WA injects $20M into FOGO

The Western Australian Government has announced $20 million in funding over six years to support local governments transition to better practice three-bin FOGO kerbside services.

According to Environment Minister Stephen Dawson, local governments are now eligible to apply for funding of up to $25 for each household receiving a three-bin FOGO collection service through the Better Bins Plus: Go FOGO program.

“Funding can be used to offset the costs of providing kitchen caddies and compostable liners, and implementing community education and engagement programs to support the rollout of high performing FOGO services,” he said.

“I encourage local governments and their communities to get behind this program, apply for funding for FOGO services and support our move towards more consistent and better performing waste management services.”

Local governments that have already accessed Better Bins funding of $30 per household can access an additional $15 per household.

Mr Dawson said while many Western Australian households already have access to a three‑bin system through the Better Bins program, in most cases, the organics bin is for garden waste only.

“High performing three bin FOGO services can achieve recovery rates of more than 65 per cent and make the single biggest contribution to achieving the waste strategy material recovery targets for municipal solid waste,” he said.

“Recycling can support around three times the number of jobs compared to waste disposal, and, as identified by the City of Melville, FOGO can reduce local government waste management costs.”

The state government will also support the FOGO rollout with new composting facility guidelines, establishing a reference group to provide advice on rollout issues and licensing new composting operations that can safely receive materials.

Applications for funding allocated in 2020-21 will close July 10.

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WA named preferred site for new biomass facility

An Australian-United States joint venture has chosen Collie, Western Australia as its preferred site for a new facility that uses high-temperature technology to produce renewable diesel fuel from biomass.

Australian company Frontier Impact Group has partnered with US-based REEP Development to expand the use of the pyrolysis technology into the Asia-Pacific region.

According to State Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan, the high-temperature pyrolysis technology involves burning biomass or waste to produce syngas, which can then be used to produce 100 per cent renewable diesel fuel.

“The US is home to the only large-scale plant of this kind in the world, with the capacity to produce up to 27 million litres of renewable diesel fuel and 10,000 tonnes of biochar each year,” she said.

The Western Australian Government has announced $100,000 in funding from the Collie Futures Small Grants Program for a feasibility study to assess the viability of the project.

If the project gets off the ground, Ms MacTiernan said it would create 48 plant jobs, 30 construction jobs and 120 indirect jobs.

“Through the Collie Futures Fund, we are beginning to see some very exciting initiatives for boosting the local economy, including this unique proposal for producing renewable diesel fuel,” she said.

“Bringing sustainable technologies and investments such as this is a fantastic way to help Collie, and WA, transition lower carbon outcomes through new industries.”

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Visy recycling

WA defers CDS launch in wake of COVID-19

The Western Australian Government has deferred the launch of its container deposit scheme Containers for Change due to COVID-19 concerns.

Originally planned to launch June 2, Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said the decision to delay the scheme reflects the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 and its expected disruption to refund points.

According to Mr Dawson, the postponement is in accordance with advice from the scheme co-ordinator, WA Return Recycle Renew.

“COVID-19 has resulted in significant global, national and state impacts and there has been disruption across the board for government initiatives and services,” he said.

“The state government, in close consultation with WA Return Recycle Renew and the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, determined that under the COVID-19 environment we are all faced with, there are too many potential health risks and logistical difficulties to start the scheme on June 2, 2020.”

The state government will review the situation in August 2020 to determine whether the scheme’s new start date will be November 2020 or June 2021.

“Delaying the scheme until after the major impacts of COVID-19 are felt will eliminate the public health concerns such as potential risk of infection from handling containers, as well as over-the-counter refund points contravening social distancing,” Mr Dawson said.

“While it is disappointing to be deferring the scheme, we remain committed to delivering the most diverse and accessible scheme in Australia. We will continue to work together and update the community, operators and suppliers throughout this period of uncertainty.”

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Grants open for WA CDS donation and refund points

The Western Australian Government is offering $200,000 in community grants to support the introduction of state’s upcoming container deposit scheme Containers for Change.

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said not-for-profit organisations, schools and community groups can apply for a grant of up to $2000 to help them establish a donation or refund point for beverage containers.

“The grants, which will be administered by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, can be used for infrastructure such as bins, cages, skips, security stands, fences, tippers, sorting equipment and trailers,” he said.

According to Mr Dawson, priority will be given to applicants providing employment outcomes for people with disability, the long-term unemployed, and under-served remote and regional areas.

“We know from other states where container deposit schemes have been introduced that the 10-cent refund for eligible containers creates great opportunities for the whole community – from jobs, to local fundraising, to environmental benefits,” he said.

“I encourage anyone who is interested in this great initiative to register their attendance at their nearest community information session.”

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WA opens waste reform consultation

The Western Australian Government is inviting public comment on potential reforms to guide the future of waste management in the state.

The state government has released two consultation papers – Closing the loop: waste reforms for a circular economy and Review of the waste levy – to support the implementation of its Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030.

According to Environment Minister Stephen Dawson, the proposed reforms highlight the state government’s commitment to increasing resource recovery and tackling illegal waste disposal.

“The state government is committed to a cleaner and more sustainable environment. Becoming a sustainable, low waste, circular economy is key for protecting our environment for future generations,” Mr Dawson said.

Closing the loop: waste reforms for a circular economy outlines legislative proposals to improve waste management in WA including:

— Reforming landfill and solid waste storage facility licensing under the Environmental Protection Act 1986.

— Reviewing waste levy application at waste facilities, including new measures to reduce long-term solid waste stockpiling.

— Targeting illegal waste disposal through new compliance and enforcement mechanisms; and

— Strengthening waste reporting and tracking to ensure proper disposal.

Alternatively, Review of the waste levy canvasses broader strategic issues related to the waste levy’s design, including geographical area and a schedule of future levy rates.

To allow time for the review to be completed, Mr Dawson said there would be no levy increase for 2020-21.

“I encourage community and industry stakeholders to consider the proposals in the two consultation papers, as their feedback will contribute to the development of approaches to improve waste management,” he said.

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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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WA recycling charities secure over $40,000 in funding

Western Australian charities have secured more than $41,000 in funding to help reduce dumping at charitable recycling sites.

The funding, administered through the Charitable Recyclers Dumping Reduction Program, enables research to inform better practices by charitable recyclers, with findings circulated through the National Association of Charitable Recycling Organisations.

According to Environment Minister Stephen Dawson, the program aims to reduce illegal dumping and littering, and prevent unusable items – which ultimately end up in landfill – being left at donation sites.

“Illegal dumping and unusable donations are a widespread problem faced by charities. This program not only helps reduce illegal dumping and littering through better surveillance and security, but also through ongoing research,” Mr Dawson said.

“Charitable recyclers welcome useful and resalable donations, and are an example of recycling in action, yet they are often left with the unsightly and expensive problem of disposing of unusable or illegally dumped items at their sites.”

Recipients include Alinea Inc, in partnership with Good Samaritan Industries, to install sensor lighting and optical surveillance equipment at four collections sites, and Anglicare to purchase and instal ten high security donation bins.

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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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Masdar acquires 40 per cent stake in East Rockingham WtE facility

Global renewable energy company Masdar has made its first Australian investment, after acquiring a 40 per cent stake in Western Australia’s East Rockingham Resource Recovery Facility.

Masdar and Abu Dhabi advisory and development firm Tribe Infrastructure Group have invested in the waste-to-energy project via their Abu Dhabi Global Market-based joint venture holding company, Masdar Tribe Energy Holdings Limited.

Masdar Chief Executive Officer Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi said extending Masdar’s reach into Australia is an exciting step forward for the company’s clean energy operations..

“The problem of dealing with everyday waste is a global challenge, with more than two billion tonnes of municipal solid waste generated each year. To this end, we are proud to be helping the state of Western Australia to deliver clean sources of power generation and sustainably manage its municipal solid waste,” Mr Al Ramahi said.

“The Australian waste-to-energy sector provides excellent commercial potential in the long-term.”

Tribe Infrastructure Group Chief Executive Officer Peter McCreanor said he looks forward to delivering clean energy infrastructure to Australia.

“This is just the first of numerous such development projects we’re working on, and our partnership with Masdar is an integral part of our strategy for Australia,” he said.

“We are proud to have played a leading role in the development and financing of the East Rockingham Recourse Recovery Facility, assembling a world-class team to deliver this important project for Western Australia.”

The $551 million facility reached financial close 23 December 2019 with support from a $18 million grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, and $57.5 million in subordinated debt from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

The facilities development consortium includes Hitachi Zosen INOVA, John Laing Investments and Acciona Concesiones.

When complete, the facility will process 300,000 tonnes of non-recyclable municipal, commercial and industrial waste and up to 30,000 tonnes of biosolids per year.

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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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