The Waste Strategy is the blueprint for the way in which waste issues are managed in WA. The responsible Minister is the Hon Stephen Dawson MLC, Minister for Environment.
The Strategy employs best practice and continuous improvement, along with target setting, as primary approaches to drive this change. The Strategy’s success will be measured against its effectiveness in reducing the amount of waste generated, increasing the proportion of material recovered from the waste stream and reducing the proportion of waste destined for landfill. The Strategy builds on existing programs and initiatives such as the Regional Funding Program, Household Hazardous Waste Program, Data Program, Infinity Awards, and grants programs as well as strategic partnerships, to refocus the efforts of all those involved in managing Western Australia’s waste.
The amount of waste being recovered in Western Australia has been increasing steadily for a number of years, and there is evidence that increases in the landfill levy have accelerated this trend. However, the State’s performance when benchmarked against other mainland states is still poor and requires a significant boost if comparable outcomes are to be achieved by 2015.
The key drivers that have shaped the strategies and targets in Creating the Right Environment include:
- the need to lift the effectiveness of planning for long-term waste management at a State level
- access to data and information to underpin the measurement of strategies and services
- significant opportunities to improve performance on construction and demolition, and commercial and industrial waste recovery
- consolidation and improvement in municipal waste collection and processing performance
- a desire to do better on packaging waste management, litter recovery and other problematic wastes
- improved landfill practices and incentives to reduce waste to landfill.
Creating the Right Environment has five strategic objectives within which strategies relating to knowledge, infrastructure and incentives have been developed to support a coordinated approach to changing the behaviours of individuals, groups and organisations:
- Strategy objective 1 – Initiate and maintain long-term planning for waste and recycling processing, and enable access to suitably located land with buffers sufficient to cater for the State’s waste management needs
- Strategy objective 2 - Enhance regulatory services to ensure consistent performance is achieved at landfills, transfer stations and processing facilities
- Strategy objective 3 - Develop best practice guidelines, measures and reporting frameworks and promote their adoption
- Strategy objective 4 - Use existing economic instruments to support the financial viability of actions that divert waste from landfill and recover it as a resource
- Strategy objective 5 - Communicate messages for behaviour change and promote its adoption, and acknowledge the success of individuals and organisations that act in accordance with the aims and principles in the Strategy and assist in its implementation.
Targets in the Strategy are based on ambitious but achievable improvements in current recovery rates. The targets are expressed as the proportion of waste recovered compared to that generated. Recovery targets for municipal solid waste in the Perth Metropolitan Region are 50% by 2015 (up from 36% in 2009/10) and 65% by 2020 and in major regional centres 30% by 2015 (up from 15% in 2009/10) and 50% by 2020. Statewide targets for the commercial and industrial sector are 55% by 2015 (up from 46% in 2009/10) and 70% by 2020. Construction and demolition waste Statewide targets are 60% by 2015 (up from 29%) and 75% by 2020.
The implementation of the Strategy will be supported by funding from the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Account, and initiatives and actions funded under the Strategy will be contained in the Waste Authority’s annual Business Plan 2012/13 which will be available publicly following the release of the Strategy. The Strategy sets the primary roles and responsibilities that key groups need to play in order to allow coordinated actions consistent with the Strategy to be implemented. The Waste Authority recognises that the achievement of the targets in this Strategy relies on a collective commitment and effort by many individuals and organisations.
The Waste Strategy was launched on 6 March 2012 by the Hon. Bill Marmion, MLA, Minister for Environment at a function attended by industry, local government and community stakeholders. The Chairman's speech forms part of the historical record of this event.