The information below provides great insight in to waste management and different waste practices and alternatives.

The Waste Hierarchy

The waste hierarchy is one of eleven principles of environment protection contained in the Environment Protection Act 1970. It is an order of preference and states that waste should be managed in accordance with the hierarchy, with avoidance being the most preferred option and disposal being the least.

KEY:

  • Avoidance: practices which prevent the generation of waste altogether.
  • Reuse: direct reuse of materials for the same grade of use.
  • Recycling: using valuable components of waste in other processes.
  • Recovery of energy: generating energy from waste.
  • Treatment: to reduce hazard or nuisance, preferably at the site of generation.
  • Containment: the long-term repository storage of prescribed industrial wastes.
  • Disposal: to landfill.

Waste to Energy

Waste can be used to generate energy, for example:

  1. Anaerobic digestion of farm manure and food scraps.
  2. Water boilers, pyrolysis and gasification plants that run from burning timber waste.
  3. Municipal waste to energy plants that are common in Europe.

Only residual wastes that are left after sorting out recyclables should be used as waste to energy feedstock.

The Circular Economy

The Circular Economy moves away from the traditional “take-make-dispose” economic model to one that is regenerative by design. The goal is to retain as much value as possible from resources, products, parts and materials to create a system that allows for long life, optimal reuse, refurbishment, remanufacturing and recycling.

Companies that implement the circular economy concentrate on rethinking products and services using principles based on durability, renewability, reuse, repair, replacement, upgrades, refurbishment and reduced material use. By applying these principles, companies can design out waste, increase resource productivity and decouple growth from natural resource consumption, leading to economic growth with increasingly limited resources. For further information, click here.

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning is developing a Circular Economy policy for Victoria, to be finalised by December 2019. This will include policy direction for Victoria on waste to energy. For further information, click here.