E-Newsletter April 2018

Chairman's Message

The Waste Authority has hit the ground running in 2018.  It is leading the review of the waste strategy on behalf of the State Government, and the first stage of the review included nine community consultation workshops across the State.  Over 380 community members, government and industry stakeholders attended workshops in Perth, Albany, Bunbury, Geraldton, Kalgoorlie, Northam and Port Hedland.  Over 400 stakeholders also contributed their views through an online survey and 97 written submissions were received.  The overwhelming feedback from community, government and industry attendees demonstrated a positive commitment to make Western Australia a low waste society.

Submissions closed on 1 March 2018, and we are now drafting the new waste strategy for approval by the Minister for Environment. It is envisaged that the new strategy will be announced in the first half of the 2018-19 financial year.

I'd like to thank those of you that shared your views about the future of waste management in Western Australia by completing the online survey, making a written submission or attending a workshop.  Your interest in and commitment to achieving a more sustainable environment is inspiring.     

China’s recent announcement on the banning of certain materials poses challenges and opportunities to Australia and other countries.  The Waste Authority is aware of the Chinese Government’s import restrictions on recyclable materials and is working with the State Government and the Minister’s recently announced Waste Taskforce to consider options to support recycling in Western Australia.  

You can contribute to making WA a low waste society by ensuring the right waste goes into the right bin at home, work and public places by placing accepted recyclables only in the yellow lid bin and all other in the rubbish bin.  

Lastly, applications for the Community and Industry Engagement program and Community Grants Scheme have recently closed and assessment is underway.  The Waste Authority will review the independent assessment panels’ recommendations prior to submission to the Minister for Environment for approval.

I encourage you to visit the Waste Authority’s website and familiarise with the programs managed by the Waste Authority.

Proposed national approach to prioritising product stewardship action – Consultation draft

The Federal Department of the Environment and Energy is working with States, Territories and local governments to develop a strategic approach to prioritising national product stewardship action in response to product impact management issues*. As product types are rapidly changing and increasing, managing their impacts on the environment in relation to waste produced throughout their lifecycle is becoming increasingly complex.

Two documents have been developed to guide how Australian Governments will decide which product impact issues will be prioritised and have resources allocated to them. This will be managed through the administrative arrangements of the Meetings of Environment Ministers, as follows:

The draft Assessment | Action | Escalation (AAE) Process - outlines the step-by-step processes for assessing, managing and escalating national priority issues in line with these principles.
The draft 2018-19 Work Plan - categorises current national priorities according to the Assessment | Action | Escalation Process.

Knowing what the process will be, including the decision criteria, will make it easier for businesses to engage with local, state and federal government on a product impact management issue.

The Department of the Environment and Energy is now inviting public submissions on these two documents by COB 4 May 2018.

This information including a submission cover-sheet can be found at the following link: http://www.environment.gov.au/protection/national-waste-policy/product-stewardship/consultation-2018.

Please note that all submissions must include the cover sheet

Enquiries should be directed to the Federal Governments Department of Environment and Energy at waste@environment.gov.au  (please do not contact the Waste Authority)

These documents will also be discussed at public information sessions, details will be advertised soon.

* This consultation is separate to the Product Stewardship Act Review and as such these documents do not sit under the regulatory powers of the Product Stewardship Act. Priorities listed on the work-plan are not the priorities of the Minister for the Environment and Energy under the Product Stewardship Act, but the priorities of all Environment Ministers. These lists are intended to become less and less similar in future, through use of the Assessment | Action | Escalation Process.

Better Bins program continues to grow

More local governments have joined Better Bins, a State Government program that provides funding to local governments to implement better practice kerbside collection services to support higher recovery rates and the objectives of the waste strategy through separation of waste at source.  These include the Cities of Bunbury, Cockburn, Melville and Subiaco, and the Shire of Gingin.

As part of Better Bins, the Australian Standard bin lid colours must be adopted, which are yellow lid for co-mingled recycling, lime green lid for garden and food organics, and red lid for general waste.

Commitments to Better Bins services have now been made for over 300,000 households in Western Australia.

For further information call 6364 6965 or email.

FOGO – fancy acronym but a serious part of the waste stream

"Food organics garden organics" are types of organics, natural, biodegradable waste from plants or animals, for example, kitchen scraps and garden cuttings. FOGO waste is valuable as it can be made into commodities such as compost.

FOGO waste accounts for half of the municipal waste stream so an effective waste collection system can support better recovery rates. Local governments using a three bin system which includes a FOGO bin can achieve recovery rates around 65 per cent. FOGO collection systems are preferred by the Waste Authority.


A recycled road map to smarter construction

The Waste Authority has recommended the use of recycled materials from the construction and demolition sector to replace raw materials on civil construction projects, including roads, carparks and other suitable infrastructure.

The Authority continues working with the Departments of Water and Environmental Regulation, Transport and with Main Roads on promoting the use of construction and demolition material in ways that do not pose a risk to the environment.

Construction and demolition waste is the largest component of the overall mix of waste streams accounting for around 50 per cent of all waste disposed to landfill.

Increased use of recycled construction and demolition materials instead of raw materials has the potential to reduce projects costs, reduce environmental harm by avoiding transport and extraction impacts and keep valuable materials circulating through the economy.


Electric composters launched in high schools

“Electric composters have been installed in four WA high schools”
Four electric composters were launched in high schools in March to trial new ways to process food waste. The rapid electric composters use heat and microbial activity to create compost in as little as a week. 
The machines can take up to 20 kilograms of food waste per day and compost is harvested each Monday. Staff at four schools undertook training on how to operate the equipment and have started to feed their composters with scraps from home economics, the canteen and staff rooms.
As the machines capacity ramps up following their use, students’ food scraps from lunch will also be added.

The results of the trial are anticipated in February 2019.

Students from one high school have proposed calling their composter Audrey after the Venus flytrap plant in Little Shop of Horrors! Audrey had her first feed of food scraps already and digested it well! 

Electric composters have been installed in four WA high schools

Funding Grants

The first rounds of funding grants for the Community and Industry Engagement (CIE) program and the Community Grants Scheme (CGS) have recently closed.  Both programs attracted a high number of applications, which are currently being assessed by departmental officers.

Recommendations from the assessment panel will be submitted to the Waste Authority for endorsement and submission to the Minister for Environment for approval.

In 2017-18, funding for Waste Authority programs will focus on projects and events that align with the following priorities:

  • the minimisation of food waste
  • the minimisation of plastic waste
  • improvement in the use of construction and demolition products, particularly in support of the Recycled Construction Products program.

Waste Authority’s newsletter subscribers receive an automated notification when a funding round is open. You can subscribe on the Waste Authority’s website homepage.