Methodology for Domestic Waste Management Charges
The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) commenced a review of the local government domestic waste management charge (DWMC) to ensure a reasonable and transparent cost basis and value for money for ratepayers.
SSROC has commissioned a consultancy firm to assist councils by working with them to develop a methodology for calculating DWMC, which will be consistent across all 11 member councils, and which addresses the concerns that IPART seeks to tackle. The study will also consider the impact that IPART’s proposed approach would have on councils’ DWMC revenue.
The results of this study will inform SSROC’s and councils’ submission to IPART’s review. Results that are not confidential will also be shared with other NSW councils and NSW EPA.
Procure Recycled: Paving the Way (Rubber)
Building on the successful Paving the Way (Glass) procurement, the next phase seeks to establish the true net present value of asphalt with crumb rubber, including improved performance, extended asset life, increased material efficiency, and carbon emissions reduction, while driving a local end market for end-of-life car and truck tyres, through demonstration trials to commence by July 2022.
Seven (7) councils have committed in principle to participating in the trials. Tyre Stewardship Australia (TSA) has committed to the project, which will be the largest local government-led trial of its kind in Australia. Project deliverables include:
- Technical review of information provided by suppliers on available crumb rubber asphalt product;
- Definition of trial mixes and trial framework using crumb rubber derived from both truck tyres and, for the first time, passenger car tyres;
- Monitoring and reporting of the performance of trial mixes.
Memoranda of understanding have been signed with Transport for NSW, Australian Flexible Pavement Association, and the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia to share knowledge and findings.
Food and Garden Organics (FOGO) and Food Organics (FO)
SSROC’s project to examine the feasibility of collection completed in October 2021 assessed the additional costs to councils of implementation of basic FOGO and FO services. Basic implementation, excluding variable costs such as contract variations, procurement, trials, consultants, audits and bins, would far exceed current budgets and revenue from domestic waste management services.
The full findings cover broader issues, and have been widely shared within member councils as well as with other metropolitan ROCs and the EPA.
Circular Textiles for Sydney Councils
Building on the Textiles Recovery Action Plan for Sydney councils, SSROC in partnership with other Sydney sought information from organisations participating in this sector, such as charities, commercial used clothing collectors, clothing recyclers and re-processers, fashion brands offering takeback schemes in Sydney, and research organisations. This will help councils to understand and share with the community information about the quality needed for clothing donations and understand what recycling and reprocessing opportunities there are for used textiles in Sydney.
SSROC continues to advocate to the EPA and other key stakeholders for forward-thinking policies, product stewardship, and takeback schemes to reduce the impact of textile waste.
Embedding Sustainable Procurement
This project developed and distributed to member councils, tools and other resources to integrate in existing training programs to embed sustainability in procurement. These tools and resources include: e-learning modules, sustainable procurement checklist, guide to sustainability criteria, clauses and metrics in procurement, case studies, and a list of other available resources.
Work on embedding sustainability in procurement practices continues with the development of performance monitoring system to enable SSROC to monitor the changes to procurement outcomes, and to continually reinforce the desire of individual procurement decision-makers to achieve environmental, social and economic outcomes as well as delivering value for money.
Kerbside and Bulky Waste Audits
On behalf of member councils, SSROC periodically runs a regional kerbside waste audit. The audits provide councils with an analysis of waste streams, providing very valuable information for a range of council operational and service planning purposes. Waste audits cover regular residual, recycling and green waste streams, with options for dedicated high rise and council facility audits. The 2023 audit will also include bulky clean up waste for the second time.
The SSROC councils’ kerbside composition audit data is considered to be the most comprehensive and robust longitudinal dataset of its kind in NSW, possibly Australia. Participation in the program benefits all member councils through competitive regional pricing, the capacity to analyse compositional data against previous years, and benchmarking against other member councils.
The data from previous audits has provided valuable insights that assist regional advocacy, including volumes of organic waste that could be captured through a FOGO service, other recyclable materials, hazardous waste in the residual waste bin, and non-recyclable materials that can only be processed through energy from waste to avoid landfill.
Woodlawn EcoPrecinct Waste Facility
On behalf of (then) 8 member councils, SSROC managed the procurement of a residual waste processing service which resulted in the delivery of the waste treatment facility at Woodlawn EcoPrecinct and a supporting transfer station at Banksmeadow providing a rail link between Sydney and Crisps Creek, south of Goulburn.
In 2008, the councils started out with a vision for a better way managing residual waste than landfill. It took almost 10 years of work by SSROC and the councils, and then by the preferred supplier, Veolia Environmental Services, to overcome many challenges. Banksmeadow Transfer Station and Woodlawn treatment facility began operations in 2018.
Although subsequently affected by the revocation of the resource recovery order and exemption that regulated the use of the compost-like material from the facility, Veolia continues to adapt to the changing regulatory requirements. The Woodlawn Organic Output (WOO) is being used in a trial as rehabilitation material for a former tailings dam on the site, and the facility itself has been adapted to accommodate food and garden organics to produce compost.