Scenario Investigation of Waste Management in Australia

Subject: Environment
Pages: 4
Words: 966
Reading time:
4 min


Environmental performance is a critical aspect for facilities offering disposal of waste services in Australia. There exist various legislations on environmental performance, whose aim is to promote and monitor responsible waste management by waste disposal facilities in the country. This report evaluates how SITA Lucas Height Company in NSW disposes and manages waste.

SITA Lucas-Heights Landfill

SITA Australia is a leading provider of sustainable waste recovery solutions in Australia (SITA, 2012). It owns and operates seven landfills in the country. These sites include Taylor Road Landfill, Dandenong South, and Hallam Road Hampton Park in Victoria among others (SITA, 2013a). SITA landfill aims at managing Australia’s waste in environmentally acceptable ways, responsibly (SITA, 2013b). SITA has designed its landfills to provide safe and secure procedures of waste disposal. The facility is also designed to minimize the environmental harms of waste disposal in NSW.

Scenario investigation of waste management in SITA Lucas-Heights Landfill

Lucas Heights Landfill accepts a wide variety of wastes generated by the local area residents and businesses in Sydney (SITA, 2013c). Some of the examples of accepted household and municipal waste are scrap metal (ferrous and non-ferrous aluminum and car bodies), slump oil, fire extinguishers, E-waste, aluminum cans, tree trunks, and mattresses among others. Lucas-Heights Landfill manages this waste through a safe and secure deposition. It also employs several techniques, which reduce the negative impacts of waste on the environment.

SITA Lucas-Height has put in place systems to maximize diversion from the landfill. According to Diaz (2008), maximizing diversion from a landfill is achieved through increased capacity and convenience achieved through increasing accessibility to garbage disposal services. He further argues that the current expansion program is a key factor to maximization of the diversion from the landfill (Diaz, 2008). In addition, the increased diversion to the landfill calls for an increasing level of participation for users and residents, participating in diversion programs. SITA partners with different organizations to maximize the diversion of the landfill. It also runs a number of recycling and resource recovery facilities within its jurisdiction. This enables the facility to capture valuable products and commodities, hence maximizing landfill diversion (SITA, 2013d).

Some of the characteristics used to determine the company’s moves include a description of the waste, composition of the waste, and the waste codes. The first step is to determine whether the waste can be landfilled or not. The next step is to determine whether it is hazardous or non-hazardous. If the waste is hazardous, the company emphasizes checking whether it is treated or not. On the contrary, if the waste is non-hazardous, the company examines whether the waste is listed as inert or not. If non-hazardous waste is inert, the company again examines whether its treatment is technically feasible. Lucas Heights Landfill allows the safe and secure disposal of municipal and household wastes. These are non-hazardous wastes. Therefore, after determining whether the waste is treatable and inert, the company takes the waste to the facility for treatment (Productivity Commission, 2006).

Waste management in Australia is controlled by several legislations. These legislations include Australia’s National Waste Policy, which sets waste reduction targets and performance standards (Department of Environment, 2008). However, the policy and legislative work on waste management is the principal function of State and Territory governments. Through the Australian and New Zealand Environmental and Conservation Council (ANZECC), the Commonwealth establishes and maintains cohesive and responsible waste management (Department of Environment, 2008). The Waste Minimisation and Management Act 1995 and The Protection of Environment Operations Act 1997 are the main NWS waste disposal and management legislations.

SITA Lucas-Heights landfill complies with the latter environmental policy. The facility utilizes the Protection of Environment Operations Act legislation in its waste disposal operations. The company also utilizes Pollution Incident Response Management Plans (PIRMPs) to prevent and minimize pollution from landfills. It also employs appropriate measures in managing wastes efficiently. Its disposal technology allows these wastes to be deposited safely and securely. It is planned and engineered with landfilling plans that appropriately dispose of the household waste, with minimal environmental risk.

The facility employs several innovative steps that minimize the impact of wastes disposal on the environment. The infrastructure (facility plan and engineering) allows landfilling plans and operations to be monitored by the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH). The landfill cell infrastructure prevents water contamination around the site and hence minimizes the formation of leachate (SITA, 2013e). This ensures the protection of groundwater, surface water, and the surrounding environment. The facility also allows production of green energy, which positively impacts the environment. Through frequent environmental reports, the facility gathers environmental data and makes reports public.

Lucas Height applies a minimum charge of $70 on tree trunks and roots, and the minimum charge of $70 to palm trees and fronds (SITA, 2013f). It charges $60 on each mattress, and $4.00 per one litre container of household paints. Glass bottles and jars are charged at $200 per tonne. The expanded plastics attract $70 as minimum charge. Finally, the acceptable charges for a whole 5 car tyres, goes for $15 each, per visit (SITA, 2013f).

Conclusion and recommendation

In Australia, waste is disposed securely and safely, through appropriate technological innovations that bring down risks of wastes on the environment. Managing wastes creates a favourable environment. The best recommendation for a manager is to innovate and adopt state-of-art technologies continuously, in order to minimize risks associated with wastes on the environment. In addition, facility wastes management programs need to be encouraged. This can play a significant role in curbing risks associated with wastes. It can also give firm managers an easy time and work, in creating the best waste disposal strategies in landfills. The case of SITA Lucas-Height Company provides a good example of how organizations should manage wastes in Australia and other countries around the world.

List of References

Department of Environment, 2008, Survey of Federal, State and Territorial Waste Management Arrangements, Web.

Diaz, LF 2008, “The search for solutions to maximize waste diversion from landfills,” Waste management, vol. 28, no. 5, pp. 775. Web.

Productivity Commission, 2006, Waste Management, Web.

SITA, 2012, Review of the NSW Waste and Environment Levy, Web.

SITA, 2013a, Landfill, Web.

SITA, 2013b, New Illawarra Road Landfill, Web.

SITA, 2013c, Lucas Heights, Web.

SITA, 2013d, SITA Australia wins top sustainability award for Taronga zoo partnership, Web.

SITA, 2013e, Environmental Management, Web.

SITA, 2013f, Waste Charges and services, Web.