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
Discussion in the media about who is at fault for increased energy prices abounds. Like other commentators, I put the blame on the policy makers from all political parties at both state and federal level.
It’s this policy dysfunction that’s causing the over-shoot in pricing we are experiencing. Read more
However, while the amount of data collected by the monitoring stations is significant, it pales in comparison to what is coming. Evolving networks of air sensors current being deployed across the globe will cause a data avalanche that could overwhelm those trying to make sense of it. Read more
Independent market research conducted by IPSOS for MobileMuster highlights that more people than ever before are reusing their mobiles. The research revealed that one in 10 are selling or trading in their old mobiles and one in six are giving them to family or friends.
One of the most popular ways to reuse old mobiles that still work is to sell them or pass them on to friends and family, and both outcomes mean that the life of the device is extended. Read more