WA shows the way with waste infrastructure Plan
By Mike Ritchie, Director, MRA Consulting Group
MRA Consulting Group congratulates the Western Australian Government on the release of the Waste and Resource Recovery Infrastructure Plan 2023 (draft for comment).
The Infrastructure Plan is a significant milestone that will support investment in new and upgraded resource recovery infrastructure.
The Infrastructure Plan prioritises the infrastructure capacity needed to achieve the WA resource recovery Targets, in line with the Australian National Waste Policy:
- Divert 80% of waste from landfill by 2030; and
- A 50% recovery of organic material by 2030
The Plan proposes that the WA government and industry focus on:
- Landfills that meet best practice and are properly priced therefore driving recycling;
- Organics recovery and diversion from landfill with the introduction of FOGO;
- Improved cardboard recycling; and
- Improved MRF availability.
The draft Infrastructure Plan identifies the most significant infrastructure development needs as
- 304,000 tonnes of cardboard and paper recovery capacity.
- 163,000 tonnes of FOGO recovery capacity.
- 168,000 tonnes of bottom ash recovery capacity
- 107,200 tonnes of C&D recovery capacity
- consolidation capacity for MRFs and scrap metal.
Better practice guidance for recovery infrastructure or increased landfill gate fees could increase on-site sorting of commercial waste and create improved market conditions for recycling. The plan considers the importance of recovery for C&D, MRFs and scrap metal in Perth for the State.
The Plan recommends regular reviews and a reporting and monitoring program to ensure that the Targets are achieved.
It also informs players in the Planning and Development sectors what the Government expects for new resource recovery infrastructure – best practice, proper pricing, quality operations.
It highlights the need for best practice and properly priced landfills, particularly in regional WA. A rural landfill risk assessment is recommended as a priority need for landfill practices in WA.
The importance of setting out a plan to address waste management and recycling infrastructure needs cannot be understated. Australia’s current approach to the expansion or siting of existing or new facilities has several formal and informal gateways that are not clearly understood or defined.
The WA Waste Infrastructure Plan is a valuable template for other States.
MRA looks forward to engaging with DWER and the WA State Government to ensure that the Plan helps to deliver the agreed National Waste Targets.
The draft is open for comment until 23 June 2023.
Mike Ritchie is the Managing Director at MRA Consulting Group.
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