraising opportunity for schools and community groups across the state,” Mr Dawson said.

“Containers for Change is a great win for WA’s environment, for jobs, for our local community and sporting groups always looking for new ways to raise much-needed funds, and for our kids to learn about the benefits of recycling.”

According to Mr Dawson, over the next 20 years the scheme is estimated to result in 706 million fewer beverage containers littered, 6.6 billion fewer beverage containers sent to landfill and 5.9 billion more containers being recycled.

“Containers for Change will also help create 500 jobs across the state, with a key objective of the scheme to support employment of people with disability and the long-term unemployed,” Mr Dawson said.

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New WA Waste Authority board

Western Australian Environment Minister Stephen Dawson has announced a new five-member Waste Authority board.

The board is tasked with guiding the Waste Authority’s implementation of the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030, while driving key programs and offering advice to Mr Dawson.

Former WA Chamber of Minerals and Energy CEO Reg Howard-Smith has been appointed Waste Authority chairperson, while Workpower CEO Lee Broomhall has been appointed deputy chairperson.

“There was an extremely strong field of applicants, so I’m pleased to welcome the team of people who will help realise the state government’s vision to reuse or recycle at least 75 per cent of waste generated in WA by 2030,” Mr Dawson said.

“I look forward to working with these five talented people, who bring a wide range of experience to this board – including shaping strategic direction and policy, urban sustainability, project and waste management and exposure to the local government and planning sectors.”

Bloodwood Tree Association CEO Kelly Howlett, Southern Metropolitan Regional Council CEO Tim Youé and Josh Byrne & Associates Director Joshua Byrne have been appointed board members.

“I would like to thank outgoing chairperson Marcus Geisler, who has played an instrumental role on the board since 2008, outgoing deputy chairperson Jenny Bloom and the other outgoing members Victoria Bond, Neil Foley and Glen McLeod,” Mr Dawson said.

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WA awards waste avoidance and recovery grants

More than $2.29 million has been allocated between 28 projects for waste avoidance and recovery in Western Australia, as part of the latest round of Community and Industry Engagement grants.

Western Australian Environment Minister Stephen Dawson, who announced the recipients earlier this week, said awarded projects were selected following an independent panel assessment of 90 applications.

“The community shift to treating waste as a resource shows we are well on our way to owning our impact,” Mr Dawson said.

“In our waste strategy released earlier this year, the state government was clear that we want at least 75 per cent of waste generated to be reused or recycled by 2030.”

Selected projects were broken up into two streams, with awards for the general stream including $93,000 for the Western Australia plastic processing plant and $81,450 for a Mindarie regional council FOGO trial.

Infrastructure stream grants include $114,000 for the reuse and recycle shop baler upgrade and $310,000 for the Old Quarry Road transfer station and reuse shop.

According to Mr Dawson, funding decisions were made to improve the recovery and reuse of focus materials from the WA Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030 including plastic, glass, construction and demolition and FOGO.

“A number of grant recipients have received funding to develop WA’s plastics recycling capacity, including two grants to Greenbatch for reprocessing equipment and education facilities, and a grant to Precious Plastics Margaret River for a community recycling project in the south west,” Mr Dawson said.

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WA releases CDS planning statement

The Western Australian Government is providing guidance to local government and industry on the location and development of CDS infrastructure, with the release of a planning commission position statement.

The statement lists five types of CDS infrastructure including container collection cages, in shop over-the-counter return points, reverse vending machines, container deposit recycling centres and large-scale facilities.

“Proponents seeking to install CDS infrastructure should engage with the relevant local government as part of the site selection process,” the statement reads.

“This early engagement will allow local government to assess if the site being proposed is appropriate, and how it might relate to the CDS network more broadly as well as servicing considerations.”

Planning Minister Rita Saffioti said to maximise the effectiveness of the CDS in reducing litter and increasing recycling, it is important for associated infrastructure to be conveniently located in communities across WA.

“The position statement also aims to ensure the location, design and siting of CDS infrastructure is complementary to the character, functionality and amenity of surrounding neighbourhoods,” Ms Saffioti said.

“Encouraging more recycling in the community is a priority of the state government and we can achieve better outcomes by setting guidelines through the planning system.”

According to the statement, key issue for consideration include how the infrastructure fits in the surrounding built context? Is it universally accessible? Does the infrastructure necessitate the provision of waste bins? And does the location allow for passive surveillance?

Environment Minster Stephen Dawson said a clear and consistent planning approvals process for the collection network is crucial to ensuring appropriately located refund points.

“Having approval criteria aligned across local government areas will also help operators who plan to set up refund points in multiple locations,” Mr Dawson said.

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