The Magic of Two: How Two Surfers Cleaned The Ocean Floor.

This is a brief story of how two (2) surfers cleaned the ocean floor of garbage.  Their story will surely inspire us.

Earthniversity considers this initiative as one of the World’s Best Practices which other local government units globally can practice in their local levels.  As what we used to say here on Earthniversity,  “Everyone Thinking Globally And Acting Locally”.

Thanks to Hashem Al-Ghaili for sharing this video on youtube.  Most importantly, thanks to 4Ocean for sharing this idea of concern to clean up the oceans of the world.  Cheers!

Waste Management Styles of Cruise Ships

Earthniversity presents a snippet of the different styles of Waste Management done by cruise ships. Their compliance with environmental laws, remove the irritants between the cruise ships and the environmentalists.   Presented here are two videos featuring their styles of managing waste.  The first and the second video tells about the problems the cruise ship’s waste management practices can affect the ocean.  The third video will give you an idea that there is a better way to dispose of wastes and lowering the cruise ships’ environmental footprint.  The fourth and the last video presents the various ways of waste segregation and packaging for proper disposal when the ship reaches its port of call.

Source: You Tube by Tina Dreffin.

Source:  You Tube by Cooper LeComp

Source: youtube, uploaded by DW (English).

We just hope, that all other cruise ships around the world, strictly adhere to the proper management of waste and their sanitary disposal whether on land or the sea.  I think, we just got to believe and trust what they do.  In the final analysis, their name is at stake.  So, cruisers (the people who patronize cruise ships), be selective in your choice of cruise ship.  As you think of your next travel destination, consider the cruise line that has a good record in protecting our environment.


A cruise ship docks at the Heritage Wharf of the Royal Naval Dockyard in the island of Bermuda. (Photo by Henry C. Libo-on at Bermuda Islands, U.K.)

Source: You Tube by MSCCruisesOfficial.


Earthniversity acknowledges the sources of the foregoing videos from youtube and its uploader. Thank you.

Updated March 2, 2018.

Waste Management Practices of Canberra and Bermuda

One of the problems that bother any Local Government Unit or LGU in most of the Third World Countries is the lack of funds to finance their Solid Waste Management Programs and Projects.  This may include, the construction of a sanitary landfill, a waste treatment facility or any other means of waste management.  If this happened, most of these LGUs will, therefore, find it difficult to solve the increasing problem of environment-friendly waste disposal.

There are several funding agencies of foreign governments that can help finance the construction of Landfill and Incinerator. LGU officials, however, do not want to tie their LGUs up to the financiers because of high-interest rates, and the uncertain tenure of office of the local officials.

In the Philippines, LGU officials serve a term of three (3) years with two re-elections.

When both, the Landfill and the Incinerator would be very difficult to construct because of lack of funds and the cities are not willing to avail of loans from these international loan agencies like World Bank, and the uncertainty of getting re-elected, then these LGUs, specifically their Local Chief Executives as well as the Council Members would resort to the use of Controlled Dump Site or Open Dump Sites. Most probably, the latter will be the last resort for LGUs.

Basically, open dumpsites are unsanitary. No matter how Local Government Units insist that strict measures are done to protect the health of the community and its people living near these dumpsites, the truth remains that this practice is still unsanitary.

A few LGUs resorted to privatizing their Garbage Collection and Disposal. Some cities and towns succeeded in this approach while a few of them failed as the approach was loaded with corruption.  The mechanism is sometimes unknown to the Taxpayers and the voting public.  Thus, the public sometimes wonders why the garbage in their community is not collected regularly.  In a few cases, the Garbage Collectors demand money from Households so that they can regularly visit that community to collect their garbage.  A situation that frustrates the people and affects the cleanliness and sanitation of their community.

Let us have a glimpse of the Solid Waste Management Program of several cities nationwide.

Photo by Travelfoodguru

Photo by James Betia of Journeying James

Source: cdn.c.photoshelter


There are three (3) methods of waste management that are acceptable in many countries around the world. According to Jeni Braxton of Ezine, these are Landfill, Incineration, and Recycling.


Amongst the many waste management methods, using a landfill is probably the most practiced in more areas of the world than any other method. Landfills are often old and abandoned quarries and mining areas. Considered the most cost-effective way of waste disposal, about 75% of the cost of implementation is attributable to the collection and transportation of waste from residential and businesses to the landfills. The waste is layered in thin spreads and then compacted, with a layer of clean earth covering the waste material before more layers are added over time.


Incineration as a disposal method involves burning the trash. Sometimes this is simply referred to as thermal treatment, as a general category of high-temperature treatment of trash material. This method can be used to transform waste into heat, gas, steam, and ash. One of the advantages of incineration is that with this method, refuse volume can be reduced by half or more and it requires little usage of land. An incineration facility can be built in a small area to process huge amounts of waste. It definitely saves a lot of space compared with using a landfill only. This method is popular in countries like Japan where space is limited.


Recycling of waste material means taking the materials and transforming them into new products. This is a key concept in modern waste minimization philosophy. It’s about lessening the strain on the environment through minimizing the need to fully dispose of (eg. by incineration and causing air pollution) the waste generated and reducing the need to introduce new raw materials into the environment and then having to dispose of them later. In your everyday living, you may already be separating out paper products, aluminum soda cans or glass bottles into different waste containers so that these could be recycled. When bringing your own shopping bag to the supermarket instead of using a new plastic bag, that’s another way of recycling. (Source:


In the Philippines, I visited the City of Tagaytay, about two hours from Manila (I guess this included the traffic). Tagaytay is part of Cavite of the CALABARZON Provinces which are: Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon.

Tagaytay City, Source:

Rotonda, Tagaytay City

Tagaytay Highlands, Source:

Cable Cars, Tagaytay Highlands. Source: (Thank you

TAGAYTAY CITY was then considered as a model in Solid Waste Management in the country. I personally toured their facility which included, the waste segregation site, the waste treatment site, the composting site, and the material recovery facility as well as their Mushroom Growing Project. Many cities followed the best practices of Tagaytay.
A few cities, however, ventured into constructing their own Landfill sites with loans acquired through the assistance of the national government. Other cities implemented the Tagaytay Model, while the others continued the Open Dump Sites and the Controlled Dump Sites.


Payatas Controlled Dump Site
Quality Disposal Facility for Quality Community
Managed and Operated by:
Office of the City Mayor
Payatas Operations Group
Quezon City, Philippines

Area – 9.70 Ha.
Waste Intake – 7,000 cum./day
Average Wt. – 1,402 TPD
Per Capita Generation – .550kg./P/D
Waste Density – 210 Kg./Cum.
Average Daily Truck Trips – 500 trips/day
Payatas Controlled Dump Facility

The conversion of the Payatas Dumpsite into a Controlled Dump Facility includes Engineering Works Program (EWP), Social Responsibility Program (SRP), and Operation and Management of the disposal facility with the following objectives:

* Compliance with R.A. 9003
* To extend the life of the disposal facility for another 2 1/2 years at the least
* To ensure the safety of the people living near the dumpsite and eliminate the risk of another trash slide
* To provide livelihood opportunities to Payatas residents.

General Plan

1.Conversion to Control Dump Facility
Slope Stability – Re profiling to attain the side slope of 1:2.5

Leachate Collection & Treatment
Storm Waste Drain (Drainage System)
Top Soil Covering
Methane Gas to Power Generation
Material Recovery and Waste Volume Reduction Plant

2. Dump Site Operation
3. Social Engineering
4. Final Option

The Conversion Project is being implemented by IPM Environmental Services, Inc. (IPM-ESI) as the General Contractor and Sinclair Knight Merts as Consultant. The project covers the active and the inactive dumpsite having a combined land area of about 20 hectares.

Engineering Works Program

Slope Re-profiling – The 60-70 degrees side slopes of the dumpsite is re-profiled to 23-25 degrees or a slope ratio of about 1:2.5 and then covered with soil to ensure slope stability. Side cutting or berms are also constructed every 10 meters (slope-length) to minimize erosion and slope failure.

Leachate Collection and Re-circulation – The construction of peripheral leachate and then re-circulated or pumped onto the soil capped mounds to affect the growth of grass. Leachate re-circulation also helps to enhance decomposition and minimizes the discharge of leachate into the waterways.

Storm Water Drain – Construction of drainage canals along the periphery of the dumpsites serves as a drainage system in the area also acts as a catch basin for surface water runoff from the dumpsites.

Access Roads – The construction of all-weather access roads around the dumpsites facilitate: daily waste dumping, de-clogging operations, maintenance of slopes, and for an emergency.

Social Responsibility Program

The SR program includes:
1. Institute strengthening of existing workers’ organization;
2. Assistance in terms of access to basic services;
3. Establishment of Materials Recovery and Waste Volume Reduction Plant (MRWVRP);
4. Market Development
5. Vocational Training; and
6. Enhancement of Emergency Response Term.

Payatas Gas to Power Generation

Methane gas is a natural by-product of decay and decomposition at dumpsites. Unless managed well, it poses real health and safety hazards to people living and working in the immediate vicinity of the dumpsites.

“Spontaneous combustion and fires are the common results of improper management of methane gas”.

The PCDF has gone one step further than merely managing methane gas: it has brought in the technical assistance of the Philippine National Oil Corporation (PNOC) for the possible utilization of methane gas at the dumpsites as a secondary power source for the facility as well as the community through the construction of a landfill/dumpsite gas (LFG/DG) collection system.

The Philippine Biosciences Company (PhilBLO), a private contractor engaged in biogas technology, supplied the 100-kilowatt generator set and installed the methane gas collection system at the facility, mainly using moisture traps as gas buffers. The IPM-ESI have installed streetlights from the dumpsite to the POG office. It is estimated that the current level of methane gas at the dumpsite could supply the power need of the facility over the next 10 years.

Tire Retrieval Project

Another component of the conversion project is the continuing search for an economically advantageous and environmentally friendly method for the disposal of used tires.

Towards this end, the Quezon City government tapped the services of Union Cement Corporation (UCC) for the processing of retrieved and/or collected used tires using Cement Kiln Co-processing technology.

The following are the photos showing the selected portions of the Payatas Controlled Dump Site Facility.

Image result for images of Payatas Waste Management Site

Image result for images of Payatas Waste Management Site

Source: Getty Images…thank you.

Citation: Earthniversity would like to thank our sources of pictures


I had the opportunity to visit and saw the Solid Waste Management practices of Queanbeyan City in Australia when I attended a short course on Designing Sustainable Development under the Master in Urban Management program at the University of Canberra. I was sponsored by AusAID or the Australian Agency For International Development. Queanbeyan is located about 30 minutes away from Canberra, the Australian Capital Territory, and other neighboring New South Wales communities.

Queanbeyan and the neighboring communities had a complete facility for their waste management program. They have a huge building for waste segregation, another site for the recyclables like pressed soda cans, and bales of waste paper, among others. They have a huge composting site where compost materials from garbage, leaves, and trees are made into fertilizer and sold to local gardeners and others.

Queanbeyan City Council Building. I had my OJT with their City Planning & Development Office. Photo source:

There was also a material recovery facility or MRF somewhere between Canberra and Queanbeyan which is located near the landfill site where reusable materials like refrigerator, chandelier, cabinet or chairs among others can be purchased by people who found them still useful. I also saw a power generator where leachate from the landfill was converted into electricity. It can be used to light lamp posts and other small-government offices like Day Care Center or Library.


As far as wastewater treatment was concerned, Canberra has a water treatment plant or facility located in what was called the Lower Molonglo Water Quality Control Centre. Canberra’s 90 million liters of wastewater daily are treated through several stages on several big ponds. On the last stage of the water treatment, a zero bacteria-clean water is produced. The guide even told us that the water is potable. This clean water was emptied into the Molonglo River. Clean water was therefore used by farmers from Canberra up to the southern reaches of the river, let us say, Adelaide. Inhabitants of the river like platypus are fed with clean water that sustains biodiversity in the river and the surrounding areas.

I visited this facility in 2000. That was a long time ago, but for sure, this facility serves its purpose until today. I posted a video of that facility here for your reference.

The City of Canberra. Source:

The video hereunder shows the Molonglo Water Quality Control Centre. This is uploaded by ACTEW – Australian Capital Territory Electricity & Water Corporation.

Source: youtube, uploaded by ACTEW Water, Canberra, Australia, dated October 21, 2014.


Turning Trash Into Electricity is what this video is all about. Watch how garbage or trash is converted into electricity and appreciate how the City of Alexandria upholds the ideals of protecting and conserving the environment.

Source: youtube, uploaded by Planet Forward –


Now, let’s talk about Bermuda. Last September, I visited Bermuda and my interest in the use of incinerator in solid waste management was once again awakened because of my curiosity at the huge number of tourists and residents living in Bermuda and the garbage or waste that they generate.

Bermuda has a small land area left that using it for landfill may not be a good idea, much more sustainable with the growing tonnage of garbage generated every month. I also learned that Bermuda has no choice but to go for Incinerator.

The photo shows the neatly sealed black bags containing garbage from a local store at the Royal Naval Dockyard, Bermuda. Photos below show the world-famous Horseshoe Bay Beach and its pink sand. During high season, millions of tourists visit Bermuda. On a regular basis, about 600,000 tourists visit the island each year.

The Royal Naval Dockyard viewed from Norwegian Cruise Line – Breakaway. The Dockyard is the cruise ships’ doorway to Bermuda.
(Photos by Henry Libo-on)

In 1987, the Government of Bermuda engaged the company the Von Roll Ltd., of Switzerland to study and design a waste treatment facility for the island which included the design and construction of the incinerator. Bermuda constructed the Tynes Bay Waste Treatment Facility at the cost of $70 Million.   It has been in operation beginning October 27, 1994.

For me, this on-going program of the Bermudian Government is one of the Best Practices as far as the use of the Incinerator is concerned.  Earthniversity is, therefore, sharing this story with our readers and followers worldwide. More specifically those who are government officials, urban and development planners, environmentalists and stakeholders in the Philippines and other parts of the world who can learn from the Bermudian Experience.

I have written hereunder the link regarding the Tynes Bay Waste Treatment Facility. Please click the link provided here for the complete facts and figures about the facility.

Tynes Bay Waste Treatment Facility, Bermuda

There is also a video of the Tynes Bay Waste Treatment Facility that I posted here. The video is produced by Wayne Hackman and he was happy to share this with you. You will learn from this video that – at Tynes Bay Waste Treatment Facility, NOTHING IS WASTED.

Source: youtube, uploaded by Wayne Hackman on February 14, 2014.
Thanks, Wayne Hackman for your approval to use this video.


1. I know that there are pros and cons as far as Incinerator is concerned but as an observer, I always respect the decision of the Local Government Unit (LGU) if they chose to use the Incinerator as a means of waste management. My confidence level is high as far as the LGU’s ability to maintain a high standard in the protection of the environment – the LAW which is: the Land, the Air, the Water and let us add – the Atmosphere.

For LGUs in the Third World Countries:

2. When LGUs cannot afford the cost of a Landfill or the operation of a Sanitary Controlled Dump Site, then it resorts to the use of Open Dump Site. In this case, the LGU must strengthen its campaign and implementation of the 4 Rs which are: Re-use, Reduce, Recycle and Rot or composting thus, minimizing the garbage that goes to the Garbage Dump Site.

3. The LGUs must encourage all villages to recycle from the source – meaning, from the household levels, offices, or business establishments levels. There must be separate bags or containers for recyclables like bottles, soda cans, plastic, and paper, among others. All households must be encouraged to have a compost pit for their kitchen waste. This compost pit can produce fertilizer to be used in the HH – household – gardens. Segregation at source must be strictly implemented in offices, both public and private institutions. Hospital waste must be separated and must be disposed of properly using a healthy and environment-friendly protocol.

4. Villages or Barangays must have their own MRF or Material Recovery Facility which will be the depository of reusable materials like refrigerators, cabinets, bottles, and others.

The LGU must also construct a Material Recovery Facility or MRF for the LGU where villages or “Barangay” without MRF can drop their reusable and recyclable materials. The MRF may have a display center for reusable but cheap materials that people could buy like cabinets, sofa, chairs, beds, tables, lampshades, and many others.

I saw this kind of MRF being practiced at Queanbeyan City in Australia. In the U.S. reusable materials like beds, tables, even television which HH does not need anymore, are placed on the side of the road to be picked up by the Waste Management trucks on a scheduled date. However, before the WM trucks could pick these things up, some residents who find these things still useful would pick them first, maybe do a little repair and use them.

5. There must be a waste segregation facility in the LGU. All waste that is not recyclables and is not for composting can be sent to the Controlled Dump Site.

6. Controlled Dump Site. The example is the Payatas Controlled Dump Site. (Previously presented).

7. The LGUs with support from significant stakeholders must conduct a continuous IEC – Information and Education Campaign on Solid Waste Management, i.e. 4 Rs, involving the broadcast, print, television, and social media.

8. The LGU must identify business organizations or companies dealing with Recycling of metals, bottles, construction waste, and many others and sign a memorandum of agreement to service the needs of the LGU. The LGU must assist these service providers in locating their recycling center and/or warehouse so they can ship these recyclables to the final recycling facility.

If I missed mentioning something that you might feel to be very important for your LGU or local situation, then feel free to add them.

I hope we, again, presented to you another informative post on how we can protect and conserve the environment through effective and efficient waste management.

If you know of any “Best Practice” which could be a helpful tip to protect and conserve our environment and the Earth, please share it with us. Thanks for following Earthniversity.


Earthniversity acknowledges its different sources of information, text, videos, and pictures. They were all properly cited on the pages where their materials were used.

Finally, you may also visit my blog site for more articles written about Bermuda with pictures. Here is the link:

Updated on November 25, 2019.

Zero Waste Initiatives viewed from a capital city’s experience


Zero Waste Initiatives viewed from a capital city’s experience.

Canberra, Australia

This case study is one of nine contributing to the Green Alliance paper An International Survey of Zero Waste Initiatives. The overview paper gives the background to this work and captures the findings and recommendations drawn from these longer case studies.


Canberra is the capital city of Australia, and occupies most of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), one of the two territories and six states making up federal Australia.

Canberra has a combined state-level government and city government. The city has a population of 325,000, with another 30,000 in satellite towns. We spoke to Chris Horsey, the manager of the ACT NOwaste programme.

ACT NOWaste is a business unit of the Department of Urban Services, implementing
the ACT Government’s Waste Management Strategy. Amongst other things the unit takes responsibility for providing strategic planning and policy advice; commissioning and managing contracts for the delivery of recycling and waste services; facilitating maximum recovery of resources within the community; engaging, consulting and
involving the community at all levels.


The ACT undertook a community consultation in 1995, initially engaging 60 community representatives and then a wider cross-section of society including special interest groups, local government and professional organisations. The community expressed a wish for a waste-free society, hence the NO Waste by 2010 goal. However,
in practice this is acknowledged to mean 95 per cent recycling – there will still be five per cent of residual waste (some 20,000 tonnes) going to landfill.

Canberra does not incinerate any of its waste, and there are no plans to generate energy from waste via thermal technologies, although digestion technologies for energy production are being

Current waste generation in Canberra is some 750,000 tonnes per annum (total waste: household, commercial, construction and demolition, but not mining and agricultural

As the ACT is mainly occupied by the city of Canberra, there is little industrial waste, and hazardous waste is exported out of state because there is no treatment capacity in the ACT. Generation is estimated by conducting a resource recovery industry survey every year that gives the recycling figures, plus landfill figures.

There is a waste inventory on the ACT government web site; although this was done in 1997and another one is being scheduled. Figures for 2003/4 indicated that 52,000 tonnes of household waste were sent to landfill through kerbside collection.

1 The resource recovery figure for all streams for 2003/04 was 500,279 tonnes (this includes paper, containers, garden waste/compost, demolition waste, cooking oil and fat, motor oil, metals, salvage and reused materials, clothing, etc.)

2 The ACT works on the basis of ‘total waste stream reduction’. To meet the 95 per cent recycling goal, ACT NOWaste has estimated that 50,000 tonnes of recyclables need to come from the business area, and another 5,000 tonnes from the municipal sector if households recycle everything possible. For garden waste, food waste and timber,
another 15,000 tonnes is possible from businesses, 7,000 tonnes from households, and 3,000 tonnes of timber out of construction and demolition (C&D). Overall 23,000
tonnes of C&D waste could be recycled. \

Chris Horsey is confident that the Territory knows what to do with all these materials – the infrastructure and services to collect
and process them are already in place, and markets are available. The exception to this is food waste processing, but an alternative waste management technology for dealing with this stream will be put to the ACT government in 2007. Significant work has been
undertaken on market development for garden waste products, and there are a number of garden waste drop-off and processing sites that sell their composted product back to businesses and residents. The focus is now on identifying viable markets for construction and demolition waste material products.

ACT NOWaste knows that although resource recovery is going up, waste generation is also increasing, meaning waste to landfill is decreasing incrementally. Reducing 250,000 tonnes to 204,000 tonnes has taken five years, and now the decrease is
slowing, so recycling is only just keeping pace with increased generation.

ACT NOWaste is struggling with waste avoidance and prevention issues. Chris Horsey is trying to work on sustainable procurement guidelines for the government sector; also ‘smart shopping’ attempting to persuade consumers to buy less – but as yet there is no
indication that these initiatives are making any significant difference.

The Australia Institute published in 2005 a very worrying report on wasteful consumption, including figures on people buying more than they can consume.

3 ACT is not making any current interventions, but Chris Horsey knows that it is an area of weakness. It is a struggle to understand how to change consumption patterns, but one that is essential if a sustainable society is to be achieved. The issue is perhaps one to be
discussed at a national rather than regional level.

It is worth noting that home composting is not seen as waste prevention, rather resource recovery. Composting does not tackle consumption issues at source and one of the findings of the Australia Institute report was that food consumption is one of the
most wasteful streams.

Most important drivers and instruments

It is a big advantage to have the State and City government all in one entity, and in Australia waste is very much the responsibility of State governments. The ACT has the Waste 2001 Act to provide the framework, and the Territory can build its own infrastructure and let its own contracts, so that there is a fully integrated system. The
main instrument is the ability to provide, but also control, the treatment infrastructure and services.

The main instrument stimulating recycling has been the Landfill Pricing Strategy. In 2002 the ACT published ‘Waste Pricing Strategy for the ACT’. This estimated the ‘true’ cost of waste to landfill at some $105 per tonne (comprising $34 per tonne for environmental costs, including greenhouse gas emissions, and $76 per tonne for direct
economic costs), when the ACT was only charging $33 per tonne (landfills and other waste infrastructure are in public ownership). Landfill was the cheapest and most popular option, so the ACT realised this would never drive resource recovery. The price
is now being adjusted – it is currently at $77 and next year it will be $90.

The goal is to reach $105 by 2008. This is important because it reflects the real costs of landfill, but also makes alternative treatment at $80-120 tonne more economic, so stimulating the market. There is an increasing economic incentive for the resource recovery industry to process waste before bringing it to landfill. Collection companies can now make a profit by pulling out the recyclables. Household waste collection is in public hands, but business collection is done by private companies, and they own the waste once collected, so can decide whether it is economic to recycle or not.

Household waste automatically goes through a resource recovery process because the state is paying the collection and infrastructure costs and can afford to choose to divert recyclables from landfill with more economic freedom than profit-maximizing businesses.

The Strategy is explicitly not a landfill tax, it is presented as a price
adjustment to avoid sensitivities about extra taxation.
Household kerbside recycling covers only dry recyclables at present. The ACT conducted a trial bio-waste collection programme and reported back in its publication,

‘The Chiefley Bio Bin Trial Report’.

The report was designed to help determine whether
an organic collection service is able to effectively separate organics into a stream for reprocessing. The conclusion was that not enough was being captured to ensure that the residual waste stream would not require treatment for its organic fraction.

So the ACT decided to omit organics and instead send them to treatment technologies that would make that separation in the plant, instead of at source – a ‘dirty MRF’ (materials recovery facility).

However, residents do deliver a lot of garden organic materials to composting (it is self-delivered and free to dispose), some 190,000 tonnes per annum, and there is a market for the end product from that.

There is no variable charging of householders, and no waste charge separated out from general rates. There is not currently any legislation to reinforce household recycling, however this is something that may be considered in the future. Mandatory recycling
targets for business and government sectors will be considered in 2007 if reductions continue to advance incrementally.
The ACT has produced a Resource Guide – a tool to help local government, industry and the general public identify and locate recyclers and markets for recycled materials.

Markets for most of the recycled materials exist in Australia, although mixed plastics are presently going to India and China.

ACT NOWaste is also working on Resource Recovery Estates on government lands – giving incentives such as long-term sub-leases and discounts on market-based rents.

There is a voluntary packaging covenant at national level, introduced in 1999, and the ACT is a stakeholder. Industries that have signed up to the covenant are obliged to develop and implement waste reduction plans and programs. It is delivering results, but quite slowly, especially in view of Canberra’s 2010 goal. The Covenant was
extensively reviewed throughout 2004 and as a consequence revised and strengthened.

The commitment was extended in terms of recycling targets and no further increases in packaging waste disposed to landfill by the end of 2010. There is a national goal of 65 per cent recycling for post-consumer packaging, incorporating resource recovery of
paper, glass, steel, aluminium and plastics. The rate as of July 2005 was 48 per cent.

4 progress to date

The ACT is currently achieving a 73 per cent recycling rate (there are no figures for household waste in isolation). 550,000 tonnes of waste per annum is being diverted from landfill. Presently, 204,000 tonnes are still going to landfill; 48 per cent of that from the government and business sector.

Construction and demolition separation and processing is working very well – diverting a significant amount through source separated wood metals, concrete, etc.

There are good established markets for C&D waste. However, separation and processing of mixed waste is not so good – the ACT is currently looking at a dirty MRF to separate that out.

Incineration is not seen to be a positive option. The ACT envisages that by 2009 they will have a treatment plant using a composting or anaerobic process for organic waste. The 2010 target will be unattainable without this. Waste to energy in Australia centres
on bio-digestion, however there have been failures on waste technologies and not all plants have worked as intended. The technology has only been around since 1998 and it has proved difficult getting composts to work without contamination and also
problematic meeting compost standards. The ACT has been considering facilities in Israel, Spain and France, waiting for the technologies to mature and be perfected.

It is essential for the Territory to be absolutely clear what the goals and end products will be and whether there is a market for them. There needs to be a very clear understanding of the composition of the waste and hence the possibilities from it. The ACT wants to be able to cite clear evidence for the merits of new technology and so is
taking a long-view approach. New plant capacity is very expensive and if existing technologies can treat, for example, paper and card for $40-50 per tonne; C&D for $50-70 per tonne there is little need to consider high-tech solutions for these materials.

Food waste costs around $80-$120 per tonne to process in a high-tech treatment facility and to avoid unnecessary costs imposed on the community other materials are encouraged to be separated at lower cost options. If materials are properly source separated and treated in isolation it keeps the size and cost of new plant needs down.
Even if the 95 per cent goal is met there will still be around 20,000 tonnes of residual waste to deal with. The ACT will pursue that last five per cent and try to reduce and change its composition, for example through tackling non-recyclable packaging.

Projects such as this may also need approaching at the national level, for example strengthening further the National Packaging Covenant. After 2010 the emphasis is likely to shift to looking at changing life-cycles and bringing in concrete producer responsibility measures. The key to future strategies will therefore be to engender and
sustain change in all areas of waste generation and management.
future approaches and lessons for other countries

(Please take note of the following statements)

The model of ACT NOWaste is important in that legislation, policy, infrastructure and programmes are brought together under an integrated framework. It is important to have an authority, or cooperating authorities, that can address all these elements. This
approach is something that can be transferred to other contexts and is an important element in Canberra’s success to date.

In terms of concrete measures, the landfill pricing strategy demonstrates the power of pricing over regulation and the importance of ensuring that there are economically viable and attractive alternatives to encourage recycling. The ACT has explicitly avoided dubbing the strategy a ‘tax’ and has been trying to bring prices in line with the ‘real’ costs in order to create a meaningful market platform for waste management alternatives.

Community engagement is a big factor in the success of the ACT. The community is generally considered environmentally sensitive, but $0.5 million a year is spent on promotion and engagement, not including start-up costs. However, the familiar issue of wasteful consumption is one that probably requires national legislation to tackle producer and consumer responsibility at the source end of waste generation.

The National Packaging Covenant has made a start in this direction but perhaps needs to be revised from its current voluntary base in order to make meaningful progress.