2019 is shaping up to be an active year for waste reform in WA. Below is a snapshot of recent reform initiatives.

‘Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030

In February 2019, the WA Waste Authority released its strategy and action plan in aid of its vision for WA to become a sustainable, low-waste, circular economy in which human health and the environment are protected from the impacts of waste. The strategy and action plan are available here.

We are already seeing the strategy influencing legislative and policy initiatives with respect to single-use plastics and waste-derived materials.

Eight headline strategies are presented, as well as targets for reduction in waste generation per capita, increases in materials recovery, and rates of disposal to landfills and better practice facilities, by 2025 and 2030.

New container deposit scheme

A long awaited container deposit scheme was introduced in April 2019 via amendments to the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Act 2007 (WA).

Expected to commence in early 2020, the scheme will involve:

  • a 10 cent refund being available on the return of an eligible beverage container;
  • the establishment of a collection network and associated infrastructure, including refund points and transport and processing facilities;
  • various agreements between the scheme co-ordinator and suppliers, refund point operators, material recovery facility operators and beverage exporters to support the scheme’s operation; and
  • requirements for various conditions (e.g. relating to container approvals, refund marks and barcodes and supply agreements) to be satisfied before beverage products can be supplied.

‘Let’s not draw the short straw – reduce single-use plastics’ issues paper

DWER also released an issues paper in April 2019 considering options to reduce single-use plastic waste, which is available here.

Options flagged included regulatory tools such as State-wide bans on the sale or supply of single-use plastics, levies and extended producer responsibility schemes, labelling requirements and sustainable product design.

Today is the closing day for submissions invited in response to the issues paper.

‘Waste not, want not: valuing waste as a resource’ issues paper

Consultation on options for legislative reform to support the beneficial reuse of waste material was commenced by DWER in June 2019 releasing this issues paper, which is available here.

Legislative reform is proposed to address uncertainty regarding when waste-derived materials will cease to trigger the statutory licensing and waste levy regimes. Currently, WA’s legislative framework does not provide for ‘resource recovery exemptions’, nor risk-based assessment and approvals of waste-derived materials.

DWER has invited submissions in response to the issues paper by 4 September 2019.