WMAA launches Waste of Origin pledge

Waste Management Association of Australia

By Lauren Davis
Monday, 25 September, 2017

The Waste Management Association of Australia (WMAA) is calling on members, operators and stakeholders in the waste sector to sign the ‘Waste of Origin’ pledge, thus joining the fight against irresponsible, dangerous and environmentally damaging practices in the sector.

In launching the pledge, WMAA noted that a small number of waste industry operators continue to use irresponsible and dangerous practices, including the transportation of waste over many hundreds of kilometres to avoid paying landfill levies. These operators fail basic, well-accepted principles like the waste management hierarchy, the WMAA said, which encourages reduction, re-use and recycling — with disposal as a last resort.

“My members are sick of their reputations being damaged by the actions of the sector’s lowest common denominator,” said WMAA CEO Gayle Sloan.

“We want to see waste managed as close as possible to where it was produced. Transportation of waste over long distances is irresponsible, dangerous and environmentally damaging.”

The Waste of Origin pledge seeks to go some way to resolving this issue, with signatories committing to:

  • not transporting waste unnecessarily long distances;
  • promoting the principles of the waste management hierarchy;
  • helping local communities to manage their waste as close as practicable to its place of generation.

WMAA is pleased to announce that two of Australia’s most influential companies in the sector, Suez and Remondis, have already signed up to the pledge and will advocate best practice for the industry. Other supports include Arup, Resource Recovery Australia, MRA Consulting Group and more.

The initiative has also been welcomed by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) as a positive step that will assist to ensure NSW has a strong recycling industry and culture, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and avoids the impacts of transporting waste long distances on NSW roads. The EPA encourages others in the waste industry to make the pledge to stop the unnecessary long-haul transportation of waste.

Sloan did acknowledge, however, that industry action alone will be “ineffective without harmonised regulation”, noting that inconsistent state regulation is creating “a massive incentive” to transport waste long distance in the first place.

“We … call on our state, territory and federal governments to work with industry and develop effective action and get sound regulation and enforcement in place to solve this critical environmental problem,” she said.

The EPA said NSW is currently working with other state jurisdictions and the federal government to standardise waste transport and disposal requirements across state borders.

To sign the pledge, visit the WMAA website.

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