29 May 2020
AORA May News
From the National Executive Officer
Many AORA members have attended one of our webinars showcasing our recent report, The Economic Contribution of the Australian Organics Recycling Industry. If you haven’t yet, book yourself in for a webinar via the links in this newsletter. The webinars are free for AORA members and sponsors.
This report is a vital snapshot of the current economic and environmental contribution of our industry, and also a preview of what that contribution could be if we grow the industry through better, more collaborative government relationships.
The report is the first of four fundamental documents which the AORA Board and staff have been working on for several months. Having established the current status of the industry, a further report will then look at the current capacity of the industry to take more feedstock and produce more product, and identify the gaps which need to be filled to achieve a much higher recovery rate nationally.
A third document – our national public policy document – will take the data from both reports and outline a 20-year vision for the industry, with some ambitious targets and strong recommendations for better government policy, legislation, and regulation. That document will be about how our industry and governments nationally, at all three tiers, must collaborate to grow a much larger, more sustainable, and more profitable organics recycling industry. It will form the basis of our external communications and government advocacy for several years to come.
Both these documents will be launched to our members in the coming few months.
In the meantime, AORA as a business and as a member association has to get right the basics of business, member servicing, and communications. This is the reasoning behind our new AORA Strategic Plan 2020-2023, which outlines the measures we will take to deliver a stronger and better AORA.
The Strategic Plan has three overarching objectives, each accompanied by three year targets:
  1. AORA is the national voice of the organics recycling industry and is recognised as such by government and the community.
  2. AORA defines and champions a future where recycling of organic materials is maximised and optimised.
  3. AORA is a successful and sustainable business with outstanding delivery of member needs.
The Plan also outlines in detail the Year One projects which will start us down the road towards the stronger AORA we all want to build. The Strategic Plan will be rolled out to AORA members via webinars in June, with dates to be advised via email next week. I look forward to discussing the Plan, and what it means for AORA’s future, with each of you soon.

As always, don't hesitate to call or email me if you would like to discuss any issues, peter@aora.org.au or 0458 404 898.

Peter Olah
National Executive Officer
AORA recently commissioned a report entitled  The Economic Contribution of the Australian Organics Recycling Industry,  which   was undertaken by Australian Economic Advocacy Solutions. The outcomes are currently being presented in a series of State webinars and culminating in a national webinar in mid June. The South Australian, Queensland and Victorian/Tasmanian webinars have all been held and recordings will be available after the National webinar.
The report shows our industry is a huge contributor, economically and environmentally, to our nation. The full report is now available to download via our website (member only access).

You can still register for the remaining webinars. The webinars are available for AORA members only. If you are keen to attend, and are not an AORA member currently, you are welcome to sign up for 2020-21 membership and we will activate it in time for the webinar. Please contact Alex to organise this - alex@aora.org.au
Western Australia
Thursday 4 June at 10am (AWST)  
*** Please note this is a new date - if you had already registered, you will have received notification about date change.   
New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory       
Tuesday 9 June, 10-11am (AEST)
Thursday 18 June, 2-3pm (AEST)      
WA DWER draft Guideline: Better practice composting
The Western Australian Department of Water and Environmental Regulation is producing a series of industry specific guidelines to provide external stakeholders further information on how the department carries out its regulatory functions under Part V Division 3 of the Environmental Protection Act 1986 .
The draft Guideline: Better practice composting is the first guideline developed in this series. The guideline was developed by the department in collaboration with the Western Australian branch of the Australian Organics Recycling Association (AORA WA). 

Members of AORA WA formed a working group with the department, helping:
  • Develop the guideline framework;
  • Provide feedback from an industry perspective; and
  • Develop approaches to manage economically viable operations while protecting and mitigating potential environmental impacts.  

The guideline sets out the department’s information requirements for the composting industry and how regulation under Part V of the EP Act will achieve the objectives of the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030 (Waste Strategy 2030).
Objective 3 of Waste Strategy 2030 seeks that ‘ Western Australians protect the environment by managing waste responsibly’ and includes the target of all waste facilities operating to ‘better practice’ by 2030. 
The guideline provides environmental performance objectives and minimum standards for the construction and operations of composting facilities that establish how composting facilities can achieve the Waste Strategy 2030 target of operating to ‘better practice’.

Consultation is open until 25 November 2020.
BASF compostable polymer ecovio receives Australian certification

Compostable plastics currently only account for around 0.1% of plastic packaging on the market in Australia amidst growing interest from both consumers and our customers. As the interest in sustainable packaging grows, so does the confusion about how to dispose of it – a topic that the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO), the Australasian Bioplastics Association (ABA) and the Australian Organics Recycling Association (AORA) have come together to tackle through the development of new Australian guidelines to help businesses make better choices about using compostable packaging.

In preparation for the arrival of the new guidelines, BASF Australia has now completed the verification of their compostable and partly biobased bioplastic, ecovio ® , as meeting all of the requirements of the Australian Standards, AS 4736 and AS 5810. These Standards respectively cover the suitability of compostable products for commercial or industrial composting and home composting.
Update from AORA VIC committee
AORA Victoria remains deeply involved in interactions with a number of departments within the State Government.

Activities include:
  • Providing feedback to Sustainability Victoria on its “Victoria’s Recycling Infrastructure Plan” (formerly referred to as SWRRIP).
  • Reviewing a recent plan unveiled by Infrastructure Victoria on recommendations for the future structure of the recycling and waste management facilities in the State
  • Continued engagement with EPA Vic concerning the organic recycling related provisions of the postponed new Environmental Protection Act and its Subordinate Legislation, now due for introduction in July 2021.

AORA Vic feel that there is a lack of clarity between these multiple channels and a risk that important considerations for the organics recycling industry may escape attention.

The Vic Exec group is currently drafting a comprehensive Policy Statement that will, as soon as possible, be submitted to the State Government at Ministerial level and below across multiple departments.
Organics in the news
Innovative dune cupping method improves growth on sandy rises
Following the AORA SA February grower engagement event in Mannum, Quinton McCallum from the Stock Journal spoke with Mic Wadewitz about his innovative trial which has resulted in improved crop growth on sandy rises.

Global soil library will help us better know the living skin of planet Earth
A global initiative lead by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation has launched the Soil Spectral Calibration Library.

Farmers could play vital role in emerging bioenergy industry and help reduce emissions
The emerging bioenergy industry could play a fundamental role in Australian agriculture meeting its $100 billion value by 2030 and also help New South Wales achieve its target of zero net emissions by 2050.
Of interest
Soil Biology for Vegetable Crops webinar
Join Dr Kelvin Montagu (AHR) and the Dr Shane Powell (University of Tasmania) for a webinar on soil biology and how you can manage biology to get the most out of your crops and soil.

Costa talks FOGO with ANL
Recent segment on Gardening Australia with Rob Niccol from Australian Native Landscapes

Where to with food waste in Australia?
Much of the food waste Australians generate is not managed responsibly, but there are things the country can, and must, do to change that.

Australia's Unilever-owned tea brand, T2 Tea, is on track to achieve 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging by 2021, including its sustainable teabags.

Creating economic wealth from emissions reduction – a case study of recycling
Reducing emissions does not mean destroying jobs and the economy. It means growing jobs and economic wealth in different parts of the economy.

If you have a story, link or news to share with AORA members, please email Alex
Thank you to our Partners
AORA - Australian Organics Recycling Association
0434 625 472 | admin@aora.org.au