Picture: Photograph by John Immig 2005 shows disposal of Sydney's garbage at the former site of the Woodlawn mine. The company Collex has changed its name to Veolia Environmental Services. The Veolia Environment (VE) group, is the world leader in the provision of waste management, water, energy and transportation. There was much controversy in the green movement at the time at Total Environment Centre director Jeff Angel's silence regarding this NSW ALP Government project.
We held off a gratuitious real politik deconstruction about the front page lead in the Sydney Morning Herald today:
7 April 2008
Recycling illusion exposed THE amount of paper and glass packaging being recycled by Australians has been seriously overestimated, a confidential leaked audit of a national recycling report sent to federal and state ministers has found.
There is this cute anonymous "source" connected to the National Packaging Covenant Council in the story:
"The covenant and the council have already agreed to amend the data," said a spokesman for the National Packaging Covenant Council, Russell Peel. "I don't believe the alterations are serious, or undermine the improving recycling performance."
But a source connected to the council said it had been happy to keep up the appearance of continual improvement, when the figures were not so rosy.
"The system is not working," the source said. "The ministers have to face reality. The 65 per cent recycling target won't be reached. I think they have been negligent in not properly checking the figures because they were happy with the nice figures."
And of course that "source" would be Jeff Angel, director of the Total Environment Centre and the ALP Right in NSW go to man to control the mainstream environment groups because the ALP sure as hell can't control The Green Party. Angel outed himself thus on ABC radio earlier in the day.
So what's going on to make Big Jeff break cover now over failure of industry to meet waste recycling targets say as opposed to last year, or the year before, or indeed when the NSW ALP Government under Bob Carr were busy building a landfill for Sydney waste into a great big hole at Woodlawn near Goulburn? In breach of their election promises and the goals of the Waste Minimisation and Management Act 1995 now repealed and replaced in one of those 'change the goal post' exercises.
This was an even bigger "rort" that Angel barely managed to grapple with, much to the alarm of local campaigners like Frank Miller (RIP) of Southern Highland Greens/Friends of the Earth. Also those residents impacted in Sydney by the Clyde Waste Transfer station including big fights through the Land & Environment Court were similarly struggling without active TEC support.
TEC did issue this press release the day of the Commission of Inquiry Report for Woodlawn 10th Feb 2000 but it was all spilt milk by that time and it seems fair to say the group was missing in action up to that time. It did lay down a paper record of opposition.
TEC in the early 90ies supported the massive escape hatch for waste of a 'waste to energy' 2nd generation Waterloo Incinerator in the early 1990ies an agenda that was thwarted by this writer (not least for dioxin byproduct), amongst others, and which is now the Green Square urban redevelopment precinct.
Certainly Angel can see the main chance involves working up an agenda with the federal ALP. Since November 24th 2007 election that means tag team with Peter Garrett as federal environment minister, as per ABC news radio last night:
The Federal Government says it is concerned by reports Australia might not meet packaging recycling targets by 2010.
A draft audit of package recycling rates has emerged, showing previous estimates had been inflated by including items that were not packaging.
Environment Minister Peter Garrett says he will be meeting with state governments later this month to discuss ways to increase recycling rates in Australia.
"Australians are increasingly concerned about our levels of recycling and so is the Rudd Government," he said.
"We are absolutely committed to seeing recycling levels increase in this country. That's what Australians want, that's what this Government wants and that's what we're going to work towards."
It might have been a bit more consistent and indeed ethical to deal with industry at arms length right from the start, no sitting fees, no hush hush, and spurning a seat on the Packaging Covenant Council rather do the ALP's work of ambushing the NPCC out of tribal loyalty to to one side of politics in April 2008?
At the very least it serves 'greenwash' brand ALP getting some distance between the ongoing developer donations scandal in the last week, and longer, which after all is Jeff Angel's raison d'etre:
Here the Greens are putting their perspective based on the same front page story:
Media Release from Ian Cohen MLC
Monday 7th April, 2008
Industry trashed on packaging waste: Greens’ container deposit law now
Greens MLC Ian Cohen will introduce and debate Container Deposit
Legislation this week in the NSW Upper House, as new information reveals
the failure of a voluntary national recycling scheme.
“Self regulation has failed and the credibility of the packaging
industry has now been pulped – it should not be recycled yet again as
it’s clearly contaminated,” said Upper House Greens MP Ian Cohen.
“This is an issue that has been debated for years. The community is
ready for container deposit legislation and that is why I will be
introducing and debating my Private Member’s Bill this week.
“The Chairman of the National Packaging Covenant Council (NPCC) -
Russell Peel - was on ABC’s AM this morning selling the current
voluntary scheme as a success. How can a scheme that results in glass
being dumped in landfill because it’s cheaper than recycling, be a
“Government and NPCC recycling figures have been suggesting that
recycling rates are at 56%, when the truth appears to be that they’re
closer to 43%. A private consultancy firm’s audit has exposed the
quality of packaging statistics as being about as reliable as Chinese
ministry statements on Tibet.
“The community is passionate about recycling. It’s not OK to peddle
dodgy figures on the recovery of packaging waste, inflated by glass
recycled in New Zealand or by including non-packaging waste in the
“We also need to remember that the NPCC’s now discredited figures
enjoy an additional boost by the inclusion of South Australian
statistics. SA is the only state that has container deposit legislation,
and therefore their excellent resource recovery statistics further mask
failure in the rest of Australia.
“My legislation is known as the ‘Waste Avoidance and Resource
Recovery (Container [Deposits]) Bill 2008’, and I will be asking the
Parliament to respect the wishes of the community on this issue and vote
in favour of the Bill’” said Mr Cohen.
Further Information: Ian Cohen: 0409 989 466 or Nic Clyde: 0417 742