The AWRE 2023 wrap

Wednesday, 02 August, 2023

The AWRE 2023 wrap

AWRE 2023 has come to a close, with final day keynote speaker, The Hon. Peter Whish-Wilson, Tasmanian Greens Senator, summing up the mood by saying, “The issues of waste reduction, resource recovery and plastics in the ocean cut across all political demographics.”

Veolia CEO David Gerrard said that change will require “effort and brave decisions” to reach 2030 targets, because Australia is behind world standards on addressing waste policies.

Sophie Teh, AWRE Product Manager, said, “The sheer number of new entrants in the market highlights how much opportunity there is for new solutions supporting every waste stream, especially in the emerging medical, textile and e-waste markets.”

The 2023 AWRE Summit, in partnership with WCRA, NWRIC and ACOR, brought together senior executives, government decision-makers and solution providers to generate robust and challenging discussions about Australia’s waste reduction targets. Under the program title, ‘Reality Check on Recovered Resources + Residuals,’ the summit saw various speakers and panels providing exactly that — a reality check for Australia.

Speakers called for collaboration between government, universities and industry in order to review waste policies and act accordingly. Various speakers called for policy changes, saying that unless efforts to improve Australia’s waste management are accelerated with consistent policies across all states, Australia will not reach its targets.

During the summit, Richard Pittard, Head of Sustainability, Cleanaway, said, “Waste is no longer seen as something with no value, and industry want to make the investment that’s needed. Landfill does not meant the end of the road for resource recovery, and energy from waste can support Australia’s energy transition.”

Nancy Chang, the Executive Director of Regulatory Policy, Initiatives and Advice of the NSW EPA, spoke on plans to deliver all 22 recommendations to strengthen the Resource Recovery Framework, as commissioned in the 2021 Review, in the short term.

“We need to shift how waste and resources are viewed. Innovation pathways in this space are moving at a fast pace, but we need to find ways to accelerate waste infrastructure,” Chang said.

The show floor featured three distinct zones tailored to growing sectors within the industry: innovation, recycling and organics recycling.

The education program within the exhibition space provided industry professionals with information and technology. Popular sessions were on emerging waste streams, such as e-waste, medical waste and circular textiles.

AWRE also honoured industry leaders with an awards program, with two awards launched at the event.

Best Recycled Product was awarded to Layton Corp for its Enviro Hide 100% recyclable leather. The Enviro Hide production process utilises 90% less water compared to traditional leather manufacturing, significantly decreasing water pollution. With zero harmful chemicals used in its production, it effectively tackles the issue of chemical pollution.

Best Innovation was awarded to Mint for its proprietary technology where printed circuit boards (PCBs) are ground into small particles and processed through an acid-leaching process to recover metals like copper, gold and palladium. The technology saves over 90% of carbon emitted through traditional mining per kilogram of gold produced.

The AWRE Pitch Fest was won by Slurrytub — a portable filtering system that provides a simple, cost-effective and environmental solution for the capture and recycling of cement site waste.

The Australasian Waste & Recycling Expo will return to the ICC Sydney, 24–25 July 2024.

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