Mar 29, 2017
In the period 1996-2015 Australian’s population rose by 28% but waste generation increased by 170%. Waste is growing at a compound growth rate of 7.8% (i)
Waste levies are an essential component in any waste minimisation strategy. They encourage us to think more responsibly about the waste we produce and inspire us to find more effective and efficient ways to reduce, reuse, recycle or reprocess waste. They of course also generate the funding needed to support waste minimisation initiatives.
A massive pile of waste, who would want to stockpile that?
It seems crazy to most of us, that people would want to stockpile waste but it is one of the unfortunate flow on effects of a levy system. Some waste handling and recycling centres will stockpile their waste to avoid paying the levies on the waste as it goes into landfill. The most common waste to be stockpiled is soils, fill and overburden, construction and demolition waste as well as substantial amounts of timber and green waste. Regulating stockpiles can be difficult to manage as waste often needs to be stored or stockpiled while it is waiting to be recycled or reused.
How can we minimize stockpiling?
To promote the circulation of materials through the waste management process and to prevent stockpiling, regulations and processes need to be put in place to capture the amounts and types of waste, facilities are holding on to. The capturing of this information, supports greater transparency and provides regulators with the means to monitor waste levels across facilities. Essentially, this enables regulators to control excessive stockpiling and encourage the circulation of materials through the waste management process.
Tracking your State's waste
Keeping track of waste as it is processed and travels throughout the waste management process, can be a daunting and complex task for regulators. Having the systems in place that are able to support the easy capture and management of this information is fundamental in the success of any waste data collection strategy.
In 2015, New South Wales, Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), recognised the importance of being able to track and manage waste levels across all of their States waste handling facilities. They introduced tighter waste regulations which saw a wider range of facilities now also becoming liable for a levy if they stockpiled waste for more than 12 months or if the stored more than they were allowed.
To support these regulations EPA implemented a new Waste and Resource Reporting Portal (WARRP) that would enable the following functions:
The portal will ultimately enable EPA to monitor and stop rogue operators who pretend to recycle but instead simply stockpile waste indefinitely without proper processing, or dispose of it illegally.
Collecting more waste data is better for everyone
The more we know about our waste, the more effectively we can manage it. Robust waste data is essential in setting and evaluating a States recycling and resource recovery targets and for calculating current and future waste disposal trends. EPA recognised the value that the tracking of waste data between facilities could provide and how in the long-term it could offer better protection for their environment, while making the system fairer for operators who do the right thing. Regulators can now also monitor which types of waste are in more of an abundance which highlights where recovery or reuse efforts need to be focused.