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

WA awards $62K under Waste Wise Schools program

A total of 20 Western Australian schools will share in more than $62,000 for projects to reduce waste, after being awarded grants under the Waste Wise Schools program.

According to Environment Minister Stephen Dawson, the program delivers educational resources aimed at changing behaviour to avoid waste generation and encourage diversion from landfill.

“The McGowan Government is committed to a target of 75 per cent of waste generated in WA being reused or recycled by 2030,” he said.

“The Waste Wise Schools accreditation program is an important part of this commitment, as the values we teach our children are the ones that the community will have in the future.”

A total of 505 schools across Western Australia are accredited under the program, Mr Dawson said, which is funded by the state government through the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Account, administered by the Waste Authority.

“Accredited Waste Wise Schools are empowering their community by spreading the ‘avoid, reduce, reuse and recycle’ messages and providing their students and community with practical activities that raise awareness and reduce waste,” Mr Dawson said.

“The program is part of a wider range of strategic waste reforms, including our ban on lightweight plastic bags, the introduction of a container deposit scheme this year, and consideration of further options for reducing single-use plastics following extensive public consultation.”

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Nominations open for WA waste awards

Nominations are being sought for the 2020 Infinity Awards, which recognise innovative solutions to reduce waste and meet Western Australian recycling targets.

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said the awards are open to individuals, businesses, government, schools, community organisations, not-for-profits and media outlets.

“These individuals and organisations all play an important role in contributing to the state government’s target for at least 75 per cent of waste generated in this state to be reused or recycled by 2030,” Mr Dawson said.

“The 2020 Infinity Awards are a celebration of the remarkable work being achieved in waste reduction in Western Australia. This year, we’re pleased to introduce a new category to extend the opportunities for regional waste champions to be recognised for their achievements.”

Award categories include: 

Avoid Recover Protect – Community Waste Award

Avoid Recover Protect – Commercial and Industrial Waste Award

Avoid Recover Protect – Waste Management Award

Avoid Recover Protect – WA Regional Waste Award

2020 Waste Champion

2020 Young Waste Achiever

Waste Team of the Year

Waste Innovation of the Year

Waste Wise School of the Year

Media Award

A further two awards – the 2020 WA Waste Award and the 2020 Waste Initiative of the Year – will be awarded at the judges’ discretion.

Nominations close 10 March, with winners announced at an awards ceremony 6 May.

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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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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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SWRW seeks landfill alternative proposals

The South West Regional Waste Group (SWRW) in Western Australia is inviting businesses to suggest alternatives to landfill and has issued a memorandum to help clarify conditions.

According to a SWRW media statement, the group believes the timing is right to explore the broadening range of new and emerging technologies that turn waste into valuable by-products.

“The waste processing market is rapidly advancing as communities and businesses become more aware of the importance of waste management and its latent value,” the statement reads.

“New ideas and innovations in relation to waste management are constantly emerging, and it is vitally important that local governments and other decision-making bodies continue to liaise closely with industry in order to identify potential opportunities.”

The statement said securing feedback from the private sector on how companies can optimise current and future waste market conditions is an important first step.

“Information obtained now will inform future decision making as local governments seek to align their approach to waste management with the state government’s direction, which is moving toward the establishment of a circular waste economy,” the statement reads.

“To this end, the SWRW is asking companies in the local, national and international markets to submit proposals on how municipal waste may be used to benefit the broader South West region both now and into the future.  These ideas will be assessed by the group when considering long-term answers to regional waste management.”

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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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