Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) is set to start a pilot programme at the Port of Hay Point to study the feasibility of recycling waste from ships across the globe.

The programme to be carried out in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (Agriculture), North Queensland Bulk Ports (NQBP), and Mackay Regional Council, aims to provide options for ships to dispose of recyclables and waste in Australian ports. This will ensure protection to the local industries, native wildlife, human health, and the environment.

On their scheduled visits to the Port of Hay Point, ships can take part in the pilot programme, which will accept wasted glass, aluminium and steel cans, as well as hard plastic containers to recycle.

Agriculture’s biosecurity officers will inspect the waste materials on-board the ship and will release the materials if they are free from biosecurity risks.

AMSA Environmental Standards manager Matt Johnston said: “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.”

“The pilot programme is also expected to help reduce waste ending up in Australia’s landfill or in the ocean.”

Apart from the Port of Hay Point, AMSA has selected the Port of Brisbane as one of the two initial pilot sites for the programme.

The programme is expected to be continued until the end of this month.

Agriculture Compliance Controls assistant secretary Dean Merrilees said: “Through this pilot programme, 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 pilot programme is also expected to help reduce waste ending up in Australia’s landfill or in the ocean.