In the most recent waste strategy, the NSW Department of Planning, Infrastructure and Environment has stopped talking about the waste hierarchy and started talking about the circular economy.
Australian Paper Recovery (APR Plastics) is tackling the soft plastic issue at its Kerbside Material Recovery Facility. The company’s Soft Plastics to Oil initiative aims to provide a solution to help tackle Australia’s soft plastic pollution problem.
Tyre Stewardship Australia (TSA) has welcomed Ascenso Tyres as the newest contributor to Australia’s Tyre Product Stewardship Scheme (TPSS).
Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has fined skip bin business ABS Civil more than $5,000 for stockpiling industrial waste at Lovely Banks, on the outskirts of Geelong.
The company had built up a pile of broken concrete, plasterboard, wooden pallets, plastic, bricks, rock and soil when members of the public reported the mess to EPA in November 2021.
EPA Southwest Regional Manager Carolyn Francis says the company, ABS Civil, was given every opportunity to clean up the mess and avoid a fine.
“We found the company was receiving, sorting and storing industrial waste at the property on Lovely Banks Road, Lovely Banks, without the appropriate EPA permissions,” Francis said.
“Operators can’t just make it up as they go along or pretend they don’t have a responsibility to the environment and the community. They must comply with the Environment Protection Act 2017, plus any EPA permission conditions specific to that activity and that site,” she said.
EPA officers issued an Environmental Action Notice requiring the company to cease operations and remove all industrial waste from the site. They later allowed an extension in recognition of the impacts of the pandemic, but an inspection in May 2022 confirmed there was still a stockpile of waste.
The company was fined $5,452 for failing to comply with the official notice. This will be over and above any cost to remove the remaining material.
“It might seem easier and cheaper to avoid complying with Victoria’s environmental law, but discarded waste like this is pollution and any Victorian can report it to EPA,” Francis said.
“The hotline is available 24 hours a day and most of our investigations start with either an EPA inspection or a call from the public,” Ms Francis said.
The Environment Protection Act took effect almost a year ago and introduced a General Environmental Duty that requires any business or person to take reasonable actions to reduce the risk of harm from their activities to human health and the environment, from pollution or waste.
The global symbol of recycling – the iconic Mobius Loop – was created in 1970 and it’s everywhere worldwide. When we see that symbol, the vast majority of us envision paper, plastic or glass being recycled. But, what about clothing and textiles? The Australian textile industry in 2018 generated close to one million tonnes of waste. That year, it also had the second lowest waste recovery rate in Australia. This resulted in 77 per cent of textiles ending up in landfill. This begs the question, “Why aren’t we putting out our council controlled ‘clothing recycle bins’ every Thursday evening?”
The Queensland Government has announced a further $2 million to stop illegal dumping with the latest round of its Local Government Illegal Dumping Partnerships Program.
John McKew has joined the Australian Organics Recycling Association (AORA) as its National Executive Officer.