We have started 2019 on a high note with the release of the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030 by Premier Mark McGowan and Environment Minister Stephen Dawson on Saturday 10 February. I represented the Waste Authority at the media launch and was buoyed by the positive reception for the waste strategy and the announcement of the Government’s support for the implementation of food organics and garden organics (FOGO) collection systems in the Perth and Peel regions (see below for more information).
More recently, on 20 February, Premier McGowan announced a target for waste recovery as part of the liveable environment focus in Our Priorities: Sharing Prosperity. This is one of a suite of whole-of-government targets to deliver better outcomes for all Western Australians. This target contributes to delivering a cleaner, more sustainable future by reducing waste. There is a fact sheet that supports the target of: at least 75 per cent of waste generated in Western Australia is reused or recycled by 2030.
On Wednesday, 6 March, Minister Dawson announced that there will be no increase to the State's waste levy rate next financial year. He gave assurances to local government that the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation will establish a schedule of future waste levy rates and review the levy to ensure it meets the new strategy’s objectives.
As chairman of the Waste Authority, I have offered my support to local governments to provide clarity for their councillors on the waste strategy, the associated action plan and the Government’s commitment to roll out programs such as FOGO, sustainable procurement and reporting.
As part of a series on unpacking the details of the waste strategy, the why and the how, I presented at a Western Metropolitan Regional Council’s event in early March. I spoke to councillors and staff from Subiaco, Peppermint Grove, Mosman Park, Cottesloe and Claremont and to David Honey, Member for Cottesloe. Eight similar events have been scheduled for the coming months.
I recently attended the Ninth Regional 3R Forum for Asia and the Pacific. The forum was organised by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Thailand; the Ministry of the Environment of the Government of Japan; and the United Nations Centre for Regional Development – Division for Sustainable Development Goals.
The aim of the forum was to address how the 3Rs – reduce, reuse and recycle – and resource efficiency could play a role in achieving a circular economy and the importance of cross-boundary efforts required in the Asia-Pacific region. Some 50 countries made substantial commitments to reducing the impact of waste on our environment.
The pressure on waste is clearly on, and I believe we can win the war on waste.
The State Government is focused on food organics and garden organics (FOGO) as a priority for waste avoidance and minimisation over the next decade. Focus materials are clearly set out in the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030.
The Better Bins program administered by the Waste Authority contributes to reducing the amount of household waste going to landfill. Currently 16 local governments in Western Australia participate in the Better Bins program – and of these, five are providing a full FOGO service.
Within the next 12 months, more than 370,000 households will receive Better Bins services. Coverage will include the City of Joondalup, City of Fremantle and Town of East Fremantle, plus additional households in the City of Melville, which trialled a full FOGO system in 2017-18 returning excellent results for the diversion of household organics from landfill.
With these additions, more than 37 per cent of all households in Western Australia will have a three bin Better Bin system. The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation continues to process applications from local governments to participate in the program.
The McGowan Government has extended the funding application period for local governments for Better Bins until 30 June 2019.
The Waste Authority is encouraged by the commitment of the participating local governments to the Better Bins program.
There is a real need for more to be done to divert food and garden organics from landfill, and in future, waste to energy facilities.
FOGO is part of the Government’s objective to move to more waste separation at the source. This will keep materials clean and uncontaminated, and therefore easier to recycle, reprocess and remake into products – reducing the need for extraction of new materials. DWER will be consulting with key stakeholders soon on how to promote and encourage local governments’ adoption of FOGO system to help Western Australia increase material recovery to at least 75 per cent by 2030.
The WasteSorted toolkit was launched in September 2018 to help local governments communicate with residents on how to sort their waste correctly. Since its launch, the toolkit has been used by the Western Metropolitan Regional Council, Bunbury Harvey Regional Council and their members, Town of Bassendean, City of Armadale and Shire of Wagin.
A range of new icons and templates have since been added to the toolkit and these are now available on the WasteSorted website for local governments to use. The new icons and templates aim to minimise contamination in kerbside services. Residents in local government areas with Better Bins will be among the first to see the new icons in waste education materials that are delivered by their local government.
The WasteSorted toolkit aligns with the new Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030 and will help deliver consistent messaging on waste disposal. The toolkit also includes templates to assist local governments in their introduction of food organics and garden organics (FOGO) bins.
The Garage Sale Trail Foundation promotes recovery of materials by encouraging the community to participate in garage sales across Australia over one weekend in October.
Garage sales are a great way to buy and sell goods that are no longer required and can help avoid sending valuable resources to landfill. Re-use is the next best outcome after avoidance, selling surplus products puts some extra coin in the sellers pocket and buyers grab a bargain. This year, Garage Sale Trail will be held on 19 – 20 October 2019.
The Garage Sale Trail Foundation reported that in 2018 there were 5,886 registered sales and stalls and over 66,000 participating sellers and shoppers across Western Australia. Residents wishing to host a sale or shop the trail in 2019 can register their interest at www.garagesaletrail.com.au.
The Garage Sale Trail Foundation provides participating local governments with tools and promotional materials to assist in engaging the local community. Last year, 35 local governments were involved in the Garage Sale Trail.
The Garage Sale Trail Foundation are providing an online information session for local governments at 10 am on Thursday 21 March 2019. Local governments wishing to register and be involved should email email@example.com.
In July 2018, a five-year, $8.5m funding agreement with the Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA) was made to deliver the Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) program. A further $500,000 was also budgeted for program monitoring and support.
The current agreement continues a successful partnership of 11 years between the State Government, administered by the Waste Authority, and WALGA and will see the partnership continue to 2023.
As a result of the success of the HHW program so far, Western Australians have access to eight metropolitan and five regional permanent facilities to drop off unwanted household chemicals at no charge. These facilities are owned by local governments or regional councils.
The program funds the collection and treatment of the HHW that is deposited through the program. The main materials collected through the program were paint, gas bottles, batteries (around 20 per cent each of total weight) and flammable liquids (around 10 per cent by weight).
Around 115 tonnes of household hazardous waste was safely recycled or disposed of in the first half of 2018-19 through the program.
The most impressive result achieved by the scheme is the large volume of paint that has been diverted from landfill. This result has been possible because of a strong partnership between the collection sites and Paintback – the national product stewardship scheme for safe paint disposal and innovative reuse.
Paintback is collecting paint from nine of the collection sites under the HHW program and recovering 95 per cent of the paint generated by the program – based on the last full year of collection data. The intent is to see all of the current HHW sites serviced by Paintback.
Paintback is now offering paint return collection points within 20 km in the Perth metropolitan area and 40km in regional WA for 2 million people – 75 per cent of the WA population. Partnerships such as these are an example of the product-stewardship schemes the Waste Authority continues to champion to achieve the Government's waste priorities for Western Australia.
To find out more about the HHW program, the materials collected and where you can drop off your household hazardous waste: http://www.wasteauthority.wa.gov.au/programs/funded-programs/household-hazardous-waste
To find out more about what Paintback does with recovered paint visit: https://www.paintback.com.au/collection-and-treatment
The Waste Authority would like to remind readers that the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation has relocated to Joondalup.
Our contact details are:
Prime House, 8 Davidson Terrace, Joondalup
Locked Bag 10, JOONDALUP DC WA 6919
Tel: (08) 6364 6965