Review of solid waste levy (2012)

Review of solid waste levy (2012)
  • Reuse Recovery and Recycling

Review of solid waste levy (2012)

Executive summary: The Solid Waste Levy (the Levy) is an important tool with which Zero Waste SA (ZWSA) pursues its objectives for waste minimisation and resource recovery in South Australia. The Levy is applied to each tonne of waste disposed as landfill and sends an important price signal throughout the community, while raising revenues to support complementary measures. The 2010-11 South Australian Budget increased the Levy in 2011-2012 from $26 a tonne to $35 a tonne in Metropolitan Adelaide, and from $13 a tonne to $17.50 a tonne in regional areas. It is anticipated that the Levy will progressively increase beyond this to at least $50 a tonne in Metropolitan Adelaide to align it with similar levies in other Australian states.1 ZWSA is required by the Zero Waste SA Act 2004 to periodically advise the Minister for Environment and Conservation on the scale of the Levy and how it should be applied. The Allen Consulting Group has been commissioned by ZWSA to review the impacts and structure of the Levy and assist ZWSA provide recommendations to the Government about the Levy for implementation in 2012- 2013. Recognising the wide range of impacts changes to the Levy may impose, this analysis has taken a triple bottom line approach to the evaluation and considered the market, environmental and social impacts. The key findings of this analysis are as follows. • Depending on the scenario assumed, South Australia’s diversion rate could increase to 79.2 per cent by 2014-15. • Between 50 and 60 thousand additional tonnes of waste could be diverted away from landfill to the resource recovery processes each year. • Increases in the Levy could contribute to the abatement of between 23 and 35 thousand tonnes of direct greenhouse gas emissions associated with landfill each year.2 • Increases in the Levy could generate an additional $7.7 million of revenues for the South Australian Government each year (under Scenario 1). • Across the state, it is estimated that the proposed changes will have only a minimal impact on business, industry and household sectors. While increases in the Levy can be expected to generate some considerable benefits, it is unlikely that all waste diversion targets set in South Australia’s Waste Strategy 2011-15, will be achieved. The effectiveness of the Levy appears to be limited, particularly in the immediate term, and is likely to benefit from the support of additional complementary measures, including: • education campaigns and information provision aimed in particular at households and small and medium enterprises;
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