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2017- 2018



Forward The Australian Recycled Organics Association Limited (AORA) works on behalf of its members to raise awareness of the benefits of recycling organics resources. It aims to act as an advocate for the wider organics resource recovery and beneficial reuse industries and to represent their views in a constructive dialogue with policy makers. The Association envisages an industry in which best practice is shared, standards are maintained and surpassed, and which makes a positive contribution to safeguarding the environment.

Removing this surplus food as well as garden waste and biosolids from landfill we can reduce carbon emissions, create jobs, and improve the environment more generally. We believe that only the small portion of heavily contaminated organics material that cannot be economically recycled should be considered waste and sent to landfill. Changing common practice in household kitchens, the restaurant and food processing sectors and the landscaping industry will take time and effort. AORA is a leader in creating this cultural change and everyone in Australia is a stakeholder in the successful achievement of our vision.

Our vision optimises the recycling and beneficial reuse of all surplus organics material. It is regularly reported that up to 50% of all food that is produced is wasted. While we strongly encourage a more sustainable approach, we acknowledge that some portion of food will inevitably be surplus to requirement, especially in our major cities. Our ambition is to ensure that a minimum amount of this material is wasted, by processing it into beneficial soil amendments that can be returned to land to produce more food and improve urban Paul Coffey amenity. Chair




Recycling and reuse is the accepted management practice for surplus organics material and byproducts of human activity.


AORA works with stakeholders to facilitate the conditions through which surplus organics material can be sustainably and cost effectively recycled for beneficial reuse.


1. To perform the functions of the Peak Body for the Recycled Organics Industry. 2. Develop and champion a pathway(s) to create a future where recycling of surplus organics material is optimised. 3. Establish a Knowledge Hub for Recycled Organics research, development, extension and communication.


AORA Capability Statement The Australian Recycled Organics Industry at a Glance

Our People • • • •

representing over 150 businesses involved in organics recycling and composting estimated industry turnover of $1 billion capital investment in excess of $2 billion directly employs over 3,500 people (FTE) in addition to indirectly creating several thousand jobs in infrastructure and the collection, transport, distribution and application of products.

Our Products • recycle more than 6 million tonnes of organics material each year • create a range of new products including: • composted soil conditioners and mulches • agricultural soil amendments • potting mixes, playground surfacing and manufactured soils • recover nutrients equivalent to more than 30,000 tonnes of urea, 3,000 tonnes of super phosphate and 15,300 tonnes of potassium sulphate; that would otherwise be lost to landfill each year • sequester and abate more than 7.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent of potential and actual greenhouse gas emissions, through diversion of organics matter from landfill, storage of carbon in the soil and avoided fertiliser use.

Our Environmental Contribution Compost • builds soil carbon in agricultural soils. One tonne of composted garden organics applied to land can sequester approximately 0.5 tonnes of CO2e (equivalent) • creates healthy soils that use less water, less fertiliser and fewer pesticides whilst reducing nutrient leaching and protecting the aquatic environment 6

• supports resilient farming systems producing healthy food and supporting Australia’s food security • buffers the effects of climate change in agriculture by: • reducing water loss from soils (improving water use efficiency and reducing cropping risk) • protecting soils against wind and water erosion • reducing soil temperature fluctuations (increasing root growth and soil biology) • reduces synthetic fertiliser demand and carbon emissions from fertiliser manufacture and use • mulch application suppresses weed growth and can save more than 30% of irrigation water depending on conditions • the composting process destroys weed seeds and pathogens, helping to control the spread of weeds and diseases as well as managing biosecurity risks.

Our Potential An additional 13 million tonnes/year of organics material is still available to be diverted from landfill. Diverting just an additional 2 million tonnes would: • create more than 650 new jobs • increase turnover by up to $400 million and an expected capital investment in excess of $1 billion • avoid approximately 2 million tonnes of CO2e emissions and sequester approximately 1 million tonnes of CO2e in soils when the compost is applied to land • save 100GL of irrigation water • replace 10,000 tonnes of urea, 1,000 tonnes of super phosphate and 5,000 tonnes of potassium sulphate • deliver an additional $30 million in farm revenue due to yield improvement in intensive agriculture.

Our Communication Whilst the AORA web site is an industry member’s resource the public face of AORA can be found at The Compost for Soils site provides an extensive resource of the organics industries efforts over the past 15 years including many papers on organics reuse.



Ambition 1.1 Objective 1. AORA is the Peak Body for the RO Industry The recycled organics (RO) industry is not new. Humans have been recycling organics material as fuel and soil improvers since ancient times. Today, the role of the industry is becoming more critical as the effects of urban development agricultural practices and power generation impact our environment. The recycled organics industry is now being asked to assist in the diversion of material from landfill to beneficial reuse. In order to perform this role effectively the industry must work with governments at all levels in setting the policy and regulatory frameworks that will allow the industry to efficiently deliver on this role. Having a single peak body representing the industry in the development of the industry will help to ensure that the industry grows on a sustainable future pathway.


Produce and develop the annual Australian Recycled Organics Annual Report (ROAR).

Action Plans • Develop a report format and content by December 2017. • Commence data collection in January 2017. • Prepare first report as at 31 December 2017 for release June 2018. • Prepare communication strategy for the release of the report including mainstream media. • Gain support from Federal and State Governments for agreed reporting categories. • Annual awards based on performance, improvement and advocacy for leading states, councils, and industry.

Ambition 1.2 Conduct annual meetings with Federal and State Minister(s) Assistant Ministers(s)/Shadows and Staff(s) to ensure AORA remains engaged with emerging issues and policy processes.

Action Plans • Prepare meeting schedule in coordination with State Committees. • Prepare briefing notes for attendees regarding the ROAR and specific key points of relevance to attendees.

Ambition 1.3 Conduct two major events annually around Australia.

Action Plans • Conduct the AORA Annual Conference and Awards Dinner as the Primary industry event during International Compost Awareness Week in May each year. • Conduct the Annual Members Meeting and ROAR Launch in Oct/Nov annually. • Prepare and publish rolling 24 month schedule of events, themes and locations.

Ambition 1.4 Coordinate annual AORA representation at key stakeholder events.

Action Plans • Develop a schedule of key stakeholder events. • Develop an attendance plan and budget for board approval.

Ambition 1.5 • Conduuct an annual member survey.


2. Objective 2. Champion a pathway to a future where recycling of surplus organics material is optimised Changing society’s actions and attitudes to the recycling of organics material is a daunting challenge as were the campaigns to reduce smoking and wear seat belts. With clear messaging and education strategies those campaigns have turned the tide in a single generation. The challenge facing the RO industry is benefited by the ‘good news’ message that can be used. Nobody has to ‘give anything up’ they just have to take a slightly different approach to a basic activity. AORA seeks to be the leader in this campaign to improve organics recovery and increase RO uptake.


Ambition 2.1 Lead cultural change by describing the future management of surplus organics material including setting short (annual) medium (five year) and longer-term targets for the industry and society generally in the ROAR.

Action Plans • Promote the concept that waste management is an independent activity that occurs after recycling and reprocessing are complete. ‘It’s not waste until it reaches the point where it cannot be economically recycled’. • Report on performance against targets in the ROAR.

Ambition 2.2 Identify, communicate and celebrate ‘best practice’ strategies, technologies, performance and products.

Action Plans • Monthly newsletter articles highlighting technology and strategy developments including notable projects and research activities. • Recognise thought leaders and implementers through annual awards. • Illustrate the benefits of RO.

Ambition 2.3 Work with Stakeholders to develop and implement RO industry policy, regulation and legislation that optimises market conditions for RO.

Action Plans • Build and sustain relationships with government departments to ensure consultation in RO policy, regulation and legislation development. • Compare ROAR outcomes to advocate best policy solutions. • Review and enter the debate on new policy approaches • Examine opportunities within the private sector to increase diversion.


3. Objective 3.

Ambition 3.1 Establish a Centre for Recycled Organics within one or more tertiary institutions to drive RD&E for the RO industry.

Action Plans

Establish a Knowledge Hub for Recycled Organics research, development, extension and communication Research development and extension are fundamental to the development of the RO industry. A centre of excellence that acts as a nodal point for research and identified research priorities as well as disseminating the knowledge generated is the most efficient strategy to achieve this. The industry needs RD&E to advance its cause, move away from the environmental and cottage industry fringe and bring it into the main stream of industrial activities.

• Identify research priorities and seek funding to undertake research. • Report on RD&E activity through AORA communication channels. • Develop relationships with overseas RO RD&E entities. • Establish a panel of experts to guide policy standards and training development.

Ambition 3.2 Produce the Recycled Organics Annual Report (ROAR).

Action Plans • Develop industry performance targets and communicate industry performance against targets. • Develop and promulgate research priorities. • Develop awards for performance, innovation and implementation.

Ambition 3.3 12

Develop and deliver industry training. • Product standards.

Ambition 3.4 Develop and deliver education programs for the general public.

Action Plans • Education in community contribution and responsibilities in the recycling of organics. • Home composting information and resources for domestic use Community workshops.

Ambition 3.5 Develop and deliver training in the use and benefits of RO.

Ambition 3.6 Develop and maintain the compost for soils website as a core resource for the general population regarding the production and use of RO.

Action Plans • Develop and maintain a relational database for RO research and stakeholder links. • Provide articles explaining research findings in a user accessible format.


Organisation Structure BOARD OF DIRECTORS









AORA Directors Paul Coffey | Chair For his sins Paul was drawn away from a technical career in the mining industry to the organics industry. Responsible for processing and management of in excess of 1,000,000 tonnes of organics over the past 25 years he has also been responsible for pioneering innovative technologies for processing mixed waste and source separated organics in Australia and continues to strive for the optimum use of recovered materials. In his role as an owner and director of several companies in recycled organics management, processing and land application business, Paul is one of Australia’s leading authorities on organics processing and product reuse. Paul has been the driving force behind the creation of the peak industry body for the organics industry bringing together processors, associated industry professionals and organisations to ensure the industry has the capacity to play a more constructive role in the process of improving resource recovery.

Michael Wood | Director Michael has a Bachelor of Commerce and a Graduate Diploma in Applied Science Horticulture and has worked in container nursery production and with potting mix producers in marketing, technical and general management roles. Michael is a Director of Enviromix Pty Ltd, a leading Victorian composter based in Dingley Village and provides consulting services to a range of clients through his consultancy business Oakwood Consultants Pty Ltd. Enviromix is Melbourne based and along with its Goulburn Valley operation Biomix recycles around 75,000 tonnes of garden organics into valuable compost and mulches used by leading commercial growers of vegetables, fruit and vineyards as well as pasture and broad acre crop farming. Michael provides agronomic advice on compost use in client soil health programs to his sales team at Enviromix. Michael led the formation and transition of the former Compost Vic group into AORA Victoria. He was previously on the executive of the Nursery and Garden Industry of Victoria and was on the inaugural board of the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show.


AORA Directors Peter Wadewitz | Director Peter Wadewitz has been involved with many organisations such as Waste Management Australia, Compost Australia, Compost for Soils and the newly formed AORA group. He also won South Australia’s Environmentalist of the year award in 2006. Peter is the Managing Director of Peats Soil & Garden Supplies. He has been commercially processing compost for over 40 years. He is also the inventor of the BiobiN® , a waste management in vessel composting system offering an alternate solution for businesses when it comes to dealing with their organics. Peter’s commitment to the growth and prosperity of the organics recycling industry has led to appointments to the Barton Group’s Export Task Force and the Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering and Innovation Council. Peter was also a leading figure in developing the Australian Compost Industry Roadmap. Peter’s current projects involve a biodiesel plant and an anaerobic digester. His vision is to be a sustainable facility that generates its own electricity and Bio-Fuel.


Duncan LeGood | Director Duncan commenced his journey in the resource recovery industry in the year 2000 whilst undertaking 3rd year university projects in the then newly developing urban garden organics composting industry. Duncan attended the University of Western Sydney, Hawkesbury, completing the Bachelor of Landscape Management and Conservation with Honors and majoring in Soil and Water studies. Duncan has worked consistently in the composting and resource recovery industry in both an operations and sales capacity and has furthered his studies in the fields of biological farming and commercial composting in this time. Duncan has a passion for seeing organics materials processed and returned as a beneficial input in both urban and rural landscapes. Duncan currently works for Suez recycling and recovery and resides in Newcastle, Australia.

AORA Directors Rowan Williams | Director Rowan has more than 30 year’s experience in Asia Pacific in the agricultural, packaging, mining and general manufacturing industries, in roles spanning marketing, sales and operations. Rowan is the Regional Market Development Manager for Biodegradable Polymers, ecoflex®/ ecovio® for BASF Asia Pacific. This role requires the development of markets and policy settings through stakeholder advocacy. Rowan has extensive experience in the practical implementation of solutions for biopolymers ranging from organics management, the applications of composted organics and soil amendments for improvements in soil health, use of biodegradable mulch film and the merging of these two applications for improvements in horticulture and agriculture, with organics inputs. Rowan has been with BASF for 13 years and previously spent time in senior management roles, with other multinational companies.

Martin Tower | Director Martin graduated from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and served as a British Army and subsequently Australian Army office .On leaving military service, Martin completed an MBA and moved into management consulting which lead to engagements in sustainable energy development where he had a leading role in the establishment of a waste to energy company specialising in the application of high-powered ultrasonics to anaerobic digestion. He also became involved in the composting industry, especially regarding intensive agriculture byproducts and more recently has commenced product development and marketing activities for the use of urban-derived composts into mainstream agriculture. Martin has taken a leading role in developing AORA’s national strategy and business plans and is particularly interested in business concept development and implementation.

Rowan is currently the President of the Australasian Bioplastics Association, the peak industry body for the Bioplastics industry across ANZ and with global affiliations in Europe, the US and Asia. Since September 2016, Rowan is the Executive Secretary for the Pan Pacific Bioplastics Alliance.


AORA Directors TIM RICHARDS | Director Tim is the Operations Manager of Richgro Garden Products and has been with the company for 20 years. Tim was born into the organics recycling industry as a member of the family business, Richgro and has grown up with compost under his fingernails. Richgro manufacture a full range of garden products, of which many are based around compost. A large volume of Richgro’s compost is packaged for retail sale. Richgro also have a bulk division primarily supplying the Western Australia landscape industry with increasing distribution into the Horticulture and Agriculture markets. Prior to joining the AORA Board, Tim was Vice Chair of Compost Western Australia and represented them on the National Board of Compost Australia. He previously spent seven years on the state board of the Landscape Industries Association of Western Australia, two years as President and a representative on the National Board of the Australian Landscape Industry Association. Tim is passionate about the organics industry and raising the bar for compost manufacturing in this country. He holds a strong belief that the future of gardening, agriculture and horticulture revolves around the ever increasing use of organics that help bring life to the ancient soils that we have in this country.


Photo credits: Page 2, 9, 10, Back cover: Creative Commons Zero license CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Page 6, 7: Global Renewables: Mine rehabilitation Page 4, 8, 11: Supplied Page 12: Soulpics Photography: Enviromix Open Day Page 13-18: supplied

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AORA National Strategy 2017-2018  

The ambitions and objectives of the Australian Organics Recycling Association for the next 12 months.

AORA National Strategy 2017-2018  

The ambitions and objectives of the Australian Organics Recycling Association for the next 12 months.