Local government engagement prioritised in new Act, Forum hears

Engagement with local government has been embedded into the Circular Economy (Waste Reduction and Recycling) Act 2021 the Metropolitan Local Government Waste Forum (Forum) heard earlier this month. Over 60 people attended the December Forum meeting to learn more about the Act and hear from the cities of Wyndham, Monash and Bayside about council initiatives to improve circularity and reduce waste to landfill.

Attendees were particularly interested to hear from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) about how the Circular Economy (Waste Reduction and Recycling) Act 2021 will establish Recycling Victoria (RV) as a business unit in DELWP, and how RV will engage with councils. The Act provides a broad framework to transition Victoria to a circular economy and will be supported by subordinate regulations and standards, Marianne Munro, Director Policy, Governance and Regulation at DELWP told attendees.

The Act includes a requirement for RV to form an advisory committee that includes members with local government and regional expertise. The Minister has also committed to establishing a specific local government advisory committee, Marianne said.

Attendees also heard how the Recycling Victoria Councils Fund has enabled councils to explore the feasibility of best practice circular economy projects. Simon Crawford, Waste and Litter Education Officer at the City of Wyndham presented on their business case for a mobile community shed to share high quality items that are irregularly used, such as power tools, camping gear and gardening equipment. As well as reducing waste, the council hopes the project will develop and build community connections, Simon said.

Disposable nappies are problematic for councils and make up 5-15% of the average household rubbish bin, said Faina Levin, Waste Minimisation Officer at Bayside City Council. Faina and April Williams, Senior Sustainability Officer at Monash City Council presented on a multi council feasibility study which will investigate existing reusable nappy programs and recommend a best practice approach. Twelve metropolitan councils are collaborating on the project, which will inform the program and a future study into reusable menstrual and incontinence products.

A motion to extend Forum membership to June 2022 and a motion to establish a Statewide Local Government Waste and Resource Recovery Advisory group were also discussed and passed by the Forum.

 

Last updated: 20/12/2021