Staff Writer

Revisiting the issue of interstate waste movement

Revisiting the issue of interstate waste movement

The issue has now hit the political headlines. It was framed by 4 Corners as a matter of criminal behaviour, which it isn’t. Queensland has committed to reducing it through increased inspection of interstate trucks. But it is legal. Inspecting truck certificates addresses a symptom only.

To be clear, trucking waste between the states is not illegal. It is part of the free trade between states that is protected under s.92 of the Australian Constitution. Read more

Industry stakeholders meet to address waste management facility fires

Waste Management Association of Australia (WMAA) CEO Gayle Sloan was delighted to have the opportunity to get together with other industry stakeholders, as they often don’t get these opportunities to collaborate.

“The common themes that kept coming up today were the difference between the states and their behaviour and relations in this space, as well as their management of the issues,” Sloan said.

“The industry recognises that there is a need for greater consistency, which will lead to a more open playing field, as well as a greater knowledge of the commercial issues that we all face.

“It was a really good turnout, we had people from across Australia coming together to participate because they all recognise the importance of this issue.” Read more

City of Melbourne to turn cigarette butts into plastic products

The City of Melbourne has partnered with Enviropipes, who collect the cigarette waste; and TerraCycle, who convert the butts into plastic products.

As part of the initiative, the City will recycle binned cigarette butts – which are not biodegradable and break down slowly – into practical items such as shipping pallets and plastic furniture.

The City collects more than 200,000 cigarette butts each week from 367 cigarette butt bins across the city – litter that may otherwise end up being washed down drains and into the Yarra River. Cigarette butts are commonly mistaken for food by marine life and have been found in the stomachs of fish, birds, sea turtles and other marine creatures. Read more

A resourceful inquiry

In April 2017, the NSW Parliament’s Planning and Environment Committee established an inquiry to examine the waste industry, with particular reference to energy from waste technology. The inquiry is looking at the provision of waste disposal and recycling services, the impact of waste levies and the capacity to address the ongoing disposal needs for our state’s waste needs.

What has struck me about the Inquiry is the level of engagement and the contribution of private industry players, local governments, industry associations and consulting firms. While the inquiry has some way to go, there appears to be a level of consensus from initial submissions. Read more

Local emergency waste management planning

Many local governments are reactive to such events and are trying to do the best they can. This approach can be inefficient, costly and may result in large quantities of waste going directly to landfill. This in turn utilises valuable landfill void space with materials that could have otherwise been diverted.

Wollongong City Council (WCC) is taking a proactive approach by strategically planning its waste management response and recovery for emergency situations (such as natural disasters). By doing so, WCC will reduce the public health risk, manage the waste more effectively, and divert recoverable and recyclable materials from landfill, thereby preserving the valuable void space at its Wollongong Waste and Resource Recovery Park (WWARRP).

WCC engaged Talis Consultants to prepare the Emergency Waste Management Plan (EWMP) with the primary objectives to understand the volume and profile of waste generated by disaster scenarios, and provide a framework to coordinate the waste management response and maximise diversion from landfill. Read more

Time for action: getting industry out of the corner

Speaking to industry players including NSW EPA director waste and resource recovery Steve Beaman, ACOR CEO Grant Musgrove, WCRA executive director Tony Khoury, Polytrade Rydalmere manager Nathan Ung, Bingo Industries CEO Daniel Tartak and Dial A Dump chief executive Ian Malouf, Four Corners’ “Trashed” showed viewers scenes of waste management practices, saying these would “seriously threaten the community’s faith in the billion-dollar recycling industry.”

Fixing the broken

Turning first to glass recycling, Four Corners took viewers inside Polytrade’s facilities where thousands of tonnes of glass are being stockpiled, and some landfilled, instead of being recycled. Read more

Innovative hub for advanced recycling proposed for Fyshwick

CRS has proposed the comprehensive solution to significantly increase recycling, reduce landfill and produce renewable energy to power Canberra homes. The project includes the construction of a freight rail terminal to take trucks off roads.

The $200 million factory will process Canberra’s waste streams – particularly unprocessed municipal solid waste and commercial industrial waste currently going to Mugga Lane landfill – to divert more than 90% of the waste that is currently going to landfill, significantly increasing ACT’s recycling, while also generating electricity from waste.

The waste-to-energy plant would be a joint venture with electricity retailer ActewAGL and would seek a feed-in tariff from the government for the electricity produced.

According to the project director Ewen McKenzie, the government’s recognised the landfill issue in Canberra and has been working hard over the last 10 years to try and identify alternative solutions to their landfill problems.

“We saw an opportunity to take the European experience and looking at other ways to handle our waste streams,” McKenzie said.

“There’s a lot of landfill diversion initiatives going on in Europe that have been successful for some time, so we are taking up a proven model from Europe and applying it to the ACT circumstance.

“We’ve identified a big site in Fishwick that we want to connect to the rail system to allow us to move recyclables, because currently there aren’t a lot of reprocessing plants in Canberra.

“Connection to the rail system is very difficult in Canberra and there really isn’t one at the moment for container handling, so we are looking at incorporating that in the proposal.”

The concept is a response to the ACT government’s call for innovative and sustainable proposals on how best to improve recycling and reduce landfill in the ACT, as the Mugga Lane tip has limited space available in future.

CRS has put a scoping document to the government and is now preparing an environmental impact assessment, including a health impact study, which McKenzie hopes to have released for public comment within a couple of months.

The project would divert trucks carrying rubbish to Mugga Lane to Fyshwick instead, where they would enter via Ipswich Stree, dump their loads indoors, with negative pressure to minimise smell, and leave via the back of Lithgow Street.

Rubbish would be sorted to extract recyclables, before being used to fuel the waste-to-energy plant.

Mugga Lane currently accepts about 300,000 tonnes of rubbish a year, and McKenzie said 90% of that could be diverted to Fyshwick. Of the 270,000 tonnes a year that comes in, he expected about 20% would be recyclable, leaving more than 200,000 tonnes to be burned for energy.

It would produce up to 30MW a year, sufficient to power 28,000 homes and is being touted as a green solution that would put Canberra at the forefront of waste management.

Four percent of the amount going into the plant would be left as residue and returned to landfill. Read more

Inside Waste (Aug): From journo to president

Now, Re.Group’s business development manager, former Inside Waste journalist and editor, and former Hyder Consulting (now Arcadis) consultant is the Waste Management Association of Australia’s (WMAA) new president – and quite possibly the association’s youngest president as well.

Inside Waste (IW) caught up with Lamb in the August issue, now ready for download, to find out how his first few weeks as president had gone and what some of the challenges and opportunities were for WMAA. Read more

WaterGroup partners with Thinxtra to deliver major water savings

This will be achieved by connecting WaterGroup’s leading-edge IoT-based smart water meters with the Sigfox Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN). The Sigfox network will cover 95% of the Australian population by the end of the year. Currently, the network covers 71%.

WaterGroup managing director Guenter Hauber-Davidson says they spent 18 months researching and developing multiple LPWAN wireless technologies to find out which will work best with its smart water metering systems.

“In the past, the cost of connectivity to a network such as this has been a constraint,” Hauber-Davidson said. Read more

World’s first international standard for sustainable procurement explained

Sustainable procurement presents an opportunity for organisations to develop systems which allow for the prioritisation of growth whilst balancing this against the needs of society, the economy, and the environment. It also recognises that progression towards a sustainable world will involve the full participation of diverse stakeholders and consideration of diverse issues.

ISO 20400, Sustainable procurement – Guidance is the world’s first international standard for sustainable procurement and aims to assist organisations in meeting their sustainability responsibilities by providing guidance as to the effective implementation of sustainable purchasing practices and policies. Read more