2018 Media Releases
QLD waste levy: WMAA addresses committee in Ipswich

4 October 2018

CEO of the Waste Management Association of Australia (WMAA), Gayle Sloan, was in Ispwich today, representing industry in a public hearing on Queensland’s Waste Reduction and Recycling (Waste Levy) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill.

WMAA is supportive of the State Government’s plan to re-introduce the landfill levy as it creates a much-needed economic incentive to divert waste from landfill.

“Queensland is one of the largest generators of waste, increasing by about 24% from 2006/07 to 2014/15. Yet it is one of the poorest diverters of waste from landfill in Australia, currently diverting only 48% from landfill,” Ms Sloan said at the hearing, adding that while a landfill levy is not a silver bullet, it is certainly a proven economic tool that should be used as part of a suite of Government instruments and levers.

“A landfill levy is a proven economic tool that supports diversion targets. It’s not the total solution and can’t fix our throw away society by itself, but it is one cog in a strategic waste strategy that Queensland needs and is developing with the recently released ‘Transforming Queensland’s Recycling and Waste Industry directions paper,” Ms Sloan said.

WMAA has developed a submission to the Bill, which Ms Sloan reiterated at the hearing. She emphasised that the Bill will allow Queensland to catch up with the rest of Australia and the developed world in moving towards a circular economy, which will have numerous positive impacts on the State’s economic, environmental, and social health.

“We strongly believe that this industry will be the next resources boom for Queensland, creating jobs and investment that have not previously been viable due to the lack of a levy and a strong plan for Queensland,” Ms Sloan said.

“It is important to acknowledge that the waste and resource recovery industry, is in fact, a resource manager. As such, we must move rapidly away from a linear approach to managing waste and support the waste management hierarchy. Queensland can do this by supporting industry to deliver the prescribed outcomes by creating certain regulatory and policy settings, and ensuring the investment of levy monies in the waste and resource recovery industry and community.”

There are compelling reasons to encourage the development of a secondary manufacturing industry. For one, 9.2 jobs are created for every 10,000 tonnes recycled. And WMAA is pleased to see that the Queensland Government is on the same page.

“The Queensland levy regime has more incentives and discounts to incentivise the use of recycled material than any other regime in Australia. This is a clear attempt to incentivise the use of these materials in manufacturing and make these competitive with virgin material, for which the Queensland Government must be congratulated,” Ms Sloan said.

WMAA is now urging the Government to consider recommendations raised by industry ahead of the levy roll-out to ensure the opportunities that will arise from a landfill levy are fully maximised.

“Queensland needs to think about a whole-of-government approach to our essential industry, including using levy funding to replicate the approach to market development taken by both Victoria and SA, with market development agencies such as Sustainability Victoria and Green Industries SA,” Ms Sloan said.

“We cannot simply regulate our way to success; we need to develop markets and demand for recycled product in Queensland.”

WMAA also highlighted several areas that should be addressed before the Act is adopted, including the $5 million ‘levy readiness’ grant funding, which WMAA wants extended to all industry participants.

“The challenges in meeting the 4 March 2019 levy start date, including infrastructure upgrades and fee changes, are not unique to local government. This funding should be offered on a 100% basis to all; we need to end the days of a two-speed economy in Queensland” Ms Sloan said, adding, “Any adjustment to the levy should also occur in line with financial year and not calendar year to avoid duplication of resources.”

For Media Enquiries - Nick Bensley: 02 8746 5011


WMAA Response to Australasian Recycling Label and APCO recycling targets

26 September 2018

The Waste Management Association of Australia (WMAA), the peak body for the $15.5 billion waste and resource recovery industry, welcomes the newly announced Australasian Recycling Label, however points out that it is a missed opportunity.

“In real terms, the label needs to solve two problems; it needs to tell consumers how they can dispose of the waste, and if the packaging is made from recycled product,” says Ms Gayle Sloan, CEO of WMAA.

“This label does neither and industry believes that this label will not help hit the targets set by the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO).”

Not only has APCO failed to take on any of the feedback that industry associations, including WMAA and the Australian Council of Recycling (ACOR), provided during the closed door consultation of the Towards 2025 paper, no industry body was represented at the launch of what APCO has called “a milestone industry event”. APCO is attempting to operate outside of its remit and continues to insist on working on industry issues without industries input.

“While WMAA congratulates many national organisations for agreeing to the targets set by APCO, without regulatory levers, the Australasian Recycling Label will fail to achieve the targets set,” said Ms Sloan.

APCO’s current operating model, being co-regulatory, is too limited a system to achieve the 2025 goals and the industry deems APCO powerless to drive real change. What is needed is an extended producer responsibility scheme, which APCO in its current form, is not.

“What APCO and Government need to understand is that setting targets without having a roadmap to achieve them is nonsensical,” said Ms Sloan.

“Having a plan that not only addresses the targets that need to be achieved but also mandates the use of recycled content is the only way we can truly move forward.”

For Media Enquiries - Nick Bensley: 02 8746 5011


WMAA welcomes Remondis plan to invest in Queensland

20 September 2018

The Waste Management Association of Australia (WMAA) today welcomes the announcement of Remondis Australia’s intention to build a $400 million waste-to-energy facility in Queensland.

The facility which will be located in Swanbank, a region of Ipswich, will be able to process upwards of 500,000 tonnes of waste per year; waste that would have otherwise been sent to landfill.

“Remondis’s plan to significantly invest in waste and resource recovery technology in Queensland is very welcome,” said Ms Gayle Sloan, CEO of WMAA.

“While Remondis’ proposal is at the concept stage, it has the potential to divert non-recyclable waste that was destined for landfill into a productive use. The project will comply with the Waste Management Hierarchy and gaining the energy value from this material is a far better alternative than creating methane and leachate.

“Importantly, this will also create new jobs in Queensland and clearly demonstrates what industry has been saying - that the landfill levy will create jobs and drive investment opportunities in Queensland.

Remondis has over 50 of these types of facilities all over the world and is the second largest operator of waste-to-energy facilities. WMAA understands that Remondis has been consulting on this project, including with the local community since earlier this year.

“This really is exciting times for Queensland, with the introduction of the landfill levy and new Waste and Resource Recovery strategy later this year. As an industry, we are very much looking forward to creating jobs and new facilities that focus on diverting waste from landfill and creating a circular economy in Queensland.”

For Media Enquiries - Nick Bensley: 02 8746 5011


WMAA Response to QLD Waste Levy Bill 2018

20 September 2018

The Waste Management Association of Australia (WMAA), the peak national body for the $15.5 billion waste and resource recovery industry, congratulates the Queensland Government on the Waste Reduction and Recycling (Waste Levy) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2018, acknowledging that its introduction is a much-needed step in moving Queensland away from a “take, make, and dispose” model to a circular economy. However, WMAA is disappointed that the Parliamentary Committee only allowed nine (9) days for consultation on the Bill, considering the far-reaching impacts this Bill would have.

“This is a vital piece of legislation for our essential industry and it has impacts throughout Queensland. It is not possible to conduct appropriate thorough consultation with members throughout Queensland in these timeframes,” said WMAA CEO, Gayle Sloan.

While a longer consultation period would have been ideal, WMAA views the introduction of the Bill by the Queensland Government as progress towards catching up with the rest of Australia, and the developed world, in moving towards a circular economy. The current linear approach has adversely impacted Queensland in many ways, not the least of which is making it difficult for resource recovery industries to invest, depriving Queensland of the opportunity to create new jobs. After all, for every one job involved in landfilling 10,000 tonnes of waste, more than four (4) can be created by recycling the same material. The Bill creates an opportunity for the State to make genuine gains that will assist in the investment and development of the resource recovery industry within Queensland.

WMAA acknowledges that the Queensland Government has listened to a large number of concerns in drafting this Bill and recognises that the Queensland approach does include more discounts and incentives for industry than any other levy regime currently in Australia. Further good attempts have been made to:

  • incentivise the use of recycled material through levy discounts;
  • assist MRFs that have been impacted by changes in the global commodity market by exempting their residuals from the levy for a transition period;
  • address the transportation of leviable waste into non-levy areas of Queensland;
  • manage the dumping of asbestos, by requiring it to be lawfully managed in order to achieve an exemption; and
  • not adversely impact the management of landfill sites and their use of cover and other materials.

WMAA has provided a submission to the Parliamentary Committee for Innovation, Tourism Development and Environment regarding this Bill and outlined some key areas of concern and possible improvement.

For one, the $5 million ‘levy readiness’grant funding from government should be extended to all industry participants and not only to local government as the challenges in meeting the 4 March 2019 levy start date, including infrastructure upgrades and fee changes, are not unique to local government.

“This funding should be offered on a 100% basis as the proposed 70/30 funding split with local government will leave a shortfall in existing 2018/19 budgets, which is not ideal,” Ms Sloan added, “Further, any adjustment to the levy should also occur in line with financial year and not calendar year to avoid duplication of resources.”

At present, there are local government contracts that allow operators to extract recyclable materials from landfill tipping areas. These contracts will become unlawful with the commencement of the Act due to Section 38 of the Constitution. WMAA is urging Government to consider alternatives to the current approach, particularly during the transition to allow sites to amend their practices. One suggestion is to follow NSW’s levy rebate system.

The mandatory volumetric surveys will also add a financial impost on WMAA members operating leviable sites and these costs should be fully recovered under the available waste levy funds.

“While the Act includes more incentives for industry than any other levy currently in Australia and the government should be applauded for that, we must now ensure that unintended consequences such as site operators being stuck with bad debts from those that avoid levy payments, and bona fide contracts or the extraction of recyclables from contracts now being unlawful as a result of the new proposed regime, are rectified before the Bill’s final adoption,”Ms Sloan concluded.

For Media Enquiries - Nick Bensley: 02 8746 5011


2009 National Waste Policy Update: Levers to drive economic and job growth

19 September 2018

In the past week, the Waste Management Association of Australia (WMAA) congratulated the Federal Department of Environment and Energy for developing the Updating the 2009 National Waste Policy Discussion Paper within a short time frame, but also pointed out that the paper fails to discuss several leadership opportunities for the Commonwealth that will build economic strength and generate employment in the waste and resource recovery industry in Australia as we forge forward towards a circular economy.

A transition to a circular economy will be a seismic shift in our economy, our communities, and our environment. For instance, according to a MRA Consulting Group report, domestic remanufacturing of just 50% of material that was formerly sent to China would create approximately 500 new jobs. We know that we can create 9.2 direct full-time equivalent jobs and 1.87 indirect jobs for every 10,000 tonnes of waste that is recycled. In South Australia alone, a more circular economy is predicted to create an additional 25,700 jobs (21,000 via actioning material efficiency gains and 4,700 by actioning efficient and renewable energy gains).

Beyond job creation, World Economic Forum estimates suggest a circular economy could add A$26 billion to our economy by 2025. A shift to a circular economy would also add an additional A$9.3 billion to Australian business through a collaborative economy.

So let’s drill down on how we think the Commonwealth can support industry, boost jobs, and drive economic growth through the National Waste Policy, and reflect on learnings from the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU).

The waste management and resource recovery industry is an essential industry for our community and the economy. One might think that an industry that turns over $15.5 billion per annum, directly employs more than 50,000 Australians, and handles the volume of resource we do (see Table 1) would not have to keep reminding Government that we are in fact essential.

WMAA Important Information for All Members

Table 1: Value of waste and recycling activity across the states (2014-15) - Inside Waste Industry Report 2014-15

The Commonwealth’s Role

To the Government’s credit, the goals set in the discussion paper do not favour one State or Territory over the other, nor are they prescriptive. However, what would be useful would be an accompanying roadmap on how these goals can be achieved.

The first step forward would be for the Federal Government to actively collaborate with State jurisdictions. There are numerous gaps that can be filled if we achieve genuine collaboration between the State and Federal Governments and end what in recent years has looked more like ”buck passing”.

• Data

In Australia, we have a distinct issue with the lack of meaningful data that is at the disposal of government and industry, specifically, the areas of production, manufacturing, and distribution. We simply do not know how much waste is being produced in these areas and when produced, where it ends up. We cannot possibly make true assessments and plans without all the data from throughout these supply chains.

The current form of the Updating the 2009 National Waste Policy Discussion Paper seems to lean towards the management of municipal waste (MSW) despite almost 80% of waste generated in Australia coming from Commercial and Industrial (C&I) and Construction and Demolition (C&D) streams. However, without accurate information regarding the whereabouts and make-up of that waste, it becomes incredibly difficult for government at all levels to formulate meaningful policy.

The data in Table 1, from the Federal Government’s published waste generation and resource recovery report, provides a snapshot of the amount of resource our industry is managing. However,the current level of data does not accurately represent the true benefit those resources are to our remanufacturing industry, nor the impact China’s National Sword Policy will have on resource values, for example.

The UK and the EU’s Circular Economy transitions both began with a true understanding of data. WMAA advocates that the WRAP UK model is an excellent example of commitment to gathering and utilising data for positive change. WRAP UK works as an independent third party in the space between governments, businesses, and communities, to collate and produce workable and meaningful data and advice on action that needs to take place.

We need to be able to accurately and consistently accrue and assess data to be able to underpin the ‘waste management hierarchy’, agree on national diversion targets (increasing towards zero waste in 2050, perhaps), and work systemically towards a national transition to a circular economy. The Federal Government must commit to funding ongoing independent data capture that supports evidence-based policy development for our essential industry.

• National Whole-of-Government Approach

The EU recognised that waste could not be managed under one government portfolio (environment). Australia should take a page from the EU’s playbook and embrace a whole-of-government approach, utilising energy, climate, agriculture, consumer protection, regional development, and research departments. The policy framework that the EU setup was one of the largest in the EU’s history, with more than 54 clearly defined measures, all with responsibilities allocated.

Australia, like the EU and Britain, has many companies that operate nationally, as well as many multi-nationals. Many within our industry collaborate with these companies to work towards common goals; however it is challenging to gain real traction on state-based initiatives given the national and global reach of these companies. The Commonwealth must play a key role in bringing these companies to the national table with industry to share their data and discuss their concerns, objectives, and insights to drive collaboration on all fronts; to date there has been no process for this. The voluntary UK Plastics Pact launched by WRAP UK is a perfect example of how this can and must occur. 42 businesses, including major food, drink and non-food brands, manufacturers, and retailer’s right through to plastic reprocessors and packaging suppliers have made their commitment to the Pact. These Pact members are responsible for over 80% of the plastic packaging on products sold through UK supermarkets. This powerful collective has committed to hit a series of ambitious targets by 2025:

  • Eliminate problematic or unnecessary single-use plastic packaging through redesign, innovation or alternative (re-use) delivery models.
  • 100% of plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable, or compostable.
  • 70% of plastic packaging effectively recycled or composted.
  • 30% average recycled content across all plastic packaging.

When one considers the plastic stream in Australia (see Table below), it is instantly apparent the power of having all stakeholders from throughout the supply chain come to the table. To date in Australia, we have not been able to consistently achieve this, as there is no body in existence that has either the authority or the trust of all of industry.

WMAA Important Information for All Members

• Levers

The Federal Government must take a stronger role in delivering the updated Waste Policy, by both using the levers that it has at its disposal and leading by example. The EU acknowledged their responsibilities by increasing use and trust in secondary materials and by ensuring that a standards and testing framework was introduced and adhered to. This was interlaced with strict safety standards, before incentivising organisations on moving across to recycled content in manufacturing. This had the economic knock-on effect of creating a domestic industry for recycled materials.

The EU also set about introducing A New Deal for EU Consumers which they launched in April of 2018. Effectively, this enforced circular economy product guarantees for consumers, which included independent testing of products for planned obsolescence. The final step in this process was the introduction of circular economy labelling with durability/recyability information so that consumers could make informed decisions when making purchases. This, again, ensured economic success by making consumers comfortable with the purchase of products that included recycled content.

The introduction of a polluter pays system that ensures manufacturers and waste generators handle their waste correctly and have clear financial obligations for not doing so, was made clear from the beginning of the process and was not a surprise to generators – mainly because they were included in the discussions from the beginning.

The EU’s directive on waste could also offer a balanced approach to proximity/movement of waste. Under the directive on waste, member states must take measures to encourage options that deliver the best overall environmental outcome and develop a network of waste disposal options that will enable waste to be disposed of, or recovered, in one of the nearest appropriate installations.

The EU Waste Regulation provides for a process of notification and consent where waste moved from one country to another is destined for disposal. Only the Federal Government has the ability to clarify the issues surrounding the NSW proximity principle and find a solution to proximity nationally, so that waste does not move unnecessarily and we have certainty of volumes to build necessary infrastructure and the jobs that come with this.

The Federal Government also has in its armoury, a range of tools that it can use to encourage best practice. For instance, tax and R&D incentives should be offered to organisations that are actively working towards the targets set in the Discussion Paper.

Federal levers, if pulled well, have the ability to create a level playing field that incentivises the use of recycled material, creates investment and jobs in the remanufacturing industry, and creates local solutions to local issues. The corollary to that is failure to do so will continue to create an unlevel, uncompetitive playing field for the industry that inhibits market development.

The update to the 2009 National Waste Policy is an opportunity that cannot be wasted. The Federal Government has the opportunity to develop the roadmap for real change for Australia, but we can only do this by working together with a shared vision. Otherwise, we will continue to do what we have always been doing, and it is simply not working.


WMAA announces Cleanaway Waste Management Ltd as new Peak Member
WMAA Important Information for All Members

18 September 2018

  • Cleanaway Waste Management joins SUEZ Australia New Zealand, Remondis Australia and ResourceCo as a Peak Member.

The Waste Management Association of Australia (WMAA) is today pleased to announce Cleanaway Waste Management Ltd as the newest Peak Member of the national peak industry body for the $15.5 billion waste and resource recovery industry in Australia.

Cleanaway is Australia’s largest total waste management solutions companies, employing over 5,900 people across Australia. The company services customers ranging from small businesses to large multi-national commercial and industrial organisations across a range of different industries.

“The Waste Management Association of Australia has been working hard, on behalf of its members, to work with all stakeholders to find solutions to the various issues we collectively face,” said Gayle Sloan, CEO of WMAA. “The continued growth of our membership base is testament to the fact we are delivering real value for the sector, and we are very pleased to welcome Cleanaway as our newest Peak Member.”

WMAA represents the breadth and depth of this essential industry and now has four of Australia’s largest waste management and resource recovery companies as active Peak Members – Cleanaway, SUEZ, ResourceCo and Remondis Australia. These organisations represent the full gamut of the industry; including collections, energy from waste, resource recovery, and landfill.

“There is no other time in the history of the waste management and resource recovery industry where there has been so much change in such a small period of time,” said Mr Vik Bansal, CEO and Managing Director of Cleanaway. “WMAA has been challenging the industry and all stakeholders to come together and work towards our common goals. Cleanaway shares this vision and looks forward to taking an active role in the Association.”

For Media Enquiries - Nick Bensley: 02 8746 5011


2009 National Waste Policy Update

11 September 2018

  • WMAA welcomes the update to the 2009 National Waste Policy
  • Commonwealth is missing leadership opportunity
  • Commonwealth should drive national dialogue
  • Lessons to be learnt from the EU and UK

The Waste Management Association of Australia (WMAA) congratulates the Federal Department of Environment and Energy for developing the Updating the 2009 National Waste Policy Discussion Paper within a short timeframe and acknowledges the Department’s willingness to accept feedback and input from the working group. However, the Discussion Paper unveils several untapped opportunities, including the Commonwealth leading the national dialogue and importantly, driving economic outcomes.

WMAA acknowledges that the Discussion Paper goes some way in reflecting circular economy principles and includes a range of targets. However, these targets should be steered towards key national goals.

“WMAA recognises that there is a lot of work to be done to carefully update the National Waste Policy. However, the targets set out in the Discussion Paper must focus on growing jobs and the economy, and ensure that the industry can stand on its own two feet. Setting strong interim targets and providing clarity around how these targets will be enforced are a good start,” WMAA CEO, Gayle Sloan, said.

“The Commonwealth has a number of tools that it can but is not utliising, including policy and legislative levers that can effectively drive change,” Ms Sloan added.

For instance, the Federal Government can exert its import powers to ensure everything that comes to market adheres to extended producer responsibility best practice. It can also grant tax incentives to organisations that actively work towards the targets set in the Paper.”

WMAA is also urging the Federal Government to think outside of the environment box, taking on a whole-of-government approach to drive the circular economy and follow in the footsteps of our European counterparts to develop a far more sophisticated system. The hurdle at present is the lack of robust data across the entire supply chain.

But therein lies the opportunity, given the Federal Government is in a position to fill that gap by bringing all stakeholders to the table, including national organisations such as national retailers, and ensuring that both accurate data is received and compiled, and all players, including manufacturers, distributors, and reprocessors remain engaged every step of the way.

“In the Paper, the Department discusses opportunities to apply circular economy principles to the whole management system, across each stage of the cycle, which includes design, product remanufacturing, distribution, consumption, use, reuse and repair, as well as collection and recycling. However, there is a real knowledge gap, particularly in the first four stages of this cycle and the Federal Government is in a position to collate this data through the Policy and national engagement,” Ms Sloan said.

“There is value in looking to the EU as they have shown how this can be done by effectively producing 54 clearly defined measures, all with responsibilities allocated. Further, the Commonwealth needs to set up a third party organisation, similar to WRAP UK, which sits uniquely in the space between government, business, and community to collate data and aid in the forging of partnerships to drive a sustainable economy.”

WRAP UK CEO, Dr Marcus Gover, pointed to the success the organisation has had in the last decade.”

“We know that what gets measured, gets managed and this is as true for waste as it is for anything else,” said Dr Gover.

“Over the past 10 years, WRAP has proven that measuring and reporting on waste in whole supply chains helps us to identify the hotspots and take action on them. It is only when you take this whole supply chain view that you can address these systemic problems instead of simply pushing the waste somewhere else.”

A good example is WRAP UK’s Love Food Hate Waste campaign launched in 2007 and designed in response to WRAP’s research on the scale and types of food waste by UK homes. Since it commenced, avoidable household food waste in the UK has been cut by a 21%, in large part due to WRAP’s ability to draw on its data and evidence base to design effective initiatives and collaborate with the nation’s largest food retailers.

“This goes to show that it is all well and good to set targets and milestones but if we do not have accurate data and the ability to track progress, we cannot possibly succeed,” said Ms Sloan, concluding “For the update to the 2009 National Waste Policy to truly matter, we need everyone to adhere to the policy and move forward as one, that is why it is so important that the Federal Government shows leadership in this regard.

WMAA will be publishing a paper this week drilling down on how the Commonwealth can effectively support industry, boost jobs, and drive economic growth through the National Waste Policy, and will reflect on learnings from the UK and EU.

For Media Enquiries - Nick Bensley: 02 8746 5011


WMAA welcomes Victorian boost to recycling industry

3 July 2018

The Waste Management Association of Australia (WMAA), the national peak body for Australia’s waste and resource recovery industry, today welcomes the Victorian Government’s announcement of a further $24 million injection of new monies into recycling to assist in building a resilient sector in Victoria.

“We absolutely welcome Victoria stepping up and showing both leadership and financial commitment in using and buying recycled product in Government purchasing,” said CEO Gayle Sloan. “This undertaking by the Minister D'Ambrosio and the Victorian Government is a an act of true leadership, and we hope that all other States and the Federal government are watching and hopefully acting soon!”

Today’s announcement by the Victorian Government follows a $13 million package earlier this year, to assist with stabilising the market. The Victorian Government can be congratulated for the way that they have responded so rapidly and thoughtfully to this issue. “Financial support for the industry is very welcome, however this is one part of what is required to creating a sustainable and resilient long term industry in Australia” said Ms Sloan.

“Victoria is demonstrating, Government absolutely must work with industry and Councils to identify and create the correct market conditions that enable Australia to make the structual changes required to invest in jobs and re-manufacturing in Australia,” said Ms Sloan. ”The decision by the Victorian Government to lead the way and create market demand for recycled product is exactly the market signal we need.”

“We know that 91% of the public supports Government buying recycled material, so please just get on with it!”

The package announced by Minister D'Ambrosio is a very balanced step ahead, as it considers the needs to improve the quality of recycled material, through education, specification and technology, whilst developing the end-markets and demand for the material.

“The Victorian Government, by enaging with industry and the community, are sending the signals to Victorian remanufacturing industry that they can invest and grow as there will be a market for recycled material in Victoria.”

“Today’s announcement from the Victorian Government is just the type of forward thinking and resolve we need from all states, and the Federal Government.”

For Media Enquiries - Nick Bensley: 02 8746 5011


WMAA supports Senate report on Australia’s waste and recycling industry

27 June 2018

The Waste Management Association of Australia (WMAA) welcomes the Federal Senate Report, Never waste a crisis: the waste and recycling industry in Australia, produced by the Environment and Communications References Committee – led by Committee Chair, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson.

The Senate report has made 18 recommendations after speaking with and receiving submissions from industry, government and business. WMAA cannot emphasise enough that this a national opportunity that requires Federal leadership, WMAA welcomes the emphasis on the Circular Economy, the Waste Management Hierarchy and Sustainable Procurement.

“WMAA is in full support of prioritising a shift to a Circular Economy and a commitment to the waste hierarchy,” said WMAA CEO, Gayle Sloan. “This report firmly backs the position of WMAA and the entire industry.”

WMAA has been highlighting the requirement for the Federal Government to set mandatory targets for all government departments on specifying materials bought directly, or via private contractors, to contain recycled content. China’s National Sword policy has affected 1.25 mega-tonnes of Australia’s recyclables exported to China.

“Long before China’s National Sword policy made this an economic challenge for Australia, our industry has been saying to government that we need to rethink the way we use recycled commodities in this country and create an industry for those commodities,” said Ms Sloan. “WMAA applauds the Senate report for seeing the opportunity that this presents and recommending the need for the Federal Government to lead and mandate the use of recycled content in government purchasing. Only then will we see a move towards a Circular Economy.”

After the Meeting of Australian Environment Ministers (MEM), WMAA was pleased that the National Waste Policy will be updated by the end of 2018. Couple this with the Senate report recommending the “urgent implementation of the 16 strategies established under the National Waste Policy” WMAA believes that the community must now see a true commitment from the Federal Government to take a leadership position on these matters.

“We have talked enough about what needs to be done in Australia, we just need to act and take the opportunity that China presented to create remanufacturing jobs in Australia,” said Ms Sloan “The Federal Government must finally step up and pull the policy levers we need like mandating recycled content and all Government departments buying recycled goods, and if they are not, tell the public why not, when 91% of the population supports Government doing this.”

WMAA will continue working with industry and government to lift standards for the better, this involves an integrated approach including harmonised federal waste policies. WMAA recognises Senator Whish-Wilson for his role in championing this federal inquiry and his desire to “identify what can be done to keep the good operators going.”

For Media Enquiries - Nick Bensley: 02 8746 5011


WMAA welcomes QLD landfill levy

1 June 2018

The Waste Management Association of Australia (WMAA) today welcomes the Queensland Palaszczuk’s Government confirmation that the landfill levy will be reintroduced in early 2019 as part of the improved approach to the management of waste and resource recovery in Queensland.

“WMAA recognises that there is a lot of work to be done in ensuring that both the Queensland policy and the levy are successfully implemented. We look forward to working closely with Government in developing the detail of how both the policy and levy.”

It is vital that Government listen to both industry and the community in finalising this detail, as there are significant issues with the current waste and resource recovery policy and legislation in Queensland, particularly in relation to its treatment of licensed sites, application for resource recovery facilities, and regulation of sites.

The Queensland government has a great opportunity to develop a robust and dynamic resource recovery industry in the next five years, and create the jobs and investment that is required if it creates the correct policy and legislative settings required. This means that it needs to ensure that industry has certainty in both planning and regulation and the current impediments to doing business well in Queensland are removed.

“The ultimate goal of WMAA is to achieve sustainable and environmentally sensitive waste management across the entire industry,” said CEO Gayle Sloan. “And to ensure a level playing field for all organisations, and for the betterment of the services provided to the public.”

WMAA welcomes the Queensland government’s commitment to creating a circular economy within Australia by encouraging redesign, reduction, reuse, recycling, and manufacturing. The last piece of the puzzle is a harmonised approach to create a circular economy in Australia, wherein we can develop onshore local markets and create local employment (for every 10,000 tonnes of waste recycled, more than 9.2 jobs are created).

For Media Enquiries - Nick Bensley: 02 8746 5011


WMAA announces ResourceCo as new Peak Member
WMAA Important Information for All Members

9 May 2018

The National peak body for the waste and resource recovery industry, WMAA, is today pleased to announce ResourceCo as a new Peak Member, joining Suez and Remondis.

ResourceCo is one of Australia’s leading resource recovery businesses, accepting and processing over two million tonnes of material per annum. It operates state-of-the-art facilities throughout Australia, which are able to manufacture a wide range of quality recycled products and fuel from various material streams.

“On behalf of the members of WMAA I would like to thank ResourceCo for their confidence in and commitment to our Association,” said Gayle Sloan, CEO of WMAA. “It is wonderful to see a long term member take a more active part in leading the Association.”

WMAA is proud to now have three of Australia’s largest and most dynamic waste management and resource recovery companies on its Board. These companies cover the entire spectrum of this essential industry from collections, to landfill, to resource recovery and energy from waste, and will serve as a great complement to our new Directors that are sworn in at this AGM on Friday. WMAA has the ability to have up to five Peak industry Members to be invited to join its Board, if the companies pass rigorous assessment of their waste and resource recovery business in Australia.

“WMAA has led the industry in shining a light on the essential service that our industry provides and working with industry and government to ensure our mutual success in providing that service to the community,” said Mr Ben Sawley, CEO of ResourceCo Sustainable Energy. “With recent international pressures our industry finds itself in a difficult situation and only by working together will we see our industry move forward. I encourage all WMAA Members take an active role in our Association.”

Ben Sawley will join the CEO of Suez Australia, Mr Mark Vanhoek, and the CEO of Remondis Australia, Mr Luke Agati, as peak member directors on the WMAA National Board, effective from the AGM this Friday 11 May. WMAA’s Board of Directors come from industry, local government, consulting and product stewardship organisations reflecting the true diversity and depth of this essential industry.

For Media Enquiries - Nick Bensley: 02 8746 5011


Ministerial Meeting Response

30 April 2018

WMAA welcomes that possibly for the first time the waste and resource recovery industry led the agenda at last week’s Meeting of Australian Environment Ministers (MEM). This clearly demonstrates the nationwide importance of this essential industry, which employs 50,000 people and generates $15.5 billion of economic activity annually. We look forward to our industry remaining at the top of the MEM Agenda.

The waste industry appreciates that Ministers have been listening and are proposing to pull some of the policy levers needed to assist with transitioning the management of waste in Australia towards a sustainable “circular economy” solution. “It is extremely pleasing that the National Waste Strategy will be updated by the end of this year, WMAA looks forward to participating in this”, said Ms Gayle Sloan, CEO of WMAA.

“Friday’s announcement is a step in the right direction and signals the right intent. That said, what we need now is strong policies and market interventions to actually make it happen – and fast.” said Ms Sloan. “WMAA and its members are really keen to work with government to help develop and implement what is required to move forward in what is now a very different world in terms of how we view materials that ultimately generate waste and resources.”

“The endorsement by Ministers of a target of 100 percent of Australian packaging being recyclable or reusable by 2025 is heartening, and we look forward to working with Government to develop meaningful targets from at least 2020 to ensure that this actually achieved” said Ms Sloan. “Industry recalls targets set previously under the National Packaging Covenant that were never monitored or achieved, and once this failure was recognised it was just too late.” “We need action now that ensures APCO will be held accountable from now, and not in 2025, as only this step will begin to deliver local demand for recycled materials and help Australia reduce the sovereign risks associated with over-dependence on off-shore markets.”

“Whilst there was no new funding for recycling in Friday’s announcement, one thing WMAA will advocate to start immediately is government at all levels spending existing funds differently.” said Ms Sloan. “Ministers must go much further than simply advocating for increased use of recycled materials in the goods that government and industry buy. With over 90% of the community supporting recycling and the purchase of recycled products by government, government needs to hold itself to account and if it does not prioritise the use of recycled material, to report to the community why it does not, this should be the norm going forward, not the exception”, said Ms Sloan.

Government must show leadership in this space and act now to grow demand for recycled products that can develop markets and jobs in both metropolitan and regional areas. For example, Commonwealth Federal Assistance Grants to Local Government should be predicated on Councils using more recycled glass sand and not virgin sand.

The Federal Energy Minister needs to recognise that this is primarily an environmental issue not an energy issue. “Industry absolutely recognises that there is a place for waste to energy in Australia as an alternate to landfill, and we support this technology. However, it cannot replace recycling and remanufacturing.

“We need to always act in accordance with the Waste Management Hierarchy and keep commodities at their highest and best use level for as long as possible. Recovering energy is a higher order outcome than burying material in landfill, but it is certainly not a replacement for recycling. What Australia needs is to deliver a sustainable recycling system that decouples itself from the global commodity market, and creates related industry jobs and investment in Australia.”

“We support the Federal Minister’s funding for Energy from Waste, which can play an important part of the future for Australia, and deliver better outcomes than disposal to landfill for many materials.

“Industry’s believes funding also needs to be urgently directed further up the supply chain towards increasing recycling ability and growing the sectors capacity in Australia, decoupling Australia from its reliance on fossil fuel,” said Ms Sloan. “We genuinely hope we will get an opportunity in the not too distant future to discuss this directly with the Federal Minister.”

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Decision by Ipswich Council to Landfill Recyclables

18 April 2018

“The decision announced today by the Mayor of Ipswich that Ipswich City Council to landfill recyclables is extremely disappointing and completely out of step with community expectations”, said Gayle Sloan, CEO of WMAA, which is the peak industry body representing Australia’s waste and resource recovery sector.

“The community expects and trusts government and industry to manage this essential service responsibly. This is an issue that goes beyond cost to value, including the ability to create jobs and manage adverse environmental impacts by the continued use of virgin material, when there are renewable alternatives. The people of Ipswich are not sorting their recyclable materials into a different bin, just so that Council can send it to the same place as their waste.”

Any Council that makes such a decision really should be mindful of the trust the community puts in government and industry to manage this service in a responsible manner; the community is seeking us to deliver more sustainable solutions, not to go backwards by sending recyclable material to landfill,” Ms Sloan added.

The China National Sword has impacted about 1million tonnes of recyclable commodities each year from Australia. WMAA believes this is an opportunity for Australia to invest in significant remanufacturing capacity for these products.

The Queensland Government has signalled that it supports the development of investment in new waste and resource infrastructure with the development of a new waste and resource recovery strategy, underpinned by a waste levy.

“The lack of such a policy and a levy has left Queensland as one of the worst recyclers in Australia, with low recycling rates and lower investment in industry. It also means that unlike other States there is no levy funds available to assist Councils to transition through this changing time.

What is needed at a time like this is leadership and partnership between industry and all levels of government create jobs and investment in resource recovery infrastructure. The impact on households is estimated at $1 per week; however the opportunity that it presents for jobs and investment far outweighs this.

“We understand that Council took this decision in isolation of broader industry and Government, failing to try and work with others to solve this issue and demonstrate real leadership at this challenging time,” said Ms Sloan. “The solution is not land-filling!”

“We know that by recovering resources and recycling we can create almost one job for every tonne, compared with 0.2 jobs if we landfill. Ipswich is not only wasting resources but wasting the opportunity to create jobs.

It is correct that the recycling industry is under pressure and Australia needs to act now to ensure that the Circular Economy is real, which means consumers, industry, government and generators of waste starting to work together and think a bit differently to use recycled material in as many products as possible that we make here. Ipswich Council should show leadership in developing a long term sustainable solution and not simply reacting is isolation out of step with community and the rest of Australia.

At all levels of Government, including National, we need to put policies in place that support the development of sustainable secondary markets for recycled materials.

“The broader community, especially those affected in Ipswich, can send a clear and loud message to their local council that this action is out of step with their expectations,” said Ms Sloan. “They can do this by continuing to do the right thing and separate their waste rather than give up and accept that it will all be sent to landfill.”

For Media Enquiries - Nick Bensley: 02 8746 5011


WMAA, ACOR call for inaugural Australian Circular Economy & Recycling Action Plan

4 April 2018

The Waste Management Association of Australia (WMAA) and the Australian Council of Recycling (ACOR) have come together for the betterment of the entire waste and resource recovery industry to call on all Ministers, ahead of the Ministerial Council this month, to work with industry in the development, and urgent implementation of the inaugural Australian Circular Economy & Recylcing Action Plan.

“It is absolutely the case that the industry’s future direction is at an important crossroads, with an opportunity to grow more Australian-based manufacturing jobs, and actively build on the 20 years’ worth of environmental gains in Australia, howevere a concerted effort at this critical point in time is required by all,” said Ms Gayle Sloan, WMAA CEO.

The Action Plan is needed to build on respective State Governments’ shorter-term actions to date to maintain the community’s confidence in recycling services under the current unprecedented circumstances brought about by China’s National Sword legislation.

WMAA and ACOR are advocating to the Federal Environment and Energy Minister, Josh Frydenberg MP, and his State collegues to work with industry to pivot toward this new strategic direction to decouple the Australian recycling and resource recovery industry from global markets.

“A $150 million national Action Plan would enable the 'three I's' that are needed to re-boot recycling and kick-start the circular economy. Investment in infrastructure and new markets; improvement of recyclate material quality and recycling contracts, and; innovation in positive purchasing of recycled content products by governments. We need the Meeting of Environment Ministers in later April to decisively act with leadership,” said Mr Peter Shmigel, ACOR CEO. “It is time to transform the recycling and resource recovery industry so it can help transform our economy to a more competitive, sustainable and circular model that makes the best use of as many resources, including human resources as possible in Australia.”

WMAA and ACOR have developed a list of priority actions that are required to address this issue in the short term, and in the longer term to achieve the structural changes required.

“WMAA and ACOR have a united industry position on this important topic, and are committed to working with government to ensure the success of the Australian Circular Economy & Recycling Action Plan,” said Ms Sloan.

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Waste industry welcomes Queensland introduction of Landfill Levy

20 March 2018

The Waste Management Association of Australia (WMAA) today welcomes the Queensland Palaszczuk’s Government announcment of a reintroduction to state wide landfill levy.

The Queensland government has answered the industry and public’s call for action due to a a small number of waste industry operators continuing to use irresponsible and dangerous practices including transportation of waste over many hundreds of kilometres to avoid paying landfill levies and gain a commercial advantage.

WMAA, Australia’s peak national body for the waste and resource recovery industry, began calling on members, operators and stakeholders in the sector to sign a Waste of Origin Pledge in order for the industry to further the conversation with Government.

“The ultimate goal of WMAA is to achieve sustainable and environmentally sensitive waste management across the entire industry,” said CEO Gayle Sloan. “And to ensure a level playing field for all organisations, and for the betterment of the services provided to the public.”

WMAA was the only waste and resource recovery association that actively called on the Queensland state governement ahead of this announcement, and is continuing to work nationally with all state governements to achieve a national harmonised approach to waste and resource recovery management, to both ensure a level playing field for operators and ensure that this service is provided to the public in a professional and safe manner.

“We want to see waste managed in accordance with the heirachy and as close as possible to where it was produced; this is a real opportunity to create local jobs and investment in this essential sector,” said CEO Gayle Sloan. “Transportation of waste over long distances just to avoid levies is irresponsible, dangerous and environmentally damaging.”

It is time for the States and the Commonwealth to work together with industry to create a circular economy within Australia by encouraging reduction, reuse, recycling, and manufacturing. The last piece of the puzzle is a harmonised approach to create a circular economy in Australia, wherein we can develop onshore local markets and create local employment (for every 10,000 tonnes of waste recycled, more than 9.2 jobs are created).

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WMAA's Response to Impact of China's National Sword

15 March 2018

On Wednesday, WMAA CEO Gayle Sloan spoke to a NSW Senate inquiry into the waste and recycling industry..

During this inquiry and in subsequent correspondence provided to all Ministers and Shadow Minsters around the country, WMAA has made it clear that it is calling for government at all levels to work with industry in finding immediate and sustainable solutions to respond to China’s National Sword initiative. Australia needs to act now to ensure that the circular economy is realised, which means product manufacturers, consumers, industry, government and generators of waste must start to work together and think differently to use recycled material in all products that we make in Australia.

WMAA strongly believes that the waste and resource recovery industry is an essential industry for the community, the economy and the environment, however it would be fair to say that it has been failing to receive the recognition and support that it should from the Federal government in recent times.

Too often of late we have heard that waste “is a matter for the states”, however whilst they have a key and important role, the Federal government also has a role to play, and cannot continue to avoid this. The Federal Government is responsible for national legislation, strategies and policy frameworks for waste to give effect to obligations under international agreements.

The role of the Commonwealth must be to provide clear and consistent vision in accord with these international obligations and national interests, whist the States and territory governments are then responsible for implementing and regulating these policies, manage waste, and influence behaviours in accordance with legislation, policies and programs.

Australia has had a National Waste Policy which was adopted in November 2009, which we are afraid has had very little attention from the Commonwealth of late, resulting in a lack of both clear vision and cooperation between Commonwealth and State. Coupled with the diverse state policies that apply to this sector, it means that opportunities to create jobs and investment in the waste and resource recovery sector, as well as provide additional renewable capacity to contribute to energy production, for example is being severely hampered by government.

The recent policy changes in China has only served to highlight the problems the sector faces, with the lack of a common approach to industry and lack of national unity and leadership adding to industries challenges at this time. If for example the National Waste Strategy had genuinely and significantly progressed even two of the sixteen Priority Strategies, being sustainable procurement and improved packaging management in the last eight years Australia may have been well progressed in creating secondary markets and a Circular Economy in Australia, like the EU and like China, and not have the continued reliance on global trading markets such as China for Australian commodities.

WMAA submits that Australia is being left behind the rest of the developed world, in transitioning to the circular economy, and utilizing waste commodities as a resource. With the effective closure of China as a market for Australia’s waste commodities, it is vital that the Australian government work with industry to create a circular economy in Australia, developing onshore local markets.

WMAA seeks national action by the Federal Government to support the circular economy transition, by

  • Supporting the local management of waste as close as possible to its generation, by urgently acting to harmonise state regulation to create a level playing field for industry and address the unnecessary movement of waste between states for the sole purpose of avoiding landfill levies;
  • Implementing the National Waste Policy: Less waste, more resources, key strategies, prioritising the sustainable procurement of recycled content in all levels government supply chain and government procurement; and
  • Requiring producers of new products (including packaging) to have met recyclability and recoverability requirements that have a clear commercial pathway for movement of materials back into the economy.

To see a copy of the correspondence sent to Ministers please click here

For Media Enquiries - Nick Bensley: 02 8746 5011