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The Queensland Government will introduce a levy on waste stream materials, including C&D materials (pictured), from the beginning of 2019.
The Queensland Government will introduce a levy on waste stream materials, including C&D materials (pictured), from the beginning of 2019.

Waste disposal levy to facilitate recycling

A new waste disposal levy in Queensland for major waste streams, including construction and demolition (C&D) material, is expected to kick in from early 2019.

In a paper titled Transforming Queensland’s Recycling and Waste Industry Directions, the Queensland Department of Environment and Science (DES) has proposed a $70 per tonne levy for all C&D materials like concrete, asphalt and demolition rubble to recycle material into aggregate for use in construction applications.

Diverting C&D materials from landfill may benefit recycling aggregate companies in Queensland from sales at the gate, and in the long term the need for virgin quarry products may be reduced.

A member of the recycled aggregates industry has cautiously greeted the announcement, saying “a levy alone does not ensure the materials diverted from landfill are recycled” and that there needs to be a more proactive approach by operators, government bodies and contractors.

“While we welcome any initiative that encourages recycling over landfill, there are still ridiculous barriers to the reuse of recycled materials,” said Peter Murphy, the managing director of Alex Fraser Group.

“These barriers make it much more difficult to use recycled products than virgin quarried materials.”

Alex Fraser has more than 30 years’ experience recycling C&D waste into quality construction materials, including roadbase, sand and asphalt. It has two sites in Queensland that contribute towards recycling efforts amounting to 3.5 million tonnes.

Murphy said for the levy to succeed, local and state government entities needed to make sure the use of recycled materials was as easy as using virgin quarried products.

“Reputable operators and a strong market for products is critical and the success of C&D material recycling in some parts of Australia is largely because government agencies, contractors and asset owners use recycled materials to build and maintain infrastructure,” he said.

“In fact a strong end market for recycled materials is well proven to be more effective at reducing landfill than a levy alone.”

Exemptions

Queensland quarries will not be directly affected by the levy as waste rock from mining activities has been exempted. The exemption applies to all wastes disposed of on the site they are produced – red mud, ?y ash, and feedlot manures.

Residual waste resulting from legitimate recycling activities will have a concessional levy rate. According to the paper, the waste disposal levy recognises that legitimate resource recovery and recycling activities still result in residual waste streams needing land?ll.

The $70 per tonne levy also applies to commercial and industrial (C&I) and municipal solid waste (MSW), while a $150 per tonne levy has been earmarked for category 1 waste and $100 for regulated waste that pose a risk to the environment and originate from a defined levy zone or disposed to landfills within that zone.

According to the DES, the $70 per tonne levy is broadly in line with the rates in Victoria and South Australia, and will rise by five dollars annually.

The directions paper also discusses Queensland's 2014-2024 resource recovery and recycling strategy. It identifies what the current recycling rate of C&D materials is in Queensland and where it would like that target to be by 2024.

The levy also aims to stop Queensland from being the dumping ground for interstate waste that accounted for one million tonnes from a total of 5.5 million tonnes in 2016-17.

The directions paper is available for public submissions up to 29 June, 2018. To view the paper, visit the Queensland Government website.

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Wednesday, 18 July, 2018 11:01am
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