Davis, G., Phillips, P. S. and Coskeran, T. (2009) Driving commercial and industrial waste reduction in Queensland, Australia: the potential application of a UK waste minimisation club model. Journal of Solid Waste Technology and Management.35(1), pp. 50-62. 1088-1697.
Queensland (QLD) is the second largest state in Australia with an area of 1,734,157 km2 and a population of some 4,132,000 (less than 20% of Australia’s total population). The majority of QLD’s population is located in the South East (SEQ) region around Brisbane and the Gold Coast with further population densities along the coast. SEQ is growing rapidly, with SEQ receiving over 1,000 new immigrants (both interstate and international) to the region every week, which is stimulating the housing, retail and commercial and industrial sectors. This growth in population and development is leading to an increase in waste arisings across all sectors. During 2005, QLD generated approximately 444,000 tonnes of commercial and industrial waste, with only 23,000 tonnes being recycled, equating to only 5% of the amount generated. By comparison, during 2005 the UK generated 83 million tonnes of commercial and industrial wastes of which approximately 45% was recycled. QLD has a suite of environmental and specific waste management legislation relating to the management of all waste streams which adopts the waste management hierarchy. The regulatory framework of any State or Country can if well designed drive sustainable waste management practices within the commercial and industrial sectors. Waste minimisation clubs (WMCs) were initiated in the 1990s in the UK in order to assist commercial organisations minimise their waste streams and identify re-use and recycling opportunities, including e.g. waste exchanges. WMCs have been an important demonstration opportunity for companies to grasp the benefits of the sustainable management of commercial and industrial wastes as well as the possible adoption of cleaner production through new technology. This paper reviews the trend of WMCs in the UK and discusses their potential application to QLD. It explores the drivers and barriers for such implementations within QLD, including the absence of a landfill levy and legislative barriers. The paper also discusses Australian government initiatives for improving resource efficiency within industry, and the benefits and limitations of these schemes. Case studies from the UK are then provided to ascertain the opportunities for possible WMC development in QLD