Waste Expo is one of Australia’s premier conferences and trade shows for the waste and resource recovery industry. Held annually in Melbourne, Victoria – Waste Expo hosts almost 1,000 delegates from across industry, community and suppliers involved in delivering recycling, resource recovery and waste services. 2022 will see the conference and trade show held in person for the first time in two years! One of the main streams of the conference program is focused on local government in Australia representing a primary driver to help to shift community behaviour and attitudes towards waste and resource recovery.

Local Councils -Leading waste and resource recovery

Local councils are spearheading innovative waste management and community engagement programs that better enable their communities to adopt change, with the goal of meeting the Australian government’s target of 80 per cent recovery rates by 2030.

Waste Expo Australia, returning to Melbourne from 26 – 27 October 2022, will showcase local government and community initiatives from across Australia including Albury City Council, City of Port Phillip, Brisbane City Council and more.

TOMRA Cleanaway has substantial representation at the conference, including one of our executives, Michelle Mandl-Keating moderating an extended local government panel on the first day of the conference program. The panel has been put together to showcase innovation and developments in municipal waste and resource recovery across Australia.

The panel includes a line up of outstanding industry experts that have helped shape waste, resource recovery and recycling sustainability initiatives in local and global contexts. The panel includes:

TOMRA Cleanaway involvement at the event

 Michelle Mandl-Keating from TOMRA Cleanaway, will be moderating the extended panel to draw out key initiatives that would benefit audience knowledge. Reflecting on the opportunity, Michelle said,

“I am excited to be moderating a panel of local government experts that will be speaking to initiatives and programs from across Australia.”

“Local government is a hothouse of excellence and customisation that acknowledges no communities are necessarily the same. Bespoke programs have a role to play in community understanding, awareness, and engagement. It is going to be a fantastic session that highlights some excellent case studies,” Ms Mandl-Keating said.

TOMRA Cleanaway is the proud network operator for the NSW Container Deposit Scheme (CDS), Return and Earn. One of the important introductions in waste and resource recovery in the past decade has been an increase in extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes, such as CDS. Producer responsibility schemes mobilise the community to participate in waste and resource recovery through legislating a ‘polluter pays’ approach to resource management.

“Community participation and support of outcomes are vital to deliver a circular economy and move away from waste as a concept.”

“In NSW, the CDS was focused on removing one of the most visual pollutants from the litter stream. This is achieved by providing a financial incentive to the community to participate. Direct refund of the container deposit has played a key role in triggering a paradigm shift in the community regarding the value of waste.”

Albury City Council’s Andrea Baldwin will also be presenting at the event. Albury City Council owns and operates a large regional landfill. For more than 30 years, the council traditionally buried 90 per cent of waste taken to the landfill facility. However, it realised that, unless something changed, the life of this facility was finite. Ten years ago, the city embraced an ambitious target to halve waste to landfill.

Andrea Baldwin, Team Leader, Resource Recovery said the program has engaged the community to take ownership and accountability for the waste they generate at home and how they dispose of it.

“In the past ten years, due to the community engagement and infrastructure program, the landfill facility which was due to close in 2020 has an extended life of 30-40 years,” Baldwin said.

“Council placed a small levy of $2.50 on each tonne of waste entering the landfill to support education. This provides a regular annual amount of $400,000 to be used to educate the community. Education in our region reaches 180,000 people and provides consistent messaging around waste and recycling management.

“We drive change by bringing the community along for the journey and ensuring they have buy-in. If I use our regional landfill as an example, we provide regular tours of the facility to show the students and community members where the waste goes. This is a powerful tool to communicate with the community.”

Waste Expo, takes place at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) on 26 and 27 October.

Waste Expo Australia is the country’s largest gathering of waste management and resource recovery professionals, which brings together leading solution providers in the waste management, recycling, resource recovery and sustainability sectors. This year’s event is expected to attract more than 6000 industry professionals.

Waste Expo is a free-to-attend conference and expo. Register here.

This article first appeared here