Outcomes of the Waste Authority’s 2024 Planning Day and 27 March 2024 meeting

Key outcomes of the Waste Authority's latest meeting

The Waste Authority held its annual planning day on 20 February 2024.  Members received an opening address by the Hon Darren West MLC, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Energy; Environment; Climate Action the Hon Reece Whitby MLA. The Parliamentary Secretary, representing the Minister, provided his insights into the important role the Waste Authority plays in guiding Western Australia’s transition to a circular economy.

The planning day focused on an environmental scan; the review of the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030; progress against the targets of the current strategy; and the development of the 2024-25 Waste Authority Business and Action Plan and budget priorities.

Review of the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030 (waste strategy)

A special meeting of the Waste Authority was held on 6 February 2024 to discuss key elements of the revised draft waste strategy.

The draft waste strategy is anticipated to be released for a 12-week public consultation period in May 2024.   The Department will also run stakeholder workshops with a range of sectors to provide input into developing actions for a roadmap which will accompany the strategy.

Management of end-of-life batteries

At its meeting on 27 March 2024, the Waste Authority received an update on the management of end-of-life batteries in loose or embedded form (including vapes), and the increasing hazard these pose in kerbside and commercial waste and recycling streams.

Members noted that a Positive Charge 2022-2023 Report from B-cycle, a voluntary national product stewardship scheme provider, estimates that only 12 per cent of hand-held batteries were collected for recycling in Australia.

A 'Don’t bin a battery’ campaign, using B-cycle and  GREAT Sorts campaign assets has been running from January 2024 and will continue to run until June 2024 to promote positive battery disposal behaviours.   

Members were pleased to see the development of a community campaign encouraging Western Australian’s to never bin a battery (as well as other e-waste types) in support of the upcoming e-waste ban.  The campaign is expected to commence in July 2024 and will form part of the annual GREAT Sorts waste sorting campaign in 2024-25.

Batteries can be dropped off at fifteen permanent Household Hazardous Waste collection sites at local government facilities across Western Australia.

At the Environment Ministers meeting (EMM) held in November 2023, the Queensland Government agreed to coordinate national work on end-of-life batteries across jurisdictions.  The Waste Authority acknowledged that the development of national standards for the safe disposal and management of end-of-life lithium-ion batteries is urgently required, including clear timelines.

E-waste to landfill ban by 2024

Members noted good progress continues to be made by the state government towards delivering an e-waste to landfill ban in Western Australia by 2024.  The ban will be underpinned by new regulations, anticipated to be gazetted in April 2024, to give effect to the ban set to commence on 1 July 2024.  Members acknowledged planning towards compliance at implementation and transition period details, is underway.

New e-waste Regulations will align Western Australia with other jurisdictions, such as Victoria and South Australia, in implementing a regulatory ban of e-waste from disposal to landfill.

The e-waste ban is supported by grants for e-waste management and recycling infrastructure, as well as a communications and community education campaign.

The second round of the E-waste Infrastructure Grants Program recently closed on 29 March 2024.  Applications received are currently being assessed. 

Western Australian led national project on end-of-life tyre options

The Waste Authority noted progress on the Western Australian led national project to assess policy options for end-of-life (EOL) tyres.  This follows an agreement made at a meeting of Environment Ministers in June 2023, that Western Australia would lead collaboration on this work.

The project is being undertaken in two phases, with the first phase focussing on the development of an agreed problem statement and project objectives and principles. The second phase, currently underway, involves an assessment of options for EOL tyres (informed by the agreed approach) and further research into off-the-road tyres used in industries such as mining and agriculture.

The project’s approach aims to align with the Commonwealth Government’s framework to guide jurisdictional collaboration to accelerate product stewardship of problematic products.  The outcomes of the project will support any future work undertaken by the Commonwealth Government to formally assess end-of-life tyre options under a policy impact analysis.

It is anticipated that outcomes and findings of the project will be submitted to jurisdictions and key stakeholders ahead of Environment Ministers reviewing the findings in 2024.

Recovered Material Framework

Members received an update on current progress of the Recovered Materials Framework.

In 2023, Cabinet approved the development of a legislated Recovered Materials Framework to provide clarity about when a material is no longer considered waste and to help remove barriers to the development and use of waste derived materials.  The framework will also support investment in material recovery and assist in building markets for these materials.

The Recovered Materials Project has four key deliverables: Amendments to the Environmental Protection Act 1986; processes and systems required to implement the Recovered Materials Framework; Regulations to implement the legislative framework; and industry guidance material on how to participate in the framework.

Plan for Plastics – Coffee cups

The Waste Authority was pleased to see the commencement of Western Australia’s Plan for Plastics coffee cup bans from 1 March 2024.  The ban includes single-use, plastic-lined coffee cups and lids.  Compostable paperboard cups, certified to Australian composting standards are excluded from the ban (noting lids must be entirely plastic free).

The bans form part of the second stage of Western Australia’s nation-leading Plan for Plastics, with the Department working closely with retailers and consumers to ensure the community can support the changes.

Western Australia’s Plan for Plastics has already led to 430 million fewer single-use plastics going to landfill or litter annually in WA.  Implementation of the Plan for Plastics second stage is anticipated to save an additional 700 million single-use items annually, with hot beverage cups accounting for more than 154 million of these items per annum.

Next meeting

The next meeting of the Waste Authority will be held on 26 June 2024. 

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Created Date:
Fri 5 April 2024

Last Edit Date:
Wed 10 April 2024