More than 300 waste management and resource recovery operators have descended on Brisbane this week, joined by a host of international and local experts to discuss landfill and transfer station innovation, design, operation and regulation, as well as the safety of these facilities, all of which are paramount to the services landfills and transfer stations offer.
The Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia’s (WMRR) 2019 Australian Landfills and Transfer Stations Conference was opened this morning, with Queensland minister for environment Leeanne Enoch providing insights into the government’s vision for Queensland.
Enoch noted the groundswell of community support for effective waste management and resource recovery and reiterated the Queensland government’s commitment to transitioning to a circular economy.
“Queensland now has a waste levy after years of getting by without an effective market signal. The levy will bolster the recycling and resource recovery sector without a cost impact on community. It will lead to job creation and new industries that manufacture products using recycled content,” Enoch said.
“The levy is just one vital component. The draft waste management and resource recovery strategy, which is currently out for consultation, sets the course for Queensland to become a zero-waste society where the waste we produce is reused and recycled as much as possible.
“We are at an important moment in time to grow as we move into the future of waste management and resource recovery.”
Infrastructure planning is by far one of the most fundamental tools to build, sustain and grow an integrated and efficient waste management and resource recovery system, which undoubtedly includes the consideration and maintenance of well-managed landfills and transfer stations.
“Every aspect of the waste management hierarchy fulfils an important role in an effective best practice waste management and resource recovery system, and managing waste according to this hierarchy, which includes the disposal of residual waste to modern landfills, is absolutely an essential service,” said Gayle Sloan, WMRR CEO.
“This is why WMRR and our sponsors have invested in the conference – we recognise that landfill plays a vital role, is integral to both environment and community safety and we must continue to ensure that Australia’s landfills are world’s best practice in order that we continue to maintain a network of high-quality engineered facilities that effectively manages our residual waste, while ensuring human health and the environment are protected at all times.”
The role of landfills goes beyond the responsible disposal of residual waste. Landfills and transfer stations play a fundamental role during periods of service and economic disruption and post-disaster emergency waste management.
“In February, once-in-a-century floods wreaked havoc in Townsville, leaving thousands of homes inundated,” Sloan continued.
“The disaster is estimated to have caused $1.5 billion in damage and what followed was a massive clean-up effort. Townsville City Council should be commended for their efforts in driving the clean-up and their labours will be captured at the conference this afternoon.”