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 September), 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
The race is on to meet Australia’s 2030 emissions reduction target – a 26-28% reduction below 2005 levels – but is this a race that will adequately address our growing climate crisis?
Australia’s response to date has been inadequate if the intent is to make impactful and deep cuts to greenhouse gas emissions. Ahead of United Nations (UN) climate talks in Glasgow at the end of the year, a number of countries, including the US, Japan and the UK, have increased their targets to 50-52%, 46%, and 68% respectively. Australia on the other hand, has continued to hold firm to the 26-28% target since 2015.
Our waste and resource recovery (WARR) sector is in a unique position, given it is intertwined with virtually every industry, meaning we have the ability to help other sectors reduce their carbon impacts in addition to what we already do to mitigate emissions, for instance, through landfill gas capture, FOGO initiatives, or maximising energy from waste.
Rethinking our value chain, where the focus goes beyond recycling to the upper rungs of the adopted waste hierarchy – avoidance, reuse, and repair – will enable efficiency gains in material and energy use, while preserving the economic value embedded in products and reducing resource use.
WMRR at the table
In the month of September, 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.
NATIONAL MUNICIPAL SOLID WASTE ROADMAP
As part of work to drive actions under the National Waste Action Plan, the federal Resource Recovery Reference Group for the MSW roadmap, which the CEO is a part of, held its inaugural meeting in September. Amongst initial discussions on the day were the working group's terms of reference and workplan.
RECYCLED MATERIAL PROCUREMENT STATE FORUM
As we look at ways to increase the use of recycled material in government procurement, WMRR's National Resource Recovery and Market Development (RRMD) Division hosted an online forum to seek out opportunities to replicate and/or model Victoria's Ecologiq program in each state. Representatives from the various state governments sat in on a presentation by Ecologiq, which was followed by a discussion on how to drive similar sustainable government procurement models across jurisdictions. Ecologiq's presentation can be found here.
NSW RECOVERED FINES
A sub-group of WMRR's NSW C&D working group, along with WCRA, have been working together on a detailed report and submission in response to the NSW EPA's intention to cease permitting recovered fines from mixed waste and skip bins being applied to land, and the regulator's proposed new recovered soils order and exemption that will allow for land application of recovered soils that do not contain recovered fines.
FOOD ORGANICS AND GARDEN ORGANICS
The CEO met with the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment in September to provide insight into potential regulatory pathways to drive harmonisation of green bin inputs as well as the future of FOGO in Australia.
HITTING THE SPEAKER CIRCUIT
Although WMRR staff continue to operate out of their bedrooms, the ongoing NSW lockdown has not stopped WMRR CEO from presenting insights to a range of stakeholders, including local government at the LGAQ Waste Forum, where she provided a national waste industry perspective. She was also part of an Australia-Taiwan bilateral circular economy session at IEMN 2.0 where she discussed Australia's plastics policy.
TASKFORCE AND ADVISORY GROUPS
WMRR’s CEO continues to participate in a number of federal and state government taskforces and advisory groups, including the NSW Waste Advisory Group, Tasmania's Expert Reference Group that is progressing CRS legislation, and the Victorian WasteTracker technical group. In September, WMRR's national Biohazard Waste Industry Division held an in-depth discussion with the Victorian EPA on clinical waste sector-specific WasteTracker issues to assist with potential solutions.
In September, WMRR welcomed a number of new members, with the following organisations increasing their representation in the association through affiliate and/or individual membership:
WMRR is also delighted to welcome the following organisations to the WMRR fold:
WMRR members may access all of the Association’s policy submissions here; members will need to login to view these documents.
Media releases and coverage
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
The 2021 Waste & Recycle Conference in Perth, hosted by WMRR, the WA Department of Water and Environmental Regulation and Western Australian Local Government Association, was certainly a highlight in September.
Under the theme "What's essential?", the conference covered topics such as product stewardship, infrastructure and market development, and realistic rural best practice.
Over in SA, WMRR's SA Branch hosted a breakfast in Adelaide where Green Industries SA launched its 2019-202 Recycling Activity Survey, providing a snapshot of recycling in the state.
The biennial WARRQ (formerly WasteQ) is on!
The conference will be 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.
To view the program and other details, and/or register, click here.
WMRR's #takebacktuesdays series, which kicked off in August, has continued to go from strength to strength in September with two (2) well attended webinars - 'Repair and reuse through social enterprises' and 'Maximising carbon abatement through FOGO'. Given the popularity of the series, strong attendance, and keen interest for more learning opportunities, WMRR will be running the series in October and November, so watch this space!
REGISTRATIONS NOW OPEN!
Registrations for our 2021 WARRQ Conference in Bundaberg in October and Tasmanian WARR Forum II in Launceston in November are now open. Further details can be found below.
Rescheduled events and conferences
Due to ongoing COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions, particularly on the east coast, WMRR has regrettably had to reschedule the following to Q1 2022:
Further details will be available soon.