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NWRIC CEO Week in Review- 12 November

Victorian Waste to Energy Framework finalised

The Victorian Government has finalised and released its waste to energy framework which confirms its commitment to place a one million tonne per year cap on the amount of waste that can be heat treated to make energy.

National Waste and Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC) CEO Rose Read said waste to energy is a very effective way of managing residual waste and that the cap was an unnecessary administrative impost.

“Given the frameworks pre-treatment requirements for permitted waste along with the introduction of the four-bin system and a Container Deposit Scheme, a cap on waste to energy is a complete over kill and will do nothing to manage any risks of over-reliance on waste to energy.

“Rather we should be seeing Victoria and the other States and territories putting their resources into aligning their waste to energy policies and frameworks so there is national consistency in the operation of these facilities around emissions level, pre-treatment requirements and reporting.

“Energy from waste not only extends the life of existing landfills, but it also recovers potential renewable energy that can feed into the energy grid and replace coal fired power for industries; reduce greenhouse gases by diverting residual waste from landfill, as well as create new economic and employment opportunities for the community,” said Ms Read.

The framework is now available here and outlines how the one million tonne cap will work, and how it will be introduced.

From mid-late 2022 businesses wishing to operate a waste to energy facility will need to apply for a cap licence. Licensing will be overseen and delivered by the new government business unit Recycling Victoria from 1 July 2022.

For questions about the final waste to energy framework or how it will be introduced contact wastetoenergy@delwp.vic.gov.au.

 

Public nominations sought for Minister’s List

For the first time public nominations are being sought for products to be added to the Minister’s product stewardship priority list.

Industry, government, and consumers are encouraged to contribute their suggestions.

National Waste and Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC) CEO Rose Read welcomed the opportunity to be able to nominate products for the Minister’s product stewardship priority list for 2022-23.

“This is the first time the public and industry can nominate products for the Minister’s List and will confirm what products and materials industry is expected to take product stewardship action on.

“NWRIC considers mandatory product stewardship schemes as being the most cost effective in delivering environment and human health outcomes as illustrated by the success of the oil stewardship scheme introduced over 20 years ago,” said Ms Read.

Nominations are now open and close 17 December 2021.

To contribute to the next list, nominate a product today

 

Untangling Queensland’s Waste Levy Conundrum – New report from WRIQ

Waste Recycling Industry Association of Queensland (WRIQ) has released its proposal to create equitable solutions for Queensland’s waste levy.

Untangling Queensland’s Waste Levy Conundrum explores a range of fundamental elements that will deliver improvements to resource recovery, reductions in waste generation, jobs, investment and contribute to Queensland’s sustainability credentials ahead of the 2032 Olympics.

Currently, Queensland is one of Australia’s worst performing jurisdictions when it comes to waste and recycling. According to the National Waste Report 2020, the Australian rate of resource recovery was 63%, however in Queensland the rate was just 45%

National Waste and Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC) CEO Rose Read welcomed the release of the report, particularly given the current review of Queensland’s waste levies.

“This investigation by WRIQ places a much-needed spotlight on the waste levy system in Queensland, its efficacy or lack thereof in driving greater resource recovery, especially in the Municipal Solid Waste sector, and the important role educating the community on best practice waste management,” Ms Read said.

The report looks at:

  • The current and future waste challenges for Queensland and the global community
  • The intent of waste levy
  • Queensland’s unique (and potentially detrimental) approach to the waste levy
  • Addressing the sector’s social licence (which is a shared space with industry, local government and state government)
  • Areas of underfunding, particularly hazardous waste and disaster management
  • The need to work more collaboratively to deliver outcomes for Queensland communities

For more information, please contact WRIQ CEO Mark Smith on Mark.Smith@wriq.com.au.

 

Review of NSW Resource Recovery Framework

The NSW EPA has appointed Dr Cathy Wilkinson, Professor of Practice at Monash University’s Sustainable Development Institute, and former head Victorian EPA to lead an independent review of the Resource Recovery Framework.

National Waste and Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC) CEO Rose Read welcomed the appointment of Dr Wilkinson and said NWRIC would participate in the review.

“Appointing an independent expert of Dr Wilkinson’s calibre will ensure all views are captured and that the Framework, which is in place to ensure the beneficial and safe recovery of waste as a resource for nutrients, construction materials or energy is operating as efficiently as possible,” Ms Read said.

NWRIC also welcomes that the scope of the review also includes reviewing the definitions of waste and waste classifications along with balancing the need to protect environmental and human health while also supporting the transition to a circular economy and associated investment and innovation.”

The review will examine how the existing Framework works in a practical sense, and whether it is effective, and the elements required to ensure it is fit for purpose. It will also include consultation with stakeholders, including local government, waste groups, industry, and business.

Read more about the review here

 

Waste tyre export rules finalised

The Recycling and Waste Reduction (Export─Waste Tyres) Rules 2021 (the Rules) are now finalised.

From 1 December 2021 you will no longer be able to export whole baled tyres or tyres in pieces larger than 150 mm. However, you will be able to continue to export the following waste tyres if you have a waste export licence:

  • tyres that have been processed into shreds of not more than 150 millimetres for use as tyre derived fuel
  • tyres for retread by an appropriate retreading facility, for example, one that is verified by Tyre Stewardship Australia’s Foreign End Market program
  • tyres to an appropriate importer for re-use as a second-hand tyre
  • tyres that have been processed into crumbs, buffings or granules.

To lodge an application for a tyre export licence, please go to the Waste Export Licensing and Declaration (WELD) portal.

Used passenger and SUV Tyres for retread and tyres to be re-used on vehicles overseas can still be exported without a licence.

National Waste and Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC) CEO Rose Read said the banning of baled waste tyres for export was welcomed.

“These changes ensure that waste tyres will be recycled and processed responsibly,” Ms Read said.

 

Controlling non-hazardous e-waste under the Basel Convention

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) is seeking comments on a proposal to amend the Basel Convention that will introduce more stringent controls on exports, imports and transits of e-waste.

DAWE administers the Hazardous Waste (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Act 1989 (the Act), which regulates the export, import and transit of hazardous waste and delivers on Australia’s obligations under the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal (the Basel Convention).

In summary, the proposal would require prior informed consent (PIC) from all parties involved in the movement (i.e. countries of export, import and transit), for transboundary movements of all e-waste, regardless of whether it is hazardous or non-hazardous.

The stated goal of the proposal is to ensure that all transboundary movements of e-waste are managed in an environmentally sound manner, with state-of-the-art technology, therefore protecting human health and the environment, and contributing to the circular economy.

The proposal is available in the Basel website (pdf and word) along with further rationale in support of the proposal (pdf and word) prepared by Ghana and Switzerland.

Comments are due with the DAWE by 24 November 2021. If you require further information or would like to discuss this with DAWE please contact the hazardous waste section at hwa@awe.gov.au.

 

Growth in hazardous waste volumes

new report released by the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment (DAWE) shows the amount of hazardous waste being generated in Australia is growing.

Australia generated about 7.4 million tonnes of hazardous waste in FY20, equating to about 10% of all waste generated.

Although the volume generated in FY20 was 1% lower than in FY19, the long-term trend is an annual increase of 6.3% from FY15 to FY20.

The report says the major contributors to the surge in hazardous waste generation since FY15 have been increases in asbestos-contaminated waste (almost all in NSW) and contaminated soil (mostly in Victoria and Queensland).

National Waste and Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC) CEO Rose Read said the increase was concerning and managing hazardous waste responsibly was key to reaching 80% resource recovery by 2030.

“This report shows that hazardous waste is increasing, which will impact our ability to reach 80% resource recovery by 2030.

“The report also shows that volumes of PFAS-contaminated waste have grown significantly in recent years, particularly in Victoria and Queensland.

“We know that PFAS is being managed inconsistently across the states and territories, and the report suggests there is significant risk that there won’t be enough capacity to deal with the volumes of PFAS-contaminated soil, rubble and concrete that could be generated in the next few years.

“NWRIC considers phasing out of PFAS use in line with the existing US and Europe PFAS bans as an important step to reducing these volumes and preventing future contamination in the long term.

“However, in the short term, it is critical that governments agree to a set of national prescribed minimum limits of PFAS, relative to use and risk profile as a matter of urgency,” Ms Read said.

The report says the top five hazardous wastes produced by weight in FY20 were contaminated soils (35% of the total), asbestos (18%), tyres (6%), grease trap wastes (also 6%), and waste oils (5%).

Just over half (51%) of all hazardous waste was sent to landfill, with 21% recycled, 15% treated to remove the hazard, and 7% was stored.