Policy Initiative – A new COAG waste model for SA


  • The crisis Australia is suffering did not start with the dropping by China. We have been suffering this for decades. But the China crisis brings it to a head.
  • This crisis in dealing with waste calls for new initiatives and for a new era in which real bi-(multi-)partisan cooperation is a real possibility.
  • The COAG get together of ministers for the environment is a real opportunity to take a completely new approach.
  • This waste model recognises South Australia to be in a position to enter into an agreement with all state and territory governments and all local governments to take 100% of their garbage into a new facility in the industrial areas of Adelaide, to achieve economies of scale.
  • A win-win initiative.
  • Similar initiatives overseas have proven that this can be a profitable joint venture and help clean up the environment.

Introduction – This submission is an attempt at a game changer

This policy initiative is a recognition that across Australia at present we have a lack of policy initiatives and future thinking:

  1. The federal government dominates the political scene with backward thinking and cuts and policy initiatives that seek to make a small sector better off at the expense of the majority;
  2. Many are suffering and have no idea of what to do to make things better;
  3. Many have turned off;
  4. But the recent attempt at a plebiscite by the Federal govt on SSM and the voting achieved on the ABS survey proves that a majority is willing to vote for a better future if it is something that captures their imagination;
  5. This submission is an attempt to throw something new into the policy initiatives, capable of generating some real interest in the future of the state, and Australia generally.

The SA Policy Initiative - The Model

Introduction to the UK2S Model

  1. The UK2S Model is based on the “shipping of waste from the UK to Sweden” to be processed rather than paying fines for putting waste into landfill.
  2. Sweden is so good at recycling that, for several years, it has imported rubbish from other countries to keep its recycling plants going.
  3. Less than 1 per cent of Swedish household waste was sent to landfill last year or any year since 2011.
  4. The Swedish system is way ahead of the UK’s because of a culture of looking after the environment. Sweden was one of the first countries to implement a heavy tax on fossil fuels in 1991 and now sources almost half its electricity from renewables.
  5. And Sweden is such a top performer when it comes to sorting and recycling its waste that Sweden is in the rare situation of lacking garbage at its incineration centres, causing them to import more and more garbage internationally.
  6. The Eunomia Waste Hierarchy model shows the interaction between recycling, incineration and landfill:
  1. A recent Powerday Deal to Export 170,000 tonnes of RDF to a Swedish ‘Waste to Energy’ firm takes this one step further.
  1. Sweden imports more and more waste, a bright future over the next 10 to 15 years
  1. Foreign media reports Sweden has run out of garbage and is forced to import - here's what's really going on

The engineering algorithm behind the UK2S Model's recovery process

The reason why the UK2S Model works is:

  1. Sweden’s bold initiative to take recycling to 100%
  2. Sweden bans landfill forever
  3. Detailed, precise engineering algorithm that defines the full recovery process: Interaction between energy recovery (incineration), and recovery of every recoverable element back into the industrial process including RDF, SRF, waste wood, bio fuels from garden waste, and hazardous waste.
  4. Transport hub, bulk vessel, road trailer, container shipping, and rail.

The problem in Australia

  1. Similar to the Brits, there is no national recycling policy in Australia;
  2. Local authorities set up their own systems, and that often causes confusion about what can be recycled and where;
  3. These local efforts tend to focus on high-volume items so as to look green in recycling reports, but for some folks, it's not enough.

Application of the UK2S Model in Australia

If garbage can be shipped from the UK to Sweden in a win-win agreement, then there is no reason why garbage cannot be shipped to a central location in Australia, to benefit everyone at present involved in necessary garbage collection and recycling initiatives.

Current best practice: City deals

In a similar way to federal City Deals (the Federal government enters into a legal agreement with a local government authority with the direct agreement of the State Government, allowing the Feds to supply funds and participate locally, despite the lack of recognition of the third tier under the Constitution):

The Federal governments can enter into a direct agreement with a local government authority for the collection and transport of all the waste they collect to a new 100% waste recycling system in Adelaide, with the agreement and participation of the relevant State government.

Why hand over all the waste to South Australia for recycling?

South Australia is in a unique position in Australia when it comes to implementing the UK2S garbage recycling system. This is because of a number of factors that have all come together at this key moment in the development of garbage recycling:

  1. Location: Adelaide is in a unique position, geographically, it is the only real hub.
  1.  Adelaide’s Port can accept bulk vessels from Perth, Devonport, Melbourne, Wollongong, Sydney, Newcastle, Armidale, Lismore, Brisbane, Rockhampton, Townsville, Cairns, Cooktown
  2. Darwin can accept flows via boats from Weipa, Cloncurry, Mt Isa, Mornington Island, Katherine, Nhulunbuy, Kununurra and transfer to Adelaide via shipping or rail.
  3.  Perth/Fremantle can accept flows via boats from Broome, Karratha, Carnarvon, Geraldton, Albany and transfer to Adelaide via shipping or rail.
  4. Rail from all key cities (except Tasmania, and NSW’s South Coast line), including Darwin, via Alice Springs. Includes Perth on Great Southern Rail, major rail line from Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, up to Cairns.
  5. Rail from Hobart goes to Devonport to catch a bulk vessel for a short trip to Adelaide.
  6. Other bulk vessels can go from Burnie (West Coast) and Launceston for a short trip to Adelaide.
  7. Focus of the Murray-Darling complex for the flow of waste in a “barge complex” (as long as we can get some water back into the river system, following the ripoff mentality stealing water for private cotton growers at the expense of everyone else), waste can simply flow downstream from local government in Darling River, MIA, Canberra can ship overland to Albury, flows down Murray River including all local governments in Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales that are not on estuaries. This is a major inclusion of local governments, especially in NSW, Victoria, including Albury/Wodonga, Beechworth, Benalla, Bendigo, Deniliquin, Echuca, Gannawarra, Mildura, Seymour, Shepparton, Wangaratta, Yarrawonga, Wagga, Canberra, Cooma, Cowra, Forbes, Griffith, Leeton, Narrandera, Parkes, Tumut, Yass, Young, Toowoomba, Bathurst, Blayney, Bourke, Broken Hill, Cobar, Coonamble, Coonabarabran, Charleville, Chinchilla, Dalby, Darling Downs, Dubbo, Gilgandra, Glen Innes, Goondiwindi, Gunnedah, Inverell, Moree, Mudgee, Narromine, Oakey, Orange, Roma, Stanthorpe, Tamworth, Warwick, Wellington.
  1. Resources: With much of the industrial complex lying idle in Adelaide and workers looking for work (following cuts in Federal government support, & the demise of a number of industries) we are ready for a new initiative, and “waste” can take up a lot of the slack resources. Waste is labour intensive (which is a benefit to idle workers in the car industry, for example) but can be very profitable especially if it can be processed under economies of scale. 100% recoverable, no cherry-picking.
  2. Recycling back into industrial complex, especially Adelaide, Melbourne, Wollongong, Sydney, Newcastle. ( a good example is glass, brown/green/clear bottles turned into brown/green/white sand, can be used in new glass production or in other building industry components requiring clean coloured sand).
  3. Recent 4 Corners investigation reveals a huge breakdown in waste recovery industry, which needs to be cleaned up, around the country, which everyone in each state has an interest in, and SA can play an important role in accepting a major cleanup role, in consultation and cooperation with COAG partners and local government.

Getting the 100% Waste Recycling Authority (WRA) under way

The steps to get the WRA under way:

  1. WRA is to be a real COAG authority, with permanent members, environment ministers, and bureaucrats from federal, state and territory at top tier;
  2. WRA is to include current local bodies collecting waste at second tier;
  3. Federal funds:
    1. Set up the WRA;
    2. Cooperate with States on law banning all Landfill;
    3. Cooperate with States on law for dealing with Hazardous Waste;
    4. Cooperate with States on laws for strict penalties on Source Reduction, Reuse, Composting, Recycling, Incineration, to apply across Australia;
    5. Provide money for industrial factories for resourcing from waste: e.g. Reuse, Composting, Recycling;
    6. Provide money for Incinerators, Waste to Energy power generators.
    7. Cooperate with States & local governments on new City Deals specific to Waste.
  4. State funds;
    1. Participate in the WRA;
    2. Cooperate with Commonwealth on law banning Landfill;
    3. Cooperate with Commonwealth on law for dealing with Hazardous Waste;
    4. Cooperate with Commonwealth on laws for strict penalties on Source Reduction, Reuse, Composting, Recycling, Incineration, to apply across Australia;
    5. Cooperate with Commonwealth & local governments on new City Deals specific to Waste.
  5. Local funds;
    1. Participate in the WRA;
    2. Modify collection to strict collect, sort, and ship to WRA;
    3. Educate the waste providors, industrial, residential, governmental, NGO, on importance of resourcing & how the new sort works;
    4. Take responsibility for strict enforcement of "no Landfill" and "proper dealing with Hazardous Waste" within the city, district, municipality, region, shire, town, community;
    5. New sort on the basis of Hazardous Waste, Reuse, Composting, Recycling, Incineration, Waste to Power, shipping to WRA based on colour coding.
    6. Cooperate with Commonwealth & the State government on new City Deals specific to Waste.
  6. Appointment of authority board members;
  7. Formation of authority able to own existing industrial sites and modify them to carry out recycling, including sort, industrial modification of garbage to produce new industrial resources, including incinerator (extracting heat for industry, electricity, homes);
  8. Send engineers and project planners and CEO to UK and Sweden to check out the production process;
  9. Purchase industrial sites for development of factory garbage treatment works including incinerator, from industrial sites no longer in use in Adelaide;
  10. Ban landfill forever in the state, all local government must use the new facilities and industrial producers in the state must recycle their waste or deliver their waste to the authority at a premium;
  11. Employ staff to interact with state government and to local government to enter into City Deals and to arrange delivery of garbage;
  12. Employ staff to enter into industrial contracts for the use of output as input into the industrial process both in the state;
  13. Enter into City Deals with local governments in each state and territory, including the participation of their state authority, everybody wins;
  14. City Deals will include local government carrying the burden of shipping garbage to the treatment plant in SA, but will include special membership of our Authority and an offer of a return in the future following BEP (break even point) has been reached;
  15. Ship in garbage from SA local governments and from other states;
  16. Carry out production to reach recycling BEP (break even point);
  17. Expand production to increase profitability;
  18. When production of the new authority means revenues over BEP, distribute earnings to COAG members.


The following letter received from NT Minister

Yes, John, You are right, if that is all there is. If the plan is to take all waste & turn it into electricity, then it is a big mistake. But the attitude of the states to waste at present means that any development in this direction is better than none. The waste hierarchy above does not argue that all waste should be transformed into electricity. It is suggesting that waste is not waste. All waste is a resource. Any Landfill is a mistake; waste being left to future generations to sort out. Waste should be categorised at source and shipped according to what resource it is capable of providing. The above essay is suggesting that we need to get started. We cannot wait. Any development is a start. As resources emerge, the developing initiatives to covert waste into resources will continue to improve. We don't have the luxury to wait around until we have the perfect model. We need to start now.

Guardian Naaman Zhou

Sun 15 Jul 2018 08.00 AEST
Rethinking recycling: could a circular economy solve the problem?

With more funding and product stewardship, the recycling crisis could turn into an opportunity

Minister Moss

Apr 27

to me

Good morning

On behalf of the Hon. Lauren Moss MLA, I acknowledge receipt of your correspondence.

Thank you for writing to Minister Moss about this matter.

Kind Regards


Cathy Young I Acting Executive Assistant

The Hon Minister Lauren Moss MLA
Minister for Environment and Natural Resources
Minister for Tourism and Culture
Minister for Corporate and Information Services
Northern Territory Government of Australia
Suite 5, Level 5, Parliament House, Darwin NT
GPO Box 3146, Darwin NT 0801, Australia

p (+61) 8 8936 5532 | e minister.moss@nt.gov.au

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Ministerial Correspondence Mailbox

10 May

to me

Dear Mr Irons

I refer to your email to the Minister for the Environment, the Hon Gabrielle Upton MP about waste management in Australia. Your email was referred to the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and I have been asked to reply.

Earlier this year, China began strictly enforcing its National Sword policy which restricts the types of recyclable material China will accept. Prior to this, China was the largest importer of recyclable material in the world, and this change presents global challenges which are impacting recycling in NSW.

The NSW Government is committed to protecting NSW’s strong history of recycling and is working in partnership with local councils and industry to respond to these challenges. The EPA is also working closely with other state and federal jurisdictions to progress national solutions to strengthen the local recycling industry, develop local markets for recycled products, and retain valuable resources within the productive economy. Further information on the NSW Government’s response to the enforcement of China’s National Sword policy is available on the EPA’s website at https://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/your-environment/recycling-and-reuse/response....

The seventh Meeting of Environment Ministers was held on 27 April 2018 in Melbourne, Victoria. Taking action on recycled waste was the focus of this meeting, following the recent import restrictions announced by China.

Although the NSW Government is always interested in learning about new initiatives designed to improve or encourage recycling, your email dated 30 April 2018 was not received in time for consideration prior to this meeting. However, it is encouraging to hear that the UK2S Model, mentioned in your email, offers a valuable policy perspective for waste management and recycling.

On recycling waste, the Environment Ministers agreed to:

* Reduce the amount of waste generated and make it easier for products to be recycled.
* Encourage waste reduction strategies through greater consumer awareness, education and with industry leadership.
* Increase our recycling capacity.
* Increase the demand for recycled products.
* Explore opportunities to advance waste-to-energy and waste-to-biofuels projects, as part of a broader suite of industry growth initiatives, recognising the reduction, reuse and recycling of waste is a priority, consistent with the waste hierarchy.
* Update the 2009 Waste Strategy by year end, which will include circular economy principles.

If you have any further questions about these issues, you are welcome to contact Janet Sparrow, Unit Head Waste Strategy on (02) XXXX XXXX or at XXXX.XXXX@epa.nsw.gov.au.

Yours sincerely

carmen dwyer

Acting Executive Director Waste and Resource Recovery

Environment Protection Authority

www.epa.nsw.gov.au http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/images/email-signature/twitter.png @EPA_NSW http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/images/email-signature/youtube.png EPA YouTube

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Thanks Steve. I'm still going to argue that incineration created by products, generates a lost opportunity and embeds processes that overall make incineration a worse choice even than landfill.

Waste to energy is currently a popular theme and should never be considered an option.

In recent proposals the outcomes would be far worse than the status quo.

I have seen 2 types of waste to energy proposals. Essentially plastics diverted from land fill or forest 'waste' burned in coal power plants.

* Waste to energy sounds like a responsible way to use a resource. Particularly the forestry waste management schemes are very wasteful with full sized logs shipped to a powerplant and burnt.

* It possibly sounds environmental but burning plastics will always cause pollutants to be emitted into the atmosphere. Burning plastics for fuel is over 1.5 times as greenhouse intensive as burning coal.

Both of these types of waste should never be generated in the first place. Our beautiful forests don't deserve to be turned into electricity and plastics are a finite resource that one of the leading causes of environmental damage worldwide and their production should be reduced.

The environmental outcomes https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/apr/11/western-sydney-wa...
The Western Sydney incinerator - http://www.tngnsw.com.au/
The bribes https://www.hawkesburygazette.com.au/story/5077506/tell-him-hes-dreaming...

And another proposal with more spiel https://www.energyaustralia.com.au/about-us/media/news/energy-recovery-p...

Burning forests for electricity https://www.wilderness.org.au/articles/biomass-burning-forests-power

The model in http://www.bloggerme.com.au/policy-initiative-%E2%80%93-new-coag-waste-m... … reduces the role of local government to collect, sort & ship, colour coding of something like 10 wastetypes, each wastetype dealt with by the WRA based on the resource(s) it represents.

It is not promoting incineration & waste2energy as the principal way(s) of dealing with waste, but it is not deleting it either; its underlying principle is resourcing = "what #resource does this so-called #waste represent?"

It brings all resourcing together, to benefit from economies of scale.
I mean, if we can ship it to China, surely we can ship it to Adelaide as a WRA hub, to be dealt with as resourcing back into industry, etc.

It assumes that landfill is not removing waste from the environment, just out of sight out of mind & dumping it in a place where its impact on the environment continues unabated, and leaving it to future generations to clean up the mess.

This means that the principal objective of the UK2S Model is to be all-encompassing (federal) & must mean something like complete removal of landfill within five years of operation. Profit seeking (BEP-plus) is important, but is secondary to this primary objective.