WALGA’s Waste Management Newsletter
Issue 21 November 2022

Change Maker Awards

On 4 November 2022, the Containers for Change community came together at the Change Maker Awards Gala to celebrate the everyday champions that have led to the success of the Container Deposit Scheme network in Western Australia.

More than 1.67 billion containers have been recycled since Containers for Change was introduced in October 2020. The Scheme has created 820 jobs, with more than $6.21 million donated to almost 5,000 community groups, charities and schools. There are now 262 Refund Points across the state, run by 76 operators.

Albany Secondary Education Support Centre (ASESC) and MR Refund were named joint winners of the coveted Change Maker of the Year Award that recognises those who have gone above and beyond in the fight against the fill. ASESC Rec Collection was built from the ground up by the students to help in the development of key employability skills through the simulation of real-life business scenarios.

Well done to the Cities of Fremantle and Stirling who were nominated as finalists in the Refund Point Operator categories.
Get the lowdown on all award winners and finalists from the WA Return Recycle Renew Limited website.

Pictured: Students and staff from Albany Secondary Education Support Centre. Image Credit: WA Return Recycle Renew Limited (top) and Albany Secondary Education Support Centre (bottom).

Soft Plastics in the RED

The nationwide soft plastic recycling program REDcycle paused its operations as of 9 November 2022.
REDcycle has stated that a 350% increase in soft plastic returned since 2019 has put untenable pressure on its business model. The Program has operated as a voluntary collection and recycling system for soft plastic since its inception and processed up to 7,000 tonnes of material per year.

With roughly 150,000 tonnes of soft plastic being generated from Australian households, what the Program has achieved to date is but a mere drop in the plastic ocean. REDcycle’s situation during National Recycling Week came as a timely reminder that effective national product stewardship schemes are essential to ensure that all manufacturers are responsible for the end of life of their products and packaging.

In the short term, WA Local Governments should advise their residents to place all soft plastics in the General Waste bin.

Visit the REDcycle website for further details about the announcement.

Image Credit: Lindy Hughson (Packaging News).

Making Product Stewardship a Priority

The Federal Environment Minister's Product Stewardship Priority List for 2022‑23 has been revised to include end-of-life tyres, mattresses and plastics in healthcare.
The Minister’s Priority List names products and materials that need urgent product stewardship action. Listing products is intended to encourage industry to reduce the negative environmental and human health impacts of products and signals that the Minister may consider regulatory measures if industry does not act.

Tyres, mattresses and plastics in healthcare will now become the focus of efforts by industry, Government agencies and institutions such as the Product Stewardship Centre of Excellence to implement product stewardship solutions.

At the recent Environment Ministers Meeting, the Federal Government flagged its intention to develop a regulatory product stewardship scheme for solar panels and household electronics which have been on the list since 2016-17.

For more information on the recommended actions for each of the listed products, visit the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water website.

Image Credit: AdobeStock 214185983.

Australia’s Making Waves to Eliminate
All Plastic Pollution

Australia has signed on to the international push for a global agreement to recycle or reuse 100% of plastic waste by 2040 and end plastic pollution.
Australians are avid recyclers but only about 16%, of the more than 1 million tonnes of plastic in circulation, is recycled with most of the plastic waste we produce ending up in landfills or stockpiles. Plastic production and consumption across the globe are set to triple by 2060.

The Federal Environment Minister has announced that Australia will join the High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution which aims to deliver a legally binding global treaty to end plastic pollution by 2040.

The overarching goals of the Coalition will be to:
  • Restrain plastic consumption and production to sustainable levels
  • Enable a circular economy for plastics that protects the environment and human health
  • Achieve environmentally sound management and recycling of plastic waste.
Australia has also signed the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the United Nations Environment Programme. The Global Commitment brings together over 500 signatories including governments and industry, to work towards a common vision for a circular economy for plastics in line with the following principles:
  • ELIMINATE the plastics we don’t need
  • INNOVATE to ensure that the plastics we do need are reusable, recyclable, or compostable
  • CIRCULATE all the plastic items we use to keep them in the economy and out of the environment.
Read the full media release here

Image Credit: AdobeStock 276846388.

COP27 Tackles the Impact of
Plastic on Climate

At the Conference of the Parties (COP27) held on 10 November 2022, representatives from countries who are signatories to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) urged  action to combat plastic pollution and illegal traffic in plastic waste to help reduce carbon emissions.
During COP27, attention was drawn to the often‑overlooked but nonetheless crucial link between plastic waste and climate change‑inducing carbon emissions. Plastics have become a key driver of pollution across the world while also contributing to global warming in their production life cycle, consumption and disposal.

A rise in the illegal movement of plastic waste is having significant environmental and social impacts on many developing nations that are experiencing the adverse effects from illegal dumping and uncontrolled incineration of fossil‑based plastics.

The event highlighted the need for:
  • International cooperation to carry out trade route investigations and mutual legal assistance to help disrupt the cross-border flow of illegal plastic waste
  • Universal support to transition from fossil‑based plastics to alternatives such as reusables and compostable plastics
  • Governments to adopt trade policies that can support a transition from fossil‑based plastics to alternatives
  • Trade databases that can account for the financing, production and trading of plastics at a global level.
Learn more about the key issues here.

Image Credit: AdobeStock 275593412.

HHW Program

The Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Program was established to provide Western Australians with a safe, and free, disposal option for unwanted household products that contain chemicals or substances that can be harmful to people or the environment. Find out more here.
Image Credit: WALGA.

Bin Tagging Program

The Bin Tagging Program focuses on reducing contamination and increasing resource recovery from kerbside bin systems by using a combination of information provision, incentives and enforcement. Click here to find out how your Local Government can get involved.

WALGA COVID-19 Updates

Read the latest sector-relevant information as it relates to COVID-19. These ad-hoc communications are released as State Government announcements are made. Click here to access the archive. To register to receive these updates via email, click here.
Image Credit: WA Government.

Waste is the Word

Want to share your waste management successes, promote a new project, have a key question answered or collaborate with other Local Governments? We want to include your waste management issues in our next newsletter.
Submit your content to the WALGA Waste Team


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