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. (https://wasteandrecycle.net.au/)