We say thank you

Waste Management Review and Australia’s waste management associations would like to give a big thank you for all those out there working hard amid challenges.

This article provides a list of some lifetime members that have made a significant contribution to the sector.

While some state-based associations are less than five years old, others such as the Waste Contractors and Recycling Association NSW (WCRA) are some of the oldest waste associations in the world.

Newer associations such as the Waste Recycling Industry Queensland (WRIQ), maintain a rich history spanning just over a decade, while the Victorian Waste Management Association’s (VWMA) has over 30 years under its belt.

Associations that have existed for many years have a number of lifetime members. In WCRA’s case, life members means persons who have been appointed by the executive for an outstanding service of a minimum of 10 years to the industry.

These hard working members have consistently put the interests of the association and industry ahead of their own commercial and person interests. Additionally, they have enhanced the operation and reputation of the association and industry.

Tony Khoury, WCRA Executive Director, would like to acknowledge the following life members for their service to the waste management industry and the association:

— Arthur Baker

— Bernadette Byrnes

— Terry Dene

— Mike Noble

— Barry Thomas

— Harry Wilson

“Through their involvement with WCRA, these wonderful people enhanced the operation and reputation of the association and the industry,” Mr Khoury said.

“They consistently put the interests of the association and the industry ahead of their personal and business interests in the discharge of their respective duties and responsibilities.”

In Victoria, the VWMA recognised Graham Lenthall at their annual general meeting for his contribution to the industry.

Graham, who retired from the industry in 2018, has accumulated over 40 years of experience across many of today’s well known waste and recycling operators.

The association congratulates and thanks Graham for his service.

Graham joins other industry greats such as:

— Edward (Ted) Smith

— Harry Gooden

— Neil Stow

— Tony Whelan

VWMA CEO Peter Anderson said the industry has improved and developed with the assistance of the above individuals who have consistently displayed their passion, commitment and dedication.

“It is with enormous pride that they be recognised and forever be remembered for what they have done for our industry,” he said.

WRIQ would like to acknowledge the following lifetime members:

— Bob Eggleton

— Nev Brownlow

— Grant Stockwell

WRIQ CEO Mark Smith said it is so important we acknowledge those industry greats that have contributed so much to our sector.

“In Queensland we also look to acknowledge the great work happening across our state through our annual award,” he said.

The National Waste and Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC) was formed in early 2017 and represents major companies like Alex Fraser Group, Cleanaway, J.J. Richards and Sons, Solo Resource Recovery, Sims Metals Management, Suez, Toxfree, Remondis, ResourceCo and Veolia.

The NWRIC would like to acknowledge Doug Dean and Max Spedding, former CEOs of Veolia and NWRIC respectively.

Mr Spedding recently spoke to Waste Management Review about his vast experience and provided some sentiments about the potential future direction of the waste and resource recovery sector.

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WRIQ appoints new CEO

After more than 14 years at the helm, Rick Ralph will be handing the reigns as CEO of Queensland’s largest industry and business body representing the waste and recycling sector to newly appointed CEO Mark Smith.

Rick has made an enormous contribution to the sector nationally but in particular in Queensland where he founded WCRA (Qld) which evolved to WRIQ that many know today.

In his time as CEO, Rick’s delivered initiatives and programs that have strengthened the industry in Queensland and has  advocated for the many WRIQ members who are delivering essential services to every single Queensland business and household.

Stepping into the role of CEO will be former Victorian Waste Management Association (VWMA) Executive Officer Mark Smith.

Rick Ralph

In his time as Executive Officer of the VWMA, Mark raised the profile and membership base of the association creating new member services, training and events calendar while advocating for more effective regulation and engagement by the EPA and further investment into the sector by the Victorian Government.

Mr Smith said he was proud of the contribution he had made, including advocating for a number of policy measures included in the Recycling Victoria policy, but it was time for a new challenge.

“I’m really looking forward to supporting WRIQ members. As it is an election year in Queensland, our advocacy will be really important in shaping the state’s future in waste management and resource recovery,” Mr Smith said.

“I’m standing on the shoulder of a giant coming into the role and really excited to build on the strong foundations that have been created by Rick and the WRIQ Board.”

He added that it is no doubt a challenging time for WRIQ members, but they remain determined to deliver essential services to Queenslanders and those business that are still opening and operating.

As the transition to new CEO is currently underway, Mr Smith and outgoing CEO Rick Ralph both agreed that COVID-19 would not impact how WRIQ supports its members.

“We hear a lot of people talking about how this is unprecedented times – and this is most certainly true, but we can only get through this if we work together with government, business, community and elected representatives,” Mr Smith said.

“While there are a lot of unknowns, for our sector it doesn’t change the fact that we still need to go out and deliver services. We do this well and what I’ll be advocating to the Queensland Government will be for tangible outcomes that support our sector’s future growth”

Mr Smith said that although Rick was retiring from the role, he was confident Rick would remain a close ally for WRIQ.

WMR recently sat down with Rick to talk about his contribution to the sector you can read that article here.

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Recycling Victoria: a new economy? Part two

The Victorian Government’s Recycling Victoria strategy is the largest package of recycling reforms in the state’s history. Waste Management Review explores the policy.

Read moreRecycling Victoria: a new economy? Part two

Industry responds to COVID-19 support packages

Waste Management Review will be running a four-part series throughout April on conquering waste industry challenges amid COVID-19 and possible future opportunities. In this first part, we highlight a summary of support packages available to the sector across each jurisdiction and what industry groups are hoping to see going forward.

Read moreIndustry responds to COVID-19 support packages

VWMA and EPA host waste tracker workshops

The Victorian Waste Management Association (VWMA), in collaboration with the Victorian EPA, recently carried out workshops to help inform and shape upcoming engagement activities related to EPA’s new integrated waste tracking tool.

In April 2019, the Victorian Government announced it would invest $5.5 million to switch to a GPS electronic tracking system on the back of a series of high profile illegal stockpile fires. With improved data analytics and reporting, the system is designed to better record the production, movement and receipt of industrial and high risk waste.

The new system will enable the EPA to monitor the movement of waste more quickly and accurately, with additional modern surveillance devices and tougher penalties. This will deliver insights on sector activity, trends and highlight potential illegal activity.

Victoria will see the biggest overhaul of environmental laws taking place from July 1, when the Environment Protection Act and related subordinate legislation comes into effect. For more information about these incoming laws click here

According to EPA Executive Director Regulatory Standards Assessments & Permissions Tim Eaton, the system is designed to enable businesses to comply with new laws.

“It’s an important investment in creating more transparency of waste movement and improving usability with modern technology,” he said.

Despite the VWMA supporting the action, VWMA Executive Officer Mark Smith said government needs to ensure implementation doesn’t result in unintended consequences from rogue operators that will actively look for ways around the system, while at the same time burdening already compliant businesses.

Late last year, the VWMA did a call out to the industry for expressions of interest to join a working group around the topic of Prescribed Industrial Waste (PIW) and the incoming waste tracking system.

“Membership with the association empowers us to act on our member’s behalves. Members have raised concerns with me throughout the year about incoming changes so we decided to form a working group to better understand the industry issues, concerns and opportunities that exist with the incoming changes,” Mr Smith said. 

“Last year, we saw a very rushed engagement process by EPA in the lead up to shifting Victorian businesses from a paper-based waste transport system to an only online system. The process last year let down a lot of businesses and there was room to improve. This year we wanted to be on the front foot and work with EPA to ensure those improvements were realised.” 

Mr Smith added that despite rushed 2019 consultation, the EPA has since changed its approach, recognising the opportunities of early engagement and industry involvement.

“EPA have engaged early – from July last year at our State Conference they began engaging with industry and informing them about the incoming changes. The biggest challenge we have now is that there isn’t much time before going live for EPA 2.0,” he said. 

“This time round, we’ve seen business asked to provide input and feedback in the development of the new waste tracking system and its implementation. It’s great to see EPA recognising the important role that our members play in this process.”

Mr Smith flagged that the new normal for businesses in Victoria will be an expectation that they are taking active steps to understand what compliance means for them.

“In short they need to know and understand their risks and have the appropriate systems and processes in place to eliminate or reduce risk and impacts. The VWMA will provide our members information about incoming changes as they are made available, but I’d encourage members and non-members to subscribe to EPA’s communications via their website,” he said. 

VWMA represents Victoria’s largest collection of waste and recycling operators including private operators, local councils, state government agencies and service providers / suppliers to the industry.

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VIC to introduce CDS and four bin kerbside system

The Victorian Government will introduce a container deposit scheme (CDS) by 2023, as part of a new suite of initiatives to reduce waste to landfill by 80 per cent over 10 years.

A four bin kerbside system will also be rolled out as part of a $129 million overhaul of the state’s waste and recycling sector, with seperate bins for glass, food and garden organics, household waste and plastic, metal and paper.

Premier Daniel Andrews said that by collecting glass separately, Victoria can ensure effective recycling, with jars and bottles transformed multiple times into different products, including new roads and footpaths.

“Separate glass collection will also make recovery of other recyclables – like plastic, metal and paper – simpler, with the food and organic bin significantly reducing the amount of waste going to landfill,” he said.

According to Mr Andrews, the bin rollout will begin gradually next year – informed by the needs of local communities and existing council contracts.

“There will also be special arrangements for remote regional households and people in apartments, to ensure everyone gets access to the new four-bin system,” he said.

“This represents a holistic approach to reducing, reusing and recycling our state’s waste. That’s good news for Victoria’s environment and good news for Victorian jobs.”

Waste management will also be classified as an essential service under the new system, to ensure a basic standard of service across the state.

Additionally, a dedicated waste authority will be established to help the state better govern its recycling system and hold waste service providers to account.

“An education and behaviour change campaign will support the rollout of the initiatives. It will target households, businesses, councils, community groups and charities – helping them transition to the new system,” Mr Andrews added.

The Victorian Waste Management Association (VWMA) has welcomed the changes, highlighting Victoria as the only Australian jurisdiction without a CDS currently in place.

VWMA CEO Peter Anderson said the association sees tremendous benefits for Victoria through the introduction of the scheme, including less rubbish sent to landfill, less litter from single use items covered by the scheme and the opportunity to further build public awareness about waste and recycling.

“The Victorian Government is to be congratulated for listening to stakeholders from the waste and recycling sector on the development of this CDS, which will transform how Victorians dispose of certain materials,” Mr Anderson said.

“It’s important that Victorians understand that this is not about imposing additional costs or inconvenience when it comes to disposal of recyclables. It’s about dramatically increasing the amount of waste that gets recycled and, conversely, reducing how much we send to landfill.”

The VWMA has worked closely with the Victorian Government to establish the scheme, Mr Anderson said, and looks forward to further engagement and consultation.

“As part of the transition to a CDS, change and adjustment will be required of every Victorian household and we may need to do things differently,” he said.

“Changes to the size of our bins and frequency of collection will be likely, and we look forward to working with the Victorian Government to help educate Victorians on the many environmental and economic benefits a CDS will deliver.”

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