WA announces CDS operators

Refund point operators have been announced for Western Australia’s new container deposit scheme, ahead of its 2 June launch.

According to Premier Mark McGowan, sixty-five entities have been selected to deliver 145 refund points.

“WA’s first container deposit scheme, Containers for Change, is taking shape, and it’s pleasing to see so many organisations from all sectors of the community getting on board,” Mr McGowan said.

“Around 40 per cent of refund points will be operated by social enterprises, including charities, disability sector organisations, Aboriginal corporations and sporting and community groups.”

Mr McGowan said refund points will be established in every region across the state, from the Kimberley to the Great Southern.

“Today’s announcement is just the starting point for the Containers for Change network, which will grow significantly in coming months and years,” he said.

“The number of refund points across the state will grow to at least 172 by June, and to 229 by the end of the scheme’s first year.”

Logistics and processing applicants have also been selected, with state-of-the-art compacting trucks and on-site compacting to be used for the first time in an Australian container deposit scheme.

“This will mean less heavy vehicle movements on Western Australian roads – the equivalent of one truck instead of five,” Mr McGowan said.

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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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$10M mercury waste facility opens in WA

A $10 million facility with the capacity to treat 2000 tonnes of mercury-contaminated waste each year has opened in Kwinana, Western Australia.

According to Environment Minister Stephen Dawson, the BMT Mercury Technology facility will accept, store and treat mercury-contaminated waste from various sources, including the state’s oil and gas industry.

“Given the state government’s focus on waste, I am very pleased to see this facility start operations and increase capacity,” Mr Dawson said.

Mr Dawson said the facility is consistent with the Minamata Convention and the Basel Convention, which guide global jurisdictions on the environmentally sound management and transport of mercury.

“Not only does this facility address our priority to manage waste locally, generate jobs and protect the environment, it is also part of our responsibility under global conventions, of which Australia is a signatory,” he said.

Mr Dawson said the facility will prevent waste from being exported for treatment, left in long-term storage or ending up in landfill.

“BMT’s facility is an example of how Western Australia can manage some of the impacts locally, and reduce the risks involved with transporting hazardous materials,” Mr Dawson said.

“It also supports our resources industry, and results in better waste management and environmental protection outcomes for Western Australia.”

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Plastic bag litter drops 30 per cent in WA

The amount of plastic bag litter in Western Australia has fallen by 29.9 per cent, according to the latest National Litter Index Report.

The drop follows the state’s introduction of a lightweight plastic bag ban in July last year.

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said the National Litter Index also indicates that the total volume and number of items littered in Western Australia has fallen by 15.7 per cent and 8.5 per cent respectively.

According to Mr Dawson, the state also saw a 18.3 per cent reduction in glass litter, and a 7.1 per cent reduction in paper litter.

“The latest index also found less litter at West Australian beaches with a 58.6 per cent drop, retail precincts falling 46.9 per cent, shopping centres down 9.3 per cent, major roads and highways dropping 8.2 per cent and recreational parks down 1.5 per cent, compared to the previous report,” Mr Dawson said.

“Higher levels of litter were counted on residential streets, rising 4.7 per cent, industrial precincts 3.5 per cent and at car parks, increasing by more than 27 per cent.”

Mr Dawson said cigarette butts and cigarette packaging continue to be the most littered item, making up almost one third of the states litter.

“It is never ok to litter your cigarette butts. There is a serious risk of bushfire caused by disposing of lit cigarettes, as well as being harmful to our wildlife,” Mr Dawson said.

“To raise awareness of this major problem, Keep Australia Beautiful WA has launched a campaign highlighting the effects of cigarette butts on the environment and remind smokers they face fines of up to $500 for littering cigarette butts.”

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EOI’s sought for WA Contaminated Sites Committee

The Western Australian Government is seeking expressions of interest to join the state’s Contaminated Sites Committee, which determines appeals of contaminated site matters.

The independent committee, established in 2006 under the Contaminated Sites Act 2003, makes decisions regarding clean up, remediation responsibilities and classifications of contaminated sites.

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said all current Contaminated Sites Committee members’ roles expire shortly, with three in October and two, including the chairperson, in December.

“WA’s Contaminated Sites Act makes it compulsory to report known or suspected contaminated sites, making this among the most progressive contaminated sites legislation in Australia,” Mr Dawson said.

“The committee has acted effectively in resolving more than 150 appeals over more than a decade, and the new members will no doubt play an important role in ensuring this continues.”

Mr Dawson said government is seeking committee members with knowledge, skills and expertise in environmental or contaminated site management, as well as legal practitioners with experience in environmental or property law.

Expressions of interest close 20 September.

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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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EMRC appoints new CEO

A new Eastern Metropolitan Regional Council (EMRC) Chief Executive Officer has been appointed, replacing Peter Schneider who resigned in November 2018.

WA Waste Authority Chairman Marcus Geisler has been selected for the role, having served as authority chairman since 2014, in addition to holding senior management positions with Coates Hire, Thiess and SITA – WA’s largest waste management company.

EMRC Chairman David McDonnell said Mr Geisler’s experience in waste processing includes composting organics and alternative waste treatment processes, and the recovery and marketing of secondary materials ranging from construction and demolition waste to kerbside recyclables.

“His extensive advocacy experience, firsthand knowledge of the commercial waste and recycling industry and his commitment to the local government sector will be instrumental in guiding the EMRC forward as a progressive organisation representing the interests of Perth’s Eastern Region and the 365,000 people who call it home,” Mr McDonnell said.

“At the Waste Authority, Mr Geisler’s negotiating skills and commitment to strong engagement successfully brought together state and local governments, industry and the community to enable implementation of the State’s Waste Strategy.”

Mr McDonnell thanked Regional Services Director Wendy Harris for her contributions as acting CEO over the past six months.

Mr Geisler is due to take up his new position on 15 July 2019.

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Coordinator appointed for WA container deposit scheme

The Western Australian Government has selected Return Recycle Renew to operate the state’s container deposit scheme.

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said Return Recycle Renew would be responsible for running the scheme and ensuring all government objectives are met.

“Overseen by a board, the scheme coordinator will manage payments from manufacturers and importers of eligible beverage products, and will be responsible for establishing and implementing collection and logistics networks,” Mr Dawson said.

“An open and competitive process was used to identify the preferred scheme coordinator and I’m encouraged that Return Recycle Renew is best placed to deliver a high performing scheme for our state.”

According to Mr. Dawson, Return Recycle Renew has been appointed for seven years and must meet all recycling targets to be considered for reappointment.

“One of the first tasks for Return Recycle Renew is to run an open application process to establish the collection network,” Mr Dawson said.

“This will include refund points, transport and processing facilities and support for social enterprises to participate.”

Mr Dawson said WA will have more refund points per head than any other state or territory in Australia.

“As a regional Member of Parliament I want to be sure that remote communities do not miss out on the opportunities arising from this scheme,” Mr Dawson said.

“That’s why there will be at least one refund point in every remote town with 500 people or more and we will be looking at a range of other options for smaller communities.”

Mr. Dawson said as beverage containers account for 44 per cent of the volume of litter in WA, effective management of the scheme is crucial to reducing litter and improving the state’s recycling rates.

A chairperson and community representative will be appointed by the end of the month, with remaining directors appointed shortly after.

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