July 2021

WMRR's monthly Wrap Up will showcase the Association’s activities, 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 July), 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

With almost $70 million committed by the federal government towards investment in new Food Organics Garden Organics (FOGO) initiatives, coupled with organics strategies and targets either developed or in development across jurisdictions, what’s the go on FOGO and are the pathways to managing this significant material stream quite as straightforward in reality as they are on paper?

This is a great opportunity for Australia to implement a nationally consistent, best practice scheme to managing food. Simply put, when looked at from a systems-based approach, implementing FOGO has the potential to boost significant landfill diversion of household material nationally, which will contribute to reducing carbon emissions, as well as increasing beneficial reuse within the garden and agricultural sectors. In turn, we will see new jobs created, local economies boosted, and our soils improved. However, the mechanics to get us there nationally are not as clear, and the challenges of rolling out wide-scale FOGO programs need to be well understood and considered.

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 and regulatory changes to meet the diverse needs of our members.

  • National waste export ban (plastics)
    The 1 July 2021 ban on plastic waste exports has commenced and WMRR CEO, Ms Gayle Sloan, continues to work closely with operators, traders, and the federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) on progressing licence approvals. To-date, 14 licences have been issued. Further information on the plastic export ban, including links to the waste plastics export list, exporting guidelines, and how to apply for a licence can be found here.
  • COVID-19 industry briefings
    WMRR CEO, Ms Gayle Sloan, has been actively engaging with the NSW and SA EPAs as well as the Queensland Department of Environment and Science (DES) as tightened restrictions, including lockdowns in Greater Sydney and South East Queensland were rolled out and/or extended in July, ensuring that essential WARR workers can continue to provide essential services. Guidance and information for NSW and Queensland can be found here and here. SA has since eased restrictions to level two (2).
  • VIC EP Act
    The amended VIC EP Act came into force on 1 July 2021 and WMRR continued to engage with DELWP and EPA officers weekly to voice industry concerns, develop workable solutions to outstanding challenges, ensure sound transition pathways, and to inform and educate both government and industry on how to move forward effectively with these significant regulatory changes.
  • Energy from waste
    The Victorian EfW working group has been working together on feedback that will feed into WMRR's submission on the Victoria's EfW framework, including developing solutions to inform and positively drive a workable cap allocation mechanism. The group has also met with DELWP to put forward issues that require further consideration and clarity. 
  • Queensland organics waste action plan
    WMRR has been engaging closely with DES in a number of areas, including providing feedback to inform the Department’s development of the state’s organics waste action plan. WMRR has also met with DES’ director-general to discuss outstanding waste levy implementation issues and a commitment was made by the Department to progress strategic and operational matters, driven by regular standing meetings.
  • Right to Repair 
    In July, WMRR’s CEO presented at the Productivity Commission's Right to Repair inquiry, highlighting the actions required to drive greater circularity, including finding pathways to sustainably manage materials including through repair, reuse, and extending a product's lifespan. 
  • 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. WMRR's CEO also met with senior state and territory government representatives to discuss options to drive national kerbside standards for the yellow bin. 


New Peak Industry Member

In July, Re.Group joined the ranks of SUEZ, Cleanaway, ResourceCo, and Remondis as a Peak Industry Member of the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia.

Re.Group is an Australian company that specialises in recycling and resource recovery. The company has rapidly grown over the last few years and now has a footprint in five (5) states and more than 450 direct employees.

Re.Group owns and operates significant resource recovery infrastructure, including multiple MRFs and a FOGO facility, which combined, provide processing services to more than 1.5 million Australians. Its Return-It division is the nation’s biggest operator of staffed container refund depots, handling millions of containers a day across a network of refund points throughout the ACT, NSW, Queensland, and WA.

Re.Group Chief Development Officer, Mr Garth Lamb, will return to the Board, joining Remondis CEO, Mr Bjoern Becker, ResourceCo CEO - Energy Systems, Mr Henry Anning, Cleanaway Head of Corporate Affairs, Mr Mark Biddulph, and CEO of SUEZ, Mr Mark Venhoek as a Peak Director on the Board, effective from the 17 August 2021 board meeting.

Welcoming our newest WMRR members

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

  • Australian Bedding Stewardship Council
  • City of Adelaide
  • JJ Richards
  • ACT NOWaste
  • Western Metropolitan Regional Council 
  • Golder
  • Boral

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

  • M8 Sustainable
  • Kal Bins
  • Pinnacle Drinks
  • Clearview Advisory 
  • WPS Advisory
  • CCIQ 

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

  • Right to Repair Productivity Commission Draft Report
  • Tasmania's Draft CRS Bill 2021 and Regulatory Impact Statement

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 can be found here.

 In the media

Conferences and events 

The WMRR team may not have been able to attend the Queensland Women of WARR Leadership Breakfast on 21 July, but as they say, the show must go on and did it ever! 

100 attendees heard from three (3) inspirational #WARRiors - Queensland Environment Minister, Meaghan Scanlon, SoilCyclers managing director, Alison Price, and general manager of Return-It Queensland, Jackie Garbutt. Many thanks to our speakers as well as event sponsor, Re.Group.

WMRR's Women of WARR Leadership Breakfast celebrates women in our industry who are driving change, breaking down barriers, and creating new career prospects for generations to come. It is now held in every state on the east coast, with the event launching in WA in 2022. 

Forthcoming events and conferences 

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

*New dates due to COVID-19 restrictions.