Waste Export Ban on mixed plastics- is Australia ready?
In the latest edition of Waste Management Review just out now, National Waste and Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC) CEO Rose Read discusses the waste export ban on mixed plastics and is Australia ready?
NWRIC supports the export bans but is concerned that the pace of developing local markets for recycled plastics through government procurement and the approval and construction of waste plastic sorting and secondary processing infrastructure is too slow.
“There is a real risk that potentially up to half of the waste plastic currently collected through household kerbside yellow bins will either be stockpiled until more sorting or processing capacity comes online or end up in landfill.
“This represents both a loss of revenue and an increase in landfill costs for many material recycling facilities servicing local councils across Australia, putting them under significant financial stress.
“The only way to alleviate this financial impost is for these facilities to increase the gate fees to local councils. Not an ideal outcome for Australian householders.”
“NWRIC is particularly concerned about progress along the east coast of Australia, especially, Queensland which has yet to sign on to the Commonwealth’s Recycling Modernisation Fund.
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Victoria’s new waste pollution laws to commence shortly
From 1 July Victoria’s Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) will have increased powers to prevent harm to public health and the environment from pollution and waste.
National Waste and Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC) CEO Rose Read said the new Environment Protection Act 2017 was a long time in the making but supported the EPA’s enhanced powers.
“A public enquiry into the role of Victoria’s Environment Protection Authority concluded in 2016, and while it has taken some time for the new Act to come into force, the EPA’s enhanced powers, particularly the ability to now issue stronger sanctions and penalties to hold polluters to account is a step in the right direction.
“The General Environmental Duty (GED) is central to the new laws and applies to all Victorians. This means that activities relating to pollution or waste must not pose a risk to human health or the environment.
“The GED is criminally enforceable, so it is imperative that businesses take practical steps to ensure their activities are managed to avoid any environmental damage,” Ms Read said.
Click here to watch a webinar held on 3 February this year to get an overview of the new environment protection laws.
Two webinars will be hosted by the EPA in relation to the new laws:
26 May 2021- Your role in protecting the environment
The session will cover:
- key environmental obligations for business and industry
- general environmental duty (GED)
- how to identify and manage your environmental risk
- where to find more information.
8 June 2021- What you need to know about waste
The session will cover:
- how EPA regulates waste
- requirements for businesses that generate, transport of receive waste
- how to classify waste, and the new Waste Tracker system
- permissions for waste receivers.
Click here to register for these upcoming webinars.
Ms Read encouraged any waste and recycling operators with questions or concerns about the new EPA laws and regulations to contact Alex Serpo at the Victorian Waste Management Association on Alex@vta.com.au