New NSW report highlights waste management improvement

New NSW report highlights waste management improvement

The New South Wales community is embracing recycling and cleaner energy technologies but the legacy of drought, bushfires and climate change has left a mark on the environment, according to the latest State of the Environment report.

Prepared every three years, the NSW State of the Environment reports on the status of key environmental issues facing New South Wales. The report is structured around six environmental themes: Drivers, Human Settlement, Climate and Air, Land, Biodiversity, Water and Marine

According to the report, the state has seen a drop in littering of 43 per cent over the past six years and 64 per cent of waste was diverted for recycling in 2019-20. Additionally, Greenhouse gas emissions in 2019 were 17 per cent lower than in 2005.

The NSW Government’s Waste Less, Recycle More program has also continued to be effective in managing waste, with new recycling facilities opening for problem wastes.

NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Acting Chief Executive Officer Jacqueleine Moore said keeping track of the changing data had never been more important.

“The latest instalment of this three-yearly report captures the impact of the devastating 2019-20 bushfires and the drought which damaged our native animal numbers, water quality and air quality, and topsoil,” Moore said.

“The State of the Environment covers 22 topics with data sourced from 11 different government bodies. It helps policy makers inform the right programs to target current and future environmental challenges.”

The future environmental challenges highlighted in the report include addressing the impacts of Sydney’s growing population on waste generation, water usage, natural resources and land clearing.

To view the report, click here.


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Sydney food scraps trial extended

Since July 2019, the City of Sydney has been running a food scrap collection and recycling trial for more than 11,500 households.

The trial is aimed at seeing results from mass food scarp collection, with the City of Sydney asking for more participants for the extended trial.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the food scrap trial is a great first step to reducing carbon emissions, with waste accounting for 9 per cent of Sydney’s carbon emissions.

“We’re in the middle of a climate crisis and need to save every scrap of carbon we can to accelerate emissions reduction,” Moore said.

“So far, the trial has diverted more than 500 tonnes of food waste from landfill, and we want to do more.”

Participants are offered a kitchen caddy bin and food scraps bin, as well as pop up information sites outside of the buildings.

“The response from those who are already part of the scheme has been incredibly positive,” Moore said.

“97 per cent of people taking part say it’s very easy to use and the overwhelming majority are very happy with the way it’s being run in their building,” she said.

The trial is being supported by funding from the NSW Environmental Trust, as part of the NSW EPAs Waste Less Recycle More program.

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AWRE to go ahead in November

After postponing the event due to COVID-19 travel restrictions and social distancing requirements, the team behind the Australasian Waste & Recycling Expo (AWRE) have announced that the event will take place 25-26 November at the ICC in Sydney.

“We have been committed to finding a solution to deliver an event in Sydney, later this year, to ensure business continuity to the waste and recycling industry,” an AWRE statement reads.

“Our continued aim is to provide a platform for the industry to grow, learn and conduct business safely. We are working alongside our partners, exhibitors and visitors to shape AWRE 2020 based on the needs and wants of the community.”

AWRE will also look to adapt, the statement says, and introduce new opportunities for industry buyers and suppliers to connect over the coming months.

“We are grateful to our community – our exhibitors, speakers, partners and visitors in the waste and recycling industry, for your resilience and continued support during this unprecedented time,” the statement reads.

“We look forward to AWRE 2020 providing a forum from which the waste, recycling and resource recovery sector can re-establish ties with each other and continue to drive change.”

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BINGO opens new Sydney recycling centre

BINGO Industries has opened its newest recycling centre in Mortdale, Sydney, with a license to collect 220,000 tonnes of commercial and industrial waste each year.

Located in close proximity to major transport routes the M5 Motorway and King Georges Road, BINGO CEO Daniel Tartak said the new facility provides a convenient tipping location for South West Sydney’s construction and demolition and commercial and industrial waste.

“This is an exciting milestone for our larger Sydney network redevelopment, and our Mortdale facility has been designed to play an important transfer and collections role within this network.” he said.

According to Mr Tartak, the facility has been built to comply with BINGO’s high standards of safety and environmental management, with advanced safety systems including fire protection hydrants, hose reels, sprinklers, water storage tanks, traffic barriers and CCTV inspection cameras.

100 kilowatts of roof-mounted solar panels have also been installed, which will see BINGO save roughly 2500 tonnes of carbon emissions over the life of the panels.

“The facility is a great example of what investment in recycling infrastructure can achieve, even at a smaller site. What was once an outdated waste facility is now leading the way in terms of fire protection, traffic flow efficiency and site safety,” Mr Tartak said.

“Space is at a premium at this site. To ensure we get our customers in and out as quickly as possible, we’ve installed four split weighbridges, meaning we can have trucks weighing in and out at the same time.”

Materials tipped at BINGO’s Mortdale facility will be sorted through the newly installed onsite plant. Material off-take will then be transferred to BINGO’s Eastern Creek and Patons Lane recycling plants, where it will be turned into BINGO’s ECO-product range of recycled building and landscaping products.

“With construction activity expected to increase across Sydney over the coming year, the opening of our Mortdale facility is well-timed,” Mr Tartak said.

“Sydney’s population and economic growth is fuelling an increase in waste volumes, and we need recycling infrastructure such as this to prevent waste from going into landfill.”

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Sydney recycling plant to close following “market collapse”

Polytrade Recycling, one of Sydney’s largest recycling plants, will close at the end of March following a collapse in market prices for plastics and paper products, according to a Sydney Morning Herald report.

“The company is the second largest recycler of contents from yellow-topped bins in Sydney, after Australian waste giant Visy,” the report reads.

“Polytrade has been operating the Rydalmere plant since 2013, handling tens of thousands of tonnes of kerbside recyclables a year.”

As a result of the closure, four Sydney councils – Fairfield, the Inner West, Willoughby and Lithgow – will be forced to find alternative facilities for their kerbside recyclables.

According to the report, Willoughby Council said it “may consider an increase in rates in the future,” due to the cost of an alternative recycler being more than double the price of Polytrade.

“Last week the council began sending recyclables to iQ Renew, which has a plant on the Central Coast, after Polytrade cited China’s waste ban and “subsequent collapse of the international and local recycling market” as reasons for the closure,” the report reads.

Polytrade Group General Manager Tony Lyons told the Sydney Morning Herald that it had become more expensive to recycle in Australia, and “someone needs to pay for it.”

“The lease is ending at Rydalmere and the intention to build a large-scale materials recovery facility in Sydney has been put on hold until we are confident that the gate fee being collected creates a price mechanism that allows that investment,” he said.

Waste Contractors & Recyclers Association of NSW Executive Director Tony Khoury said that with world-wide demand for recyclable commodities at a low point, prices have plummeted.

“At the same time, there is a need to clean-up these recyclable materials, as the buyers of these commodities are demanding much lower contamination rates. Our own Federal Government is currently proposing export bans on all manner of mixed recyclables,” he said.

“With councils across NSW currently proposing budgets for the 2020/2021 year, it would be very prudent for them to make a provision for additional recycling processing costs. The extent of these additional funds should be determined by councils in meaningful consultation with their processing contractors.”

The reality is, Mr Khoury said, that the cost of recycling is on the rise, and contractors require additional funds to process materials from kerbside recycling.

“To ensure that we have a sustainable recycling industry, local government, and indeed all waste generators, have to accept that price increases. If not, then it is likely that at some point in time there will be failures in the recycling system.”

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Simply Cups reaches 10 million milestone

Simply Cups, a coffee cup recycling program, has officially collected 10 million cups, with Assistant Waste Reduction Minister Trevor Evans depositing the milestone cup at an event in Sydney.

According to Mr Evans, the recycling scheme, founded by Closed Loop, collects almost one million cups every month, with nearly 1000 collection points at 7-Eleven stores, cafes, hotels, hospitals and universities across Australia.

“Australians love their coffee, so it’s vital that they can easily and reliably recycle their disposable coffee cup and reduce the huge number of takeaway cups that currently end up in landfill each year,” Mr Evans said.

“Rather than just being put into the rubbish bin and ending in landfill, Simply Cups collect and then reprocess the used coffee cups, transforming them into new items like outdoor furniture, coffee cup trays and even traffic solutions like roadside kerbing.”

By disposing coffee cups at designated collection points, Mr Evans said consumers could do their part to increase recycling.

“This is a great practical example of Australia’s growing circular economy in action, and shows how we will all benefit from an invigorated waste and recycling industry,” he said.

Closed Loop Managing Director Rob Pascoe said Simply Cups aims to recycle 100 million cups every year.

“It’s a practical solution that increases recycling rates and reduces waste, while creating supply and demand for products made from recycled material,” he said.

“Our circular economy will grow quickly if people choose Australian-made and recycled over other alternatives. After all, recycling doesn’t actually happen when you put an item in a bin, it only happens when that item is given a second life.”

7-Eleven Chief Executive Officer Angus McKay said that while saving 10 million coffee cups from landfill is a fantastic achievement, it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

“We encourage customers to up the ante and deliver any brand of used coffee cup or straw to our cup collection points at store, and we’ll make sure they get recycled via Simply Cups,” he said.

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Woolworths partners with Sydney Zoo to rescue food waste

Animals at Sydney Zoo will soon be feeding on surplus fresh food rescued from Woolworths, after the zoo joined Woolworth’s Stock Feed for Farmers program.

According to a Woolworths statement, Sydney Zoo joins over 750 farmers and community groups that access surplus fresh food from the supermarket.

“Last year more than 32,000 tonnes of surplus food no longer suitable for sale or human consumption went to feed animals both on farms and in zoos,” the statement reads.

Woolworths Head of Sustainability Adrian Cullen said Woolworths first diversion priority is working with OzHarvest, Foodbank and Fareshare to feed people that would otherwise go hungry.

“We then work with local farmers and the likes of Sydney Zoo, so that surplus food, which cannot go to hunger relief, is used as feed for animals or for on-farm composting, to help further reduce any food waste,” he said.

Sydney Zoo Managing Director Jake Burgess said Woolworths’ support will allow the zoo to reallocate funds from food to conservation and education work.

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