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.
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.
States and Territories are shifting away from environmental grants programs but the Australian Government has more than covered the gap as more than $5 billion is now available for businesses to improve their environmental performance.
The third edition of The Guide To Government Grants by Euqilibrium was launched this week and details more than 97 programs providing funds and support totalling $5.13 billion. More details and access the Guide HERE
A key adviser on the government’s $10 billion clean energy fund has acknowledged there will be ”dodgy people” trying to win green business money from taxpayers, with the US launching a review of its own similar program. David Paradice, a fund manager appointed to help set up the Clean Energy Finance Corporation – part of the government’s carbon tax scheme – says that there would inevitably be shonky operators lured by the prospect of government money.
His comments came after a similar program in the US suffered its second high-profile bankruptcy when Beacon Power Corp joined the major solar firm Solyndra in announcing it had gone bust after receiving government loan guarantees. This had forced the White House to announce last week it would review its scheme. Read the rest of this entry »
Two interesting reports came across the desk this week regarding concerns about the carbon tax amongst SMEs and a decline in urgency about sustainability issues more generally. First up was the September 2011 Sensis Business Index – Small and Medium Enterprises, based on telephone interviews conducted with approximately 1,800 small and medium business proprietors. The sample size comprised approximately 1,400 small businesses and 400 medium businesses (the latter defined as businesses employing between 20 and 199 people), drawn from metropolitan and major non-metropolitan regions within Australia.
Support for the Federal Government fell again this quarter, with net support not seen at lower levels since the Keating Government. The carbon tax was the main reason given by SMEs for feeling that the Federal Government’s policies worked against small businesses by impacting consumer confidence and spending1. During the last quarter 67% of SMEs reported that they disagreed with the Federal Government’s plans to introduce a carbon tax2. Read the rest of this entry »
Sad news to hear about the death of Ray Anderson, CEO of Interface and sustainability pioneer. Here’s a great tribute in The Guardian from John Elkington, Co-Founder of the UK think thank SustainAbility, and is himself a guru in the field http://bit.ly/nEAtYw