2018 Media Releases
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.”

For Media Enquiries - Nick Bensley: 02 8746 5011

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.

For Media Enquiries - Nick Bensley: 02 8746 5011

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).

For Media Enquiries - Nick Bensley: 02 8746 5011

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