August 2021

WMRR's monthly Wrap Up will showcase the Association’s activities, including media releases, a snapshot of our CEO’s appearances in mainstream and trade media, and WMRR’s policy submissions for the month (in this iteration, we will look back on activities in August), as well as a few of our forthcoming events and conferences. You will also find WMRR CEO’s bi-monthly Inside Waste CEO column and National President’s Board communiqué in most of these bulletins. We hope you enjoy our WMRR Wrap Up.


From the CEO's desk

In August, the WMRR team mulled over the case for a circular transformation of our food systems. It is absurd that despite having enough food to go around, and the fact that a third of all food produced globally is lost or wasted that some 811 million people were undernourished in 2020 (a more than 100 million increase from the year before).

Throwing out food has a range of consequences for people, the planet, and the economy. In Australia, food waste accounts for more than 5% of total emissions. According to the 2020 National Waste Report, nearly seven (7) of the 14.3 million tonnes of core organic waste Australia generated in 2018-19 went down this path. In addition to creating emissions, landfilling food and other organics takes up dwindling space that should be reserved for genuinely residual materials. 

From an economic, environmental, sustainability, and ethical perspective, it makes zero sense. Why are we wasting so much food? 

Food waste is undeniably a challenge. However, just like climate change, inequality, and other parallel challenges, food waste is a systemic issue that we can work together to solve.

Read more

WMRR at the table

In the month of July, WMRR has been actively advocating on behalf of industry across a range of significant policy, operational, and regulatory changes to meet the diverse needs of our members.

  • COVID-19 industry briefings
    WMRR CEO, Ms Gayle Sloan, has continued to actively engage with state governments, particularly on the eastern seaboard, as COVID-19 restrictions, including lockdowns, evolved and were rolled out. Through these discussions, WMRR has been successful at ensuring essential WARR workers can continue to provide critical services and were provided with appropriate guidance from their state regulators. WMRR continues to release timely COVID-19 updates to capture relevant changes. 
  • National e-waste product stewardship
    The federal government has commenced work to improve its National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme, which was established in 2011. WMRR's CEO has been involved in early discussions to provide feedback on how to maximise engagement with industry and opportunities to collaborate. 
  • Enhancing learning opportunities
    While COVID-19 has impacted some of WMRR's activities, resulting in the rescheduling of a number of our Women of WARR leadership events as well as the 2021 Energy from Waste conference, we have kept our ear on the ground, speaking with members in our working groups and branch committees to understand the learning and knowledge-sharing needs of our members. In August, we launched #takebacktuesdays, a weekly national webinar series to provide industry with learning opportunities that will drive operational improvement, enhance technical know-how, enable regulatory and policy understanding, and more. 
  • QLD levy issues
    Following ongoing engagement with DES on outstanding levy issues, WMRR CEO, along with our Queensland Branch Committee president, met with the Department, including the DG, in August to discuss potential pathways to progress action on these issues and to enable greater collaboration between DES and WMRR. A commitment by government has been made to set up a sub-group to drive action on these outstanding issues, and to set up regular meetings between both organisations. 
  • NSW policy deep dive
    In August, WMRR attended the NSW EPA through its Waste Advisory Group on the roll-out of the NSW Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy, specifically the EPA's delivery plan. At this meeting, members were also presented with information on issues relating to plastics, hazardous waste tracking, transport licensing, waste certifiers accreditation, and business recycling. 
  • Taskforce and advisory groups
    WMRR’s CEO continues to participate in a number of federal and state government taskforces and advisory groups, including the federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment's Resource Recovery Reference Group, which provides a forum for group members to provide advice on, and monitor the implementation of Australia's National Waste Policy Action Plan, the Victorian CDS advisory group, and Queensland organic waste stakeholder advisory group. 


Board communiqué

The WMRR Board met on 17 August 2021, with new WMRR National President, Geoff Webster, taking the helm since being elected mid-year. The August meeting also saw former WMRR president Garth Lamb attend for the first time as a Peak Director.

The Audit and Risk Committee, which met prior to the Board meeting, provided a report on discussions around revised terms of engagement for all WMRR groups. These terms were developed to assist with managing potential risks that may occur when members have frank and open industry discussions at WMRR meetings, while continuing to ensure that members have a positive and productive forum to share insights and information for the betterment of our essential industry. These new terms have now been adopted and will be adhered to at all WMRR meetings.

High on the agenda was the federal waste plastic export ban which commenced on 1 July 2021. WMRR continues to engage closely with operators, traders, and the federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) on progressing license approvals and pleasingly, 23 licences have been approved to-date. The next ban – tyres – will commence on 1 December 2021 and initial work on licensing rules as well as appropriate assistance for traders has commenced.

Read more

Welcoming our newest WMRR members

In August, WMRR welcomed a number of new members, with the following organisations increasing their representation in the association through affiliate and/or individual membership: 

  • National Waste Solutions
  • Scout Recycling
  • Chevron Australia
  • iWeigh Solutions
  • NSW Public Works Advisory

WMRR is also delighted to welcome the following organisations to the WMRR fold:

  • Barwon Water
  • LGI Limited

WMRR members can take advantage of a host of benefits, from invites to free member-only events, to discounted conference and event registrations, to participation in our state-based working groups. For further information about membership, or if you are a member and would like to find out more about joining our working groups, please contact the national office at [email protected] 

Policy submissions

  • ERF method development priorities for 2022
  • Victorian government waste to energy framework 

WMRR members may access all of the Association’s policy submissions here; members will need to login to view these documents.

Media releases

WMRR’s media releases and articles can be found here.

WMRR also publishes a weekly Resource Bulletin that provides a national update of important legislation and policy moves, as well as government funding and events. To subscribe to this weekly bulletin, email [email protected] 

Conferences and events 

ICYMI, WMRR launched a #takebacktuesdays four (4)-week series in August, kicking off with a NSW EP&A regulation briefing on 24 August, where NSW DPIE's Kristy Chan and Jennifer Hughes from Beatty Hughes & Associates discussed the changes we should be on the lookout for and potential impacts on our sector.

The following week was all about about landfill management. We heard from SUEZ's John Jones about lean management, Propeller Aero's Rory San Miguel on innovation at sites, and Australian Environmental Auditors Nick Simmons on PFAS concentrations of landfill leachates in VIC.

Further information on the next two (2) webinars can be found below. Given the popularity of the series, strong attendance, and keen interest for more learning opportunities, WMRR is pleased to announce that we will be running the series well into October so watch this space! 


WasteQ 2019

Register for WARRQ today

The biennial WARRQ (formerly WasteQ) is on!  

Held on 20 and 21 October at the Bundaberg Multiplex Sports and Convention Centre, WARRQ 2021 will turn the spotlight on the future of Queensland’s WARR sector, with a program that focuses on regional and state best practice and innovation, unpacks current and new policy directions, and uncovers current and emerging issues and opportunities.

The full program will soon be available. For further information and/or to register, click here.

Forthcoming events and conferences 

^Hosted by WMRR, the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, and Western Australian Local Government Association.

*T.B.C. pending COVID-19 restrictions.