Webinar series helps communities face wave of waste-to-energy proposals that hide toxic effects
Friday, 11 September 2020
Zero Waste Australia in concert with IPEN has created a webinar series aimed at steering communities back to an environmentally sound plastics waste strategy that doesn’t include waste-to-energy incineration projects, after the incineration industry seized upon a national declaration to end waste exports.
In 2019, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) declared that waste plastic, glass, paper and tyres would no longer be exported, stating that: "The COAG waste export ban is the first step in taking responsibility for our own waste and using this resource to create jobs, spark innovation, and deliver strong environmental outcomes."
The waste industry was quick to see an opportunity. Now, much of Australia's waste will be reprocessed into Process Engineered Fuel and Refuse Derived Fuel — both mixtures of waste that include discarded material, including plastics — for continued export overseas or as fuel for paper mills, cement plants, and waste-to-energy incinerators in Australia.
Groups pursue ban on waste trade as the first anniversary of the re-exportation of Canadian garbage dumped in the Philippines on May 31 nears
Thursday, 28 May 2020
Quezon City, Philippines Civil society groups marked the first anniversary of the repatriation of 69 container vans of rotting Canadian garbage to their source with a resounding plea for decisive policy actions to prevent its recurrence and to defend environmental justice and the rule of law.
The Prime Minister’s announcement and COAG support for a ban on waste exports should be cautiously welcomed and is long overdue following the embarrassing revelations of Australian illegal waste dumping in South East Asia. However, it seems certain that the announcement is designed to distract from a major government push to burn Australia’s waste in polluting incinerators: an industry it quietly supports. As noted by some media reports on the announcement, the government “was exploring using waste in energy plants to power Australian homes.”
Non-combustion techniques for the destruction of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) waste such as PCBs, dioxins and brominated flame retardants are urgently needed to destroy the world's growing stockpile of materials contaminated with the most dangerous contaminants on earth. Using incineration and cement kilns to attempt to destroy POPs only leads to the generation of more unintentionally produced POPs (UPOPs) in their emissions and solid waste. This new technical briefing paper from IPEN describes non-combustion techniques that have been commercialised and proven for the destruction of POPs. They are also considered to be more readily applicable to developing countries due to their less intensive capital and infrastructure requirements.