A Movement to Less Waste: Australia’s National Food Waste Strategy

Food waste is a global challenge that has a 19huge economic, social and environmental impact. It costs the Australian economy approximately $20 billion a year. In 2016, the Government of Australia convened a food waste summit to develop a national waste strategy.

To support the initiatives in the strategy, the Australian Government with the territories and states have provided $1 million in funding to support an independent governance body who will develop implementation plans and establish a commitment program. The Government has also committed $370,000 to the National Food Waste Environment Science Program.

National Food Waste Strategy

The National Food Waste Strategy provides a framework that supports different collective action to halve Australia’s food waste by 2030. It is in line with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 12, which is to ensure sustainable production and consumption patterns. It also outlines Australia’s obligation under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The country will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the diversion of food waste from landfill.

Australia has highly sophisticated and well-developed approaches to the way it manufactures, produces, distributes and sells food. These approaches create a profitable and productive agribusiness and food industry. The country has a significant amount of work targeting food waste, and it is making a difference regionally, locally and nationally. The waste strategy was set to be delivered within 24 months.

Food waste challenge

Globally, approximately one billion tonnes of food produced for human consumption goes to waste each year. In Australia, $20 billion is lost to the economy through food waste and about 2.2 million tonnes of food goes to waste each year.

Food waste occurs in primary production, processing and manufacturing, distribution, retail, households and food service. These occur in instances such as product loss due to pests, spoilage due to inadequate temperature control and confusion over “use-by” and “best-before” date labelling in households.

The Australian Government is investing over $10 million to support research on reducing waste through organisations such as Cooperative Research Centres, Food and Agribusiness Growth Centre and AgriFutures Australia. These organisations support each other to develop higher-value products from converted or retrieved food waste.

Meeting the challenge

The National Food Waste Strategy adopts a circular economy approach that follows a food waste hierarchy and seeks to capture food waste as a resource. The more successfully this is done, the less food waste goes to landfills.

The Waste Hierarchy includes: avoid, reuse, recycle, reprocess, energy recovery and disposal. The most preferred method is avoidance done through education campaigns and packaging initiatives. The least preferred method is disposal, where waste goes to landfills and sewers.

Industrial rubbish removal at Grasshopper

Do you own a food manufacturing business? Contribute to Australia’s National Food Waste Strategy with us. At Grasshopper, we offer different waste management services such as industrial rubbish removal in Sydney. We are a family-owned business with over three decades of experience in the industry. We value on-site efficiency, environmental responsibility, timely services and reporting.

Get in touch with us here or call us on 1300 147 299.

5 Tips for Waste Management in the Construction Industry

The construction industry produces a lot of waste, especially demolition operations. According to Australia’s State of Waste in 2016, the construction and demolition industry accounted for 40 per cent of Australia’s total waste generation; this included waste such as bricks, concrete and timber. Additionally, a study in 2016 found that material wastage was the cause of an average of 20-30 per cent of cost overruns in construction projects.

The government has been implementing new policies for waste management. In fact, in April 2018, territory and state environment ministers came up with a new National Waste Policy to increase recycling and reduce waste management in Australia. With the amount of waste and overruns generated by the construction industry, it is important to have better waste management systems.

Minimise waste

A part of the planning process for any construction project includes coming up with different ways to reduce and even eliminate waste, wherever possible. During the planning of the construction project, project managers should identify the exact number of materials required to avoid over-consumption. Identifying the exact number needed avoids excess waste from unused materials. You can minimise waste by having your construction products shipped with minimal packaging.

Maximise waste’s potential

Another way of reducing waste is reusing and recycling materials from construction or demolition sites. Materials from construction sites that can be reused or recycled include concrete that can be broken down and used in footpaths, aluminium, steel from container and wires and untreated timber. Materials that are salvaged from demolition sites include metals, plastics, site works and vegetation, tiles and more.

Additionally, materials can also be donated or sold for use in other projects. Before selling, recycling, reusing or donating, ensure that materials and products are still of good quality or condition.

Segregate waste efficiently

Waste can be managed efficiently by introducing on-site waste storage areas. The segregation of waste can be promoted by providing bulk bags or wheelie bins that are coloured and labelled for different types of waste. Employees can also be trained to learn about the necessary segregation procedures and given rewards for complying with them.

Partnering with the right company

An efficient waste management system can be done with the help of waste specialists. They will provide and guide you with a comprehensive plan from the demolition and debris removal of waste to transporting them to landfills. They are also equipped with the right tools and equipment to get the job done easily and quickly.

Construction Waste Management and Demolition Services at Grasshopper

Here at Grasshopper, we’ve been providing waste management solutions for over three decades. Our years of experience give us the knowledge to come up with different waste management services such as managing waste and demolition debris removal in the construction industry. We value the importance of reporting, on-site efficiency, timely service and environmental responsibility.

If you want to learn more about how we can provide waste management systems for your construction site, get in touch with us here or call us on 1300 147 277.

Working Towards Sydney’s 2030 Zero Waste Target

On 28 August, 23 out of 96 members of megacity network C40 signed the organisation’s Advancing Towards Zero Waste Declaration. One of those cities was Sydney.

Aside from supporting C40’s global aim of ensuring a healthier more sustainable future, the city council’s move strengthens Sydney’s goal of reducing generated waste and the amount of waste sent to landfills by 2030.

There is a huge focus on managing the residential and commercial sectors’ waste, but the pressure is higher for the construction and demolition sector.

By 2021, waste producers and waste operators in the local government area (LGA) are expected to help the city in its aim to divert 80% of construction and demolition waste from landfills. This target is 10% higher compared to the set marker for residents and businesses in LGAs.

By 2030, the target is raised to 90% for all sectors.

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Case Study: North Strathfield Rail Underpass Project

The North Strathfield Rail Underpass Project (NSRU) is part of a joint Commonwealth and NSW Government project. The goal is to deliver faster, more reliable service on the main rail line that runs from North Strathfield to Newcastle. The underpass will replace the junction at North Strathfield, a point where there is often freight congestion.

As this is a government project, the NRSU Alliance works to strict environmental standards. They must maintain more than 80% recycling recovery on construction waste, and provide quality reports to confirm that these targets are met.

The Alliance wanted to deal with an Australian-owned company with a track record of environmental responsibility. Grasshopper fit the bill. Our recycling facility was inspected by the Alliance’s environmental engineer to confirm that we handle waste responsibly.

Construction for this project is on a massive scale, with waste collection points spread across eight separate sites over 3 kilometres. Because the project is in a residential area, Grasshopper has to work closely with the Alliance’s traffic management team, so our deliveries and removals happen within a precise window. Each of our drivers was inducted onto the site, and used the Alliance’s radio communications protocols, so we integrated seamlessly into the project.

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Case Study: MD Equity — Northwest Hospital for Specialist Surgery

When completed, the NorthWest Hospital for Specialist Surgery will house a specialist surgery hospital, day surgery centre and medical consulting suites. This project demands major modifications to an existing commercial office building in Sydney’s North West. All services in the building are being upgraded. A new electrical substation will be installed, as well as a back-up generator and four new lifts.

No tower crane was available for this project, so we needed to find another way to get the waste out of the work area and into Grasshopper’s skips.

Our solution came in two stages. To get waste out of the building, we provided 660ltr wheel-able bins that travel up and down the lifts. However, manually lifting each bin would be an WHS risk, so we provided an electric lifter that emptied each bin into the skip. This not only cut down on the risk of injury, it saved Cockram money, as they didn’t need to hire a forklift.

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Global Switch Sydney East Data Centre — Stage 1

The Global Switch Sydney East Data Centre will supply IT infrastructure for multi-national corporations and Australian Government agencies. This facility sets a benchmark for environmental sustainability. To reach that goal, the project team were pursuing a Gold Rating in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

Grasshopper helped Cockram reach their Environmental goals with a detailed waste management plan, including bins for each waste type. Segregating waste maximised the amount of material that was recovered for recycling. Diverting material like paper and cardboard from mixed waste skips reduced the amount that went to landfill, which kept their waste management cost down.

Space was tight for this project, so managing waste on site was also a challenge. Deliveries and pickups had to be coordinated with the crane schedule. Grasshopper made this aspect of the project hassle-free by calling ahead and being on time. Our specialised equipment can remove double skips each changeover, which maximises efficiencies for the crane slots.

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