WA awards grants to help charities combat illegal dumping

The Western Australian Government has reimbursed more than $300,000 in waste disposal levy fees to charitable recycling organisations forced to dispose of waste from illegal dumping and unusable donations.

Delivered through the state’s Waste Authority, six charitable recyclers shared in $300,357 of rebates to pay for the disposal of goods illegally dumped at their donation bins or shopfronts, as well as well-intentioned but unusable donations that cannot be recycled or reused.

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said the rebates will help charities meet the costs of disposing 4294 tonnes of unwanted or unusable goods to landfill.

“Most people are well-intentioned when it comes to giving their old clothes to charity but, unfortunately, charitable recyclers continue to be burdened by large amounts of dumped or unwanted donations,” he said.

“Dumping donations outside charity stores completely negates any environmental benefit you may have achieved with a successful donation, as dumped goods will ultimately end up in landfill.”

Grants have been delivered for measures such as high security donation bins and security cameras at charity shopfronts.

“I urge Western Australians to please do the right thing, especially during these uncertain times, to help our charities who assist the most vulnerable people in our community,” Dawson said.

“If your items are not good enough to give to a friend please do not give them to charity and do not dump your goods outside stores, which create a huge cost to charities to clean up.”

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$3.5M bonus for WA’s delayed container deposit scheme

The Western Australian government will invest $3.5 million to support network participants following the deferral of Containers for Change, which will now be launched later this year.

The state government announced Western Australia’s container deposit scheme will commence on October 1.

Stephen Dawson, WA Environment Minister, said the scheme’s launch date had to be delayed due to COVID-19, a decision that was supported by the community and the scheme co-ordinator, and public health advice.

The Containers for Change scheme will pave the way for reduced litter, improved recycling rates, and the creation of new businesses and employment opportunities across the state.

“Western Australians have been telling us they are ready and willing to get involved in a cash for cans scheme, they want to recycle right and they want to ensure less beverage containers end up in landfill,” Dawson said.

“An October launch date strikes the right balance between keeping people safe and ensuring the sustainability of the network.”

Originally slated to start on 1 July 2020, it was announced at the end of March that due to COVID-19, the scheme would have to be deferred to either November 2020 or June 2021, to be determined following a review in August 2020.

According to a statement from Dawson, the financial assistance package of up to $3.5 million will support network participants financially impacted by deferral of the scheme, ensuring they remain viable until scheme commencement and It will also ensure sustainability of the collection network.

Containers for Change will allow Western Australians to claim a 10-cent refund when they return eligible beverage containers at designated refund points across the state.

In preparation for the scheme, participants made financial commitments such as taking on leases, staff and technology to support their operations.

The Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR) stated that the $3.5 million assistance package will provide much-needed certainty for operators involved in the scheme.

Gayle Sloan, WMRR CEO, said the scheme will play an important role in delivering ongoing investment in WA, while providing additional and welcome cash flow to communities.

“The WA government is to be congratulated for acting so swiftly in addressing COVID-19, enabling an earlier restart date than initially contemplated,” she said.

“WMRR also genuinely appreciates that the government has listened to the concerns of operators who had worked tirelessly towards the initial 1 July 2020 start date and were left with uncertainty around the new commencement date,

“In knowing that the scheme will commence on 1 October 2020, coupled with compensation for sites that had already been secured and developed for the scheme, puts WA’s CDS back on track.”

The CDS is also an important part in the COAG waste export bans puzzle, as plastic that flows through the scheme are amongst those that will be impacted when the bans are implemented.

“The impending bans and CDS present an opportunity to grow WA’s domestic remanufacturing capacity,” Sloan said.

The funding will be made available from June 2, 2020 until scheme commencement.

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WA injects $20M into FOGO

The Western Australian Government has announced $20 million in funding over six years to support local governments transition to better practice three-bin FOGO kerbside services.

According to Environment Minister Stephen Dawson, local governments are now eligible to apply for funding of up to $25 for each household receiving a three-bin FOGO collection service through the Better Bins Plus: Go FOGO program.

“Funding can be used to offset the costs of providing kitchen caddies and compostable liners, and implementing community education and engagement programs to support the rollout of high performing FOGO services,” he said.

“I encourage local governments and their communities to get behind this program, apply for funding for FOGO services and support our move towards more consistent and better performing waste management services.”

Local governments that have already accessed Better Bins funding of $30 per household can access an additional $15 per household.

Mr Dawson said while many Western Australian households already have access to a three‑bin system through the Better Bins program, in most cases, the organics bin is for garden waste only.

“High performing three bin FOGO services can achieve recovery rates of more than 65 per cent and make the single biggest contribution to achieving the waste strategy material recovery targets for municipal solid waste,” he said.

“Recycling can support around three times the number of jobs compared to waste disposal, and, as identified by the City of Melville, FOGO can reduce local government waste management costs.”

The state government will also support the FOGO rollout with new composting facility guidelines, establishing a reference group to provide advice on rollout issues and licensing new composting operations that can safely receive materials.

Applications for funding allocated in 2020-21 will close July 10.

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WA defers CDS launch in wake of COVID-19

The Western Australian Government has deferred the launch of its container deposit scheme Containers for Change due to COVID-19 concerns.

Originally planned to launch June 2, Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said the decision to delay the scheme reflects the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 and its expected disruption to refund points.

According to Mr Dawson, the postponement is in accordance with advice from the scheme co-ordinator, WA Return Recycle Renew.

“COVID-19 has resulted in significant global, national and state impacts and there has been disruption across the board for government initiatives and services,” he said.

“The state government, in close consultation with WA Return Recycle Renew and the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, determined that under the COVID-19 environment we are all faced with, there are too many potential health risks and logistical difficulties to start the scheme on June 2, 2020.”

The state government will review the situation in August 2020 to determine whether the scheme’s new start date will be November 2020 or June 2021.

“Delaying the scheme until after the major impacts of COVID-19 are felt will eliminate the public health concerns such as potential risk of infection from handling containers, as well as over-the-counter refund points contravening social distancing,” Mr Dawson said.

“While it is disappointing to be deferring the scheme, we remain committed to delivering the most diverse and accessible scheme in Australia. We will continue to work together and update the community, operators and suppliers throughout this period of uncertainty.”

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Grants open for WA CDS donation and refund points

The Western Australian Government is offering $200,000 in community grants to support the introduction of state’s upcoming container deposit scheme Containers for Change.

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said not-for-profit organisations, schools and community groups can apply for a grant of up to $2000 to help them establish a donation or refund point for beverage containers.

“The grants, which will be administered by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, can be used for infrastructure such as bins, cages, skips, security stands, fences, tippers, sorting equipment and trailers,” he said.

According to Mr Dawson, priority will be given to applicants providing employment outcomes for people with disability, the long-term unemployed, and under-served remote and regional areas.

“We know from other states where container deposit schemes have been introduced that the 10-cent refund for eligible containers creates great opportunities for the whole community – from jobs, to local fundraising, to environmental benefits,” he said.

“I encourage anyone who is interested in this great initiative to register their attendance at their nearest community information session.”

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WA opens waste reform consultation

The Western Australian Government is inviting public comment on potential reforms to guide the future of waste management in the state.

The state government has released two consultation papers – Closing the loop: waste reforms for a circular economy and Review of the waste levy – to support the implementation of its Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030.

According to Environment Minister Stephen Dawson, the proposed reforms highlight the state government’s commitment to increasing resource recovery and tackling illegal waste disposal.

“The state government is committed to a cleaner and more sustainable environment. Becoming a sustainable, low waste, circular economy is key for protecting our environment for future generations,” Mr Dawson said.

Closing the loop: waste reforms for a circular economy outlines legislative proposals to improve waste management in WA including:

— Reforming landfill and solid waste storage facility licensing under the Environmental Protection Act 1986.

— Reviewing waste levy application at waste facilities, including new measures to reduce long-term solid waste stockpiling.

— Targeting illegal waste disposal through new compliance and enforcement mechanisms; and

— Strengthening waste reporting and tracking to ensure proper disposal.

Alternatively, Review of the waste levy canvasses broader strategic issues related to the waste levy’s design, including geographical area and a schedule of future levy rates.

To allow time for the review to be completed, Mr Dawson said there would be no levy increase for 2020-21.

“I encourage community and industry stakeholders to consider the proposals in the two consultation papers, as their feedback will contribute to the development of approaches to improve waste management,” he said.

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