Below are all Australian news items from all ESG Snapshot issues that are relevant to SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production), listed with most recent items appearing first.
Issue 31, 12 February 2024
The Victorian government has announced two new beneficiaries of Circular Economy Infrastructure grants.
Plasgain will receive $250,000 to help produce aluminium-covered lightpoles made of recycled plastic.
Pinegro will receive $1 million to install decontamination equipment that will allow it to turn an extra 65,000 tonnes annually of food and organic waste into landscaping materials.
New grant opportunity - e-waste. Applications must be submitted by 29 March for WA government e-waste re-processing infrastructure grants, with grants of up to $2 million on offer.
Issue 30, 5 February 2024
Queensland Urban Utilities and the University of Queensland have published a report on leading practice environmental management of sewage treatment plants in the Great Barrier Reef catchment.
Issue 29, 29 January 2024
The Queensland government has provided grants to Ipswich City Council ($9 million) and the City of Moreton Bay ($9.6 million) to fund a roll-out of kerbside food and garden organics (FOGO) collections.
Grant opportunity - waste. The NSW EPA is offering grants of up to $500,000 to help groups of councils jointly procure domestic waste services.
The Victorian government's Circular Economy Business Innovation Centre (CEBIC) has released a report on What Works for Collaboration in a Circular Economy, which provides guidance on collaboration, as well as case studies.
Grant opportunity - circular economy. Green Industries SA is offering grants of up to $100,000 for projects that design, apply and scale-up innovative circular economy business models and practices, or that produce, manufacture, sell or promote South Australian recycled materials and/or recycled-content products.
Applications close on 19 February.
Issue 27, 15 January 2024
New grant opportunity - recycling. The Queensland government has launched a $10 million ReMade in Queensland (ReMiQ) funding round, which will help small and medium-sized manufacturers and recyclers to adopt processes that reuse materials that are otherwise destined for landfill.
Projects must include advanced robotics and/or include big data, artificial intelligence analytics, Internet of Things (IoT), or digital twin aspects.
Applicants can submit an Expression of Interest for grants of between $50,000 and $2.5 million, with submissions due by 19 February.
The ACT government has expanded its ban on plastic shopping bags to include heavyweight soft plastic bags, and plastic-laminated paper and cardboard bags. There are limited exemptions.
New consultation opportunity and statutory development - waste to energy. Comments are sought by 2 February on proposed regulations on Victoria's thermal waste-to-energy cap licensing system.
The proposed regulations would prescribing the cap limit of permitted waste that can be processed through new waste to energy projects (set at one million tonnes of waste annually, as previously announced), and would prescribe the fees to be paid.
Thermal waste-to-energy operators that are either operating already or had appropriate approvals in place before November 2021. EO facilities are not required to fit within the cap limit.
Webinars on the proposed regulations will be held on January 17 and 22.
Victoria's Container Deposit Scheme has led to the return of more than 100 million containers since it started on 1 November last year, and has disbursed over $10 million in refunds.
EPA Victoria has approved an application by Pavilion Biogas Pty Ltd to build an anaerobic digester processing almost 30,000 tonnes of agricultural waste annually into fertiliser and biogas.
Issue 25, 18 December 2023
The federal government has provided $40 million to establish a Solving Plastic Waste CRC.
The Solving Plastic Waste CRC bid was led by Griffith University. The CRC's website notes that achieving a circular economy for plastics "will require profound change".
In 2021, Australians used 3.8 million tonnes of plastics, and only 12% of end-of-life plastics were recycled.
Consultation opportunity. The Queensland Department of Environment and Science is inviting comments by 23 February on updated Landfill siting, design, operations and rehabilitation guidance.
EPA Victoria has approved a development licence for Yarra Valley Water to build an anaerobic digestion plant to produce biogas at its Lilydale treatment plant.
The biogas will be combusted onsite in two 1.2 MW combined heat and power units, providing over 13,000 MWh of electricity annually.
The plant will accept and process approximately 55,000 tonnes of organic waste per year, including oils, grease, food processing residues, dairy effluent and abattoir residues.
It will be 50% larger than Yarra Valley Water's existing digester at Wallet, and will earn ACCUs and LGCs.
Issue 24, 11 December 2023
Existing federal and state waste reduction and resource recovery targets are nearly all unlikely to be met, says a new report by consultancy Blue Environment, newly released by DCCEEW.
Goals that are unlikely to be attained include the existing national target for 2030 of 80% resource recovery, the report notes.
The main purpose of the report was to develop new emissions projections for the waste sector, and it recommends that estimates of future landfill emissions shouldn't be based on the assumption that existing waste targets will be achieved.
New consultation opportunity. The federal Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry is surveying shipping operators about maritime recycling waste management arrangements, with responses due by 1 April.
Statutory development. A new Queensland waste regulation ensures all Material Recovery Facilities and glass recycling plants that accept kerbside-collected recyclables are eligible for a levy exemption for residue waste that they receive but can't recycle. Previously, the exemption only applied to MRFs that started operating before mid-2019.
EPA Victoria has granted a development licence to Prospect Hill International Pty Ltd, allowing them to build and commission a large waste-to-energy facility in Lara, north of Geelong.
The plant will be one of the largest in Australia, processing up to 400,000 tonnes of residual municipal solid waste and commercial and industrial waste annually, sourced from metropolitan Melbourne, Geelong, and the southwest coast.
It will have the capacity to generate 35MW of electricity.
Issue 23, 4 December 2023
The NSW EPA has released an environmental risk assessment and mitigation software package (E-RAMP) to assist operators of small waste facilities.
Fourteen businesses will share $4.8 million in grants awarded through Victoria's Circular Economy Business Innovation Centre.
Issue 22, 27 November 2023
Landfill gas capture at the ACT's Mugga Lane landfill will be expanded, involving two additional 1MW generators, and an additional 12MW of battery storage.
Consultation opportunity. Comments are due by 19 December on a draft emissions reduction and resilience plan for Tasmania's waste sector, which focuses mainly on the need to reduce the landfill disposal of organic waste.
A total of 18 local governments in Western Australia, servicing more than 200,000 households, have now rolled out three-bin kerbside collections that include a Food Organics Garden Organics (FOGO) service. Waste recovery through FOGO has increased from 11,000 tonnes in 2017, to more than 65,000 tonnes last year.
Issue 20, 13 November 2023
A meeting of federal state and territory environment ministers has agreed that the federal government will mandate how packaging is designed, set minimum recycled content requirements, and prohibit the use of harmful chemicals, such as PFAS, in packaging.
Ministers also endorsed a national traceability framework – so that when Australian businesses want to use recycled materials or buy products made from recycled materials, they will know whether the recycled component is free of contaminants, and whether it is imported from overseas or Australian.
Full supply chain traceability of recycled content could be in place by 2028, according to a DCCEEW webinar held earlier this year. This would allow time for participants to map their supply chains, implement traceability systems and, where necessary, re-negotiate supply contracts to facilitate information sharing.
Ministers also plan to better coordinate work on product stewardship schemes.
The decisions were welcomed by the Australian Local Government Association, and by the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation.
The Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association also welcomed the changes, but warned Australia "is well off track to meeting its national targets for resource recovery".
The federal and Queensland governments will jointly provide a $40 million grant through the Recycling Modernisation Fund for the construction of a $137 million paper recycling facility in south-east Queensland by AusWaste Recycling. Construction will be completed in 2025.
The NSW Department of Planning and Environment has placed on exhibition PlasRefine Recycling's proposal for a plastics recycling facility at Moss Vale.
The facility would handle up to 120,000 tonnes of plastic annually, including mixed soft plastics and PVC.
Statutory development. The Victorian government has gazetted Environment Protection Amendment Regulations 2023, which mostly deal with waste.
Issue 19, 6 November 2023
Victoria's Container Deposit Scheme came into effect on 1 November. Within nine months, there must be at least one collection point per 14,500 people in metropolitan areas, at least one per town of 750 people in regional areas, and at least one per town of 350 people in remote areas.
Issue 18, 30 October 2023
Queensland's Lockyer Valley Regional Council has received approval from the Clean Energy Regulator to earn carbon credits by diverting kerbside-collected food and garden organics from landfill.
The federal and NSW governments have each provided $3 million for a study investigating the feasibility of recycling water from four major food processors in Tamworth. The food processors account for 25% of the town's use of potable water.
Issue 17, 23 October
Logan City Council has received a $291,785 ARENA grant to investigate producing biomethane, biochar and fertiliser from kerbside-collected food and garden waste. The waste would be processed at the Loganholme wastewater treatment plant.
Statutory development. The Victorian government has introduced the Environment Legislation Amendment (Circular Economy and Other Matters) Bill, which introduces a "periodic fee" for waste-to-energy facilities, to cover administration costs incurred by Recycling Victoria.
The Bill will also allow the EPA to retain a financial assurance previously provided by an entity, if that entity becomes insolvent and/or disclaims responsibility for a site or activity, but there are environmental and financial risks associated with the site or activity. The move aims to ensure taxpayers don't have to fund the clean-up of contamination.
In addition, the Bill clarifies cost recovery arrangements under the state's imminent Container Deposit Scheme.
Issue 16, 9 October 2023
The 14 grant winners under a $6 million NSW EPA Bin Trim funding round include MRA Consulting Group, which has received $498,000 to establish circular food court networks and target shopping centre waste, while Revolve Recycling will use its $500,000 to establish a 'Green Wheels' accreditation scheme for personal transport.
Other recipients include Albury City Council ($500,000 to recover food waste from SMEs), Edge Environment ($495,000 for a waste reduction project targeting restaurants), and Metcash ($500,000 to deploy waste diversion measures in its supermarkets).
Issue 13, 18 September 2023
The NSW government has gazetted updated EPA guidelines on the transport and handling of asbestos and waste tyres.
Comments are due by 19 September on BP's EPA referral for a renewable diesel and avgas project at Kwinana in WA, which would use vegetable oils, animal fats and other biowaste as feedstock.
Grant opportunity. The federal and WA governments are offering grants totalling $30 million in the second round of the Recycling Modernisation Fund. Applications must be submitted by 13 October.
Issue 12, 11 September 2023
Statutory development. New restrictions on single-use plastics took effect in Queensland on 1 September, with bans now extended to cotton buds with plastic stems, expanded polystyrene packaging beads, and plastic microbeads in personal care and cleaning products.
Further requirements for heavyweight plastic shopping bags now also apply. Non-woven plastic shopping bags of 35 microns or more must be capable of at least 125 uses, and non-compostable plastic shopping bags must contain at least 80% recycled content.
The release of lighter-than-air balloons is now also banned.
From 1 September, additional single-use plastic items are banned in South Australia - plastic stemmed cotton buds, plastic pizza savers, and single-use plastic plates and bowls.
Issue 11, 4 September 2023
BehaviourWorks Australia, based at Monash University, has released a behavioural roadmap to circular consumption, which outlines core behaviours to help reduce Australia's material footprint.
Consultation opportunity. Comments are due by 11 September on draft Recycling and Waste Reduction (Export - Waste Paper and Cardboard) Rules.
Eleven Far North Queensland councils have developed a regional resource recovery plan.
The Bill creates power to require businesses to separate out for collection food organics, and recyclables. The Bill also incorporates the provisions of the Plastic Reduction Act 2021 and repeals the plastics law, so circularity provisions are in the one law. It also expands the power to prohibit products beyond only single-use plastic products to potentially include other problematic products .
Consultation opportunity. The Tasmanian government is consulting on a proposed new sustainability strategy for the state, with submissions due by 6 October.
The WA government will ban the use of single-use plastic film for outdoor promotional materials from March 2024.
Issue 10, 28 August 2023
The federal and Queensland governments have jointly awarded $12.79 million to six recycling projects in the state.
The largest grants have gone to Re.Group ($4.5 million for a glass beneficiation plant), Disruptive Packaging ($3.4 million for a sustainable food packaging plant in Yatala), and IQ Renew ($3.2 million for a plastics recycling facility in Toowoomba).
The Queensland government has allocated $151 million to help local governments implement food and garden organics (FOGO) collections, with Gold Coast, Ipswich and Brisbane to be the first beneficiary councils.
The Queensland Department of Environment and Science has issued an environmental protection order to the director of a company called Reclaim PV Recycling Pty Ltd, after finding a stockpile of about 100,000 solar panels at its site.
Consultation opportunity. The NSW EPA has launched a biosolids regulatory review, with comments due by 3 October, and webinars are planned.
Grant opportunity. The NSW EPA is inviting applications from councils for the latest round of grants to establish food and garden organic (FOGO) kerbside collections. Applications close on 10 October.
The federal and Victorian governments have awarded a $24 million grant to Visy, for a $42.5 million project that will result in the company's Coolaroo plant recycling an additional 95,000 tonnes of mixed paper and cardboard every year.
The Tasmanian government has convened a workshop with the waste industry, to help develop an emissions reduction plan for the sector. The government is developing seven sectoral emissions reduction plans, and has previously held a workshop with the transport industry.
Issue 9, 21 August 2023
Grant opportunity. The NSW EPA is inviting applications from councils for the latest round of grants to establish food and garden organic (FOGO) kerbside collections. Applications close on 10 October.
Consultation opportunity. The Victorian government has released a draft Regulatory Impact Statement for proposed Circular Economy (Waste Reduction and Recycling) (Risk, Consequence and Contingency) Regulations. Comments close on 12 September.
Green Industries SA has launched an online Circular Procurement Knowledge Hub, aimed at helping procurement officers adopt circular economy principles.
Grant opportunity. The WA Waste Authority is offering grants of up to $250,000 for waste and recycling infrastructure, with applications closing on 2 October.
Issue 8, 14 August 2023
DCCEEW has released a waste export summary for January to March 2023, prepared by Blue Environment Pty Ltd, which supplements data in its new waste export data viewer.
Resources Minister Madeleine King has announced the government won't appeal a decision setting aside a decision by the former government that Kimba should the proposed site of a radioactive waste storage facility.
Issue 7, 7 August 2023
The Australian Food and Grocery Council, WWF Australia, and DCCEEW, are among those appearing at an 11 August hearing of a Senate committee inquiry into marine plastic pollution.
Five projects will share $12.4 million in International Clean Innovation Researcher Network grants awarded by the federal government. Recipients include RMIT, which will receive $3 million to collaborate internationally on solar panel reuse and recycling
Issue 5, 23 July 2023
Consultation opportunity. The federal government has released a discussion paper on developing a national framework for recycled content traceability. Submissions are due by 31 August.
Grant opportunity. The federal government is offering grants of between $1 million and $20 million for projects that deliver solutions for hard-to-recycle plastics. Applications must be submitted by 13 November.
The federal government will develop sectoral decarbonisation plans for electricity and energy, industry, the built environment, agriculture and land, transport, and resources, Minister Chris Bowen said in a speech to the Clean Energy Council. The waste sector will be included in the industry plan, and the circular economy will be a cross-cutting issue for all sectors.
Eight Queensland councils are among the 13 beneficiaries of a total of $13.3 million in federal and state government funding provided for recycling projects.
Nine companies in NSW are the beneficiaries of $11 million in federal and state government funding for recycling projects, with the largest grant of $3 million going to TrendPac Plastics for a recycled HDPE flaking, washing and pelletising plant.
The South Australian government, Hallett Group and Korean companies Elecseed and Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power have signed a statement of cooperation for a Hallett Group plan to produce green cement using fly ash from the former Playford B and Northern Power Stations in Port Augusta, and slag from Nyrstar’s Port Pirie operation.
Korean-Australian green hydrogen specialist Elecseed and Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power, one of Korea’s biggest energy companies, will build a 6 MW hydrogen electrolyser at the site of the former power stations, to use in processing the cement. Hallett Group expects to start construction early in the second half of 2024.
Issue 4, 17 July 2023
The Centre of Decommissioning Australia, which advices on decommissioning ageing oil and gas infrastructure, has appointed Deloitte to conduct a national skills review study, which will be completed by the end of the year. A separate study on the optimal location for a WA infrastructure decommissioning and recycling facility is due to be completed soon.
The NSW EPA has released its response to the Wilkinson review of the state's resource recovery framework.
The WA government has provided a total of $6.5 million through its Infrastructure Grants program to 21 e-waste projects.
Issue 3, 10 July 2023
Transcript is now available of recent public hearings convened by the Senate committee inquiry into plastic pollution in oceans and waterways.
Issue 2, 3 July 2023
The Senate committee inquiry into plastic pollution in oceans and waterways held public hearings last week.
Issue 1, 26 June 2023
Consultation opportunity. The federal environment department (DCCEEW) is consulting on regulating waste from small electrical items and PV infrastructure, with a webinar scheduled for 11 July and submissions due by 23 July.
The House of Representatives inquiry into plastic pollution is holding public hearings this week.
Queensland Planning Minister Steven Miles has refused part of a Wanless development application to establish a recycling park in Ipswich. The Minister has approved the resource recovery facility and waste transfer station and refused the landfill component.
Sustainability Victoria has announced 24 businesses and organisations that will share $8 million in bioenergy grants, with the two largest grants of $1 million going to Yarra Valley Water, and Saputo Dairy.
The federal government (through $36.1 million from ARENA plus CEFC support) and the Victorian government ($12.3 million) will provide a total of $51 million to establish a 10MW electrolyser (the largest in Australia) near Wodonga, that will use water from a wastewater treatment plant operated by North East Water. The hydrogen will initially be blended into the gas network.
Test issue, 20 June 2023
Tender opportunity. The Western Australian government is inviting tenders for the development of a supplier engagement and education program for stage 2 of the WA Plan for Plastics.
Test issue, 14 June 2023
Companies disclosing to the CDP can now report on their production or use of problematic plastics.
The federal government's national waste and resources recovery data hub prototype website is now operational.
The House Standing Committee on Climate Change, Energy, Environment and Water has held the first public hearing associated with its plastic pollution inquiry.
The House Standing Committee on Regional Development, Infrastructure and Transport has held the first public hearing associated with its inquiry into the implications of severe weather events for the road network.
The Joint Standing Committee on Trade and Investment Growth has this month held two public hearings for its inquiry into Australia's transition to a green energy superpower.
The Clean Energy Finance Corporation is providing a $75 million loan to help develop what will be one of Australia's largest construction and demolition waste recycling facilities, operated by Rino Recycling and located between the Brisbane CBD and Airport.
The EPA has given Coles and Woolworths until May 12 to remove stockpiles of soft plastics from eight high-risk sites, but has extended the deadline for removing plastic from another seven "low-medium risk" sites.
Have your say!Comment closes on June 23 on the draft state waste infrastructure plan.