Better management of waste tyres and increased appropriate tyre recycling is a priority agenda item for Government, industry and environment groups with a raft of new measures being implemented.
The New South Wales and Victorian Governments have both flagged a tightening on sites that receive and stockpile waste tyres. The Boomerang Alliance and the Australian Tyre Recyclers Association are continuing their push to raise recycling standards and increase operators’ transparency and accountability.
On Friday 25 July the NSW EPA and Boomerang Alliance hosted a summit to hear the regulators proposed response to this long running environmental, economic and community problem.
The NSW EPA informed the audience that, among other measures, it will tighten site licensing requirements. Whereas previously sites storing 50 tonnes or more of waste tyres needed a licence, in the future it will be required for sites storing 5 tonnes or more. See the draft regulations here http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/resources/waste/140368WasteRISReg.pdf
In May 2014 the Victorian Government announced tighter rules for the storage of waste tyres including new fire control measures. The rules increase compliance requirements for sites storing more than 40 tonnes of waste tyres. See the interim policy at http://www.epa.vic.gov.au/business-and-industry/waste-guidance/storage-of-waste-tyres-in-victoria
The NSW summit was told there is well in excess of 30 million end-of-life or waste tyres disposed of in Australia every year and that with vehicle registrations increasing at about 2% a year it will be a growing problem.
Australia’s National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme (NTCRS) enters a new phase with a mandated 90% material recovery target coming into force from July 1.
To facilitate reporting and accountability, the Australian Government Department of Environment has introduced a new methodology to clarify how material recovery will be measured and reported against the NTCRS.
The Department, with support from Equilibrium, has developed a methodology based on chain-of-custody tracking that traces materials from initial recycling through to downstream processes into useable materials and also provides guidance to track materials sent to landfill in a particular year.
The methodology acknowledges that arrangements and their recycling service providers may use a range of different systems for recycling and material recovery and materials may be handled by more than one recycler before being processed, but collection arrangements must still be able to track and report on the full recycling process undertaken even where multiple recyclers are involved.
The Victorian Government has launched the Back to Earth Initiative to improve resource recovery of organics. Back to Earth Initiative encourages appropriate use of Council green waste bins and the recycling of green waste to reduce the amount currently sent to landfill.
The initiative has been developed by the Metropolitan Waste Management Group (MWMG) in conjunction with eleven councils in Melbourne’s north and west: Banyule, Brimbank, Darebin, Hobsons Bay, Hume, Maribyrnong, Melton, Moonee Valley, Moreland, Nillumbik and Wyndham. It complements new organics processing facilities that will serve communities in the participating councils. MWMG is the Victorian Government body responsible for managing municipal solid waste across metropolitan Melbourne.
On Thursday (10 October 2013) Veolia opened its new organics processing facility at Bulla in Melbourne’s north which will process green waste from the participating Councils. The facility was built as part of the Northern and Western Organics Processing Contract and is the first step in creating a new wave of sustainable resource recovery facilities to service metropolitan Melbourne.
The Northern and Western Organics Processing Contract unlocks around $30 million of industry investment in infrastructure, and around $200 million in local government operating expenditure over the 15 year contract. It will generate dozens of ongoing employment opportunities and up to a hundred jobs during the construction.
Claims relating to energy saving products may not always be easily achievable. With energy costs continuously increasing the energy efficiency product market is becoming more and more crowded with suppliers and the one thing they all have in common is that they promise to start saving you money straight away.
Sure there may be some truth to the claims generally but do they really know your business and the way your store equipment and operations depend on each other.
Reproduced from the Independent Retailer (June 2013). To read the full article follow this link.
The Sustainable Australia Report 2013 from the National Sustainability Council was released today presenting a framework for guiding progress that also balances competing interests. However the report itself may present a risk in achieving that goal. See the report here http://www.environment.gov.au/sustainability/measuring/council.html
The report seeks to establish a framework better defining sustainability and putting forward key indicators across social and human capital, natural capital and economic capital. It is largely presented as a benchmark report to be refined and reported against over time, and with the Sustainable AUstralia Report due in 2015.
Its 266 pages will take time to fully digest and that is a risk. As with some State-of-the-Environment reports, when such documents are too complex and large to be accessible and contain timely data, they can be overwhelming.
Equilibrium’s work assisting local and State Government to more fully understand the potential benefits and costs of container deposits has been included as part of an article published on ABC Online and The Drum. See http://www.abc.net.au/environment/articles/2013/05/06/3751446.htm and http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4672338.html
The article by Equilibrium’s Nick Harford seeks to expand awareness of the complexity of the issue and the degrees of potentially positive and negative impacts that are best understood to achieve optimal environmental and financial outcomes.
Proposed changes to the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme will make no difference to the general community but will enhance the longer-term viability of the Scheme.
The changes impact organisations operating the Scheme, not how it is delivered to the public. Most notable is the proposal to create one product class so organisations do not have to meet separate targets for recycling TVs and computers but all collected and recycled materials will contribute towards achieving targets.
The proposals are in a discussion paper available at http://www.environment.gov.au/settlements/waste/ewaste/index.html and comments close on 7 May 2013.
The NSW Government has announced a 5-year $465.7 million waste and recycling program aimed at delivering economic, employment and environmental benefits for local communities.
Key areas of the package include:
- Waste and recycling infrastructure package – $250 million
- Supporting local communities – $137.7 million
- Combating illegal dumping – $58 million
- Tackling litter – $20 million.
On a global scale, environmental and social impacts arise through the actions of billions of actors undertaking trillions of actions, each with varying implications. These actions take place within a general framework of economic and capitalist behaviours, mediated by varying legal codes and social norms.
There’s no single or homogenous audience to talk to about the challenges and opportunities of sustainability and climate change. Instead there are many different actors, be they individuals making consumption choices, governments setting legislation or policy, or corporations making investment and production decisions.
All tend to make choices in isolation, but with cumulative impacts. Ecological and social problems are generally not the result of conscious or deliberate choices but the side effects of all these individual actions and decisions. It’s these unintended consequences that are causing concern: climate change, natural resource depletion, pollution, waste, land degradation, etc, etc. Read the rest of this entry »
Pooran Desai was in town giving presentations recently. He is one of the co-founders of BioRegional, a social enterprise in the UK that created the innovative sustainable community, Beddington Zero Energy Development (BedZED). BedZED is a mixed-use sustainable community, comprising 100 homes, community facilities and office space for over 100 people. It is a carbon-neutral community, using only energy from renewable sources generated on site.
Desai and Co. used the lessons from the design, construction and monitoring of BedZED to develop One Planet Living, which is BioRegional’s approach to community development and was also used as the framework to create the sustainability platform of the London 2012 Olympics. Read the rest of this entry »