24-25 Jul 2024


With almost fifty percent of Australia’s waste stream consisting of organics, ‘getting organic recycling right’ is of paramount importance if a circular economy is to be achieved. The good news is that organics recycling is the industrialisation of a natural process and the products it can deliver are increasingly vital to a more sustainable future for all. We do however have a number of challenges to getting it right and unless we can overcome these challenges, the circular economy is out of reach.

Unfortunately, some stakeholders continue to make self-declared incorrect, misleading, and sometimes entirely false environmental claims, which is a breach under Australian Consumer Law. The success of circular strategies within the waste, recycling and resource recovery industry will be contingent on trust, transparency and robust data.
This presentation focuses on three critical internationally recognised and accessible tools that can strengthen Australia's journey toward a circular economy:
(1) Lifecycle Ecolabels (ISO 14024)
(2) Third-party Claims Authentication (ISO 14021)
(3) LCAs and EPDs (ISO 14025)
It will also demonstrate the importance of a holistic approach encompassing human health, social impacts and quality considerations.
After attending this seminar, delegates will be able to access three critical internationally recognised tools to enhance the robustness of their circular strategies and know how best to use them. They will also gain insight into how to avoid circularwashing and embrace transparency.

Initially conceived as litter reduction initiatives, container deposit schemes are part of a long-term solution to manage recyclable material and recognised for their contribution to an emerging circular economy in Australia.
Maintaining public support and trust in the schemes' outcomes has been a priority for NSW and ACT scheme coordinator Exchange for Change, particularly as public trust in recycling is tested following negative media coverage of other recycling programs.
Through market research, both ACT and NSW container deposit schemes have identified that environmental and financial benefits are key motivators for participation in the programs. Exchange for Change saw an opportunity to increase support and trust in the schemes, and partnered with Lifecycles to create new digital tools based on life cycle assessments that calculate and showcase the individual and cumulative positive impact of people’s participation using scheme data.
In this presentation, Exchange for Change CEO Danielle Smalley and Lifecycles Director and Founder Tim Grant will detail the strategy behind these initiatives and the results achieved to date. Danielle will also share the lessons learned along the way and how these can be applied by other organisations or schemes seeking to achieve lasting behaviour change.

Rick Ralph, CEO of NRWIC opens the Industry Breakfast, setting the tone of discussion.

It's no doubt that clothing and textile waste has become one of the largest and most critical contributors to Australia's waste. With the establishment of the Seamless stewardship scheme, the responsibility on brands and retailers to ensure end-of-life for products is more real than ever. This session will explore the challenges and viable solutions available onshore, delving into local processing opportunities and end market uses.
Our panel of experts discuss the urgent need to shift away from exporting the hundred of thousands of tonnes of textiles and clothing waste, highlighting both the environmental and economic benefits of adopting a circular system. Discover how businesses can capitalise on this paradigm shift, turning textile waste into profitable ventures onshore, and explore practical sustainable strategies that can transform the future of textiles in Australia.

Begin the day by paying our respects and acknowledging the Traditional Owners of the land.

Brett Lemin, Executive Director of the Waste Contractors and Recyclers Association (WCRA) of NSW and ACT, extends a warm welcome to AWRE 2024 shares the importance of this year's summit theme.

Our panel discusses the effectiveness of the Albanese Labor Government’s waste reduction and recycling policies in delivering a circular economy, with reference to:
A. Efficacy and progress on circular economy deliverables
B. Progress on the implementation of mandated product stewardship schemes
C. Any other related matters.

In this session, our expert panel delves into the complex and pressing issues surrounding battery recycling and safe disposal. Batteries, while essential for powering our modern world, pose significant environmental and safety challenges when improperly handled at end-of-life. The panelists will explore the various risks associated with battery recycling and disposal and explore strategies for mitigating these risks through responsible recycling practices and regulatory measures.

Problem waste and legacy contaminants remain a challenge that impacts government, industry and the community across NSW. From asbestos contaminating supply chains to fires caused by the improper disposal of batteries, the need to review our waste systems is clear. The NSW EPA is working with stakeholders to ensure our regulations are yielding the best results to safe support resource recovery.

Our panel unearths the complexity around contaminant identification and management across the supply chain. Our experts will discuss the latest methods and technologies for identifying contaminants, highlighting the importance of early detection and mitigation. They will also explore the challenges of managing contaminants throughout the supply chain, from production and collection to processing and disposal.

Join us for a recap of day one at the 2024 AWRE Summit, where we invite you to engage and share the highlights of the day before our Industry Networking Drinks session commences.

Held on the show floor at the end of day one of AWRE, the Networking Drinks is the ideal place to network and continue business with clients and suppliers over a refreshing drink and canapes after the exhibition.

The NSW EPA is leading the state’s transition to a circular economy over the next 20 years. The waste industry is fundamental in this transition, a transition which must occur if NSW is to meet its’ emissions reduction targets and address climate change. This keynote address will help the waste industry by explaining the EPA’s programs of work to increase recycling and ensure growing waste volumes can be safely managed.

BINGO is leading the way to a circular economy with its new Recycling Water Treatment Plant in Western Sydney’s growth corridor. Having invested close to $1 billion in recycling assets over the past eight years, its latest state-of-the-art facility will change the Construction and Demolition industry in NSW. BINGO will be able to accept up to 240,000 tonnes of GSW contaminated soils that would have otherwise been sent to landfill. The new plant and associated on-site infrastructure will see BINGO produce a further 300ktpa of recycled products for the Sydney market. The products will include aggregates, sand and soil and an engineered fill product. In addition, Australian companies are about to be challenged by new International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) climate reforms which will see the companies (of $500m revenue pa) having to disclose reporting on scope three emissions.

There has never been a greater period of change in the waste/resource recovery sector as Australia rapidly shifts towards a circular economy. A consequence of this change is a workforce shortage across the sector, particularly in some skilled areas like energy from waste. Veolia ANZ Chief People and Safety Officer Kim Hall has nearly two decades of experience in talent acquisition across multiple corporations specialising in advanced technologies and heavy industry. Here she provides key insights into how to transition workers from other industry sectors into our own, the time and training required, and how diversifying our workforce can assist this process and the personnel challenges ahead.

Returning in 2024, the Innovations Pitch Fest provides a showcase opportunity for fledging solutions for the waste and recycling industry to be presented by the individuals and companies leading them. The Innovation Pitch Fest will feature a line-up of our 2024 Innovation Zone exhibitors. Directly after the pitch, our judges will provide feedback criteria, including consumer need, innovation, point of difference, go-to market strategy and product sustainability.

Judges provide feedback on the AWRE 2024 Pitch Fest entries and announce the winner for this year!

Judges provide feedback on the AWRE 2024 Pitch Fest entries and announce the winner for this year!

The Australian Organics Industry Association National Executive Director takes us through the current performance of the Australian organics recycling industry and the current challenges and opportunities, with a focus on what the industry needs to achieve and with what support to reach the desired levels of organics recycling into the future.

Hear from recent experience in four councils using artificial intelligence and machine learning to measure contamination in bins as they are collected.

NABERS has 25 years of industry experience and is one of the most influential tools delivered to support sustainability in the built environment. In the last 5 years NABERS has introduced the Waste Rating for offices and more recently public hospitals and Waste Verifications are available for most other building types. NABERS Waste Ratings have doubled each year since its commencement, and the team is keen to share their learnings and experience in working with industry leaders on circular economy and how waste fits into the decarbonising journey.

This session will look back at what the last few years have taught us and what lies ahead. Sara will provide insight into what's working and what isn't and what changes are coming down the pipeline that everyone working in waste and resource recovery needs to be aware of. This session aims to provide an understanding of how we as an industry can use what we've learned to get ahead of what's coming.

Circular Economy in Design: The Case for Adaptive Reuse
Synopsis: The built environment presents a key opportunity to shift from a linear approach to a circular economy, contributing to making urban areas more sustainable. The earlier circular economy design strategies are embedded in projects, the more opportunities there will be to Design out Waste. Adaptive Reuse is one of the most critical strategies which involves the uplifting of assets while still retaining them in their current form.

Valentina will share key benefits of Adaptive Reuse, including embodied carbon conservation, reduction in the use of raw material, cost savings, preservation of historical buildings. She will also showcase recent WSP projects in Australia and overseas, where Adaptive Reuse was both implemented and measured.

This presentation will encourage all stakeholders to rethink the way we design our assets, and to play our role in the transition towards a circular economy.

The panel discussion will aim to draw out the case for:
• Designing for best outcomes in all areas – whether that’s C&D, make good, or operational waste – and what that looks like in these different areas
• Connecting all actors in the chain – design and constructions, fit out, operations (cleaners, facilities managers and waste collection) and MRFs
• How all of this leads to better data, which directly impacts planning and outcomes

Our expert panel discuss The hard lessons already learnt from roll-out of FOGO services and infrastructure in Australia.

This session will provide guidance on how to design your packaging to consider the implications of the up-coming Federal Government mandated National Packaging Design Standards, the new EU Packaging & Packaging Waste Regulations, the Sustainable Packaging Design Guidelines and also utilising global design guides that are intuitive and easy to use such as the WPO Global Packaging Design for Recycling Guide in your business. This session will also showcase best practice global and local award-winning sustainable packaging designs that have won WorldStar and PIDA awards for their innovative packaging.

In this panel discussion, moderated by the National Retail Association, textile recycling innovators share their experiences, best practise, cutting edge technologies and partnerships making big changes in textile recycling.

Australia is on the verge of an energy from waste (EfW) transition, with two plants coming online in WA this year, another approved in Victoria and a third in the midst of planning in NSW. Veolia will be the operator of all four. This is new technology for Australia but not for Veolia, which currently operates more than 65 EfW plants around the world. Mr Barker will explore the planning, construction, regulation and political challenges of bringing EfW to Australia, how EfW will help meet the waste and resource recovery targets set by governments across the country, and the new technology that has the potential to make EfW plants zero waste and create new resource recovery markets ― if regulators are prepared to alter resource recovery pathways. This is an opportunity to hear from one of Australia's leading EfW experts.

NSW needs to reduce its plastics use to ensure that we have thriving ecosystems and waste streams free from plastic contamination. The NSW Plastics – Next Steps plan is aiming to do just that, through looking at new bans on problematic plastic items, reviewing packaging requirements and looking for new pathways for reuse. The NSW EPA will be continuing to lead this work and importantly further engage with the waste industry this year.

The most recent NSW waste strategy has dropped the waste hierarchy and replaced it with the circular economy.
The new model requires us to think in terms of ‘resources’ rather than ‘waste.’ While this thinking is embedded in the new strategy, it is not yet reflected in practical terms throughout the planning and licensing system.
In order to work toward a useful re-definition of waste, this presentation will cover three main aspects.
1. Comparison of the definitions of waste in three jurisdictions – NSW, Victoria and Queensland.
2. Comparison of existing ‘end of waste’ systems – such as Resource Recovery Orders and Exemptions, Declarations and End of Waste Codes.
3. Analysis of legal cases.
The Circular Economy requires not only supportive policy but also supportive regulatory systems. With the right systems in place, recovered resources can compete and generate growth.

In the world of sustainability buzz words, circular procurement is fast emerging as one of the greatest tools councils have in their arsenal to create immediate and long-lasting sustainable impact. The level of spend and influence councils and joint organisations of councils have is immense.

In the keynote Nicole takes a detailed look at the tools available to all councils at every stage of the procurement process.

Edge Impact is a technical partner of the Australian Circular Economy (ACE) Hub’s metrics and procurement working groups and has an extensive track record in supporting councils in their sustainable procurement journeys, having developed circular procurement roadmaps, multi-criteria decision-making tools, contract clauses and policies for local governments across Australia.

When designed for sustainability outcomes in mind, procurement sets a blueprint for innovation and transformation throughout supply chains. This is particularly important as environmental and economic challenges become more acute and policy targets require increasing ambition, where recycled content is only the starting point.

This panel discussion will discuss insights from the public and private sectors, best-practice examples from Australia and around the world, solving the challenge of embedding procurement within an organisation, products as a services, and measuring the impact of procurements using the next generation of circularity metrics.

Facilitated networking outside Seminar Theatre with tray service drinks

Procurement can shift a single organisation; demand-driven procurement with scale can shift entire markets. Significant scale changes the status quo by creating favourable conditions for product, service and infrastructure investment; spreading risk; and working to lower prices over time while bolstering supplier relationships and working towards sustainability targets.

Cathy will share insights from successful large-scale procurements that have radically changed the game for renewable energy and end markets for recycled materials that have reduced emissions and saved money for participating councils.

This presentation will inspire bold ideas and demonstrate that strategic procurement, through collaboration and planning, can achieve massive results beyond what one council could do alone.

Join us for a dynamic panel discussion exploring the future of soft plastic recycling, including the complexities and opportunities, on a national scale. Hear about IQ Renew's pioneering Bag in Bin concept and Curby Program, explore innovative solutions like Circular Contracts by Close the Loop, and furthermore, gain insights into advanced chemical recycling technologies and their role in creating a continuously circular economy for soft plastics from Licella.

National Retail - steps retailers are taking to lead in sustainability and stewardship as well as cover topics on single use plastics and packaging.

Explore the intersection of education and circular economy impact with Comsol and Cool.Org. Through insightful case studies like Closing The E-Loop, an open-source initiative driving action against electronic waste, we'll demonstrate the pivotal role of education in societal transformation. Learn how collaborative efforts drive scalable change and explore opportunities to contribute to a circular future.

The panel discussion will cover topics on national packaging and ways businesses can prepare for the national packaging mandates, labelling for businesses, including the Australasian Recycling Label (ARL) and Container Deposit Scheme (CDS). Additionally, we will cover the National Plastics Recycling Scheme (NPRS) and the way industry is collaborating to pilot kerbside soft plastic recycling, and how product stewardship in Australia is expanding, how we can address barriers and what is in store for the future.

Over 500,000 SKU’s across Australia and New Zealand are now using the Australasian Recycling Labelling on their packaging in Australia and New Zealand. This session will discuss the changes and updates to the ARL program, the ARL Marketplace and consumer insights into the ARL program. This session will be panel discussion with a number of key experts in the ARL program.

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