Loading...

Category Archives: Uncategorized

Western Australia boosting the recycling economy

Western Australia has been an early mover in partnering with the Australian Government to realise the importance of the Recycling Modernisation Fund (RMF) and this week announced $70 million in joint funding that will drive a total investment of $174 in new recycling infrastructure for the West.

Grants have been awarded to local businesses with eight new projects aiming to process about 140,000 tonnes of tyre and plastic waste every year. There is $20 million from the RMF and $15 million from the State Government supporting the projects.

There is a further $15 million from the RMF and $15 million from the State for a wastepaper pulping facility that aims to process 100,000 of fibre a year.

The grants are a matching fund between the State and National Governments and industry, and further to the grants, Government estimates that industry will invest an additional $100 million in the projects.

The projects include the significant investment in plastics recovery, recycling, and reuse:

    • > The Pact Group Holdings and Cleanaway: $9.5 million for plastics repurposing in Perth with a facility to process about 17,000 tonnes of plastic waste per year.
      > Chairay Sustainable Plastic Company: $5.6 million to construct a new 15,000 tonne per year plastics reprocessing plant and a 6,000 tonne sorting line for the Perth metropolitan region to recycle polyolefin and polyester plastics.
      > D&M Waste Management: $800,000 to recover HDPE and PET waste plastics in Kwinana and HDPE in Karratha.

      The tyre and recovery and recycling industry which, in order to meet the export ban by December 2021 has been awarded:

      >Kariyarra – Tyrecycle Pty Ltd: A joint project with Kariyarra Aboriginal Corporation and Tyrecycle, is receiving $6.9 million to recycle 27,000 tonnes of mining tyres in the Pilbara Region.
      >Tyrecycle Pty Ltd: $5.2 million to invest in new equipment to produce 42,000 tonnes of tyre shred and 3,000 tonnes of tyre crumb in Perth metropolitan region.
      >Complete Tyre Solutions Pty Ltd: $3.5 million to develop a 9,000-tonne capacity turnkey tyre recycling plant. The plant will process waste tyres including truck, car, construction and off-road tyres, into crumb rubber to use in the construction of local roads.
      >4M Waste Pty Ltd: $2.9 million to expand its operations, allowing the recycling of up to 12,000 tonnes of used tyres annually as crumb rubber.
      >Elan Energy Matrix Pty Ltd: $357,867 for a high capacity shredder to use in a process line, turning tyres into products such as oil, carbon char and milled steel.

    All these projects represent a significant step change in recovery, reuse and recycling in Western Australia, supporting the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed position to phase out exports of mixed plastics and waste tyres not suitable for export to international destinations.

    For further information see this link

    If your business is interested in further information on similar grants, or would like assistance completing a grant application, please contact the Equilibrium team on (03) 9372 5356 or at info@equil.com.au

Call for collaboration and coordination on circular economy

The CSIRO has released a National Circular Economy Roadmap calling for a national strategy to address fundamental environmental issues and foster regional development.

The Roadmap is a strong call for collaboration and coordination however it is somewhat limited in its scope and thereby risks compounding the problem of circular economy just being another term for standard practice.

The CSIRO defines circular economy as continually seeking reduction of the environmental impacts of production and consumption and enabling economic growth through more innovative uses of natural resources and efficient recovery of materials.

However, the Roadmap focusses on the end-of-pipe issues. It presents the 2018 recycling report figures for plastic, glass and paper as the indicators of a need for a change in current systems and strategies.

Nonetheless, the central recommendation highlights the critical need for Australia to adopt a unified and innovative circular economy strategy to achieve a national shift in mindset with lasting results and impact.

The report highlights:

> Lack of consistency across Australia particularly in waste governance, consumer education and industry standards along with differing definitions and practises.
>An “end of pipe” focus rather than upgrading product design materials selection and manufacturing.
>That the “take, make and dispose” way of thinking and consumption pattern has barriers including more expensive primary materials and unacceptable ways of dealing with waste.
>Australia’s economy and reliance on imported goods creates the need for a symbiotic strategy that links and aligns with global forces and activities.

All participants in the circular economy have a shared responsibility to make it efficient and effective, it is not just an environmental shift but a whole new way of economic thinking.

Australian Governments are currently promoting circular economy as primarily a waste and recycling policy – which is a limited scope of the concept.

The Australian Council of Recyclers has recently noted that the fervent use of the term circular economy risks just being a rebadging of current activities and programs. Or as the University of Queensland Centre for Recycling of Organic Waste director Johannes Biala put it  ”…we are at grave risk of merely exchanging one buzzword for another without conceptualising and defining what we mean and what we want to achieve.”

Government, industry, community and research all play paramount roles within this hypothetical yet achievable system.

The priorities set out in the CSIRO Roadmap highlight some specific moves needed to advance Australia towards a circular economy, and consistency, collaboration and coordination will be a good step.

To read the CSIRO report in full visit this link.

 

Circulate – Industrial Ecology Grant Program

Applications for the NSW Environment Protection Authority’s industrial ecology grant program, Circulate, are now open until the 12th of February 2021.

Individual grants are available from $20,000 up to $150,000 for business, not for profit organisations, government agencies, industry bodies and product stewardship groups. The Circulate Industrial Ecology Program supports projects that will recover materials that would otherwise be sent to landfill, and divert them for other industrial, construction or commercial processes.

These grants are offered to support projects that will apply industrial ecology principles. Successful  recipients will develop synergies with other industries to identify and drive the diversion of construction and demolition (C&D) waste and commercial and industrial (C&I) waste.

Circulate has contributed to 39 projects since 2013, totalling in over $5.6 million of funding and diverting more than 75,000 tonnes of C&I and C&D from landfill.

See further details here

Victorian Government Funding for Recycling

The Victorian Government is currently driving investment to facilitate research, expanding the local recycling processing and manufacturing industry. This initiative delivered by Sustainability Victoria is designed to create more products from recyclable materials and support new local jobs.

Sustainability Victoria (SV) currently is offering three grants to support waste management, resource recovery and recycling innovations and improvements.

Recycling Victoria – Business Support Fund

Applications are open now until 12 March 2021, and funding is available for feasibility and capital support via two streams:

>Identification Grants: $75,000 to $200,000 ($2:$1, SV:business) Funding is available  to support projects that help businesses adapt and apply circular economy principles. Projects may involve materials efficiency, feasibility assessments, business case development and pilot trials.
> Implementation Grants: $100,000 to $500,000 ($1:$1, SV:business) Funding is available for individual businesses. Collaborative partnerships may apply for up to $1,000,000 for projects that will be implemented across multiple businesses.

Successful project applications must be able to improve or develop new circular economy-based products, services, markets and models. Funds may be used to support a range of essential activities including; materials efficiency, productivity upgrades, capital equipment purchases, and marketing new products.

Projects must deliver on at least one of the following key SV targets;

> Reducing or preventing waste by 750 tonnes per annum.
>Increasing upcycling by 750 tonnes per annum.
>Improving materials intensity of a service, model or product by 750 tonnes per annum.
>Increasing capacity to recycle materials and prevent waste by at least 2,500 tonnes per annum.

Recycling Victoria – Innovation Fund

Applications are open now until 15 February 2021. Funding is available to support innovative projects via two streams:

> Food Innovation: $75,000 to $150,000 ($1:$1) funding is available for collaborative projects that apply innovative circular economy business models and practices for food waste or for the food sector. The application must nominate a lead organisation and involve at least one other partner organisation.
> Collaborative Innovation: $150,000 to $450,000 ($1:$1) funding is available for collaborative partnerships that apply innovative circular economy business models and practices to address systemic barriers with innovative thinking and practice.

Full details for the new grants are available at SV Website.

If your business is interested in further information on any of these grants, or would like assistance completing an application, please contact the Equilibrium team on (03) 9372 5356 or at info@equil.com.au

Equilibrium often post about new grants so be sure to follow our blog posts.

New EPA Victoria Guidelines for Business

New policies, laws and regulations can result in changes that require new levels of knowledge. Understanding the obligations associated with government reforms and amendments is an essential step towards better managing risks and ensuring compliance.

EPA Victoria recognises the importance of support tools and information for business, and this month released six new guideline documents aimed at supporting Victorian companies transition their compliance systems to meeting the new environmental regulations.

The new regulations, due to come into effect July 2021, have a strong emphasis on preventing environmental harm and will require businesses to identify their risks and implement suitable control measures to manage those risks.

The guides are titled ‘Preventing Harm to People and the Environment’ and include a 4-step process for managing risks, which will be particularly useful for businesses in the early stages of developing risk their management systems.

For those businesses that are more advanced on the risk management journey the guides include useful and up to date compliance information, for example: further discussion is provided around the concept of managing risks in a manner that is ‘reasonably practicable’; and, for the waste and recycling sector further context is provided around the ‘Declaration of Use’ tool that businesses will need to use and maintain to demonstrate safe transport and storage of waste material.

The new guidelines are available at the EPA website, and can be accessed in the links below:

Construction

Manufacturing

Waste and recycling

Agriculture

Mining and quarrying

Retail

Navigating the regularity landscape isn’t always straightforward, however relevant support tools and information documents combined with specialist advice and guidance, can significantly help your business to better manage risks with a focus on prevention.

If you are looking for compliance support in line with any of the guidelines discussed, please don’t hesitate to contact the Equilibrium team on BH  (03) 9372 5356.

Recycling Bill enters Parliament

Recycling and waste reduction continue to receive unprecedented attention in Australia as governments seek to build a thriving industry that is better equipped to transform waste products and materials into value-added resources.

The Australian Government has today introduced new  legislation that sees Australia take greater responsibility for its waste and establishes a national industry framework for recycling.

The Recycling and Waste Reduction Bill 2020 will phase in the end of the 645,000 tonnes of unprocessed plastic, paper, glass and tyres that Australia ships overseas each year.

At the same time the reforms to the regulation of product stewardship will incentivise companies to take greater environmental responsibility for the products they manufacture and what happens to those products and materials at the end of their life.

Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said the Bill will see the implementation of the export ban on waste plastic, paper, glass and tyres agreed by Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments in March this year.

“This is about tackling a national environmental issue that has been buried in landfill or shipped offshore for far too long,” Minister Ley said. That is why the Morrison Government is the first federal government to place waste firmly on the national agenda.

“This is a once in a generation opportunity to remodel waste management, reduce pressure on our environment and create economic opportunity as we move to a circular economy with a strong market for recycled materials.

“Our $190 million Recycling Modernisation Fund and our actions under the National Waste Policy Action Plan will create 10,000 new jobs over the next 10 years – that is a 32 per cent increase in jobs in the Australian waste and recycling sector.

“We are introducing legislation; we are driving a billion-dollar transformation of Australia’s waste and recycling capacity and we are investing in new technologies and new ideas to transform recycling and reprocessing.”

Accelerating product stewardship activity

Product stewardship has also received a boost through specific adjustments and enhancements under the Recycling and Waste Reduction Bill.

Assistant Minister Evans said the legislation will improve the existing framework for product stewardship by encouraging companies to take greater responsibility for the waste they generate through the products they design, manufacture or distribute.

“We are making it easier for industry to set up and join in product stewardship schemes. Yet where voluntary product stewardship schemes are not effective, or where they are not created in priority areas, the government will have new tools to intervene and regulate,” Assistant Minister Evans said.

“Our legislative changes will transform our waste industry, meaning increased recycling and remanufacturing of waste materials which will create new industry and generate more jobs.”

The Bill and associated package of funding and investment heralds a new era in Australia’s approach to waste management. It reflects a more considered approach aimed at improving our ability to process and manage waste in-country while also maximising the business opportunities resulting from industry-led product stewardship schemes.

Effective implementation across all levels of government and industry will be key to measurable success, as will an informed public demanding environmentally improved products and services built around circular economy principles.

The future of waste reduction, reuse and recycling in Australia is forging new territory based on nationwide collaboration, innovation and the need for manufacturers to take greater responsibility for their products and materials across the the supply chain from cradle to cradle.

The Australian Government’s media release can be viewed here.

The Recycling and Waste Reduction Bill 2020 can be downloaded here.

 

NSW Grants for Solar Panel Reuse and Recycling

The NSW Government is investing $10 million to help improve environmental performance by diverting end-of-life solar panel systems from landfill, with the first round of grants now open.

Although current waste volumes are relatively low, this emerging waste stream is expected to rapidly increase over the next decade as installed systems reach their end-of-life. In NSW it is forecast that this waste stream could generate up to 10,000 tonnes per year by 2025 and up to 71,000 tonnes per year by 2035.

EPA Director Circular Economy Kathy Giunta said the investment in recycling through this Circular Solar grants program would help NSW meet its commitment of net zero CO2 emissions by 2050.

“While current amounts of waste are low, now is the time to invest in developing systems for collecting and recycling these valuable resources like scarce and rare metals, including lithium batteries.

“We want to recycle and re-use the materials in solar panels and battery systems as NSW transitions towards cleaner energy and this program is an important step in building a productive circular economy in NSW.

“It will see NSW well placed to manage waste solar systems over the coming years and will stimulate much needed job creation in the solar power and recycling sectors,” Kathy Giunta said.

The NSW Government is now inviting Expressions of Interest for grants to run trial projects that increase the collection, reuse and recycling of solar panel and battery storage systems. Applications for projects that trial whole of supply chain approaches to collecting and reusing and/or recycling can be made until 17 September 2020.

$2 million is available in this funding round, with the remaining funding to be made available following evaluation of this EOI process.

Scoping study

As part of the background to establishing the the circular solar trials fund, the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment commissioned a scoping study (PDF 3.8MB) to assist in development of the EPA’s end-of-life solar programs. It contains information that may help organisations preparing EOIs, including:

> projected waste generation volumes
> materials that can be recovered from solar panels and batteries
> reuse and recycling technologies
> end-market opportunities

The study was conducted by the UTS Institute of Sustainable Futures and Equilibrium.

Don’t hesitate to contact the Equilibrium team on BH  (03) 9372 5356 if you need support or help in preparing an EOI for the grant program.

Be sure to stay updated on our blog page for future grant opportunities.

For more information visit https://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/working-together/grants/infrastructure-fund/circular-solar-trials-expression-of-interest

SMEs Weathering the COVID-19 Storm

From a recent article in Ondeck, Equilibrium’s Nick Harford shares some views about how a calm and steady approach to running an SME can help weather the COVID-19 pandemic.

The following story was originally published online at Ondeck.

In March, COVID-19 struck, and Equilibrium’s contracts were frozen as the national carrier, and its subsidiary, grounded their flying fleets. The Melbourne-based firm, which includes a team of six consultants, provides a range of private and government sector organisations with technical and strategic compliance services such as energy audits, environmental management systems reviews, and waste and recycling management advice lost 50% of its work in a matter of weeks.

But rather than losing their heads, the steady and strategic Harford, along with business partner Damien Wigley, pivoted their SME, and focussed on a range of opportunities to help weather the COVID-19 storm, which has once again reared its unpleasant head in the Victorian capital.

Staying cool and seeking new markets

Harford, whose firm operates across diverse industries and sectors, says Equilibrium particularly focused on existing contacts and government work.

“In the past, we were sometimes cautious about bidding for some government tenders because from a business sense they are very competitive, can involve a significant investment in time, and the return can be very risky.”

“But we put in extra work when COVID-19 hit by being more open to government tenders and proposals and taking any opportunities that arose. We gave it a red-hot crack,” Harford confirms.

Equilibrium also identified a spike in government grants promoting recycling and other business activities. Harford explains, “This wasn’t a business opportunity for Equilibrium that involved us working with government directly but rather an opportunity to be advising and assisting other businesses to access government funding and other support programs.”

Networking into new business

Apart from pursuing government work, Nick and his team upped the ante on networking. “We worked our contacts hard, making sure we understood where they were at and how we could help them address their environment and sustainability compliance issues.”

These business development efforts enabled Equilibrium to collaborate with a major Australian manufacturer that responded early to the pandemic threat by pivoting from packaging into sanitary and hygiene products such as disinfectants.

“The manufacturer needed a hand to make sure they had a range of systems in place. This work resulted from connecting with our contacts to see if we could help people with their compliance or strategic challenges.”

Dealing with the lockdowns

Apart from the loss of revenue, Equilibrium has needed to manage the impact of the first raft of lockdown in Melbourne between April and June. “We had to make sure we could work online. We have people in four different locations nationally but given the nature of the work we do, it’s not too hard for us.

“With the latest restrictions in place in Melbourne, we feel we are well-prepared for another extended period of working from home arrangements.”

Nick’s three tips for surviving COVID-19

1. Don’t panic:  Review the business profoundly and frequently. By not panicking and taking advantage of government support such as JobKeeper and the payroll tax relief, we have been able to keep all our staff employed.

2. Be prepared to take opportunities from left field:  Quickly pivot into new business opportunities when lockdowns and restrictions arise.

3. Cut unnecessary costs:  The other owner and I are also taking less income when needed. Where our people are underutilised, we’ve used them for other activities such as business development and to assist our marketing and communications activities.

Make contact with the Equilibrium team if you need help navigating COVID-19 from an environmental, waste or sustainability angle:  BH (03) 9372 5356.

______

Prepared by OnDeck Capital Australia for general information purposes only. Content may belong to or have originated from third parties and OnDeck takes no responsibility for the accuracy, validity, reliability or completeness of any information. Information current as at July 2020. You should not rely upon the material or information as a basis for making any business, financial or any other decisions. 

For information on how Equilibrium has responded to auditing during lockdowns, read the following article.

Boosting Product Stewardship Outcomes

The Australian Government has taken a major step-up on product stewardship policy reforms and funding aimed at encouraging manufacturers, retailers and industry groups to take greater responsibility for the entire life-cycle of the products they produce and sell.

The recurring theme and expectation on product stewardship in recent announcements by the Environment Minister is clear:

“We are building more capacity in our recycling sector and we need industry and brands to take greater responsibility for reducing the environmental impacts,”  said Minister Ley.

The reforms and funding are also taking a broader view of what product stewardship can and should do to better manage Australia’s waste challenges and make effective use of recycled materials in manufacturing, construction and infrastructure. Circular product design, reuse, repair and increased support for new stewardship schemes are just some of the recommendations and measures that the Government is seeking enable and facilitate.

The proposals are being put forward as the Morrison Government today launches the first round of grants from its new $20 million Product Stewardship Investment Fund to ensure manufacturers, retailers and industry groups take greater responsibility for the entire life-cycle of the products they produce and sell.

Grants of up to $1 million will be available for individual applicants to expand existing schemes or develop new ones, with first round applications already open.

Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said the fund was a critical part of the Morrison Government’s billion-dollar recycling strategy ensuring that there are clear streams for collection, processing and remanufacture.

“We are building more capacity in our recycling sector and we need industry and brands to take greater responsibility for reducing the environmental impacts,” she said.

“There will be a particular focus on e-waste, ensuring that anything with a plug or a battery is subject to an industry scheme.

“Solar panels, batteries, and even non electronic items like child car seats all have recyclable components which shouldn’t be wasted in landfill.

It’s  noteworthy to  read that the Government is using the reforms and investment to both recognise proactive product stewardship initiatives by industry, but also to formally highlight and monitor those industries and companies that move slowly, resist stewardship action and remain indifferent to their corporate social and environmental responsibility.

Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management, Trevor Evans explained how product stewardship schemes would reduce the impact of products on the environment and create new job opportunities for Australians.

“This funding will shift the dial in Australia as we change our mindsets to thinking about waste as a resource,” Assistant Minister Evans said.

“There will be strong economic and environmental benefits from turbo-charging product stewardship.

Review of the Product Stewardship Act

The  Government also released the Review of the Product Stewardship Act 2011, supporting all 26 recommendations to improve product stewardship outcomes, including:

> establishing a new Centre of Excellence to mentor and drive best practice product stewardship schemes across the nation

> broadening the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme to include all electrical and electronic products (e-waste), so that all consumer products with a plug or battery can be recycled

> shifting the emphasis from stand-alone products to entire material streams

> reducing the costs and improving the benefits of scheme accreditation so consumers have confidence in their recycling

> strengthening the Minister’s priority products list to encourage brands to work together towards an industry-led scheme by adding clear timeframes

> calling out those letting consumers and their industry down by not participating in a scheme.

Grant applications for new Product Stewardship Investment Fund are now available at www.business.gov.au

Equilibrium has a long history of successful involvement in scheme design review, communications and auditing across various product classes, and we look forward to seeing the reforms and investment expand the diversity of measurable product stewardship activity nationwide.

To read an Equilibrium piece on Next Level Product Stewardship, follow this link.

If you are interested in the Product Stewardship Investment Fund, or need advice or assistance with your submissions and initial inquiries, we’re eager to support your efforts.

Don’t hesitate to contact the Equilibrium team on BH (03) 9372 5356.

Recycling Modernisation Fund Transforming the Waste Industry

The Morrison Government will commit $190 million to a new Recycling Modernisation Fund (RMF) that will generate $600 million of recycling investment and drive a billion-dollar transformation of Australia’s waste and recycling capacity.

Announced today by The Hon Sussan Ley MP, Minister for the Environment, and The Hon Trevor Evans MP, Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management, the Recycling Modernisation Fund will help create more than 10,000 jobs with over 10 million tonnes of waste diverted from landfill.

The RMF will support innovative investment in new infrastructure to sort, process and remanufacture materials such as mixed plastic, paper, tyres and glass, with Commonwealth funding contingent on co-funding from industry, states and territories.

Australia’s waste and recycling transformation is being further strengthened by an additional:

> $35 million to implement Commonwealth commitments under Australia’s National Waste Policy Action Plan, which sets the direction for waste management and recycling in Australia until 2030.

> $24.6 million on Commonwealth commitments to improve our national waste data so it can measure recycling outcomes and track progress against our national waste targets.

> The introduction of new Commonwealth waste legislation to formally enact the Government’s waste export ban and encourage companies to take greater responsibility for the waste they generate, from product design through to recycling, remanufacture or disposal (Product Stewardship).

The moves are part of a national strategy to change the way Australia looks at waste, grow our economy, protect our environment and reach a national resource recovery target of 80% by 2030.

“As we cease shipping our waste overseas, the waste and recycling transformation will reshape our domestic waste industry, driving job creation and putting valuable materials back into the economy,” Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said today.

“At the same time, we need to stop throwing away tonnes of electronic waste and batteries each year and develop new ways to recycle valuable resources.

“As we pursue National Waste Policy Action Plan targets, we need manufacturers and industry to take a genuine stewardship role that helps create a sustainable circular economy.

Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management, Trevor Evans, said that the unparalleled expansion of Australia’s recycling capacity followed close consultation with industry.

“Our targeted investment will grow Australia’s circular economy, create more jobs and build a stronger onshore recycling industry,” Assistant Minister Evans said.

“Our targeted investment will grow Australia’s circular economy, create more jobs and build a stronger onshore recycling industry.

The full media release can be viewed here.

If you are interested in the announcements or need assistance in assessing the opportunhities, please contact the Equilibrium team on BH (03) 9372 5356.