25-26 Aug 2021

Speaker Series 2019

As the platform used by waste and recycling communities to learn and collaborate, the AWRE Speaker Series tackles the industry’s most challenging and compelling issues. Discover the latest trends & insights to practical and tangible
solutions from innovators shaping the future direction for Australia, through a program of carefully curated seminars and panel discussions.
Limited seats are available on the day, arrive early to ensure you don't miss out!

Wednesday 30 October

Industry Forum

In partnership with

The presentation will provide an overview of the circular economy and the policy development process in NSW. It will also discuss opportunities and examples of the circular economy in NSW, and how implementation of circular economy principles can maximise the value of resources, reduce waste, and deliver positive outcomes for business.

The landscape of Australia’s recycling sector has never been as important to the community as it is today. Why is recycling so important to Australians? What areas can we improve? Are we placing the right type of materials in the bin with the yellow lid? How are we placed strategically across Government, industry and commercially to really impact our environment and communities at such a vital time? State & Territory Governments are increasingly using waste levies as a key instrument to influence waste management behavior. Is this approach working?

Our panel of experts will delve deep into the core issues, insights and opportunities currently facing the waste and recycling sector.

In response to China’s National Sword, Australia’s Government’s agreed to establish a sustainable path for Australia’s recyclable waste. With regards to packaging, Ministers agreed to reduce the amount of waste generated, to make it easier to recycle products and set a target to make 100% of packaging in Australia reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.

In 2019 APCO have undertaken four data projects to set the foundation in achieving the 2025 National Packaging Targets. In this session APCO CEO Brooke Donnelly will lead a discussion that addresses:

o Benchmarking consumption and recycling data
o Infrastructure mapping for collection, sorting and recycling packaging
o Economic analysis of alternative collection systems and end markets
o Options to deliver resource recovery systems for used packaging materials in Australia

With calls across the nation for greater uptake of crushed glass into civil construction works funded by local, state and federal governments this session will explore the current reuse, recent changes to specifications, supply chain challenges and what future potential is there for this reuse market?

In the wake of announcements that the Government is clamping down on Australia’s approach to waste management – particularly when it comes to export – what’s next for the country’s environmental agenda? Where do we go from here? And will resources such as Refuse Derived Fuel and Process Engineered Fuel have a role to play – or not?
With the debate showing no sign of quietening down – and waste arisings on the increase – action is required, and fast!

Drawing upon almost 30 years’ experience, Gary Moore will explore how similar challenges have been overcome in Europe and the USA. It took drastic action to instigate change in these parts of the world – with tax hikes making landfill almost impossible in the UK for example – but industry innovation meant that it was possible to achieve greater environmental compliance and harness the wealth from residual ‘waste’. Gary will talk delegates through topics such as the UK’s Waste Hierarchy model, the classification of alternative fuels as a resource not a waste, and what needs to be done to encourage public ‘buy in’.

Food Waste Stage

To open the 2019 Food Waste Stage at AWRE, Dr Steven Lapidge aims to surprise you with the opportunity that food waste presents at the local, national and global scales. This includes the lost economic and social opportunities as well as the significant environmental damage being done."

The Fight Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre is Australia’s industry-led R&D program that is creating opportunities to REDUCE food waste, to TRANSFORM unavoidable waste into valuable products and to ENGAGE businesses and consumers to tackle this solvable problem

One-third of the world’s food goes uneaten each year, causing significant social, economic and environmental impacts, and here in Australia that amount is 7.3 million tonnes per annum. This panel has been brought together to put this globally significant issue in the spotlight and not only explain just how important it is that we REDUCE, TRANSFORM and ENGAGE on this globally significant issue, but also some of the practical ways the waste and recycling industry can drive the necessary changes.

4.1 million tonnes of food goes to waste every year in Australia in the commercial food sector. Food waste veteran, Katy Barfield will walk through how innovative technology is tackling the growing issue of food waste and how Yume, the first Australian online marketplace for surplus food, is offering a unique and safe service to over 350 top Australian food manufacturers by finding new channels to market that generate a triple bottom line benefit.

Whilst the primary functions of packaging are to contain and protect the content, as well as providing information about the product, the role of packaging in reducing food waste needs to be better understood by food producers, manufacturers, brand owners, retailers and consumers. The connection between packaging design and food waste needs to be discussed more openly in the industry. From field to fork there are several possibilities for food loss and waste to occur. It has been approximated that up to 30% of the edible food produced, does not reach the fork. Packaging’s role in reducing food waste is the next big challenge for Packaging Technologists, Designers and Engineers.

This session, hosted by the Australian Institute of Packaging (AIP), will have speakers from FIAL, the Fight Food Waste CRC, AIP and Sealed Air and will discuss in an interactive session Food Waste in Australia, the National Food Waste Strategy, the Fight Food Waste CRC, the Save Food Packaging criteria and guidelines and showcase best practice save food packaging design.

Coles had a target to halve food waste by 2020 which it met a year early. Fresh food, packaging, access to options to divert food waste, behaviour, allergens and animal products... all vexations in dealing with food waste. Vikas Ahuja, Coles Head of Energy & Sustainability asks questions to challenge perceptions about food waste.

Thursday 31 October

Industry Forum

In Partnership with

"State and Territory governments have been busily releasing discussion papers and developing policies, strategies and plans for waste avoidance, resource recovery, circular economy, waste to energy, single use plastics, infrastructure, organics, food waste and more. Nationally, an Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction has been appointed. Additional funding has been committed by federal and state governments to grow a local resource recovery and processing industry. Circular economy hubs and networks are being created."

This session will explore the plethora of activity across governments and analyse if we are forging a pathway that will enable Australia to manage its waste and resources more sustainably

Taking responsibility for better managing Australia’s waste is a key priority for the Morrison Government. As the first ever minister with specific responsibility for waste reduction and recycling, Trevor will speak about the Federal Government’s $167m Australian Recycling Investment Plan to drive the growth of Australia’s domestic capacity to process and recycle our own waste, and build demand for utilising recycled materials.

Since 2010, the circular economy has moved beyond a niche topic, to a priority area of research and practice, and an undeniable economic opportunity around the world. People are looking for a new vision for an economy that works, now and in the future. In response, the core principles of a circular economy are seen as an opportunity and a new narrative for innovation and progress."

However, the very simple reality is that to realise the value of the circular economy it needs to be actioned. As the only Australian to speak at the World Circular Economy Forum Ashleigh Morris along with Coreo Co-Founder Jaine Morris, will share their insights to how Australia is placed in the global transition to a circular economy from a Government and Industry standpoint.

This session will review the current state of levies across Australia, including a comparative analysis of what is being levied, how much is collected, where it has been invested and discuss how this regulatory tool could be improved in light of the current challenges facing the waste and recycling sector.


e-waste is the fastest growing waste stream in the world. Globally we'll produce more than 50 million tonnes of e-waste this year alone, 700,000 tonnes of which will be generated in Australia. In light of these alarming statistics, what are the major issues facing Australia’s e-waste industry? What action can we take to address this and how can technology and innovation help at such a critical time.

Our experts will share their insights on all the key issues, trends and opportunities in the industry, including what role government should play.

How do we manage the risks and opportunities for re-purposing our batteries? How do we reduce our reliance on conflict materials and poor environment practices? How can we best respond to the potential dilemma of costs of recycled vs new?

The session will discuss all this and more to address the key issues associated with achieving a circular economy for batteries in Australia, exploring the fundamental questions that drive our abilities towards a true circular economy

Food Waste Stage

Hear from Ronni about OzHarvest’s work across the country, and the action needed from Government and industry to halve food waste by 2030.Driven by a determination to find purpose in her life, Ronni Kahn began rescuing good food and delivering it to people in need. In 2004 OzHarvest was born and is now recognised as Australia’s leading food rescue organisation. OzHarvest’s purpose is to Nourish Our Country and it delivers this through four pillars: food rescue, educate, engage and innovate.

The food services sector plays a vital role in the Australian economy, however it is also one of the highest consumers of problematic and unnecessary packaging, including single-use plastic."

To assist the food services sector in addressing challenges and opportunities, APCO in collaboration with the food services sector, have brought together industry, government, and community stakeholders to develop a coordinated, evidenced based approach to reducing the impact of food service packaging throughout the supply chain. The result of this collaboration has seen the development of sector-specific Food Services Packaging Guidelines, case studies and collaborative initiatives.

APCO CEO Brooke Donnelly will lead a discussion that addresses the challenges of increasing the uptake of more sustainable packaging in the food services sector, collaboration initiatives and the implementation of the new guideline

NSW has committed to the national and international goal to halve food waste by 2030. This presentation will outline the potential and challenges ahead in achieving the target, drawing on data, findings and lessons from delivery of the $105 million Organics Infrastructure Fund under Waste Less, Recycle More over seven years. From avoidance education to new processing facilities and markets for compost, the program has transformed the landscape for food waste recovery in NSW and helped to identify pathways ahead to meet the 2030 goal.

In Australia, over 5 million tonnes of food waste currently goes to landfill. Organic matter is vital for good soil health and adding quality compost derived from materials such as Food Waste helps has many benefits. Building healthy soils with compost provides nutrients, increases moisture retention, decreases likelihood of erosion, regulates soil temperature and provides capacity to store carbon.

Come along to learn more and hear from expert panel speakers as they discuss key initiatives and opportunities driving long term solutions.

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