A national database of waste and recycling service providers is necessary to ensure public protection, says the National Waste and Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC).

Meeting on October 12, NWRIC members discussed initiatives which would help to protect and enhance safety and environmental standards. The Council members comprise national waste companies and all mainland ‘state’ waste and recycling associations. The Council meets regularly to discuss industry issues impacting essential services.

“Effective waste management and recycling requires high standards which protect workers, the public and the environment,” said Phil Richards, Chairman of the NWRIC. “Therefore, Governments should register all facilities and transporters undertaking waste processing, recycling or waste transport to assist with their compliance activities.”

“The NWRIC was setup to protect and raise standards in landfill, recycling, processing and waste transport. An enhanced registration program will give state Environmental Protection Authorities the power to protect standards.” At a previous meeting, the NWRIC suggested that landfill levy revenue could be used to improve compliance activities.

In addition to a program to register all waste transporters, the Council calls for State Government action to ensure that all waste processing facilities hold an Environmental Protection Licence (EPL). Licensing of all facilities is urgently needed to maintain equal standards, and to ensure that compliance activities cover all facilities, regardless of size.

Key standards the industry are concerned about include; the stockpiling of combustible material, landfill levy avoidance, poorly managed small landfills, illegal dumping for commercial gain and fraudulent activity involved in cash for scrap.

“In some instances, the fines for operating an illegal or a substandard facility are lower than the cost of going through the licensing and compliance measures,” said Max Spedding, NWRIC CEO. “Regulators must ensure that compliance costs apply to all facilities, and that fines and regulatory action protect those operators that put in place standards at or above compliance requirements.”