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.”

Related stories: 

WA project to covert wastewater biogas into hydrogen and graphite

A project to produce low-emission hydrogen and graphite from sewage at a wastewater treatment plant in Western Australia has been given the green-light.

According to Water Minister Dave Kelly, Western-Australian based technology company Hazer Group plan to use biogas for its hydrogen and graphite production process.

“Excess gas produced during the wastewater treatment process is currently burned off but this innovative technology will instead use it to create low-emission hydrogen and graphite,” he said.

“This will help decarbonise the Water Corporation’s operations to further support its sustainability objectives, while generating additional revenue and staff training opportunities.”

The three-year operation at Woodman Point Wastewater Treatment Plant in Munster will produce around 100 tonnes of fuel-grade hydrogen and 380 tonnes of graphite each year, Kelly said, with potential for expansion.

Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan said the technology will capitalise on biogas waste product – primarily composed of methane and carbon dioxide – which is released during the wastewater treatment process as solid matter (biosolids) breaks down.

“While most of this renewable fuel is currently used to produce electricity for the treatment plant, the excess is usually burned off – now it will be converted into valuable materials using an iron ore catalyst,” she said.

Hydrogen has a wide range of industrial and commercial uses, including vehicle fuel and chemical feedstock. Additionally, graphite has potential for a number of industrial applications, such as the production of lithium-ion batteries, water purification and advanced materials.

“Hydrogen is an increasingly important renewable fuel source, and this world-leading project will showcase our state’s capability in the hydrogen industry through the commercialisation of a technology developed right here in WA,” MacTiernan said.

“This initiative represents an important first step towards kick-starting renewable hydrogen production capacity and driving the use of zero-emissions transport fuel for buses, heavy trucking, waste collection and light vehicle fleets.”

The technology was developed at the University of Western Australia before being acquired by Hazer Group.

In partnership with the City of Mandurah, Hazer Group is also exploring plans to establish Western Australia’s first refuelling infrastructure hub, with a grant from the Western Australia Renewable Hydrogen Fund.

Related stories: 

EMRC to deliver COVID and FOGO dividends

Western Australia’s Eastern Metropolitan Regional Council (EMRC) will provide a $5 million dividend to member councils to ensure the delivery of essential services such as waste management during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The move follows an earlier decision to distribute $13.8 million to pay for bins, caddies, community education and related costs of members council’s forthcoming kerbside FOGO system.

The EMRC, which represents six member councils in Perth’s Eastern Region, voted unanimously in favour of the COVID-19 dividend at a special meeting on 16 April, with funds payable by 30 June.

According to an EMRC statement, the money will be drawn equally from the EMRC’s Municipal Fund and Future Development Reserve.

“The $5 million COVID-19 dividend will be distributed to the EMRC’s six member councils before the end of the financial year to help them implement and maintain emergency support measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the statement reads.

The EMRC has also agreed that it will not adjust the secondary waste reserve charge applied to landfill tonnages from member councils for the 2020/2021 financial year.

EMRC Chairman Jai Wilson said EMRC councillors understood the pressures their member councils were under to keep rates down, while at the same time delivering essential services to their communities.

“That is why we have taken decisive action to pay a dividend of $5m to assist our member councils with their upcoming budgets and ease some of the cost pressures on our communities,” he said.

“I would like to thank councillor Mel Congerton for moving this motion, and all my fellow councillors for acting decisively to unanimously support his motion.”

To subscribe to Waste Management Review with free home delivery click here

Related stories: 

One of the world’s largest air dome structures built in WA

One of the world’s largest air dome structures has been built at Tellus Holdings’ Sandy Ridge facility in Western Australia, as part of developing the first commercial geological repository for hazardous waste in the country.

The structure is 180 metres long, 90 metres wide and 28 metres at its highest point, Tellus Holdings CEO Duncan van der Merwe said, covering 16,200 metres squared.

“The air dome structure is a state-of-the-art engineered barrier that protects the environment and human health, and allows for all-year, all-weather waste management services,” he said.

Collaboratively developed by Arizon Building Systems and Perth-based GR Engineering Services, Mr van der Merwe said the air dome structure is incremental in the development of Tellus Holding’s commercial geological hazardous waste repository.

“It will provide an innovative infrastructure solution unsurpassed in the storage of hazardous waste in Australia today,” he said.

“What was essential for Tellus in the development of this air dome structure was its ability to take into account environmental factors, and in particular, the health and wellbeing of the team of people who work at the facility.”

According to Tellus Holdings General Manager Project Development Stephen Hosking, the permanent isolation system for hazardous waste in Sandy Ridge will be the first commercial scale repository in Australia.

“The air dome is perfectly suited to our requirements at Sandy Ridge, and the team worked tirelessly to ensure it was delivered incident free,” he said.

“At Tellus, our endeavour to provide engineering excellence across all areas of construction have been paramount to this innovative installation that has set a benchmark for others to follow.”

Key features of the air dome structure include a relocatable anchor foundation system, air handling units, vehicle air interlock, wind sensors, digital command controllers, full bias cable system and heavy-duty membrane, air quality and ventilation monitoring.

“The innovative custom air supported structure incorporates a unique anchor system, with the capital cost of the final installed solution approximately 30 per cent of the equivalent conventional building solution,” Mr Hosking said.

“The dome took just three hours to inflate, becoming the first of its type commissioned in the Southern Hemisphere.”

To subscribe to Waste Management Review with free home delivery click here

Related stories:

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.”

Related stories:

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.

Related stories: 

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.

Related stories:

X