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Perth schools celebrate a decade of being wise with waste

Coolbinia Primary School was one of 18 schools across Western Australia celebrated this week for achieving 10 years as a Waste Wise accredited school. The local member, Hon Alanna Clohesy, MLC, presented the school’s Principal and Waste Wise coordinator with a sign and certificate at the morning assembly on Thursday, 7 November to mark the occasion – thanking the children, staff and parents for their commitment to the program.

Waste Wise student ambassadors, Waste Wise Coordinator Rebekah Melville, Principal Paul Westcott and Hon. Alanna Clohesy, MLC 

While 18 schools reached the 10-year milestone of consecutively renewing their accreditation since the program began, a total of 491 schools are accredited in the Waste Wise School Program.

Program provides schools with the foundation for success

Administered by the Waste Authority of Western Australia, the Waste Wise School accreditation program started in 2010 with the aim of recognising and celebrating the waste reduction and recovery efforts being undertaken in schools.

Schools must complete a number of steps to become accredited including:

  • run a waste audit to collect data on the waste produced at school
  • form a Waste Wise committee to plan, implement and evaluate Waste Wise projects
  • write a whole-of-school waste policy so the wider school community is aware of the school’s waste avoidance and recovery commitment
  • formulate a waste avoidance and recovery plan.

Schools must re-apply for annual accreditation.

Coolbinia Primary school a stand-out performer

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said Coolbinia Primary School was a fantastic Waste Wise school that embedded sustainability throughout its school culture and programs.

The School runs a range of Waste Wise projects, such as the 200-tonne carbon reduction plan, which encourages the school community to recycle and acts to enhance biodiversity as well as save water and energy.

It has also received three Waste Wise grants from the Waste Authority WA, which have enabled it to set up organics recycling (worms, compost and chickens), paper recycling and educational signage, as well as projects that teach students to repair old bikes and re-use old wheelbarrows for garden beds.

National recycling week runs from 11–17 November.

Coolbinia Primary School’s Cool Green School sign and veggie beds with interpretive signage

Outcomes of latest Waste Authority meeting held on 30 October

Key outcomes of the Waste Authority’s 30 October 2019 meeting

Immediately prior to its 30 October meeting, Waste Authority members met with local governments and waste industries at a breakfast event coordinated by the Western Australian Local Government Association.  It was an excellent opportunity for Waste Authority members to meet with key stakeholders to discuss relevant waste management and recycling matters, especially in the lead up to National Recycling Week 2019.

At its 30 October meeting, the Waste Authority noted key outcomes from the inaugural meeting of the Program Risk and Performance Committee held on 22 October 2019.  This Committee of the Waste Authority is chaired by the CEO of Treasury Corporation, Kaylene Gulich and includes members Mike Rowe, Director General, Department of Water and Environmental Regulation and Reg Howard- Smith, Chairman – Waste Authority.  The Committee is charged with providing oversight and guidance to the Waste Authority in relation to risk management, program evaluation and financial reporting.  Key activity, risk and financial reports will be dealt with by this Committee.

The Waste Authority received a presentation from Nous Group (Nous) on the draft Evaluation Framework for the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030.  It provides a framework for evaluating programs delivered under the Waste Strategy and associated Action Plan, underpinned by recognised program evaluation concepts and approaches.  The report is currently being finalised with Nous.

Members discussed the proposed Better Bins Plus Food Organics Garden Organics (FOGO) program and better practice kerbside guidelines to support the adoption of FOGO collection systems.  The Waste Authority considered a proposal for a three bin FOGO system rollout and establishing a consultative FOGO Reference Group.  A plan for a three bin FOGO system rollout was considered as a working draft, which will be circulated to the FOGO Reference Group following the appointment of members.

Members discussed the review of progress against the Waste Strategy Action Plan, noting that good progress is being made.

Members discussed the Minister’s Statement of Expectation for the Waste Authority and considered its response to this by way of a Statement of Intent.  Both documents will be available on the Waste Authority’s website once the Minister for Environment notes the response.

The Waste Authority also noted the recent Department of Water and Environmental Regulation consultation with local governments on the draft Waste Plans resource kit, to assist local governments within the Perth metropolitan region, the Peel region and major regional centres to prepare waste plans that align local government waste planning processes with the WARR Strategy 2030.

Standing Committee Inquiry

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Industry, Innovation, Science and Resources has commenced an inquiry into Australia’s Waste Management and Recycling Industries.  The inquiry will focus on opportunities presented by waste materials, including energy production, innovative recycling approaches and export opportunities, and will also consider current impediments to innovation.


The Committee invites submissions from interested individuals and organisations addressing the terms of reference (here).   Submissions can be lodged online via the Committee’s website or emailed directly to the Committee Secretariat at Submissions should be lodged by 31 January 2020.

Waste & Recycle Conference 2019

Waste Authority Chairman, Reg Howard-Smith delivered a presentation at the opening session of the annual Waste & Recycle Conference at Burswood Towers this morning. He joined the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation Director General, Mike Rowe in supporting the Minister for Environment, the Hon Stephen Dawson’s call for collaboration and innovative solutions from the waste sector.

In opening the event, Minister Dawson, stressed that it will require dedication from the community and all key stakeholders in the waste sector to achieve the government’s target to reuse or recycle at least 75 per cent of waste generated in Western Australia by 2030.

Reg Howard-Smith’s presentation focussed on the work jointly underway by the Waste Authority and the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation to meet the target in the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030 to deliver a harmonised kerbside collection system, which includes Food Organics and Garden Organics (FOGO), in the Perth and Peel regions by 2025.

Mr Howard-Smith acknowledged the considerable achievements by South West regional local governments which have led the FOGO charge for WA since 2013 and the City of Melville 2018 trial and resultant full adoption of FOGO services. He also congratulated East Fremantle and Fremantle for following suit.

There is some way to go before the targets are met for FOGO services. Mr Howard-Smith provided details on the Better Bins and WasteSorted programs and the Better Bins Kerbside Collection Guidelines that are now being revised, as examples of the initiatives available to support the introduction of three-bin kerbside FOGO services.

The Waste Authority fully supports comments made by the Minister in his opening address regarding Western Australia’s recycling efforts. The Waste Authority will be part of the open conversations between government, local government and industry that Minister Dawson called for so the Western Australia may address challenges facing the recycling industry arising partly due to contamination in kerbside-recycling systems.

Mr Howard Smith said the Waste Data Strategy that is scheduled to be released later this year is key to improved data reporting at a local government level.

“The draft waste data strategy sets out the principles, objectives and specific actions required for sound waste data. It provides information about the principles, objectives and specific actions that will be undertaken by the Waste Authority in relation to waste data. The waste data strategy will also guide the department and the Waste Authority’s interactions and engagement with other stakeholders that are involved in, and critical to, waste data activities,” he said.

Mr Howard-Smith also spoke about the review of the Community and Industry Engagement program that offers grants to Western Australians under the two streams of recycling infrastructure funding and general funding.

The Waste & Recycle Conference is hosted by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, The Western Australian Local Government Association and the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia. The annual event has been presented each year for over 25 years and attracts waste specialists from state government, local government, industry not-for-profits. More information is available on the conference website. (

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