These figures highlight a larger problem as it represents a significant increase in the per capita waste generation rates, which is almost triple of the amount each individual is currently generating. Not just that, these numbers are enough reason to start looking for more environmentally friendly ways of managing and treating waste. In fact, the end goal must be to find effective measures to curb the sheer amount of waste generated! Take a look at some of the most effective waste treatment methods: Read more
With each passing year, it becomes more apparent that businesses know that they have an increasing responsibility to their customers. This responsibility is not merely from a product or service offering, but also in their practices and license to operate. This is evident with more than 90% of the world’s 250 largest companies publishing their corporate responsibility reports, as shown by a recent KPMG report. In tandem, this has become more important to consumers, where most have adopted what is now coined as values-driven shopping. Organisations need to work with various stakeholders in government, industry and the general public to contribute positively to society. Read more
In the epic science fiction film, writer and director James Cameron envisioned a new world inhabited by an alien species known as the Na’vi, who lived in perfect harmony with their deity, Ewya, on an exoplanetary moon known as Pandora. All was well ‒ a perfect display of symbiosis between nature and its inhabitants ‒ until the human race had to show up. And once again, it was a case of ‘winner takes all’, where the collective force of human greed was unleashed to tailspin perfect order into chaos. Read more
Denmark, with its population of about 5.7 million, produces some 15 million tonnes of wastes of all sorts from industry, households, institutions and businesses. Of this, about 3.6 million tonnes is non-recyclable but combustible, and is used as fuel for about 26 waste to energy plants (the number in 2015), with most of these being larger plants producing combined heat and power. The result of this use of waste for energy production means that only about 2% of all waste goes to landfill, with this being material that is not suitable for combustion in these plants, including materials like asbestos. Read more
For Australia, a reasonable proportion of the recovered paper and plastic (ABS estimated 40% and 50% respectively in 2011) is exported. China is our main export market for recovered materials with ABS stats showing 76% of paper and 88% of plastic exported goes directly or via Hong Kong to China.
Australia is undergoing a renaissance of recycling as a backdrop to China’s policy, with consumer awareness and expectations on the rise (courtesy of Four Corners and War on Waste). Governments are also part of this drive to seek higher diversion rates. Read more
When the United Nations Environment Program describes it as “alarming” and the G20 group of nations recognises “the urgent need for action to prevent and reduce marine litter in order to preserve human health and marine and coastal ecosystems, and mitigate marine litter’s economic costs and impacts”, then some pretty tough action is going to be on the agenda. Read more
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
Given the depleted condition of Australia’s agricultural soils, burning compostable resources that can provide much needed carbon and nutrients is a terrible waste.
Around 70% of the resources in our waste streams is organic material which can be turned into high-quality compost and returned to our soils. Australia has more than 450 million hectares of land under cultivation and according to the NSW DPI, on average these soils have less than 1% organic material in them (NSW DPI van Zweiten). Read more
A global review in Nature in May 2017 revealed that Australia lags behind most developed nations for low emission standards for light and heavy vehicles. This means that we have worse air pollution per car and truck on Australian roads than comparable economies around the world. Read more
But it prompts the questions – what should be done, and why do we continue to allow nutritious food to go to landfill? Why do we send policy and landfill price signals that fail to reflect the true cost of food in landfill? It should be far more expensive to send food to landfill than building rubble, for example.
Inert building rubble does not emit methane and contribute to climate change, nor does it produce leachate that seeps into groundwater and river systems, and there are few beneficial alternative destinations for rubble as there is for food. Read more