AMSA, in partnership with the Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation (NQBP) and Mackay Regional Council, has initiated a pilot program at the Port of Hay Point to investigate the feasibility of recycling garbage from international ships.
- Ships can participate in the pilot program as part of their routine operations on arrival at port.
- The recyclables that will be accepted during the pilot are glass, aluminium and steel cans and hard plastic containers.
- These materials will be inspected by Agriculture’s biosecurity officers onboard the ship and be released from biosecurity control provided they are free from biosecurity risks, such as animal or plant material.
Ships' crews currently separate recyclable garbage onboard, but have limited opportunity to offload these materials at Australian ports for recycling. At the moment, any garbage that is separated onboard is combined when offloaded in Australian ports and has to undergo treatment by autoclave or deep-burial to meet Australia’s biosecurity requirements. While these treatments address any biosecurity risk, the opportunity for recycling is lost and creates a disincentive for ships to discharge garbage in Australian ports. AMSA's Manager of Environmental Standards, Matt Johnston, explained:
"We want to make it easier for international ships to dispose of their garbage and recyclables in the right way, while ensuring biosecurity risks are managed, to help prevent illegal discharges of garbage into the sea, which presents a potential uncontrolled biosecurity risk, and reduce the amount of recyclables that end up in Australian landfill."
Assistant Secretary of Compliance Controls at the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, Dean Merrilees, added:
"Through this pilot program, recyclables that arrive on international ships will still need to undergo usual biosecurity clearance, but they will be able to be disposed of and recycled in the same way as any domestic or municipal recyclables."
The Port of Hay Point has been selected as one of two initial pilot sites for the program to operate through to the end of May 2018. The other site is the Port of Brisbane. Ships that would like to participate in the pilot will have the opportunity to indicate their interest prior to arrival at port.