The Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) is undertaking an electronic stewardship work program, to tackle the 500,000 tonnes of e-waste generated every year that is projected to grow to nearly one million tonnes by 2035.

DAWE has established a taskforce to drive a national consultation process to better understand e-waste in Australia and identify potential e-stewardship opportunities.

Charitable Recycling Australia members are encouraged to register on DAWE’s website to be part of conversations around electronic stewardship solutions.

Over the past few months, the cost of shipping export container freight out of Australia has risen by 150% to 200%, due to supply chain issues, increased prices and a lack of availability of containers.

These already inflated prices are expected to continue to rise.

This is creating a very real and imminent threat to the commercial viability of Australia’s charities to be able to continue exporting pre-loved clothing textiles for reuse in international markets.

Australian Landfill Risk Alert – Australian Governments and Councils

Charitable Recycling Australia is alerting all Australian governments and councils that there is a short and medium risk to Australian landfill. If the 102,000 tonnes of clothing for reuse currently exported by charities each year is forced to stay in Australia, it will likely be destined to domestic landfill.

The commercial second-hand clothing export sector’s viability is similarly affected, adding to the volume of landfill risk.

While the charitable reuse sector is doing all it can to respond to these market conditions, as are the commercial exporters like King Cotton and SCR Group, there are risks to landfill in the short-medium term.

The unintended additional consequences may be equally dire:

  • Without reuse exports, charities will suffer an additional $50 million in lost revenue that would otherwise go towards social welfare programs locally.
  • Without reuse exports, the overseas demand will still remain, and the gap will be filled by an influx of cheap, newly manufactured clothing from Asia.
  • This would accelerate even more low quality clothing production that may further exacerbate environmental harm in destination countries, due to the shorter life of cheaply produced clothing not designed to last long.
  • Reuse exports globally also create millions of jobs in low income countries, predominantly for women, aiding poverty reduction and gender equality.

The situation in Australia is particularly severe, due to the local shortage of shipping containers from a decrease in trade between China and Australia, as well as increased demand for containers in countries such as the US that are slowly starting to open.

To compound the problems, industries with higher priced commodities are paying higher prices to secure a supply of containers. There are also unconfirmed reports of empty containers being fast-tracked back to China to meet this demand, further reducing container supply for Australian exports and driving up prices.

Charities and commercial second-hand textile exporters are unable to pass on these high costs to lower income end markets or absorb them to protect this important trade which has low margin and high volume traits.

Recommendations to Charitable Recycling Australia Members

Charitable Recycling Australia recommends members engage with their textile partners sooner rather than later to understand the risks and unpack possible options with them such as temporary storage, interim pricing, and discussion around other ways of potentially mitigating risks.

Charitable Recycling Australia has already raised a verbal alert with both Commonwealth and State Governments, and will continue to liaise with our government colleagues and stakeholders to inform and collaborate on this issue.

Request to Shipping Companies

If rising prices escalate to threaten both landfill and social welfare in Australia, Charitable Recycling Australia would like to raise discussion with Government on the possibility of requesting shipping companies to reduce (or at least cap) the escalating shipping costs, on the basis of environmental and social compassionate grounds and the fact we are dealing with very low-priced commodities.

We will keep members informed on this, as both the situation and a possible collective response evolves.

The Griffith University Yunus Centre has developed a conceptual framework around ‘Our Circular Economies Mission’ – linking the Circular and Impact economy.

The Government of Western Australia has announced its Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030 with a vision that Western Australia will become a sustainable, low-waste, circular economy in which human health and the environment are protected from the impacts of waste.

EPA NSW has announced its new Strategic Plan 2021-24, that sets out its vision for five focus areas over the next three years: Ecological Sustainable Development, Waste, Water Quality, Climate Change, and Legacy and Emerging Contaminants.

Textiles is a focus area for the Victorian Government in 2021-22.

Following an insightful Textiles Workshop hosted by DELWP and Sustainability Victoria, the Circular Economy Business Innovation Centre (CEBIC) has been launched to support the textiles industry through a grant stream.

CEBIC’s priorities are collaboration and innovative ideas to reduce textiles waste and use materials more efficiently.

Register for grant funding and workshops:

The Australian and New South Wales Governments have announced 22 new ground-breaking recycling projects across metropolitan and regional NSW as part of a $600 million national rollout of recycling infrastructure.

Charitable Recycling Australia commends the Commonwealth and NSW Governments on this joint initiative, which also leads the way to where we would like to be in respect of Clothing Textiles across all states in a few years.

Did you know that the average Australian donates 39kg of goods for reuse to charity each year? 12kg of that is clothing.

  • Which state is the most generous? Tasmania.
  • Tasmanians donate a massive 67kg a year to charity!

Charitable Recycling Australia thanks all Australians for their generosity, without which charities could not deliver the massive social and environmental benefits they do.

Check out how your state fared in terms of average donations each year:

  • 67kg Tasmania
  • 56kg South Australia
  • 55kg Queensland
  • 36kg Victoria
  • 31kg New South Wales
  • 31kg Western Australia
  • 31kg Northern Territory
  • 14kg Australian Capital Territory

A typical charity shop receives an average of 376 tonnes of donations a year, with 339 tonnes donated in store and 37 tonnes donated via collection bins.

The US-based Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (SMART), the European Recycling Industries’ Confederation (EuRIC), the UK’s Textile Recycling Association (TRA) and the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) cite the Kenyan reuse market for second-hand clothes as an example to the world.

  • The used clothing textile industry is crucial to Kenya’s economy with two million people directly employed
  • Many of these businesses are operated by women, which helps promote gender equality
  • For every 100 used garments purchased, 60-85 new garments are displaced
  • In turn, that means there is a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and the use of toxins which would have been caused by the production of new textiles

The Nordic Council of Ministers’ Green Growth Initiative highlighted the need for comprehensive collection, reuse and recycling of used textiles as part of a growing circular economy.

A major study in close cooperation with the 13 largest exporters of used textiles estimated the socio-economic and environmental impacts arising from their subsequent treatment. The key findings of the Nordic Council of Ministers Report are essential reading, and point to a strong net environmental benefit, support for thousands of jobs as an important vehicle for poverty reduction, savings in carbon emissions and water, and a realisation that if imports were restricted the gap would likely be filled by increasing imports of cheap new clothing from Asia, not by resurgence in local production.

In Australia, the Charitable Impact Study shows that textile exports for reuse:

  • Generate $50 million for charity towards social welfare programs locally
  • Extend the life of 100,000 tonnes of wearable garments
  • Support commercial recycling and job creation domestically
  • Serve overseas consumers with low incomes that need quality clothing
  • Support livelihoods and poverty reduction overseas

Charitable Recycling Australia is building a social media profile with the launch of an Instagram page in October 2021.

Our objectives are to:

  • Increase awareness among young consumers on the positive impacts of charitable reuse and the benefits of op shopping
  • Deliver information on responsible donating and the circular economy
  • Position charities as the first point of call for donations
  • Support members with content, validation and insights to help scale their own communications campaigns

If you would liked to collaborate socially with Charitable Recycling Australia, check out the link below or email Omer directly.

 

The Monash Sustainable Development Institute has created a best practice guide to the circular economy, through the lens of a T-Shirt.

This is the first in a series of Circular Economy Stories

Click here to download.

Charitable Recycling Australia will soon be distributing ‘Network Activation Kits’ to all members, including social media tiles, EDM headers and in-store poster creatives using key datasets from the Charitable Impact Report to help members collectively drive responsible donations, charity shop sales and meaningful stakeholder engagement.

The Network Activation Kits are designed to communicate a powerful evidence-based business case for government and council support for the sector, as well as individual Charitable Recycling Australia member enterprises.

Members will receive these kits on a monthly basis.

Contact Omer Soker for more information.

Charitable Recycling Australia is pleased to announce that Brian Walker, CEO at The Retail Doctor Group, Peter Knock, Director at Peter Knock Consultancy and John Elliott, Founder at Looptworks have been appointed as inaugural members of the newly formed Retail Advisory Group.

The Charter of the Retail Advisory Group is to:

  • Ask fundamental questions and provoke transformative action in the retail arena, including a vision for the sector by 2028.
  • Bet at the forefront of communicating triple bottom line impact, closing the gaps between profit and purpose.
  • Educate and encourage Charitable Recycling Australia member enterprises with best practice retail management.
  • Help develop effective benchmarking for the charitable retail sector.
  • Support the development of an effective online retail model for the sector.
  • Help to set an ambitious agenda to grow the size and scale of the charitable retail sector.
  • Help promote awareness of the charitable retail sector with consumers.
  • Engage diverse talent within the Advisory and other spaces to drive collaborative inclusive outcomes.

Inviting Applications for the Retail Advisory Group:

Diversity is the lifeblood of progress. Retail specialists outside of the charity shop sector, across all levels of expertise, including aspiring leaders are invited to join the Advisory. Two voluntary positions are available, and we would love to see real diversity so please feel encouraged to apply.

Please email Omer Soker with your interest, focusing on three questions:

  • Why do you want to join the Retail Advisory?
  • How will you contribute to the Charter?
  • What retail skillsets do you bring to the Advisory?

The EPA NSW has developed a range of education materials to remind people to donate responsibly. NSW charitable recyclers spend millions of dollars annually disposing of donations dumped outside their doors and collection bins. The education materials (posters, social media tiles, infographic and stickers) are available to remind householders how to donate responsibly and the impacts of not doing so.

These materials can be freely used and shared by individuals or organisations working to prevent illegal dumping around charities.

For more details please click here.

Charitable Recycling Australia was one of three organisations invited to present at the National Clothing Textiles Waste Roundtable at Parliament House in Canberra, along with the Australian Fashion Council and WRAP.

Hosted by the Hon. Sussan Ley MP, Minister for the Environment and the Hon. Trevor Evans MP, Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction, the Roundtable brought together industry leaders to address the 800,000 tonnes of textiles discarded by Australians every year – prompting the Government to prioritise clothing textile waste and invest $1 million to fund a new grant round under the National Product Stewardship Investment Fund.

Charitable Recycling Australia has long advocated in support of an Australian Fashion Council led product stewardship scheme for clothing, aligned around a WRAP model but designed specifically for Australia’s unique circumstances with support from the National Retail Association, the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association and local subject matter experts including Sustainable Resource Use.

This open, collaborative model and ‘coalition of the willing’ brings together global best practice and support, with an opportunity to develop it further into an Australian ‘Dream Team’ where everyone who has a stake can be involved and make a contribution – with a clear line of sight in delivering the Government’s key objectives and with full accountability on real, measurable impacts to solve Australia’s clothing textile waste problem.

The Government’s initiative is an exciting opportunity to bring together industry, reuse charities, academia, technology companies, subject matter experts and collaborative organisations with an ethos for being part of a coordinated action plan for Australian clothing textiles.

Huge thanks to DAWE for organising the Roundtable, and to Salvos and Vinnies for participating in the exhibition under the Moving the Needle banner to accessorise Ministers, MPs and Government staffers with donated ties and scarves that made for a very engaging, informative and educational exhibit.

Charitable Recycling Australia also thanks the Product Stewardship Centre of Excellence for its guidance and expertise.

WATCH VIDEO: https://www.facebook.com/100059431605965/videos/158023519670786

Charitable Recycling Australia commissioned independent market researchers MRA Consulting to measure the triple bottom line impact of the charitable reuse and recycling network – and the findings were launched at the National Clothing Textiles Roundtable at Parliament House last week.

The Charitable Impact Study shows that charitable recycling diverts over a million tonnes of waste from landfill, raises almost a billion dollars for social good, creates over 5,300 jobs and engages 33,500 volunteers across 9.2 million volunteer hours every year.

Our network of 3,000+ charity and social enterprise retailers and 10,000+ charity bins have a resource recovery rate of 86%. That means we use 86% of all items donated – and in doing so, we reduce carbon emissions by 66%, energy use by 59% and water consumption by 57%.

These are just some of the headline datasets and outputs that show how the charitable reuse and recycling network can help all levels of government meet Australia’s 2030 National Waste Policy targets – as a sector that is widely acknowledged as the first responders in the circular economy.

Monash University has been awarded an Australian Research Council Linkage Projects Grant to measure the benefits of reuse in the circular economy.

“The COVID-19 crisis has shown how vulnerable our society and economy is on globalised commodity chains so this grant is timely in that we must reset our materials economy along more sustainable lines, embracing circular economy principles that promote product longevity, and the repair and reuse of products and materials,” said Dr Ruth Lane who is overseeing the research for Monash University.

Charitable and community enterprises play a critical role in domestic commodity chains involving repair and reuse. They collect donated goods that would otherwise go to landfill, they provide skills development and employment training for staff and volunteers, and they ensure the availability of affordable second-hand goods and materials.

Research partner organisation National Association of Charitable Recycling Organisations estimates that 285 million products are reused each year, diverting 622,000 tonnes away from landfill.

Charitable and community enterprises also offer insights into how we could better support reuse commodity chains as part of a wider reset for a more sustainable circular economy that delivers social as well as environmental benefits.

The just announced research project, ‘Measuring the benefits of reuse in the circular economy’, will advance understanding of reuse commodity chains, their societal benefits and contributions to a sustainable circular economy. Drawing on case study research with charitable and community reuse enterprises, it will identify factors that facilitate or inhibit reuse and develop rigorous methods for assessing the benefits of reuse organisations in terms of materials processed, employment, skills development and contributions to regional economic development.

The National Waste Report (2020) indicates that reuse generates more jobs per tonne of goods than recycling, which in turn generates significantly more jobs than traditional landfill.

The outputs of the research will provide a sound evidence base for government policy and target-setting and strengthen conceptual understanding of the key drivers and enablers of reuse and how these are linked with broader economic activities.

“COVID-19 has shown how important reuse is, to reset an unsustainable material economy, to create new jobs into the future, and provide affordable second-hand goods and services for those in need”, added Dr Lane.

For more information, please contact:

To assist businesses in dealing with the financial impacts of COVID-19, the Queensland Government will be deferring the increase of waste levy rates originally scheduled to take effect from 1 July 2020.

A six month deferral to 1 January 2021 has been approved.

This means the levy will stay at $75 per tonne for general waste, and $105 and $155 per tonne for hazardous (regulated) wastes until 31 December 2020.

For further information about the waste levy, please visit the Queensland Government website at www.qld.gov.au/wastedisposallevy.

For further information about COVID-19 support for businesses, please visit the Queensland Government’s dedicated business website at www.business.qld.gov.au.

Landfill operators in Queensland’s levy zone

Please note you will be provided with further information on the deferral and what it means for your levy obligations and processes.

New recycling program opportunities are available via the State Government, including funding and grants. Please click here for information and regular updates.

Funding and Grants

For further information, please contact DES Waste Avoidance and Recovery Programs on (07) 3330 5164, or by email at wasteprograms@des.qld.gov.au

NACRO has a vision for a Circular Textiles Economy, and it begins with the overarching perspective that clothing textiles donated to charities are a resource, not a waste.

Clothing textiles are a valuable resource in Australia’s economy, whether they are new – or about to be reused. In fact, a pre-loved item made from quality fibres and donated to a charity store for reuse may well be much more of a resource than a ‘new’ poorly made, ‘fast fashion’ item designed for limited use. Donated for reuse, clothing textiles can be reused many times until the end of life, when its quality fibres make it more suitable and economical for recycling.

A network of 3,000 charitable op shops ensure reuse throughout Australia. Some clothing is exported, and these are also donated items intended for reuse. The only difference between exported items and the items sold in op shops, is that they are of a slightly lesser grade without a viable reuse/resale market in Australia – but perfectly ideal and in high demand for developing countries overseas with consumers of limited purchasing power. In addition to serving a vital need overseas, the export trade generates millions of dollars in revenue for Australian charities, that goes directly toward social welfare programs for the most disadvantaged people and communities at home.

The clothing textile export trade cannot be defined as ‘waste’. The clothing has not been ‘discarded as waste’, it has been ‘gifted for reuse as a resource’. The charitable organisations and commercial suppliers operating in this trade are not paid to collect the items, and have no incentives to discard them. This ‘resource’ business model makes it essential to find reuse markets and generate revenue through sales of the resource – it is a valuable commodity.

In terms of clothing textiles, very little is lost as waste to landfill – so long as the resource enters the charitable reuse and recycling sector system. Some NACRO members even report up to 80-90% resource recovery rates in clothing textiles – with total usage including reuse/resale in shops, donations to those in need, ragging, recycling, repurposing and export. The vast majority of textile waste to landfill is generated outside of the charitable sector system – by consumers and businesses that erroneously send it straight to landfill, instead of donating it.

That’s why NACRO has developed a 3-Stage, 10-year Roadmap to Clothing Textile Solutions. Click here to see NACRO’s roadmap, which is included in the Federal Inquiry submission.

NACRO has launched a Victorian campaign on responsible donating targeting consumers, through radio and posters. The positive reinforcement campaign with a tagline of ‘Be Part of the Solution’ seeks to inform and inspire consumers to donate responsibly to charities. The campaign is funded by NACRO through income received from the charitable component of Metro Trains Melbourne’s (MTM) donation bin network, and reached approximately 82% of Victorians over the busy New Year donating period.

NACRO would also like to acknowledge the SCRGroup for their role in managing the MTM donation bin/hub network, and thank them for their collaboration with NACRO.

Click here to listen to NACRO’s radio advertisement promoting responsible donating in Victoria.

NACRO has funded a critical piece of research to demonstrate the social, environmental and economic impacts of charitable reuse and recycling, using the case study of clothing textiles.

Understanding the impact of NACRO member activities will contribute to an evidence base for the benefits of the sector, helping all NACRO members to demonstrate their unique selling points to customers, businesses and governments. It will also enable NACRO to advocate on behalf of the sector with hard data to promote the benefits of charitable reuse and recycling organisations within Circular Economy principles.

NACRO would like to thank DES, DELWP, Sustainability Victoria, DWER, EPA Tasmania, EPA NSW and DPIE for their input into the research brief and key metrics, and to congratulate MRA Consulting who has been appointed to conduct the research.

It is important that all NACRO members participate in providing data for the research, to ensure the impact metrics are representative of the entire sector. All individual data provided by members will be kept confidential, and only used in aggregate. MRA Consulting will reach out to members shortly, and the research is expected to be complete by mid to late 2020, after which NACRO will fund and launch a major communications and engagement campaign.

Please click here to see a copy of the research brief and key metrics.

PS: This project is separate and additional to the Australian Research Council Linkages Grant application research proposal on ‘The benefits of charitable reuse within the Circular Economy’, through Monash University which has received funding from DES, GISA and SV subject to ARC grant approval.

The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment has entered into a Partnership Agreement with NACRO for the development of a suite of tender documents for waste and recycling management services under a Weight Based Billing system. NACRO estimates that NSW members may save up to $1.5 million annually through this project.

The benefits of a Weight Based Billing system include cost savings for charitable recycling organisations, a direct price signal to reduce waste-to-landfill and billing transparency and accountability through the supply chain.

All NACRO NSW Members are encouraged to attend the members meeting for a full briefing and details on how this will assist their operations, save them money and enable them to better access the Community Service Exemption.

This project is a NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, Waste Less, Recycle More initiative funded by the waste levy.

NACRO commends the Federal Government on its inquiry into innovation in the Waste and Recycling Industries.

NACRO has lodged a submission on the role of the charitable reuse and recycling sector as pioneers of the Circular Economy and key drivers of reuse in Australia. It calls on the Government to action four key recommendations:

  • Leverage the charitable recycling sector as a critical enabler of the Circular Economy and of reuse.
  • Initiate a National Textiles Reuse Policy, as a multi sector collaboration to ensure reuse is prioritised in the emerging Circular Economy as it delivers higher economic returns than recycling.
  • Conduct national research on material flows for textiles and other household goods, in order to develop an agreed understanding of the current challenges, and ensure opportunities are pursed at the highest levels of the waste hierarchy.
  • Encourage the development of recycling technology infrastructure to add value to textiles that cannot be reused or repurposed.

Please click here to see NACRO’s submission to the Federal Inquiry, or find it on the Parliament of Australia’s website here.

The Western Australian Charitable Recyclers Dumping Reduction Program (CRDRP) supports charitable recyclers that divert used items from landfill and recover them for recycling and reuse. The program aims to reduce illegal dumping and littering, and to prevent unusable items – which ultimately end up at landfill – being left at donation sites. The program will support demonstration projects that implement and evaluate methods to reduce illegal dumping and littering.

In 2019-20, $50,000 of funding is available.

Click here for full details of the program, eligibility criteria and how to apply.

Applications close at 5pm, 18 November 2019.

For more information please contact:
Brendan Mohr, CRDRP Program Coordinator
brendan.mohr@dwer.wa.gov.au
(08) 6364 6945

NACRO applauds the Tasmanian Government’s new draft Waste Action Plan. Tasmania’s commitment to move towards a Circular Economy is exciting, with opportunities to scale and accelerate the reuse, recycling, repair and resource recovery activities of NACRO members. We look forward to working with, and supporting EPA Tasmania to deliver its objectives.

Read NACRO‘s Submission on the Tasmanian Government’s Draft Waste Action Plan

NACRO is delighted to announce that Griffith University have won a $347,000 Australian Research Council Linkage Grant social media grant to promote responsible donating. This is supported with an additional investment by the Department of Environment and Science, as well as NACRO members. The objective is to understand the social media messages that drive behaviour change among donating public. Charities are grateful for the generosity of Australians, and this initiative looks to better inform donors who are committed to making a social and environmental impact.

Read more in this Courier Mail article >

Nacro is excited to announce 2 new major sponsors for the upcoming Annual Conference.

Day One Sponsor – Recycling/Reuse – MRA Consulting

MRA is sponsor of Day One of the Conference. They are one of Australia’s leading environmental Consultancy Firms, specialising in all aspects of waste and recycling. They are experts in waste, resource recovery and technology, climate change, carbon and sustainable development, and our vision of the future is one that is both environmentally sustainable and economically rational.

Day Two Sponsor – Retail – Shop for Shops

Shop for Shops is sponsor of Day Two of the Conference. They are Australia’s leading retailer of shop fittings, shelving and display solutions. They provide a vast range of Off the Shelf products and tailored Custom Solutions, to a diverse range of customers with Quality, Practical Solutions.

NACRO members are the original circular economy experts. We divert waste from landfill, generate funds to support the community, and create thousands of voluntary and paid positions around the country. However, we know very little about our collective impact – the contribution that we, as a sector, make to Australia’s social, environmental and economic fabric. Understanding our collective impact will create an evidence base for the unequalled social and environmental benefits of our sector, helping all NACRO members to demonstrate their unique selling points to customers, businesses and governments. It will also help NACRO to advocate on behalf of the sector, providing hard data and case studies to back up what we already know – that the charitable reuse, recycling and retail sector creates unparalleled social and environmental benefits for the Australian community.

NACRO’s proposed approach seeks to link charitable reuse and recycling with its social, environmental and economic impacts, by inviting members to regularly contribute basic information about their work and impact. This information will be used to build up an increasingly detailed picture of our sector’s collective impact around the country. Individual organisations will be able to access their own data, and ultimately, generate reports and infographics for use in stakeholder communications, annual reports, tenders and grant applications.

This project is based on prior work conducted by Zero Waste Network from 2016 to 2019 which focused on community reuse organisations, excluding charity op shops. Moving forward the project will include ongoing research collaborations with the Centre for Social Impact and Monash University. With the merger of Zero Waste Network into NACRO, we are now in a position to continue this work as a united sector, and will be measuring the impact of the whole sector, including charity op shops. Based on research and interviews with charitable peak associations and networks overseas, it is clear that collective impact measurement is one of the most effective ways to demonstrate value and catalyse sector growth, and we are looking forward to working closely with all our members to move this project forwards in the coming year.

Member consultation and project planning will begin from October 2019 – for more information, contact Matt Allen:

MATTHEW ALLEN
Program and Sustainability Manager
0432 538 827
matt.allen@nacro.org.au

NACRO commends the Victorian Government on its commitment to developing a circular economy policy and the release of its Issues Paper for consultation.

NACRO is delighted to submit the attached feedback outlining the importance of the charitable reuse, recycling and retail sector as both early adopters of circular economy principals, and as charitable organisations with a full social licence. The sector contributes perhaps the greatest triple bottom line impact for Victoria in terms of the social, environmental and economic benefits it delivers.

We look forward to working together with the Victorian Government to transform to the circular economy – as a sustainable, prosperous, zero waste, low carbon-emitting economy that also serves the best interests of people, not just in Victoria, but around our planet.

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has released a new application for the Community Service Exemption from the NSW Waste Levy.

A downloadable PDF called ‘Community Service Exemption Guidelines – Completing an Application’ is now available to help applicants navigate the new application and can be found here.

There is no change to how charities claim the exemption.  The only change is the application and application process.

Please click here to access the online application form.

For further information about Community Service Exemption from the Waste Levy please click here.

NACRO Incorporating Zero Waste Network has been invited to provide feedback to the Victorian Government’s Circular Economy issues paper released this week.

Charitable reuse, recycling and retail organisations are perfectly positioned to both support, and benefit from, the transition into a circular economy that will grow our economy, increase jobs and reduce impacts on the environment. Directly, as more consumers embrace reuse, it will also drive more sales for charity op shops and not-for-profit community reuse outlets.

All members are encouraged to participate in the consultation, either directly at https://engage.vic.gov.au/circulareconomy or with feedback to NACRO, which we will incorporate into our formal submission to the Victorian Government via DELWP.

DELWP has also asked us that if NACRO Inc ZWN members have initiatives they would like to share, to go to engage.vic.gov.au/circulareconomy/yourcircularstory.

The circular economy is also the keynote topic at NACRO’s Annual Conference in Melbourne on 14-15 October, and all charitable reuse and recycling organisations are encouraged to attend, and be part of this important conversation for us all to use materials more efficiently and avoid waste in all stages of making, using and disposing of the products and infrastructure we rely on every day.

NACRO is looking forward to providing feedback on behalf of the charitable reuse, recycling and retail sector, and working closely with EPA Tasmania. NACRO is pleased to see a commitment to support and accelerate charitable reuse and recycling in Tasmania, and will assertively assist the EPA with its commitment to the Circular Economy, and in leveraging the social, environmental and economic impacts of charitable recyclers.

At the same time, NACRO is also supporting the Circular Economy policy developments of other State Governments.

The role of charitable recyclers in the Circular Economy is also the Keynote session at the NACRO Annual Conference in Melbourne – and not to be missed. (Register today)

Please click here for a copy of the draft plan for consultation.

NACRO’s formal offer to integrate and merge the Zero Waste Network’s assets, members and influence into NACRO has been approved by the ZWN board and ratified by its members with overarching enthusiasm.

Both are not-for-profit charitable associations with much in common. The combined value proposition will scale our influence to uphold trust in, and promote the impact of the charitable reuse, recycling and retail sector as a collaborative and progressive network with a powerful voice to advocate on behalf of all member needs.

The integration will unify our sector and put charitable reuse and recycling organisations at the top of the agenda for local, state and federal government, as well as providing both sets of members access to more member services, greater benefits and enhanced influence together. NACRO is working through the transition with ZWN and a formal announcement will be made shortly.

For more information, please contact omer.soker@nacro.org.au or see the ZWN website.

Join leaders of the charitable recycling sector for the most important and thought-provoking two days of the year – at the NACRO Annual Conference at the Pullman Albert Park Melbourne on 14-15 October 2019.

Take a look at the Conference Agenda and book at Early Bird rates today.

Day 1 Recycling has Australia’s best speakers on the circular economy, sustainable fashion, product stewardship, recycling technology and reuse.

Day 2 Retail includes how to turn donors into shoppers, online solutions, outperforming commercial retail, disruption, innovation and donor trust.

The Hon Lily D’Ambrosio, Minister for Environment will open the conference in person to set the tone for an amazing two days of future vision into our sector.

The Early Bird discount rates won’t last long, so book today before the conference sells out.

Rob Lucas – Treasurer of SA

Following representations to the South Australian Government and collaborative discussions with the EPA and Green Industries, NACRO is delighted that the Hon Rob Lucas, Treasurer of SA, has announced that a 50% reduction on the levy will be provided to charity organisations on unwanted waste they receive as part of the donation system. With the waiver eligibility criteria aligned with NACRO’s own membership criteria, the EPA is looking at fast-tracking the application process for NACRO members. Details have been sent to NACRO SA members with operational recommendations and actions they need to take right now to access the waiver.

In other waste levy news, the Victorian Landfill Levy Relief Program has been extended again, the Queensland Waste Levy Exemption comes into effect on 1 July 2019 for approved charitable recyclers and NACRO is in discussions with EPA NSW on a weight-based billing initiative designed to assist the implementation of the Community Service Exemption.

All up, NACRO is set to save charitable recyclers $4 million this year.

Australia’s recycling industry is concerned that Sunday’s 60 Minutes program didn’t paint the full picture of Australia’s recycling efforts and didn’t highlight the industry’s contribution of some 50,000 jobs and $15 billion in value, with real potential for more benefits.

The report included:a false claim that much of Australia’s plastic waste is being disposed of incorrectly in south-east Asia; didn’t sufficiently highlight recycling’s many upsides, and; should not discourage the vast majority of Australians who regularly recycle to keep doing so because their efforts matter.

Australian Council of Recycling (ACOR) CEO, Peter Shmigel, said:“Australian recycling is highly successful, despite some ill-conceived claims in the broadcast.In fact, up to90per cent of material collected for recycling is made into new products.”

Waste Management & Resource Recovery Association (WMRR) CEO, Gayle Sloan, said: “Australia’s industry is aiming to get even better through investment, innovation and community education to build a stronger domestic recycling system, and is therefore advocating a new labelling scheme for community confidence.”

National Waste & Recycling Industry Council CEO, Rose Read, said: “The community votes in favour of recycling through its very strong participation. We encourage householders to continue to separate and sort their recycling correctly to reduce contamination and realise the environmental and economic benefits of recycling.”

According to the National Waste Report 2018 undertaken by the Commonwealth Government,plastic exports from Australia decreased last year by 25 per cent.

It also found that:

  • Australians generated 67 million tonnes of waste (including 13 million from kerbside collections)
  • 37 million tonnes of waste was recycled(5 million from kerbside collections)
  • 33 million tonnes of the recycling was undertaken in Australia
  • 4 million tonnes of material was exported from Australia for recycling(over 50% being metal)

It is estimated that between 10 and15 per cent of kerbside recycling cannot be recycled because it is contaminated with nappies, soft plastics, garden hoses, bricks and batteries.

A claim was made by 60 Minutes that 71,000 tonnes of recyclable plastic was exported to Malaysia.“

If the claim that all these materials are not being properly processed is accurate, this is very concerning, as there are also legitimate processors in Malaysia. 71,000 tonnes represents less than 2 per cent of the 4 million tonnes of what is actually exported and less than 0.2 per cent of the 37 million collected for recycling,”Mr Shmigel added.

“The community want and support kerbside recycling. With better support from all levels of Government, the waste management sector is well-placed to achieve better recycling outcomes,” added Tony Khoury from Waste Contractors & Recyclers Association of NSW (WCRA).

The local recycling industry, which employs more than 50,000 Australians and generates up to $15 billion in value, is currently making some of the most advanced recycling investments in the world in response to the impacts of restrictions across Asia, including high-tech infrastructure to improve sorting and processing to produce high quality materials from recovered waste from households, businesses and construction sites.

Recycling groups including the Australian Council of Recycling (ACOR), Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association Australia (WMRR), the Australian Organics Recycling Association (AORA), Waste Contractors & Recyclers Association of NSW (WCRA) and National Waste and Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC) have been urging greater investment, regulatory reform and policy support from Governments.

A recent Reachtel survey commissioned by ACOR found that almost 93 per cent of people said reducing waste and recycling products into new products is important to them and 87 per cent supported increasing recycling and reducing landfill by processing food and garden material from rubbish bins into useful products.

“There is not a shred of doubt that the industry wants to see maximum resource recovery. Our local industry is investing heavily and working collaboratively to upgrade local processing capacity which in the past were, to some extent, built to meet China’s previous specifications,” added Ms Sloan.

“We need a Made with Australian Recycled Content label which will do two key things –empower the community to take action and ownership of the materials they consume and incentivise manufacturers and brand owners to include recycled content in their packaging and products. This will create new markets for recycled materials and ensure a sustainable future for kerbside recycling, local resource recovery,and remanufacturing. Developing any industry is a collaborative effort and one that takes time. As we move forward, the industry is seeking leadership from all levels of Government.”

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Chris Hall (Primary Communication)
m 0419 607 909
chall@primary-pr.com

Frank Coletta
m 0468 987 295
fcoletta@primary-pr.com

NACRO calls on all State Governments to invest just $10 for each tonne of waste charities deal with each year, into three proven interventions to tackle dumping at charities, to increase reuse and recycling initiatives in the charitable recycling sector and to educate consumers on responsible donations. NACRO also challenges the Federal Government to get involved in this important conversation, and match the funding dollar for dollar so we can end dumping at charities, protect our environment and support our communities.

Policy Positions

NACRO launches a new policy position and 3-point plan to tackle dumping at charities, to increase reuse and recycling in the charitable recycling sector, and to educate consumers on responsible donations. Omer Soker, CEO of NACRO was invited to launch the plan live on air on Weekend Sunrise.

Policy Positions

It’s time to start telling a different story about Australia’s waste industry. That the China ban in fact represents the massive incentive our country needs to start looking for solutions. And more and more stakeholders are contributing to the conversation about the future focused solutions.

Fore more, click here.

For Charity Fraud Awareness Week, Scamwatch has revealed that charities are losing out on more than $320,000 in donations due to fake charity scams. Scamwatch is appealing to donors to be wary of fake charities or people impersonating real charities. In 2018, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) received almost 690 reports of scams.

For more click here.

The EPA NSW’s Product Improvement Program is open to applications, with individual grants of $50,000 to $1 million available.

The program supports co-investment in infrastructure projects that aim to improve the quality of recycled materials,  reduce the amount of unrecyclable material left at the end of the process, increase the amount of waste materials recycled, and increase capacity to recover and reprocess waste materials (with priority given to mixed paper/cardboard, plastics and glass).

Round 1 will close at 5pm on Thursday 23 August 2018.

More information is available on the EPA website.

Vinnies NSW has launched a second Bulk Container Deposit Centre as part of the state’s container deposit scheme. The Unanderra facility can process up to 100,000 containers per day, and complements existing over-the-counter sites and reverse vending machines with an efficient way to process large volumes of eligible containers.

Container deposit refunds can be received on-the-spot, and are available to consumers, community groups, charities, social enterprises and businesses bringing in containers.

For more, check out the Vinnies NSW website.

ThredUp is an online retail platform seeking to reinventing second-hand shopping by disintermediating op shops and sending clothes direct to consumers. As Australian op shops look to develop their online offerings, ThredUp needs to be on the radar.

Here’s a product review and individual perspective from Cheap Chic.

Forget panning for gold or extracting copper ore. A new study shows that recovering metals from discarded electronics, a process known as urban mining, is far less expensive than mining them the traditional way. In 2016 alone, the world discarded 44.7 million metric tons of unusable or simply unwanted electronics. A Chinese study found that organisations could make a profitable business out of urban mining, which is 13 times cheaper than traditional mining – especially when government subsidies are factored in.

So what are the income opportunities from old electronics? Read on.

For most people, once they lift the lid and throw their rubbish in the wheelie bin, their household waste is out of sight, out of mind. Gunther Hoppe, chief executive of the Mindarie Regional Council in Western Australia is hoping to challenge this mindset by putting wheelie bin contents on display. As a trial to start a better conversation with consumers about reducing waste, 20 transparent bins will be used by participating houses over eight weeks so people can see waste more clearly.

Consumer initiatives like this all serve to help a better understanding and behaviour around not just waste, but potentially dumping as well. Read on.

Germany and Wales have seemingly mastered their waste problem. They could help Australia as it grapples with China’s ban on contaminated recyclable material. Having set an ambitious target to achieve zero waste by 2030, Wales could soon overtake Germany as the world’s leading recycling nation. Germany is so good at recycling they have even found a use for dead animals. Hunters can drop their deer heads at the depot and they’ll be rendered down for fat which can be used in a range of products like lip balm. When you’re in Sweden, you’re never more than 300 metres from a recycling station.

What more can Australia learn from innovators like these? Read on.

Emergency measures in response to China’s ban on foreign waste, like stockpiling, landfilling or trying to find other international destinations for our recycling are not sustainable long-term solutions. We need a broad debate on a long-term rethink for an innovative, sustainable recycling sector – with all stakeholders coming together.

Read The Conversation’s re-think suggestions here

 

The Australian Council of Recycling (ACOR) has laid out a roadmap that starts with harmonising bins nationally ($28M), upgrading sorting centres ($33M), developing more factories to produce paper pulp and plastic pellets ($57M), using raw materials for infrastructure ($32M) and burning waste into energy.

ACOR’s strategic vision on strategic focus areas and where upgrades are needed is a powerful catalyst for discussions on how Australia can get serious about what we do with our own unwanted plastics, how we can work with waste to energy operators to understand the value of our excess product, and how we can market our sector as a vehicle to educate the community on great recycling behaviour.

Read ACOR’s roadmap here.

In the lead up to the Meeting of Environment Ministers (MEM), the Greens released an industry blueprint on waste recycling, designed to expand the Australian waste management system to replace the need to export recyclables.

The Greens want to spend $500 million over five years on infrastructure and programs to improve recycling with a national container deposit scheme and waste streams for tyres, mattresses and e-waste.

Read the Greens blueprint here.

At the Meeting of Environment Ministers (MEM) on 27 April 2017 the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment and Energy and the Environment Minister from each Australian state and territory agreed to:.

• Reduce the amount of waste and make it easier for products to be recycled.
• Increase the demand for recycled products, and create new markets for recycled materials.
• Increase Australia’s recycling capacity, and grow our domestic capabilities.
• Advance waste-to-energy projects, recognising the reduction, reuse and recycling of waste as a priority.
• Encourage waste reduction strategies through consumer education and awareness.
• Update the 2009 Waste Strategy to include circular economy principles.

Read the full statement here.

The Queensland Government has confirmed plans to reintroduce a waste levy in a bid to stop interstate waste entering the state. Full details have yet to be released but the Deputy Premier Jackie Trad has suggested that it may likely be around $50-$70 per tonne, and that it will be designed so it does not directly impact Queenslanders. ABC Story can be found at this link.

After nine years, my team and I are stepping down from managing the National Association of Charitable Recycling Organisations.

It has been an honour to serve the association and a privilege to work with a wonderful series of Chairs, namely Ken Richardson (Lifeline), Cathy Bray (The Smith Family), John Hillier (UnitingCare) and Michael Skudutis (Salvos Stores ST) and more recently Matt Davis (Salvos Stores). I am proud of our courageous efforts to protect the environment within which our members operate and to promote the benefits of the sector. We will miss the many wonderful people who work and volunteer within the sector.

On behalf of NACRO Chair, Matt Davis, I am pleased to announce that following an extensive executive recruitment search with the NACRO National Executive, Omer Soker has been appointed NACRO’s new CEO effective from 8 March.

Omer was formerly the CEO of the Australian Gift and Homewares Association, which he led through a period of significant change, progress and growth. After an earlier career in publishing and media, Omer also held the position as Retail Group Director of Reed Exhibitions, where he oversaw Reed Gift Fairs and Online Retailer.

Omer is passionate about ethics and sustainability and sees NACRO as an opportunity to support the various charitable aims of our members. I have been advised that he will be based in Sydney and regularly travelling interstate to provide support. Please welcome Omer as he makes his way around and gets to know the charitable recycling space. You will be able to contact Omer at omer.soker@nacro.org.au.

Best regards

Kerryn Caulfield, NACRO

Chief Executive of Salvos Stores, Matt Davis, said in a recent interview that the stark drop in donations — especially second-hand furniture — due to platforms such as Facebook and Gumtree is of concern.

“Over the past 18 months we’ve really begun noticing a drop in donations. We think the timing of Facebook Marketplace, Buy and Sell pages on the social media platform and sites like Gumtree have contributed to the drop,” Mr Davis told news.com.au.

The full article can be found at this link.

New York State Attorney General recently announced that over 4,700 donation collection bins throughout New York now disclose whether clothing or other items deposited in those bins are used for charitable or for-profit purposes in compliance with a new state law that imposes strict regulations on the placement, maintenance, and transparency of collection bins across the state.

“New Yorkers who drop-off personal items into collection bins deserve to know whether they are making a charitable donation or enriching a for-profit corporation,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “We are committed to ensuring that New Yorkers will know how their donations will be used.”

The General Business Law, which took effect in June 2016, was enacted to address the proliferation of collection bins across the state, and the lack of transparency regarding how collected items are used. Investigations also found that charities had failed to take adequate steps to ensure that their names and logos were not being used in a deceptive manner. The Attorney Generals statement can be found at this link.

Northumbria Police  and several UK newspapers have reported an arrested of six people after a number of dawn raids as part of an investigation into Modern Day Slavery in Newcastle – with potential victims believed to have been collecting charity bags. An investigation was launched last year after Northumbria Police received intelligence about a suspected Lithuanian organised crime group understood to be operating in the city.

Enquiries led officers to believe that a factory had been set up in the North Shields and men were being trafficked from Eastern Europe to work across the region. Police believe those carrying out the work would be housed in shared accommodation and their wages and benefits would be controlled by their employers. It is suspected that the men worked as charity bag collectors through a third party and that they would travel across Newcastle to collect donations of clothes.

Eastern European gangs are known to collect donated clothing before legitimate charities or set up fake charities to steal the garments.

HMRC is also running a separate investigation to establish whether any of the proceeds from the illegal business are going to the charities in question. Here is a link to the News item posted on the Northumbria Police website.

SCR recycling hub

SCRgroup is launching a number of new services in 2018, including a home pick-up service; and clothing and electrical “Drop-Off Hubs”.

Residents of Maribyrnong City Council now have access to 18 clothing and electrical drop-off hubs to dispose of unwanted textile and electrical items at six sites across the municipality. See the Maribyrnong City Council media release at this link.

It is worth noting that the City of Maribyrnong does not allow for charity donation bins to be located on council land.

The Queensland Member for Ipswich West, Jim Madden recently proposed the reintroduction of the landfill levy as a solution to reducing the level of dumping in Ipswich. Sadly the good Mr Madden has not linked the dots between increased levies and dumping on charities. Read the article at this link.

After four months the report into cross-border waste dumping has been completed. It is being prepared by the Department of Environment and Science before being presented to the responsible minister, Leeanne Enoch.

We’re excited to announce that our new and refreshed NACRO website is live after months of development. There’s a whole host of material, facts and figures, all to enhance the experience of the finding more about charitable recycling.The site even features an Op Shop locator.

When we started the project we had big ideas to inform the public, students, government, councils, environmentalists and potential volunteers. We’ve also created a host of new graphics, published a gallery’s worth of images, and made the site easier to use and the experience mobile and tablet friendly.

Please take a look around the site, and if you have any feedback, please let us know.

Sadly, the festive time of the year is reliably the worst for shameful behaviour by a select few who dump on charities. This year was no different. Members used social and traditional media to call for responsible donating. The media used strong terms such as “lazy idiots” but still the deluge continued.

Following are some headlines and links to the reporting:
Council sets sights on people who dump items outside charity shops
Mandurah residents ‘outraged’ by mess at Good Sammy drop off bins
We’re not your rubbish dump – sick of lazy idiots making Salvos waste thousands
Schools, train stations resemble rubbish tips as fake do-gooders dump their trash

In a recent article published and syndicated by the Herald Sun, NACRO criticized the diversion of charitable goods and services to private companies as a waste of resources.

In response to the proliferation of donations away from benevolent organisation, much of which is being enabled by local councils, NACRO forewarned a call on the State Government to consider a number of reforms, at the top of which is mandatory transparency and disclosure. “Victorians expect transparency and accountability from their charities and the commercial enterprises that target the kindness of Australian donors”.

“NACRO looks forward to working with the Victorian government to make it mandatory for commercial donation and recycling bin operators soliciting second hand clothing and household goods, to disclose their social purpose and impact, and the percentage of funds that support benevolent causes.” The article can be found at this link.

The latest Quarterly Market Analysis Report (July to September 2017) published by the UK Charity Retail Association in early December 2017, saw strong sales indicators, including a 5.7 per cent like for like income growth. Plus 80 per cent of the report respondents saw positive growth in donated goods sales.

Additionally, between Q3 2016 and Q3 2017, income from electrical goods and menswear saw growth up by 17.7 per cent and 15.9 per cent respectively.  However, sales of furniture in general charity shops decreased by 1.4 per cent.

CEO of the UK Charity Retail Association, Robin Osterley, said the figures were in line with the recent Office of National Statistics report on retail sales, which indicated a strong overall performance from the charity retail sector. Clearly charity shops continue to meet the needs of people up and down the country, said Ms Osterley.

The blockchain community launched a Philanthropy Foundation in September 2017, to promote the use of Blockchain technology in the not-for-profit sector to generate income. Blockchain Philanthropy Foundation logo

The Foundation’s mission includes “building a new revenue stream for charities by providing a Blockchain-powered technology platform, as well as tools, training and support”.

The Harvard Business Review defines blockchain as the technology at the heart of bitcoin and other virtual currencies. “Blockchain is an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way.”

Read more …

Michigan’s Attorney General has filed a lawsuit against ATRS, a Texas-headquartered company that owns and operates 251 clothing donation bins in the state, for deceptively operating the collection bins.

The bins state that the Michigan Humane Society “receives 100% of the market value of every donation received at this location.” However, by contract, ATRS pays the Michigan Humane Society just $.02 per pound, according to a statement issued by the Attorney General Bill Schuette. 

Mr Schuette says in the claim that, for 2016, donations to the bins generated $835k in revenue for ATRS, an average of $0.34 per pound; ATRS paid the Michigan Humane Society $49k ($0.02 per pound) for these items, which equals just 6% of revenue generated from the bins. “These bins are deceptive and have misled Michigan residents regarding the true beneficiary of the donated clothes,” says Schuette.  The lawsuit seeks restitution, civil penalties of up to $10,000 per violation, and other relief.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s new report “A new textiles economy: Redesigning fashion’s future´ confirms members’ views that the steady production growth in fast fashion is intrinsically linked to a decline in utilisation per item, leading to an incredible amount of waste.

It is estimated that more than half of fast fashion production is disposed of in under a year, and one garbage truck full of textiles is landfilled or burnt every second.

Note from NACRO: Donations of goods to charitable recyclers are made up of clothing, textiles and homewares. The later can include the myriad of items found in our homes including kitchenware, furniture and indeed stuff from garages and sheds. Charitable recyclers benefit from 68% of these donations.

Waste sent to landfill tends to not to be clothing or textiles – but inappropriate donations which are mainly homewares, including broken and soiled indoor and outdoor furniture, toys, bicycles, white goods and unusables such as gas bottles, bbq’s and text books. Mattresses continue to be a burden for charities across the country. Rest assured charities use more than 96% of donated clothing.