Media and News

Ipswich Council Recycling Scheme Dumped – The First of Many

Yesterday, Ipswich City Council announced that it would no longer continue to operate its recycling program. The contents of Ipswich’s yellow-lidded recycling bins will now go straight to landfill, and experts are predicting that this is only the beginning.

The effects of China’s decision to stop accepting 24 categories of solid waste earlier this year are making themselves known.  Previously, China was responsible for over half of waste imports worldwide and China’s decision has left a gaping hole in international recycling efforts, disrupting 600,000 tonnes of recycling exports annually from Australia alone.  In the wake of China’s decision, the cost for Australian Councils to recycle their waste has absolutely sky-rocketed.  The Local Government Association of Queensland says that Ipswich is just the first of many Councils to be forced to recognise they simply can’t afford to continue to cover rising costs.

For more information, here is the ABC News article.

Image: ABC News

NSW Bottle Collection Scheme

We are now five months into New South Wales’ new recycling program, which went live in December last year; what have we learnt?

Last December NSW launched their ‘return and earn’ container deposit scheme.  Residents can take their used drink bottles and cans to a ‘reverse vending machine’ and receive 10c back for each container.  It sounds like a great idea, but how well is the scheme actually working?

So far it’s had its ups and downs. NSW’s premiere acknowledges that the scheme needs improvement. Higher prices for bottles at retailers are driving some customers across the border for their shopping, but the biggest difficulty is in the number of collection points.  The number of collection points just isn’t cutting it for many residents, with some being too far away to justify the trip.

There is good news though. The scheme aims to reduce the state’s litter by 40% by 2020, and it has made steps in that direction. In its five months since going live, the scheme has collected almost 250 million containers, with high yielding days sometime bringing in 2 million containers. The success of similar schemes in places like Germany is also encouraging. While it has kinks that need ironing out, it is a system with potential. It is another stepping stone toward a greener Australia.

Image: ABC News

AGDF CPD and Events Committees

Are you passionate about CPD, learning, and collaborating with like-minded industry professionals? Consider joining one of the AGDF Committees.

Our Events Committee members deliver the Green Speed Learning Form and the twice-yearly Main Event conference, providing inspirational face-to-face forums for learning, collaboration & networking. By joining our Events Committee you’ll be keeping your finger on the pulse of Australia’s sustainable development community.

Our CPD Committee members are responsible for identifying and preparing relevant CPD content to disseminate to the AGDF community across our various delivery platforms, including online webinars. By joining the CPD committee you be ensuring you are at the forefront of sustainable knowledge.

Put your hand up to join one of our committees here.

Coffee Cup Menace

Despite its innocent papery appearance, your disposable coffee cup is doing more damage than you might think. The ABC’s War on Waste clearly identified take-away coffee cups as a major sustainability issue. Contrary to common belief, they are not recycled. The plastic lining ensures that they almost never make it to a recycling plant (regardless of what bin you put them in). They don’t biodegrade either, so Australia’s astronomical demand for its daily coffee fix means these cups reach landfill in plague-like proportions. It is estimated that disposable coffee cups are the second largest litter waste product, outdone only by plastic bottles.

One solution stands out as fairly straighforward: BYO cups. The movement is growing in Australia with environmentalists everywhere encouraging co-workers and friends; and some coffee shops offering discounts for customers who bring their own cup. But for those who struggle to remember that cup when they leave the house, there are other options.

Another solution is in-house office coffee. Investing in a good quality office coffee machine can make a huge difference to sustainable office practice. Machines like the Nespresso pod system deliver a quality caffeine fix with a low environmental imprint (Who knew George Clooney was such an environmentalist?). The aluminium coffee pods that Nespresso uses are entirely recyclable, and they make it as easy as possible for you to send them in. When the used coffee pods are returned, 100% of the aluminium is recycled and the used coffee grounds go into compost.

However you decide to tackle it, the hidden menace in your disposable coffee cup doesn’t have to be the end of the story.

A World-First Biofuel Flight

Earlier this year, Qantas pulled off the world’s first dedicated biofuel flight from the USA to Australia. Flight QF96 departed Los Angles on the 28th of Janurary, and landed in Melbourne 15 hours later, saving 18,000kg in carbon emissions.

Qantas’ biofuel of choice is processed from Brassa Carinata (a kind of mustard seed) developed by Agrisoma Biosciences.  The partnership between Qantas and Agrisoma will see both companies work alongside Australian farmers with the aim of growing Australia’s first commercial aviation biofuel seed crop by 2020.

For more information on the historic flight and Qantas’ future plans, check out the article here.

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