Cleanaway was recently recognised as Silver Partner of the NSW Government’s Sustainability Advantage program. The Sustainability Advantage Recognition Scheme acknowledges “organisations who have committed to achieving real environmental improvements through the program”.
Cleanaway was presented the award at a ceremony last week at the Sydney Opera House attended by the Minister for Energy and Environment, Matt Kean.
Pictured from left to right: Cleanaway General Manager Solid Waste Services – NSW/ACT David Clancy being presented the award by Minister for Energy and Environment Matt Kean.
Pictured from left to right, Cleanaway General Manager Solid Waste Services – NSW/ACT David Clancy, Cleanaway Sustainability Manager Rebecca Evered and Minister for Energy and Environment Matt Kean.
Pictured: Cleanaway’s David Clancy with all the Silver Award winners
Sustainability Advantage is a NSW Office of Environment and Heritage program that has been assisting organisations across New South Wales to achieve increased competitiveness and improved bottom lines through better environmental practices for over a decade.
Cleanaway joined the program as a member in 2015, and in 2017 was recognised for our sustainability initiatives internally and through partnerships programs delivered to customers.
The award is demonstrative of Cleanaway’s ongoing commitment to sustainability and continuous improvement through program implementation around sustainability initiatives.
The Sustainability Advantage program aims to facilitate mutually beneficial outcomes between partnership organisation. Ultimately the goal of the program is to help businesses partner with like-minded organisation that seek to improve sustainability outcomes.
Contact us to find out more about how we make a sustainable future possible.
Recently EPA Victoria announced that the transport of prescribed industrial waste within Victoria will go fully electronic by 1 July 2019. This means that any generator of prescribed industrial waste must have the ability to generate electronic waste transport certificates by 1 July 2019. EPA will not accept paper certificates from 1 July 2019, ensuring all certificates are recorded electronically.
EPA is investing $5.5 million to switch to a fully GPS electronic tracking system to improve tracking of production, movement and receipt of prescribed industrial waste. The new system will enable EPA to monitor the movement of waste more quickly and accurately.
This will not impact current customers for which Cleanaway acts as an Accredited Agent. As with the current practice Cleanaway will generate these electronic waste transport certificates as an authorised agent on behalf of the customer.
The transition to electronic submission of waste transport certificates marks the first phase in the implementation of EPA’s new waste tracking tool. It is being released as part of the transition, before the new Environment Protection Amendment Act 2018 that comes into effect on 1 July 2020.
Key steps for those without access to the electronic system
The Victorian Waste Management Association also conduct a course on EPA Prescribed Industrial Waste.
Cleanaway is committed to working with you to ensure your business gets the best value from our service and expertise. We look forward to supporting our customers and governments to improve the way waste is sustainably managed in our community.
Please contact your account manager to discuss the opportunities available to your business.
A waste check can reveal a lot about the health of your waste – uncovering potentially expensive and wasteful disposal practices, unlocking opportunities for new revenue streams and maximising the effectiveness of sustainability programs.
What is a waste health check?
Think of a waste health check (or waste audit) as a kind of deep dive into the rubbish you’re throwing away. Quite literally, it’s about going through your waste and recycling bins, looking at each piece of rubbish thrown away, and understanding what type of waste it is, how it got there, and how to improve its recovery.
Because sustainability is about implementing best practices throughout the organisation, starting with a waste health check is the first step to setting up a good waste management plan. Without it, you would be operating in the dark without tangible, accurate data to set goals, identify waste reduction strategies and training opportunities.
The benefits of a waste health check
1. Ensure compliance to proper disposal behaviours
Recycling only works if the right materials are put into the right bin, free of contaminated items. Using the commingled stream as an example, this usually means only clean and dry paper, cardboard, hard plastic, aluminium and glass. Waste health checks help identify the contamination in your recycling bin, investigating how it got there in the first place, and steps to ensure everyone has the right knowledge to prevent incorrect disposal in the future.
2. Recover more resources and save costs
If a waste health check reveals a considerable amount of cardboard waste in the commingled stream, this builds a case for a dedicated cardboard recycling bin to maximise the quality of this material for recovery. Similarly, wet, heavy organic material such as food waste in general waste has incredible potential to be diverted into an organics bin – reducing the weight and cost of general waste while increase recycling rates through organics recovery.
3. Reveal opportunity costs
Waste audits often reveal wasteful stock management or issues with manufacturing that directly result in lost revenue. For example, is a store missing out on sales by disposing of expired produce rather than proactive stock management? Or is material being damaged in transit and unable to be sold when it could easily be recovered through a simple design change? Taking a good hard look in the bin can reveal how you’re letting potential sales go to waste.
4. Engage employees in sustainability goals
Waste health checks are also an excellent tool to communicate your goals to the whole team and get their buy-in for sustainability targets. By engaging team members in the audit process, everyone is made to understand the impact of their waste on the organisation and are likely to take that knowledge back to positively influence their co-workers, departments, families and communities they live in.
Everyone can benefit from regular check-ups
1. Large organisations with multiple branches
Cleanaway provides general waste and recycling services to Officeworks – Australia’s leading office supplies chain with over 200 stores nationwide. Since working with Cleanaway in 2017, our waste audits have significantly increased their diversion rates from 64% in April 2017 to 82%.
2. Small to medium sized businesses
A café in Adelaide, Argo discovered that they were diverting less than 20% of their waste from landfill. Following Cleanaway’s waste health check, an organics recycling service was started by the café. This resulted in Argo substantially increasing their diversion rate from 19.3% to 70% in just two months. To add to its green credentials, Argo could now claim that it was recycling food waste into high quality compost and mulch to nourish soil.
3. Councils, schools, universities, community groups
Cleanaway collaborated with James Cook University’s (JCU) TropEco team for a health check of the campus’ commingled recycling stream in Townsville. At the end of the process, the team discovered the potential for a new cardboard recycling stream (40% of all recycling was cardboard) and the need to further educate students on proper disposal practices (10% of recycling was being disposed of in general waste).
Ready to get started with a waste management plan? We can help.
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It’s now commonplace for organisations of all sizes and margins to have stated sustainability objectives but how you go about actually implementing those goals should be specific to your business structure and culture. It’s not necessarily the work of a Sustainability Manager or an Environmental Manager but initiating those roles can be useful because they bring with them KPIs and a mandate that can drive the change. Even with an expert at the helm though, they will only be as successful as your organisation allows them to be. Here we outline a couple of approaches to set your organisation up to succeed at making a sustainable future possible.
Real organisational change requires leadership. While it may be easy to get everyone on the sustainability bus because they believe in the “why” it can be the how that trips people up. Testing initiatives and reviewing processes takes time, resources and/or budget so teams need to understand that the people at the top truly endorse the work being done. Even if it’s simply slower productivity while people learn a new recycling separation system, it’s important that initiatives are well communicated and supported by senior leadership to be successful.
While more commonly seen in community organisations or smaller teams, individuals and groups at a local level are increasingly influencing sustainable behaviours. From initiating a multi-bin system at the office to participating in off-site volunteer events, those passionate about sustainability are increasingly taking matters into their own hands. Organisations looking to improve their sustainability rating would do well to note these initiatives and empower people to act at an operational or local level in a way that’s consistent with the broader goals of the organisation. Clearly communicating the business strategy and setting some parameters for where teams can act independently is energising for those with ideas and can lead to real organic change.
Review operational processes and partners
Taking a look at the processes and systems that deliver your outputs can be a great way for businesses to make a real change. The key could be in your supply chain where a material that you’ve used for years could be replaced with recycled material. Or reduce plastic packaging, which is notoriously over-used and inevitably single-use. Work with your suppliers and partners to understand the environmental cost of your operations and find improvements. That way everyone benefits and sustainability becomes an embedded element of your business.
Whether you’re a business or a household, separating the waste you produce to maximise recovery is a very practical way to improve sustainability. Identify the waste types you produce like cardboard, timber or food waste and set up your site to dispose of those main items separately. This reduces contamination in each stream and maximises recovery for reuse.
For businesses in manufacturing consider how the end user will dispose of your product. Could it be more easily recycled? Does the product explain how the user should recycle it? This business managed to recycle 100% of materials by challenging Cleanaway with a zero waste target.
Cafés and restaurants can immediately improve their sustainability results with an organics collection service. Kitchen food scraps and coffee grounds have great nutritional value as compost or soil conditioner and contribute to a perfect closed loop solution for food production.
Ultimately, for sustainability efforts to be successful it needs to be embedded into the very DNA of an organisation, so that everyone is empowered to take the necessary actions to identify and make a change.
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Many Australians diligently recycle their packaging waste but figuring out which products to recycle can be confusing at times. To make the rules clearer, a new nationally consistent label has been created.
The Australasian Recycling Label (ARL), developed by Planet Ark, PREP Design and the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO), shows what parts of product packaging can be placed in the commingled recycling bin, and what should go to general waste. It’s already being used on packaging in supermarkets across the country with the support of leading organisations like Nestle, Unilever and Woolworths.
More than 50 businesses have agreed to adopt the new label to date, and the next two years should see even more companies using the label on their products.
Federal Environment Minister Melissa Price launched the label at the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation’s Towards 2025 event in Melbourne in September. “It provides people with easy-to-understand recycling information when they need it most, in those few seconds when they are deciding what bin the package goes in,” she said.
Adrian Cullen, Woolworth’s Sustainability Manager said that the company has already begun phasing in the label on Woolworths branded products. “On some of our ready meals range, there’s a tray, it’s covered on top with a sheet of plastic, and it might come with a cardboard collar,” Adrian explained. “So (the new label) will probably tell the customer that the tray is recyclable, the plastic sheet on top would need to be torn off and that would go into the general waste, and the collar made of cardboard would then also be recycled.”
• What can be recycled in the commingled bin
• What to place in the general waste bin
• What can be possibly recycled but should be checked for further instructions or with council
Recyclable items: This means that the packaging is likely to be cardboard or rigid plastic and should be clean of food and placed in the commingled recycling bin.
Conditionally recyclable items: These items can possibly be recycled but should be checked for further instructions below the label or with council for local recycling options.
Not recyclable items: These are items such as soft plastic wrappers or film that is not recyclable and should be disposed of in the general waste bin.
Why the new recycling label is useful
Contamination continues to be a risk to commingled recycling and confusion over what products can and cannot be recycled is a major contributor. Cleanaway has been working with our municipal, commercial and industrial customers to improve the quality of recycling in the commingled bin.
China’s National Sword policy to increase the threshold of acceptable contamination on imports created greater urgency around improved recycling quality.
We surveyed Australian consumers on our social media channels and discovered that most Australians understand the basics of recycling, but are confused about more complex questions around the different types of materials and how to treat them for recycling
At Cleanaway, we believe that simple and effective recycling information delivered at the point where waste decisions are made are likely to have the most impact on positive bin behaviour. With less contamination and better quality recycling, recovered materials have better market value because they are in a better condition to be used in the manufacture of new products.
What more is being done to improve waste management in Australia?
The Australian Environment Minister recently announced new national packaging targets to support the Federal Government’s commitment to make 100% of all packaging to be recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025.
To achieve these targets, industry-wide collaboration between key stakeholders and greater investment in waste sorting and processing infrastructure will be necessary to support the domestic recycling market.
APCO Chief Executive Brooke Donnelley said, “We need to address the use of recycled content, packaging being recycled or composted, and what materials are unnecessary or problematic.”
Cleanaway’s Footprint 2025 roadmap is committed to ensuring we have the right infrastructure in place to maximise resource recovery and optimise the quality of recycled material. Recently Cleanaway has opened the state-of-the-art Material Recovery Facility (MRF) in Perth which is capable of sorting eight waste streams, and our container sorting facility in Eastern Creek is custom-made to count, sort and process more than 250,000 plastic, aluminium, steel, and LPB containers per hour.
Recent changes to global markets and coverage of the waste management industry has created the impression that our recycling system is in crisis. There is a feeling in some parts of the community that our efforts may not be worthwhile, and that recycling is a waste of time.
While it’s true the industry is in a state of change right now and Australia’s recycling system is not perfect, disruption is a great environment to force change. Ultimately, your waste still has huge potential to be recovered, reused and recycled as a commodity or energy source.
In a recent presentation at the Macquarie Conference, our CEO and Managing Director, Vik Bansal, reiterated Cleanaway’s belief in the waste hierarchy, outlining how our business is structured to create value as high up the pyramid as possible, continuing to find purpose for material all the way down, beyond disposal to waste-to-energy.
At the top end of the hierarchy, the first step is always to be mindful and avoid creating unnecessary waste. We invest in education campaigns, resource recovery and sustainability specialists, and educational tools to help our customers and the community understand the ways they can be more mindful about the waste they create.
The next stage is reuse. This means sourcing products, packaging and services that can be used again and again. The ABC’s War on Waste gave us a watershed moment for reuse by highlighting the number of disposable coffee cups we send to landfill each day – which has seen reusable coffee cups (and carry bags and drink bottles) become more widely used across the country. The Daniels Sharpsmart collectors and the Daniels Washline are a perfect example of an innovation that means sharps and clinical waste bins can be used again and again, eliminating over 940,000kg of disposable sharps containers from landfills each year.
Recycling is the next level in the hierarchy and this is where we believe government, manufacturers, industry and consumers need to work together to take the recyclability of material into consideration in the manufacturing process, encourage the growth of viable local markets for recycled material in the manufacture of new goods and improve the quality of recyclable materials collected for processing.
To drive the creation of a viable local circular economy we need engagement and investment at every stage in the supply chain – manufacturing, purchasing and disposal. Container deposit schemes, for example, create cleaner recycling streams that improve the quality of material for reuse in manufacturing new products – while engaging the community in the process. See also our case study on waste oil as a perfect closed loop.
Where the material is not able to be recovered as a recyclable commodity, we can still extract value by using the waste material as a fuel source to create energy. This not only diverts that material from landfill but adds value back to the community by creating sustainable and environmentally friendly energy sources that reduce reliance on fossil fuels, like coal.
Treatment and disposal are at the bottom of the hierarchy, and while highly engineered landfills are beginning to generate renewable energy through the capture of landfill gas, there is a cost to treat certain materials for disposal and the cost to landfill.
This is why we focus on the waste value chain to drive sustainability outcomes that are supported by commercial viability. A circular economy that works for the community, the environment and the market is one that will truly make a sustainable future possible.
Cleanaway CEO and Managing Director, Vik Bansal explains how changes in global markets are driving positive change for the waste and recycling industry and how every stakeholder is playing a role.
The waste industry has, of late, been the target of much (often understandable) scrutiny – both from the media and regulators. Whilst it may be uncomfortable, I believe it is a good thing for the industry, employees, investors – and of course for the community.
I am a firm believer that in times like this it’s more important than ever to understand why we do what we do. Our mission ‘to make a sustainable future possible’ remains at the core of who we are. It drives not only what we do – but more importantly, how we do it.
We know that global markets have shaken the recycling industry, creating a ‘crisis’ in local commodity markets, leading to much of this increased media scrutiny. It may create unrest within the industry but I absolutely believe that this unrelenting focus on our industry will force long term positive social change.
Not only does it increase pressure on less ethical operators, but it also brings to the fore the behaviour changes we need to see within the community, on how we all deal with the waste we create.
If harnessed properly, this ‘crisis’ could well set Australia on the path to a more sustainable future. It could energise the political will to create more markets for recycled goods, ensuring that the material Australia uses is collected, processed and then re-used to manufacture new products here in Australia.
Without the creation of an onshore circular economy, supported by an increased focus on the packaging we consume each day – placing more responsibility with the manufacturers to consider how and where their products end up – much of our effort to improve recycling will go to waste.
It is this dialogue – made possible through the increased scrutiny – that excites me. I know that we are in the right place, at the right time, with the right people to make a difference.
Along with a clear view of ‘why’ we exist – I am also confident in our corporate strategy, which will help us to navigate and indeed thrive in the current environment.
We know what we need to do and how we need to do it. We know that it is only as a strong, ethical business, that we will be able to help influence the change that Australia needs to make.
We developed a 10-year road map in 2015 – Footprint 2025 – to ensure we have the right infrastructure in the right places to deal sustainably with the waste Australia generates well into the future.
We are also ready and willing to input to the broader strategies and policies that Australia needs to drive real solutions for lasting change.
Martin Luther King, Jr said that “the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” I believe this to be just as true for a business as for an individual. And I am proud to represent a business which stands at the precipice of a monumental social change, which could positively impact generations of Australians to come.
Alex Hatherly is Cleanaway’s Regional Manager with a wealth of experience across large scale international logistics and manufacturing operations in steel and mining industries. Alex has a passion for resource recovery and has provided a leading role in the development of Cleanaway’s Eastern Creek Container Sorting Facility, Cleanaway’s Erskine Park Transfer Station, and roles within the management of Cleanaway’s joint ventures with ResourceCo and EarthPower. Alex will join other Cleanaway experts at the Coffs Harbour Waste Conference 2019, 14 to 16 May 2019 for three days of knowledge, experience, case studies and insight into the waste industry.
The Cleanaway ResourceCo Resource Recovery Facility in Wetherill Park, Sydney is the largest waste-to-processed engineered fuel facility of its kind in Australia. By using Processed Engineered Fuel (PEF) instead of coal to power industry, we can reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions released each year, while diverting up to 250,000 tonnes of waste from landfill.
Our state-of-the-art facility accepts dry commercial and industrial (C&I), construction and demolition (C&D) and residential hard waste materials including:
More than 97% of incoming material is diverted from landfill, with the cutting-edge automated facility removing as much recyclable material as possible before converting the remaining non-recyclable materials to Processed Engineered Fuel, or PEF.
To learn more about Cleanaway ResourceCo, join Alex and our panel of Cleanaway experts at Coffs Waste Conference 2019:
Cleanaway ResourceCo – Alternative fuel for a sustainable future By Alex Hatherly
Advances in collection and recycling automation, data and reporting, and specialised waste management technologies are key factors that are driving the smart management of waste today. We take a look at some of the most recent innovations that are making a difference across the material recovery chain from collection and processing to recovery.
Enhanced collection performance
Logistics software, in-vehicle monitors, camera and mobile apps like Cleanaview provide extraordinary insights into collection events, like missed or broken bins and contamination. Cleanaview cameras allow the driver to record contaminated bins before they’re tipped into the hopper and provide photo evidence back to the customer to explain why the bin was not collected and improve recycling behaviour. There are also cameras in the hopper to record if contamination is in the bin and needs to be disposed of as general waste.
Sensors and bin weights are also critical to the way customers track their waste volumes to optimise services and work towards sustainability targets. Customers that are regularly recording significant weights can look at alternative services like organics to reduce weight from wet food waste; change their scheduling to collect before the bin becomes over-full or increase bin sizes to accommodate volume. Conversely, if there is irregularity detected in bin weights the data can flag up incorrect or illegal use of the bin. Compactors fitted with sensors can be a great solution for larger customers who need on-call servicing.
Electric vehicles (EV) are set to revolutionise waste collections with energy-efficient and low-environmental impact services. The quieter and emissionless fleets are set to avoid tonnes of carbon emissions while replacing the use of diesel as an energy source. Stay tuned for a Cleanaway announcement on this later this month.
Previously impossible resource recovery
On the food recovery front, expired, damaged or mislabelled food products that were previously destined for landfill because there was no economic way to remove them from their packaging can now be recovered. Our depackaging unit technology separates large volumes of food or liquid from its aluminium, plastic, liquid paperboard or cardboard packaging resulting in up to 99% recovery of organic material.
The Swiss-developed BluBox technology is another example of a recycling solution that is capable of processing large volumes of waste without endangering human health or contaminating the environment. It is a single 40-foot container that takes flat screens, mobile phones, fluorescent tubes and lamps, and safely shreds and separates them into various materials like glass, aluminium, and plastics. Hazardous mercury and rare earth metals are filtered out and collected in sealed drums to prevent leakage. BluBox also recovers valuable materials like gold, silver, and platinum so they can be reused to make new products, providing an end-to-end recycling solution for industrial producers of electronic waste and community councils alike.
In the healthcare sector, fully automated wash lines can now decant, wash, decontaminate and dry reusable pharmaceutical waste containers without health and safety risks from human contact. The Daniels Sharpsmart reusable container has over five years of research invested into its design and engineering and is an engineered safety device which eliminates risk of container-related sharps injury. Washsmart, the robotic washline technology, achieves a six-log bacterial load reduction, which is a four times higher sanitation than required by the CDC in the United States. 940,000kgs of single-use plastic is eliminated each year with Daniels Sharpsmart reusable collectors.
Circular supply chains for difficult to recycle waste
On-shore recycling solutions create new end markets for recovered plastic material – such as turning consumer soft plastics into outdoor furniture and decking (Replas), using low grade mixed plastics to produce commercial grade recyclable plastic products (Newtecpoly) and incorporating recovered plastic into footpaths and roadways (Sustainability Victoria).
Chemically degraded plastics are also being used to make new plastic polymers – Unilever and PepsiCo are using new technology to chemically recycle multilayered sachets and PET into its component monomers, while Nestlé and Coca Cola are investigating pyrolysis and gasification techniques to turn plastic into fuel oils for energy.
For stakeholders in the waste management sector, technology is the number one driver for long-term sustainability, but its capital-intensive nature means that the plan for tomorrow’s innovations begin with the collaborative efforts of industry players today. Those who ignore planning in favour of short-term solutions, do so at the risk of of being left behind in the sustainable future.
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Cleanaway Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Vik Bansal, speaks to Blenheim Partners’ Gregory Robinson in this inspiring conversation about leadership and sustainability.
Among other things, Vik talks about how sustainability practice is at a turning point and shares his belief that a clear national waste and climate policy is needed to help cement sustainability in the minds of all Australian households.