Cost-Effective Decisions and Environmentally-Responsible Decisions: One and the Same?
Around the world, land is becoming increasingly valuable, especially in light of our explosive population growth. One of the repercussions of this phenomenon is that landfill fees are increasing. As a result, the business dynamic is changing in dozens of industries, most notably the waste and recycling industry.
Historically, when the resource recovery and recycling industry was in its infancy, it was undoubtedly less costly to simply send waste to landfill. However, with decades of engineering research and efficiency improvements to recycling processes of various materials, the business case for recycling is changing for the better. In fact, in South Australia, for every 1 job created in the landfill waste industry, 9 jobs are created in the recycling and resource recovery industries.
South Australian local government is spearheading waste reduction and resource recovery initiatives. The South Australian Environmental Protection Authority as well as Zero Waste SA are the two state government bodies that are leading the way and shaping the future in the waste and recycling industries. Motivated to meet the waste targets set out in South Australia's Strategic Plan of reducing waste by 35% by 2020 with a milestone of 25% by 2014, the SA EPA and Zero Waste SA are hard at work collaborating and consulting with businesses to establish legislation and initiatives that will facilitate the reduction of waste generated within SA.
In fact, the very existence of Zero Waste SA is due to SA's political leadership and commitment to mitigate waste generation and increase recycling behaviors among citizens and businesses. Since its inception in 2004, over 74.5 million dollars of waste levy funds have been invested in recycling and rubbish reduction projects by Zero Waste SA. Paul Caica, Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation wrote in South Australia's Waste Strategy 2011 – 2015, that ''Now is not the time for hesitation or complacency and I believe that our new waste strategy is a confident and considered next step.''. This inspiring attitude towards immediate action in the realm of sustainability is just what is needed of those in a leadership position to instigate meaningful, lasting and positive change.
As outlined by the Environmental Protection Authority, waste levies are going to increase in the future. The graph below shows the current per tonne of solid waste and per kilolitre of liquid waste fees throughout SA. Note that waste originating from metropolitan areas per tonne is double that of non-metropolitan areas and that liquid waste levies are increasing at a faster rate than solid waste. This trend is common across the several states in Australia, demonstrating a national commitment to reduce rubbish and encourage recycling.
This scheme of charging higher fees to discourage a certain behavior and taking those funds to encourage a behavior that is desirable is known to economists as a Pigouvian tax. Ecological economists in particular have long been in favour of this mechanism to help citizens and businesses alike adopt more environmentally-responsible behaviors. In SA, this is exactly what the government has achieved; incrementally increasing landfill levies are partially used to fund initiatives that encourage businesses and citizens to decrease their rubbish generation. These types of taxes often receive backlash from citizens and business alike so it's speaks magnitudes of the public and corporate attitudes towards environmental commitment in SA that the waste levy system works.
Think there's a way around paying the higher tariffs for getting rid of waste? It isn't through illegal dumping; SA's Environmental Protection Authority's corporate penalty for illegal waste disposal can be as high as $2 million. There is a legal and far more preferable solution! It's making Signal Waste and Recycling your waste removal and recycling partner. Signal's mission is to provide customers with reliable, innovative waste management solutions that will save money and reduce waste to landfill.
Signal will work with your company to determine how you can avoid paying the increased landfill levies through recycling and energy recovery. Your employees may not be recycling every recyclable material simply because they do not know that some waste materials can be converted into another product. Employee education, clear signage, an individualized waste management program and innovative resource recovery technologies (such as converting waste into energy) are all part of the equation. Signal Waste and Recovery understands how to best reduce your waste footprint while making the most economical decision possible.
Businesses around the world have proven that environmental stewardship doesn't have to sacrifice profitability. Let Signal Waste and Recycling help your business become an economically and ecologically savvy company through innovative waste management and recycling solutions.