Waste market sounding encouraging greenhouse gases?



February 22, 2017

Hume waste precinctThe ACT Government’s ‘market sounding’ on waste does not prioritise reducing waste or increasing recycling while it provides support for incineration or biogas or other greenhouse gas emitting ‘energy from waste’ proposals.

Energy from waste is backed up in the document with the proposal: “A feed-in tariff may be offered for the renewable portion of any energy generated from waste. It would likely be set a rate between the prices previously awarded in the Territory’s large scale renewable energy auctions, ie $79-$186/MWhr.”

It is not clear how the Government will make decisions on the proposals it receives. The market sounding does not include a process for applying the waste hierarchy and is meanwhile encouraging the least preferable options through offering a subsidy via a feed-in tariff to get energy from waste, even though this will produce greenhouse emissions.

The ACT Government launched a ‘market sounding’ through TendersACT on 21 February 2017 calling for ideas “To Build and Operate or Provide New Waste Services” (38532-01).

The 2015-16 ACT Budget provided funding of $2.8million over two years for a full business case to be prepared on “alternative waste management strategies”. Budget Outlook 2015-16 p129 under “Improved Waste Resource Recovery” said:

“The Government will undertake a feasibility study to investigate long-term options for the management and treatment of waste in the ACT, including the development of a full business case for a waste to energy facility.”

For more Conservation Council discussion on waste to energy see here.

The Study is required to report by end June 2017 on its findings and the Waste Market Sounding will provide information to develop a business case for government leading to a roadmap for waste in the ACT.

This roadmap will be considered by Cabinet in the latter part of 2017 to help with decisions on a future for waste management in the ACT especially around expenditure in the 2018-19 Budget to be presented in June 2018.

The request for expressions of interest includes a description of waste activities in the ACT along with a spreadsheet of ACT waste data which provides the government’s most up-to-date understanding of sixty waste streams being produced in the ACT.

The ACT Waste Feasibility Study consultation groups were told in February that the market sounding was in four parts:

1. enhanced regional drop-off centres (RDOCs) that include container deposit scheme (CDS) (to be rolled out in the ACT after watching the NSW experience with CDS)

2. new processing facilities, for example:

  • processing red bin waste [residential waste bins – eventually all will be converted to red lids] (MRF like)
  • processing third bin material (garden waste + food)
  • producing energy from waste (biogas, incineration)

3. “tinder for dirt” and a dirt bank – so people with surplus dirt can provide it to others needing it

4. Multi-unit development (MUD) advisory services with follow-up action

It is not clear how the Government will make decisions on the proposals it receives. While the ACT Waste Feasibility Study has in the past recognised the importance of the waste hierarchy – starting from most preferred: avoid, reduce, reuse, recycle, recover, treat, dispose.

The market sounding does not include a process for applying the waste hierarchy and encouraging the least preferable options through offering a subsidy through feed-in tariffs to get energy from waste, even though this will produce greenhouse emissions.

Minister Meegan Fitzharris in her Foreword to the Market Sounding document said: “The Government is seeking innovative and sustainable proposals from both the waste and non-waste sectors on how best to achieve the ACT’s waste management objectives. This marketing sounding provides an opportunity for local, national and international businesses and not-for-profit organisations to showcase ideas and solutions that will contribute to the ACT achieving national best practice in waste management.”

If you want to see the full documents go to TendersACT website and go through the registration process and download over 20mb of files. Two of the key documents are  available here: the request for expressions of interest and the spreadsheet of waste data.

There was be a briefing on the process 28 February 2017 and the closing date for submissions (20 pages maximum) was 14 April 2017 to [email protected]. Pictured is the Hume Waste Precinct.



One Response to “Waste market sounding encouraging greenhouse gases?”

  1. Shirley Pipitone

    To tackle the waste hierarchy from the top down, the ACT government could take two very easy first steps.
    1. reward residents who are currently generating very small amounts of waste. This idea was flagged as a possibility some years ago, with waste being measured by weighing at the time of bin emptying. The reward would be a sizable reduction in rates for as long as a household maintained its record in generating waste. Waste would be measured per person in a household where one person would mean one person of any age. Babies can generate more waste than adults.
    Comment: Instead the government is considering providing bins for compostable material, where the cost will be borne by all households, including those who already compost all their suitable waste.
    2. A second reward system could be introduced in the second and subsequent years, to encourage households demonstrating the greatest reduction in waste over the previous year.
    If I have any more ideas, I’ll let you know.

    Reply

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