NWRIC meets in nation’s capital

Members of the National Waste and Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC) met this week in Canberra with a full agenda including updates from state affiliates, Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction the Hon. Trevor Evans MP and representatives from the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment.

NWRIC CEO Rose Read said it was a productive meeting with discussion of several government programs, policy matters, as well as NWRIC’s current project on recovered material specifications.

“Departmental representatives provided information on the progress of the Waste Export Bans and the Recycling Modernisation Fund as well as actions to drive greater government procurement of recycled materials and food waste for healthy soils off the back of the recent Federal budget.

“We were also very pleased to welcome Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction The Hon. Trevor Evans to the meeting where he shared an update on the Federal Government’s positions on several areas including procurement of recycled content, the recent budget, the NEPM for Used Packaging and Product Stewardship.

Ms Read said two key policy areas were also the focus of discussion for NWRIC members, PFAS and Waste to Energy.

“PFAS has been the subject of much debate within industry about the best way forward, with NWRIC calling for harmonisation when it comes to states implementing the National Environmental Management Plan.

“It was agreed that the Department and members would meet later in June to specifically discuss the challenges PFAS is presenting to business operations.

“The NSW Government has released a revised Energy from Waste policy and NWRIC is calling on emissions limits to be in line with EU requirements as well as not requiring pre-treatment of residual waste from red lidded bins where there is a three-bin system,” Ms Read said.

ANZPAC Plastics Pact launched but mandating targets is key

Last week the ANZPAC Plastics Pact was officially launched, uniting leading businesses, NGOs, and governments behind a series of ambitious 2025 targets to eliminate plastic waste across Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Islands region.

ANZPAC members are working towards the following targets by 2025:

  • Eliminate unnecessary and problematic plastic packaging through redesign, innovation and alternative (reuse) delivery models.
  • 100 per cent of plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging by 2025.
  • Increase plastic packaging collected and effectively recycled by 25 per cent for each geography within the ANZPAC region.
  • Average of 25 per cent recycled content in plastic packaging across the region.

National Waste and Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC) CEO Rose Read welcomed the Pact’s launch but said for targets to be reached they required mandating.

“It’s important that industry is involved in driving the need for a circular economy when it comes to plastics because at present 84% of plastic used is sent to landfill and only 13% is recycled.

“However, the voluntary arrangements that are in place will not ensure that the proposed targets will be met on time. Mandating targets is the only way we can meet the resource recovery rate of 80% by 2030 as set out in the National Waste Policy Action Plan,” Ms Read said.

New rules apply for waste plastic exports – apply for a licence now

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment has announced that new rules for waste plastic exports, including processed engineered fuel, are now in place.

The rules, which were approved on 25 May 2021, come into effect over two phases:

Phase 1 – starting on 1 July 2021, you can only export plastic that:

  • has been sorted into single resin or polymer and
  • is almost free of contamination and other wastes
  • or has been processed into processed engineered fuel.

Phase 2 – starting on 1 July 2022, you can only export plastic that:

  • has been sorted into single resin or polymer and
  • has been further processed and
  • is almost free of contamination and other wastes
  • or has been processed into processed engineered fuel.

And you will need:

  • a licence to export your waste
  • to declare each consignment to us before you declare to the Australian Border Force’s Integrated Cargo System.

For more information visit https://www.environment.gov.au/protection/waste/exports/plastic or contact the Department on 1800 852 974 or email exportwaste@awe.gov.au.

You can apply for a licence now on the department’s online Waste Export Licensing and Declaration (WELD) portal. Find out about licence requirements, the documents you need to provide, and how applications are assessed on our how to apply web page.

Preventing fires in waste stockpiles

Waste Recycling Industry Queensland (WRIQ) is partnering with the Department of Environment and Science to develop a package of work to reduce fire risk at waste and recycling facilities.

Read more about this package here.

To help guide the development of this package WRIQ will be carrying out consultation activities with waste and resource recovery businesses and local councils, seeking feedback on:

  • Current guidelines
  • Alternative approaches to how fire risk can be managed
  • Preferred methods of engagement and communication
  • Unintended consequences of the current guidelines
  • What training or additional support could be provided

Sessions will be held as follows and are open to anyone working in the waste or recycling sector, private business, local councils and consultants.

  • Townsville, 1 June, 8.30 am -12.30 pm
  • Rockhampton, 3 June, 8.30 am -12.30 pm
  • Bundaberg, 4 June, 8.30 am -12.30 pm
  • Ipswich, 11 June, 8.30 am -2 pm

Further details and online registration are available here

Seats are limited at each session and there is a nominal fee for attendance.

Healthy soils and organic waste- AORA presentation

Earlier this month Australian Organics Recycling Association (AORA) and the Queensland branch of Soil Science Australia came together at an event in the Lockyer Valley to discuss the importance of healthy soils and organic waste.

Click here for the presentation by Peter Olah, National Executive Officer with AORA who looks at the contribution of organics recycling to healthy soils and how to maximise it.

NWRIC CEO Rose Read recommended the presentation.

“Following the recent Federal Budget announcement of new funding to help divert organic food from landfill and importantly, put it back into agricultural soils, it is imperative that as an industry we are up to speed with any developments in organics,” Ms Read said.