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Relief arrives with Jobkeeper package

Vital businesses that support and serve the WARR industry will feel some relief following the release of a $132 billion Jobkeeper package by the federal government late yesterday.

Designed to assist workers who have been stood down, the package offers a lifeline to employers whose business have experienced a 30% revenue decline since March 1. By 8am this morning more than 60,000 operators had registered for the subsidy through the Australia Taxation office.

Any worker who was laid off since March 1 can talk to their employers to re-employ them so that they can receive the $1,500 fortnightly payment while the employer will be reimbursed from May.

Even employers whose business has been shut down on government orders will receive money to pay employees who cannot do any meaningful work or attend their workplace.

Waste Contractors & Recyclers Association of NSW (WCRA) executive director Tony Khoury told Inside Waste that it welcomed the government’s Job Keeper $1,500 payment per worker per fortnight.

“Any waste & recycling business that incurs a significant financial hit of 30% revenue reduction caused by COVID-19 will be eligible. This announcement will ensure that a business will continue to directly pay its workers and therefore maintain a connection to those workers.

“In so doing, waste management operators will hang onto their valued, experienced staff,” he said.A statement by Ai Group Chief Executive, Innes Willox, and AWU National Secretary Daniel Walton said that they had joined forces to urge that every effort is made to ensure Australian manufacturing businesses remain safe and can continue to supply the needs of Australian households, businesses, community organisations and health providers.

Limiting business closures

“It is crucial that businesses in vital areas keep operating through these difficult times and that people remain employed as much as possible.

“This includes businesses involved in manufacturing such as food processing, packaging, pharmaceuticals, chemicals (including sanitising and cleaning products), and health industry supplies. It also includes industries necessary for these activities to continue – those in their supply chains and service partners,” the statement said.

However, they acknowledged that many manufacturing businesses cannot be turned off and on with the flick of a switch. Closures can take time; they are costly and often hazardous.

“Restarting many manufacturing processes is similarly time-consuming, costly, and dangerous. These extra costs and risks need to be weighed in any assessment of a shut down. If they can operate safely they should remain open,” they said.

Retaining employment

They also noted that many workers are employed in industries that supply basic needs. Many more are employed in businesses that can continue to operate safely and without increasing risks of community transmission of COVID-19.

History suggests unemployment rises much faster than it falls. The costs of unemployment – both human and economic – last for many years beyond the passing of the economic downturn. Many people, particularly those who are older and less skilled, will never be re-employed.

Both the AWU and Ai Group welcome the measures the Government has introduced to improve the provision of mental health services in Australia. Avoiding unnecessary business closures will help avoid further escalation of the adverse mental health outcomes associated with unemployment.

EPA stays fixed on regulation despite challenges

The NSW EPA has assured the waste and environment industries that it will continue to fulfil its responsibilities as the state’s primary environmental regulator while maintaining the health and safety of staff, communities, industry and other partners.

In reference to the evolving situation with COVID-19, the agency explained in a statement that this includes working to minimise any disruptions to its regulatory activities, offering the industry guidance if required, and asking for cooperation from industry and partners.

“Please be assured that the EPA will continue to be guided by the latest advice from NSW and Commonwealth health authorities and will consider the impact of that advice in the delivery of our regulatory functions,” the EPA said.

Business continuity plan

The EPA said that it has a business continuity plan in place which is being reviewed regularly in light of the most up-to-date advice, to enable us to meet our regulatory responsibilities. That includes planning to allow staff to work remotely where appropriate so that we maintain our compliance, enforcement and pollution response activities as best we can to prevent environmental and community harm.

That means that compliance with licence conditions and issue clean-up notices and prevention notices where necessary will continue to be required.

However, the EPA may consider requests for exemptions on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the provisions of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997.

“As we continue to closely monitor the situation, we are providing on-going, up-to-date and appropriate communication with our employees, regulatory partners and government,” the statement said.

Expectations from the regulated community

As the country face the current unprecedented situation together, the NSW EPA has strongly recommended the implementation of a business continuity plan, if one is not already in place.

“That plan should take into account the updated advice being provided by NSW and Commonwealth health officials, including any sector-specific advice. Now is also the right time to check you have everything in place to enact your pollution incident response management plan,” it explained.

The EPA has asked all licensees to assist in managing risks during this period notifying it by email to info@epa.nsw.gov.au:

  1. If you anticipate any significant risk to your ability to comply with your licence or licences under which you operate.
  2. If you need advice on business continuity preparedness for your operations.

The EPA stressed that this is not a legal obligation but, rather a request to assist the EPA and the NSW Government in managing the current situation in the public interest.

It explained that a business continuity plan would help meet responsibilities for any environmental impacts from activities because as licence conditions and other regulatory responsibilities remain in place, associated obligations will also remain in place.

These include the priority responsibilities of maintaining and operating pollution control equipment, and storing, transporting and disposing of waste appropriately. The EPA said that it expected licensees in the waste industry to continue to maintain good communications with clients and the EPA, particularly around any predicted service disruptions. Licensees must continue to notify the NSW EPA of pollution incidents and other regulatory or compliance issues.

Government assistance needed now, says NWRIC

The National Waste & Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC) is calling on state governments to provide waste and landfill levy relief to the sector. NWRIC CEO, Rose Read has said this is an obvious and necessary measure that can be implemented quickly.

Read described several measures that could be taken now, beginning with the waiver of landfill levy doubtful debts. Next, she suggested that all planned levy increases could be put on hold for at least six months while current waste and landfill levies for the next three months could also be waived.

“We are also asking state and local governments to be more flexible on certain facility license conditions so that social distancing to protect staff can be maintained and collection time curfews be lifted so that bins and continue to be collected,” Read added.

Substantial cost

Although the NWRIC acknowledged the substantial support the commonwealth and state governments have announced so far for businesses, Read highlighted that levy fees are a substantial cost to the sector. She said that relief in this area will be very important to ensure that the sector keeps its staff in jobs delivering this essential service to the community over the coming months.

NWRIC members comprise both national waste and recycling companies, and state and territory affiliates. According to Read, they are doing everything possible to ensure that bins will continue to be collected and waste and recycling safely processed during these extreme times.

“Our members and state affiliates have been actively adopting measures over the past few weeks to protect their staff and maintain services to local communities, businesses and the health sector”.

“However, like all businesses the waste and recycling sector is experiencing financial stress as business customers shut-down, demand reduces and segments of the economy slow,” she explained.

 

 

Federal Government releases $100billion to save business

Minutes after the Reserve Bank lowered the cash rate by 0.25%, the Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg this afternoon, said they were accessing up to $100billion to “get Australian’s across a bridge” during the COVID-19 crisis. The details of the spend are sketchy however, both leaders and then the Reserve Bank Governor, Philip Lowe then outlined the financial mechanics to sustain the economy.

This followed an initial stimulus package announced by the Federal government last week. The state governments have also released a series of stimulus packages in the last few days aimed at putting a financial floor under businesses to enable them to survive the impact of Covid-19. The Federal government released a significant package for business and organisations late last week and another is expected shortly.

These are the details of the first package:

Incentive for purchases more than $150K

  • Instant asset write-off for any machinery purchase made up to $150k
  • Asset can be new or used
  • No limit on number of assets
  • Only available until June 30, 2020

Incentive for purchases less than $150K

  • Accelerated depreciation deduction incentive
  • 50% immediate deduction followed by normal depreciation rules applied to the balance
  • Asset must be new
  • Also available for assets <$150k but purchased after June 30, 2020
  • Available until June 30, 2021

NSW to waive payroll tax

The NSW government has allocated $450million to waive payroll tax for businesses with payrolls of up to $10 million for three months. The should deliver immediate relief as these businesses would not have to pay the tax for the rest of this financial year.

The government has also bought forward the next round of payroll tax cuts effectively raising the threshold limit to $1million for the next financial year.

“The Government stands ready to do whatever it takes to keep people safe and ensure our economy withstands this storm,” NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said.

The Treasurer added that he will drawing on the state infrastructure as part of his plan to stimulate the economy, with more than $750 million will be spent on capital works and maintenance of public assets.

WA grants for business

In WA small to medium enterprises (SME’s)  with a payroll of between $1 million and $4 million will receive a one-off grant of $17,500. It’s anticipated that this will bolster 7,400 businesses in and cost the Government $114 million.

Changes to the payroll tax exemption threshold are also being brought forward, in an effort to support 11,000 businesses.

The threshold was previously lifted from $850,000 to $950,000, with an increase to $1 million scheduled for January 2021 but this will now happen earlier on July 1, 2020.

SME’s which pay less than $7.5 million in taxable wages each year can apply to defer their payroll tax payment to July 21, 2020.

The ACT government is prioritising support for small business owners, contractors and “gig” economy workers in the first tranche of a multi-stage stimulus package to help the territory weather the coronavirus pandemic.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr said smaller infrastructure projects would also be fast-tracked in a bid to keep the economy moving amid the rapidly escalating global emergency.

Victorian business hotline

The Andrews Labor Government today launched a hotline for businesses dealing with the significant challenges posed by the COVID-19 outbreak. Businesses across the state can now access information on dealing with COVID-19 by calling the Business Victoria hotline on 13 22 15.

Operators calling the hotline will be able to get information about support services, including those available through Business Victoria, which offers mentoring to help operators develop business continuity and recovery plans.

The hotline will provide the latest information on the response to COVID-19 and how this affects businesses, including how to access financial support available through the national stimulus package.

“The COVID-19 outbreak is hurting Victorian businesses and an important way that we can help is by giving them access to the information they need to make key decisions. This dedicated hotline will help businesses of all sizes get the facts and connect them with support services so they can best weather this storm,” Andrews said.

Industry leaders mixed reaction to Waste Response Strategy

The COAG Waste Response Strategy has drawn mixed response from senior leaders who, on the whole welcome the strategy, but are concerned that the implementation is unclear and that fast-tracking of specific actions was essential.

The Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR) said it applauded the strategy, stating that it illustrated a depth of understanding and recognition of the needs of sustainable waste and resource recovery industry in Australia. WMRR CEO Gayle Sloan, said that members felt encouraged to see that governments were in it for the long haul.

Processing facilities needed now

However, she added that it was imperative to fast track infrastructure because there was only two years until the roll-out of the plastics ban and a significant volume of waste plastic to be managed. As a result, Australia needs to start building processing facilities now for them to be up and running ahead of 2022.

“The strategy not only acknowledges that waste plastic is a significant and complex issue, it also takes positive initial steps in mapping out what all jurisdictions must do to tackle this challenge.

Beginning with harmonising policies and programs to phase out single-use and hard to recycle plastics, to the Commonwealth supporting industry to invest in new plastics processing capacity through competitive grant funding, and commercial and concessional loans. These are all incredibly positive steps,” Sloan said.

She added that WMRR also welcomed the funding commitments by states, including WA’s $15 million provision to support local processing of plastics and tyres and $5 million for access to industrial zoned land, and ‘Recycling Victoria’ announced prior to the COAG meeting.

“WMRR appreciates that the federal, state and territory governments are listening and that our essential waste and resource recovery sector remains firmly on the agenda. As we work through the strategy, the industry is committed to working closely with all levels of government to ensure a smooth and successful implementation of the bans, and ultimately, to develop a strong re-manufacturing and reprocessing sector in Australia, driving the country towards a more circular economy,” Sloan said.

However, Waste Contractors & Recyclers Association of NSW (WCRA), executive director Tony Khoury, was more circumspect. He told Inside Waste that he couldn’t find anything in the documentation that detailed how the export bans would be enforced.

 

Without proper enforcement, he explained, there was a high probability of non-compliance, with good recycling operators placed at a significant disadvantage.

 

Lack of reference

Khoury also pointed to a lack of reference or commitment to any specific form of funding, stating that as there are three levels of government involved, querying the funding for infrastructure, public education, consistency, and enforcement.  He said that the document ignored the issues of existing contracts and, if these bans proceeded, collection and processing contracts could require variation and again, it was unclear who would fund the variations.

 

“Industry has long argued that a greater proportion of NSW waste levy revenue be committed to support recycling. WCRA recently presented DPIE and the NSW Government with recommendations on how NSW waste levy funds can be used to better support recycling, “Tony Khoury.

 

At this time, WCRA has not received a reply to these recommendations.

 

“The COAG documentation is silent on the impacts that these export bans will have on competition in the Australian recycling market. In some cases, the export bans will result in market control by one processor, for example mixed paper & cardboard. WCRA supports the referral by NWRIC to the ACCC for the competition watchdog to investigate this matter.

 

“There is no commitment in the documentation to government procurement policies that will give preference to Australian recycled content. On one-hand the COAG decision seeks to control what can or cannot be exported from Australia, whilst ignoring what is being imported into Australia.”

“WCRA supports the intent of COAG’s objectives and we also do not support the export of waste products. We applaud COAG for its decision in allowing the export of clean paper/cardboard and that bus, truck and aviation tyres be exported for re-treading to a verified re-treading facility.

But he concluded that the key answered question is which Government Department in Australia would be responsible for signing-off on whether a tyre re-treading facility is lawful, legitimate or otherwise?”

National Waste Recycling Council (NWRC) CEO Rose Read also told Inside Waste that the strategy was a positive move to bring all states together and align with national plans.

“The national response is a very positive initiative by COAG and it clearly puts waste into the category of an essential service. Waste recovery is now being viewed as a supply chain resource and this response acknowledges that business can get materials back into the stream which are delivering added value.

Read said that the national change in thinking about waste as a resource instead of a problem, was a significant paradigm shift that now needed to permeate all levels of government, councils, business and the community.

“Sequencing the demand for these resources in time for industry to use recycled products in construction is critical.”

Despite the funding challenges faced by the governments with the existing COVI-19 crisis, Read was confident that there was enough investment capability within the private sector and from the landfill levy that could underwrite the actions required to more the strategy forward.

 

Packaging and e-waste grants open in Victoria

Sustainability Victoria (SV) is offering significant grants focused on and packaging and e-waste to build Victoria’s e-waste resource recovery sector.

The largest grant of $2million, which will be capped at $500,000 for each project, is designed to support organisations in Victoria to reduce packaging waste disposed in landfill and is open for small to medium enterprises, not-for-profits and social enterprises with applications open until March 5, 2021.

SA has stated that only projects that address or use a combination of key criteria will be considered:

  • reduce generation of packaging waste
  • increase or improve recovery of packaging waste
  • manufacture packaging using recovered materials
  • remanufacture using packaging waste.

To receive the grant, they must primarily reduce, recover or reuse plastics, paper and cardboard, glass and rubber, while those that primarily recover metals are excluded.

The costs that the grants will assist with include piloting new systems, processes or technologies, acquiring additional plant and equipment, expanding facilities to enable increased resource recovery on existing premises, enabling works to house new plant and equipment and research, development and demonstration.

Financial co-contribution is required at a ratio of 1:1 and small to medium enterprises can contribute up to 25% of their co-contribution as in-kind. Funding from other government sources cannot be included in the co-contribution.

Meanwhile not-for-profits and social enterprises can contribute up to 50% of their co-contribution as in-kind. Funding from other government sources can be included in the co-contribution.

E-waste streams of funding

Round two of SA’s e-waste grants will prioritise building reprocessing capability and capacity, and ensure collection and storage of e-waste is conducted to a high standard.

Up to $500,000 is available across two streams of funding for industry and local government and Waste and Resource Recovery Groups (WRRGs) to invest in projects that increase recovery of e-waste materials and/or ensure the safe collection and storage of e-waste.

E-waste reprocessing grant

This has been designed for projects which will increase Victoria’s e-waste processing capacity and capability by delivering e-waste reprocessing solutions and/or upgrades to existing e-waste reprocessing facilities. SV will provide up to $500,000 to purchase and install equipment and/or upgrade infrastructure at existing e-waste reprocessing facilities. Projects must address one or more of the below benefits and be completed by March 31, 2022.

  • build e-waste reprocessing capacity and capability in Victoria
  • improve the value of e-waste materials through better sorting and reprocessing of e-waste
  • increase recovered e-waste materials with secured end markets
  • align with the goals and directions in the SWRRIPand relevant regional and metropolitan waste and resource recovery infrastructure plan(s)
  • be located in and servicing Victoria

This funding conditional on a minimum co-contribution model towards total project cost. For applications by business/ industry, each $1 of funding must be matched by a $2 co-contribution.

While applications by local government or WRRGS, each $1 of funding must be matched by a $1 co-contribution.

The e-waste Collection and Storage grant

Projects focused on ensuring collection and storage of e-waste is conducted to a high standard are eligible for the collection and storage grant which also closes on March 31, 2022.

SV will provide funding of up to $100,000 for projects delivering fixed, semi-permanent e-waste infrastructure upgrades and alternate non-fixed collection and storage solutions such as an e-waste collection trailer.

Projects that meet the following criteria will be considered by SV for funding:

  • collection and storage projects must be designed and constructed in line with:
    • key requirements of the AS/NZS 5377: 2013
    • all relevant building codes
    • all OH&S Act requirements including Section 28
    • all relevant EPA requirements
    • any other relevant requirements that may not be listed.
  • projects in identified geographical e-waste collection gaps including:
    • eastern suburbs of Melbourne and Warrnambool.
  • other geographical locations with a demonstrated need which are located in and servicing Victoria

SA has stated that this funding type is conditional on a minimum co-contribution model towards total project cost. Applications by business/ industry, each $1 of SV funding must be matched by a $2 co-contribution while applications by local government or WRRGS, each $1 of SV funding must be matched by a $1 co-contribution.

NSW EPA re-assures industry that it will raise engagement

The NSW Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has appointed Nancy Chang to head up the new EPA Regulatory Practice and Advice section within the organisation. She previously held the position of director regulatory strategy and performance within the NSW Department of Education.

In her role as EPA executive director regulatory practice, Chung said that she is focused on translating the NSW government’s 20-year waste strategy into operational themes. She addressed members of the Waste Contractors & Recyclers Association (WCRA) attending a breakfast briefing in Sydney this week, aimed at reviewing key issues facing the industry.

After listening to a series of updates from Anne Prince, APC Consulting; David Clancy, Cleanaway; Brent Lawson, Concrete Recyclers; and Ros Dent, Bingo, who all called for a stronger and functional relationship with the EPA, Chung acknowledged that they had been heard.

“I have a clear remit to re-invigorate industry engagement,” she said.

This was underlined by NSW EPA chair, Carolyn Walsh who said that the EPA will organise to meet with the industry before the deadline for submissions on the 20-year waste strategy on May 8.

WCRA executive director, Tony Khoury welcomed the prospect of stronger engagement with the EPA following his opening statement at the breakfast.

“Businesses are looking for answers, I have never seen our industry so confused about its future,” he said.

Inside  Waste will be following up with the EPA’s plans regarding industry engagement and the 20-year waste plan.

Caption: Attending the WCRA breakfast briefing were l-r:  Harry Wilson (WCRA president) Anne Prince (APC Consulting) Tony Khoury (WCRA executive director) and Carolyn Walsh (NSW EPA chair).

ANZPAC Plastics Pact expands

The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) will lead the development of the ANZPAC Plastic Pact, the latest to join the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s global plastics pact network.

The Pact will launch to the public in late 2020 and will work with businesses, governments and NGOs from across the plastics value chain in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Island nations. It’s aim is to develop a common vision of the circular economy for plastics.

ANZPAC will provide the significant intervention required to meet Australia’s national plastic packaging target that 70% of all plastic packaging will be recycled or composted by 2025.

Aligned with the other initiatives of the Plastics Pact network, the ANZPAC Plastics Pact will work towards a set of ambitious, time-bound targets in these areas:

  • elimination of unnecessary and problematic single-use plastic packaging through redesign and innovation
  • ensuring all plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable, or compostable
  • increasing the reuse, collection, and recycling of plastic packaging
  • increasing recycled content in plastic packaging

The exact targets will be released towards the end of 2020, and progress will be reported annually.

The initiative was announced at the National Plastics Summit, where APCO was joined by representatives from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the UK’s Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP), and the Australian Food and Grocery Council and industry and government was officially invited to participate in the program.

Assistant Minister for waste reduction and environmental management, Trevor Evans, said that the government welcomed industry led approaches which were fundamental to bringing about better recycling outcomes.

“We look forward to actions that will significantly increase recycled plastic content beyond current levels.”

According to APCO CEO, Brooke Donnelly, plastic is a global supply chain problem and in order to manage it effectively, Australia needs an international approach.

“The Ellen Macarthur Foundation’s Plastic Pact network is a proven, effective model being rolled out across the world, and I’m very pleased that APCO Members and key stakeholders will be leading the delivery of this program for our region,” she said

Circular Plastics Research Initiative

In 2020, APCO will be developing the program in close consultation with local industry representatives in all regions. Initiatives will include a series of plastics-focused projects, and the creation of the Circular Plastics Research Initiative, a new innovation hub that will bring together researchers, investors and industry to share knowledge and align efforts.

Companies which have already shown strong engagement with the program include Woolworths, Australia Post, Unilever, Mars, Nestlé Oceania, Pact, CHEP, Amcor, Kmart Australia, Officeworks, Detmold Group, Veolia, SUEZ, Fonterra and Mondelēz International. The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) and Planet Ark Environmental Foundation are also strongly supporting the program’s development.

According to AFGC Acting CEO Dr Geoffrey Annison, “The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) is collaborating to develop whole-of supply chain solutions so our sector can meet the National Packaging Targets to benefit the community and the environment.

“We are proud to be supporting the development of the new ANZPAC program, alongside the ongoing work of APCO and the vital role the organisation is playing in developing a circular economy for packaging and increasing recycling rates across our region.”

Officeworks, head of sustainable development, Ryan Swenson added, “Addressing the challenges relating to plastic packaging requires collaboration across all sectors, and the approach outlined by APCO provides the mechanism to facilitate the systems level change that is needed.”

Ellen MacArthur Foundation, new plastics economy lead, Sander Defruyt said, “We look forward to working together with the governments and industry of Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands to drive real change towards a circular economy for plastic. By eliminating problematic and unnecessary plastic items, innovating to ensure that the plastics they do need are reusable, recyclable, or compostable, and circulating the plastic items they use to keep them in the economy and out of the environment, we can create a world without plastic waste or pollution.”

WRAP head of international resource management UK, David Rogers said, “WRAP is delighted to see APCO announce plans for an ANZPAC. The UK Plastics Pact has been very successful in transforming the plastics landscape in the UK. WRAP, who developed the UK Plastics Pact in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, have been involved in supporting a number of Plastics Pacts around the world as part of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s global Plastics Pact network. This has the power to completely transform how we produce, use and dispose of plastics.”

Loop to arrive in Australia mid-2021

The Loop service developed by the recycling company TerraCycle will launch online in Woolworths in Sydney in June, 2021. The concept, currently operating in the US and France was presented to recycling and reuse stakeholders in Sydney last week by TerraCycle CEO, Tom Szaky.

Sarky told Inside Waste that he had been talking with a range of Australian local and city councils as well state and federal government prior to the 2021 launch. He said that the response has been positive and revealed that he has already received $250,000 funding over two years from Tokyo City to launch a similar scheme.

As the Loop service in Australia will originally be launched online,  customers will pay a fee for the use of the returnable containers. They then place online shopping orders, as with any other ecommerce grocery service. The difference comes when their shopping is delivered. It arrives in a large, insulated box with individual products supplied in reusable containers. The box is used to store the empty containers, which are collected by Loop to be washed and used again; there are no wrappers or boxes and no single-use plastics.

Szaky explained that any recoverable content within used packaging will be reused or recycled using Loop. It expects the system will also enable people to use and buy products in brand-specific, customised packaging that can then be reused and refilled after it is collected and cleaned.

Turning a negative to a positive

According to Szaky, the primary aim of Loop is to turn the concept of waste from a negative to a positive one in the minds of consumers. This also being achieved with an extension of the initial Loop model to those products that can packaged in aesthetic and durable containers and then refilled repeatedly after Loop collects the empties and ships them new when done.

As part of the new service, empty packaging will be collected from households for recycling or refilling purpose. According to Szaky, the reliance on single-use plastics in homes will then be reduced with its circular economy system.

Loop will also extend its operations with a UK launch in March this year. Using the term “wisdom from the past” Szaky explained that the model echoes the heyday of the milkman – the daily doorstep delivery of milk and other perishables.

According to Sarky, any recoverable content in used packaging will be reused or recycled using Loop. He said he expected the system to allow people to use and buy products in brand-specific, customised packaging that can then be reused and refilled after it is collected and cleaned.

“Loop will significantly improve the convenience of shopping and also enhance the product experience. These will be the added benefits besides the elimination of the idea of packaging waste.

“Consumers can now consume products responsibly in fully recyclable, reusable or specially-designed durable packaging made from engineered plastics, glass, alloys, and other materials through Loop.

“After a consumer returns the packaging, the content is recycled or reused using ground-breaking technology or even refilled,” he said.

Inside Waste had previously reported that TerraCycle had struck partnerships with Colgate, Mars and Walkers in 2018. Innovation investments from these founding partners are said to have made the new Loop initiative possible. The partners offered a zero-waste option, which was convenient, as well as affordable for consumers, for some of the most recognisable products in the world as part of their drive.

Now brands including PepsiCo, P&G, Nestle and Unilever are onboard  and other Loop partners include Carrefour, SUEZ and Tesco which will pilot the system later this year in the UK.

 

Central Coast recycler disputes EPA claim

PAR Recycling Services P/L (PAR) based on the New South Wales Central Coast is disputing a $15,000 fine issued by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA). The EPA  has said that the business did not follow orders to store chemicals safely to prevent potential pollution reaching local waterways.

A representative of PAR told Inside Waste that “PAR respects the EPA and its commitment to the legislation, and PAR did its best to comply.”

According to the EPA, the company had been directed to take immediate action to appropriately store drums, bags and containers holding 18 different chemicals on November 14, 2019. Following an inspection, the EPA said it had found 15,265 litres of liquid chemicals and 6,550 kilograms of solid chemicals stored in an area that did not have a bund or spill containment system.

The EPA added in a statement that officers also discovered PAR Recycling did not have spill kits nearby to contain the chemicals in the event of a spill. PAR disputes this statement, claiming that spill kits were in place nearby the bunds that were constructed to store the chemicals.

The chemicals were removed from the premises on January 10, 2020.

EPA director Regulatory Operations Metro North, Adam Gilligan explained that the impact of not installing environmental and pollution controls could include wide-ranging harm on the surrounding water, land, air and human health.

“If the chemicals had spilt without containment, they could have entered the stormwater system and flowed to Piles Creek.

“Chemicals must be stored to prevent, control or minimise pollution and the EPA expects all operators to comply with the safety standards that are in place to protect the environment and the community.”

More updates will follow.