News

Market Sounding - 17 April 2017
Waste legislation passed to support resource recovery in the ACT - 5 August 2016
New legislation to take Canberra waste management into the future - 7 June 2016
Smart bins come to canberra
Waste not, want not: ideas sharing at 2016 waste conference
Consultation continues
Resource recovery enterprise profile

Market Sounding

The ACT Government recently undertook a Market Sounding to seek innovative and sustainable proposals from both the waste and non-waste sectors on how best to achieve the ACT’s waste management objectives.

The Territory is interested in finding solutions for all its waste streams and materials, and for improving its recycling collection.

It provided an opportunity for local, national and international businesses and not-for-profit organisations to showcase ideas and solutions that can contribute to the ACT achieving national best practice in waste management.

For more information please see the media release. For further information on the Market Sounding, email: TCCS_ACTWasteFeasibilityStudy@act.gov.au.

Waste legislation passed to support resource recovery in the ACT

The ACT Legislative Assembly passed new legislation which will guide the management and regulation of the waste industry and support investment in recycling and resource recovery in the ACT now and into the future.

The Waste Management and Resource Recovery Act 2016 will help to modernise Canberra's waste industry, achieve better resource recovery rates and make the ACT a cleaner place to live.

It won't impact the day-to-day household bin collections of Canberra residents, but it will change the way the commercial waste sector operates by introducing incentives to manage the collection, storage, recovery and reuse of waste in the ACT.

This new legislation is follows research and industry and community consultation, and establishes an effective regulatory framework for waste activity. Facilities are now required to be licensed and transporters will need to be registered.

Waste businesses will be required to report their collection, treatment and disposal activities on a regular basis so that we can better understand what happens to our waste and develop strategies to minimise it and to encourage more resource recovery.

The legislation reflects the advances made in regulating waste in other jurisdictions, and the lessons learned in those jurisdictions.

The new legislation will commence operation in 2017, is the first part in a suite of reform to the ACT’s waste sector by the ACT Waste Feasibility Study.

New legislation to take Canberra waste management into the future - 7 June 2016

New waste legislation has been tabled in the ACT Legislative Assembly to modernise Canberra's waste industry, achieve better resource recovery rates and make the ACT a cleaner place to live.

The Waste Management and Resource Recovery Bill 2016 will encourage and promote responsible waste management practices, innovative waste industry opportunities and help make our waste sector carbon-neutral. It has been developed following extensive industry and community consultation.

The legislation will replace the Waste Minimisation Act 2001. Since the Act was introduced, waste management practices and technology have changed significantly, Canberra's population has increased and there is more pressure on our landfill capacities.

The bill won't impact on day-to-day household waste collections, but will change the way the commercial waste sector operates by introducing incentives to manage the collection, storage, recovery and reuse of waste in the ACT.

It will require the commercial waste industry to provide data on their waste activity to government agencies to better understand what happens to our waste and develop strategies to minimise it and encourage more resource recovery.

It will promote investment in waste facilities in the ACT to cater for waste streams, such as mixed commercial waste and household residual waste are sent to landfill.

The legislation also encourages waste transportation businesses and waste treatment facilities to recycle or reuse their waste, rather than simply send it into landfill. Landfill should only be a destination for waste that cannot be recovered and recycled. There are savings to be made in the waste industry by changing practices to recycle and recover waste.

Ultimately, businesses that recycle and recover their waste rather than sending it to landfill will pay less, making it more attractive for waste operators to recycle and contribute to resource recovery.

The new legislation provides a framework for the review of waste management in the ACT currently being undertaken by the ACT Waste Feasibility Study.

See the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Act 2016.

See the Bill's explanatory statement.

Smart bins come to canberra

Introducing Big Belly Solar: ACT Government from Next Gen Visuals on Vimeo.

Photo of smart bin Innovative solar-powered self-compacting rubbish bins are being trialled in the public spaces of three new developments at Link Park in Wright, 'Campbell 5' in Campbell and Eastlake Parade on Kingston Foreshore. The 'Bigbelly' bins hold more than four times that of regular bins and provide real-time information to waste collectors on fullness levels - reducing rubbish overflow, unnecessary bin collections and related carbon emissions. Potential future financial and environmental savings from the bins will be evaluated by the ACT Waste Feasibility Study.

The Study is investigating a range of options around how best to manage and minimise waste in the ACT and surrounding regions now and into the future.

The trial supports the ACT Government's commitment to improve Canberra's liveability and create a clean environment and a carbon-neutral waste sector.

More information on the smart bins trial or the ACT Waste Feasibility Study is available at www.act.gov.au/waste or by emailing ACTWasteFeasibilityStudy@act.gov.au.

Waste not, want not: ideas sharing at 2016 waste conference

Photo of Waste not want not convention

Organic waste recovery, source separation, and innovative education were some of the areas explored at the 20th annual 2016 Waste conference held in Coffs Harbour in early May.

Almost 600 delegates from around Australia converged on Coffs Harbour - including staff from the ACT Waste Feasbility Study, ACT NOWaste and ACTSmart - to network and share ideas about the latest resource recovery products and solutions. No ideas or connections were wasted!

Co-founder of award-winning international nappy recovery company gCycle Jason Graham demonstrated how his business follows the circular economy model. gCycle delivers, collects and recovers both washable and 100 per cent biodegradable nappies, inserts and wipes for child care centres. Disposable nappies, wipes and inserts are composted and sold on as a recovered product, reducing landfill waste, landfill costs, and greenhouse gas emissions.

The company says conventional disposable nappies are the third-largest contributors to landfill in the world, although used by only five percent of the population.

ACT Waste Feasibility Study Program Director Chris Morrison provided an overview of the study's progress to-date and said the knowledge shared at the conference confirmed that the ACT's Waste Management Strategy 2011-25 targets and focus areas of the ACT Waste FeasibilityStudy lead the nation.

The conference highlighted the need for:

  • federal government leadership and support
  • more quality waste data across local governments
  • innovative, cross-jurisdictional education and communication
  • learning from work done in NSW as a result of levy money being re-invested
  • product-stewarship programs.

Consultation continues

Photo of a young female with a frame that says #FutreWasteCBR

Consultation continues with the ACT Waste Feasibility Study community and commercial reference groups meeting in April to talk about innovative ideas for waste management in the ACT and region.

Youth also had a chance to have their say on the future of waste at the National Youth Week Festival in April.

Recurring topics raised in the consultation include the need for:

  • recycling markets and infrastructure for both big and small waste sectors
  • incentives for business to recycle more
  • funding/grants to support new recycling businesses
  • ongoing communication, education and monitoring of behaviour changer (including communication about the commodity-value of waste resources; more communication with the construction industry; how potential levy funds could be used; and what are where things can be recycled)
  • data collection (eg weigh bridges at every point) and easy reporting processes
  • more effective waste management systems for developers and builders
  • segregation/separation of waste at the source
  • positive reinforcement for waste separation
  • recyclable/biodegradable packaging
  • pilot new technology (eg new energy sources from waste)
  • a supportive environment for new resource recovery businesses
  • regulation and codes of practice reviewed/developed
  • certification of recovered materials/products
  • more options for composting food waste
  • more support for locally produced products which require less packaging .

Individuals or local businesses interested in playing an active role in the future of the ACT's waste management can participate in the ACT Waste Feasibility Study Community or Commercial Reference Groups by emailing actwastefeasibilitystudy@act.gov.au

Reference group members share information, provide suggestions and ask questions. They provide valuable guidance and contribute to the development of recommendations and strategies to improve waste management in the ACT and region now and into the future.

Resource recovery enterprise profile

Man shows the paper he has made

Social enterprise Paperworks turns waste into wages

Government-enabled social procurement is a key focus for the ACT Waste Feasibility Study, which is looking at how to manage waste as a resource to maximise social and economic benefits while minimising environmental harm.

One social enterprise doing just that is local not-for-profit 'Paperworks' - which provides volunteering, training and employment opportunities for people experiencing disadvantage through handprint and papermaking using recycled materials.

Youth at risk, refugees, retirees and people with disabilities and/or mental health needs are among those benefitting from improved wellbeing, transferable employment skills and financial independence through Paperworks.

Using plant fibres and locally-sourced denim jeans and other textiles intended for landfill (e.g. bed linen and towels) - participants are trained to make stationary and seeded paper products which are sold around Canberra and interstate.

More information on is available on the Paperworks website. See the papermaking in action...

Recycled paper

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We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the ACT, the Ngunnawal people. We acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region.