Contract Resources to build oil and gas waste facility

A $20 million oil and gas waste processing facility will be built in Western Australia’s city of Karratha in the Pilbara region.

The West Australian reported Contract Resources, owned by Bapcor, will build the plant to process and recycle waste by-products which are removed from the oil and gas production stream.

In an Australian-first, the plant will be built using world-leading technology from Econ Industries of Germany.

It will have the capacity to process up to 2000 tonnes of waste a year.

Contract Resources chief executive Ivor Ferguson told The West Australian the process involved extracting heavy metals and oils, which were then recycled.

The remaining purified waste was disposed of at a normal landfill site.

Mr Ferguson said the plant, to be operating by early next year, offered a viable solution for producers who now put most of their hazardous waste in long-term storage.

“Contract Resources was well placed to provide the waste services, having undertaken industrial services, including decontamination of oil and gas equipment, for many years,” he said.

The plant will employ about 20 people when fully operational.

Cleanaway establishes new market

Waste management company Cleanaway has been awarded a 10-year collection contract to New South Wales’ mid north coastal region of Kempsey Shire.

The Macleay Argus reported the Council’s contract, which comes into effect on July 1st, will see the company establish a local base in the Macleay valley, including a new truck depot and customer service call centre.

According to council, the new business will benefit a number of other local businesses, including Scotts Hydraulics, C&G Electrics, Randalls Business Equipment and Beaurepaires.

Cleanaway’s fleet of garbage trucks will be serviced by local business, Mavin Truck Centre in South Kempsey.

Dean Mavin, dealer principle at Mavin Truck Centre, said the service agreement with Cleanaway to provide maintenance, servicing and urgent repairs would allow the business to look at taking on new employees and training up staff.

“This contract has provided the business confidence to look at possible expansion, an opportunity to upskill our existing team, and a chance to take on new apprentices,” Mr Mavin said.

“We’re thrilled to play an important role in servicing the garbage trucks to minimise downtime and disruption, and keep our local waste management services running smoothly.”

Council’s general manager, David Rawlings, said Cleanaway was also looking to establish a call centre in Kempsey before the start of the new waste contract.

He said the calls centre would be staffed by Macleay locals who will take the pressure off of council’s call centre.

Michael Biagi, NSW regional manager of Cleanaway, said the company is committed to working with the local communities in which it operates.

Nedlands Waste Minimisation Strategy ‘on track’

The City of Nedlands is on track to divert 65 per cent of all waste from landfill by 2020, after its latest Waste Minimisation Strategy was approved by Council.

City of Nedlands Mayor Max Hipkins, second from left, with Year 6 Dalkeith Primary School students Eloise O’Clery, Max Yee and Sophie Laurance at Nedlands foreshore for Clean Up Australia Day activities.

It follows a 10-week community consultation period that found people were mainly supportive of the strategy with only very minor amendments suggested.

The Waste Minimisation Strategy 2017-2020 will guide the City, with the support of the community, in its efforts improve the diversion of waste over the next four years. 

Methods of improving waste diversion will focus on:

  • Exploring the practicality of co-mingling food scraps with green waste.
  • Combinations of waste bins and collection processes.
  • Recycling construction and demolition waste.
  • Working with schools through education and information.
  • Reducing the amount of the illegal dumping.
  • Researching new technologies that could produce energy from waste.
  • Enhancing the management of commercial waste.

City of Nedlands Mayor Max Hipkins said the strategy would help to provide an integrated approach to waste prevention.

“We will be working with the community, industry and other local governments to develop common ground on waste management, wherever practical,” he said. 

“The City has already hit the ground running with a 91 per cent recovery from verge collections under its latest contract, compared to the previous best of 51 per cent.

“For the strategy to succeed, it will be important for the City and community to work together to ensure waste materials are thought of in terms of a resource to be recovered, reused and recycled wherever possible.”

Mayor Hipkins thanked the community for their responses and said they would be included as part of the strategy’s implementation.

Read the original profile piece here.

City of Swan recycles mattresses for disadvantaged

Western Australia’s City of Swan is assisting the disadvantaged by transforming unwanted rubbish into beds.

The Advocate reported the initiative is being led by the City’s contractor Spider Waste, and involves collecting unwanted and discarded mattresses and recycling and repurposing them.

Used mattresses that are salvageable and of an appropriate standard are steam cleaned, packed into sea containers and sent to central towns for distribution to remote communities.

Spider Waste owner Rob Santoro told The Advocate he began sending the re-useable mattresses to communities in need last year, sending around 90 at a time.

He said the initiative had both environmental and social benefits.

“I can’t really see the send in stripping them down if they can be used by people who really need them,” he said.

“We also include a few other items like bicycles in the sea containers and it’s all been really well received by the communities.”

Over the past two years, more than 180 tonnes of mattresses were disposed of in the City of Swan, which have been diverted from landfill and recycled.

Mattresses which are not able to be reused, are taken apart, with metal components sold as scrap.

The foam is turned into carpet underlay, and timber and pocket springs used to make dog beds.

Mayor Mick Wainwright told The Advocate the recycling process had also created jobs for people with disabilities.

“The average mattress takes up almost a square metre of space in landfill,” he said.

“Most mattresses contain about 12.5kg of steel, 2kg if wood and 1.5kg of foam, all of which can be recycled.


Toxfree releases first half financial year results

Fleet-owning waste and recycling firm Toxfree has released its first half financial year results, citing an expected growth in the industrial, resources, health and infrastructure sectors.

In its report, the company noted those companies were expected to grow at a higher rate than the rest of the market, alongside a requirement for specialised technologies, intellectual property and operating licences providing high barriers to entry.

By 2021, the company said the total market is expected to grow by 12 per cent to $17.7Bn, with Toxfree’s target segments anticipated to grow at a higher rate of 15 per cent due to a number of market, environmental and regulatory drivers.

The report explains growth in the health waste sector continues to increase due to an ageing population and increased spending, while increased cost and regulation of landfill is driving the industrial waste sector.

Growth in liquified natural gas, iron ore and coal was attributed to the predicted increase in resources, while population and metropolitan growth will lead to increase government spending in infrastructure.

“Toxfree’s objective is to grow our market share from 11 per cent currently to 17 per cent by 2021 by focusing on our four target markets and moving to a leaders leadership position in each one,” the company wrote.

The areas included the industrial, resources, health and infrastructure waste sectors, construction, municipal and commercial and government waste.

The firm recorded a net profit down 54 per cent to $5.9 million, with much of the reduction related to costs involved in purchasing Worth Recycling and Daniels Health Australia.

Global industrial shredder market projected to decline

The global industrial shredder market is projected to drop from US$840 million (A$1.1 billion) to US$810 million (A$1.06 billion) by 2021, according to London-based research company, Technavio.

The company released its market outlook for 2017-2021, which provides a detailed industry analysis based on products, including iron and steel and aluminum, copper, and non-ferrous metals.

It covers products based in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Africa and the the Asia-Pacific Region.

Despite challenging economic conditions ahead, growing sales of electrical vehicles will be a key growth driver for the segment, the company found. “The adoption of electric vehicles has increased due to advances in technology and government incentives on these vehicles,” explained Lead Analyst, Gaurav Mohindru.

“Western Europe is witnessing an explosive growth of the electric vehicle market, with manufacturers expanding their factory floors to meet the increasing demand.”

Mr Mohindru added many electric vehicle manufacturers are thus heavily investing in expanding and improving their manufacturing capabilities – a development that is expected to boost the demand for shredding machines, thereby driving market growth.

Also driving sales will be the mining and nuclear waste sectors, Technavio found.

The top three emerging trends driving the global industrial shredder machine market according to Technavio heavy industry research analysts are:

  • The growing sales of electric vehicles
  • The evolution of waste management techniques to suit low-grade ores
  • Stringent nuclear reactor regulations following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011

Council officers receive illegal dumping training

A photo of recycled organics compost product with glass and plastic contaminants at a Treasure Wine Estates vineyard

Council enforcement officers across Victoria participated in training last week to help them tackle littering and illegal dumping in their municipalities and regions.

Led by Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) and Sustainability Victoria, the training aimed to help local government, Parks Victoria and other land managers act against individuals and companies who illegally dump rubbish in local parks, reserves, alleyways and streets.

Under section 45 of the Environment Protection Act 1970 (EP Act), authorised litter enforcement officers have powers to investigate, remedy and sanction individuals and companies who litter.

EPA Chief Executive Officer Nial Finegan said littering and illegal dumping is a significant issue for communities throughout Victoria – impacting the environment as well as the aesthetic enjoyment of public places.

“Littering and the illegal dumping of household items such as mattresses and unwanted e-waste shows a complete disregard for our environment and our community,” Mr Finegan said.

“Local councils and other land managers play a vital role in enforcing litter and illegal dumping laws. Helping council officers understand the tools available and when to use them will help us more effectively enforce the law and deter this behaviour.”

Running over two days, courses covered EP Act offences and penalties, evidence gathering, surveillance and integrated preventative approaches to managing litter. Participating councils include Ararat, Hepburn, Hume, Darebin, Golden Plains, Macedon Ranges, Surf Coast and Whittlesea.

Sustainability Victoria CEO Stan Krpan said illegal dumping had been identified as one of Victoria’s top 5 litter issues through Victoria’s Litter Report Card.

“This is a broad and serious issue which affects all local government areas across Victoria.

“Through a mix of training, effective engagement, education programs and enforcement, local governments will have the necessary tools to act on illegal dumping and littering and create a cleaner environment for their community,” Mr Krpan said.

EPA also has an Illegal Dumping Strikeforce dedicated to reducing the dumping of large scale industrial waste such as construction and demolition materials and waste tyres.

A new dimension of plastics recycling

Deakin University researchers have run a successful trial in using waste plastics for the raw material in 3D printing, known as EcoPrint – a technology that has exciting potential for communities impacted by poverty or natural disasters.

Global plastic production is increasing rapidly, building on a steady 50-year growth trajectory. In 2013, some 299 million tonnes of plastics were produced, the popularity of it stemming from its qualities of being lightweight, durable and suitable for diverse applications.

However, this has inherent impacts for the environment, as disposal and recycling of this complex material has become one of the biggest challenges of the modern age. Australian recycling organisations highlight that plastic is the most abundant item of rubbish found during ‘Clean Up Australia’ days, representing 30 per cent of all rubbish collected over the last 10 years.

Against this backdrop, Professor Mazher Mohammed and a group of his students have worked on a project to reconstitute plastic waste as printer filament, the feedstock for 3D printing.

Mazher joined Deakin University’s School of Engineering in January 2015, taking on the lecturing role as Research Fellow for Engineering Sustainability.

“We teach students about matters relating to sustainability in the world around us with an emphasis on engineering solutions,” he says.

Through the course of doing his job, and with his background in 3D printing, Mazher starting thinking about the main commercial products in 3D printing being plastic based. Plastic is made from oil, which is a finite resource and potentially going to be depleted in the future.

In addition, Mazher says that as plastic is so prevalent in everyday items from devices to packaging, it’s an important material for engineering, as well being a resource that the world needs to manage wisely.

“I wondered if we could come up with a system to take spent plastic materials, reconstitute those to use in 3D printing to manufacture new end-products,” explains Mazher.

In short, the study was built on a desire to produce usable plastic filament as a viable means of consuming waste plastics and reduce the amount sent to landfill.

From there, Mazher said he was keen to get material for the project as cheaply as possible or for free.

In 3D printing, the prints can fail and those failed prints normally end up in the bin, which can generate substantial volumes of waste plastic. Moreover, when students work on 3D printing projects to make parts, when the project is over, they end up redundant and, again, ended up as waste.

“The logical thought followed of could we take those waste streams as a feedstock to explore the idea of recycling ABS plastic in our project, and converting that into plastic filament for printing,” Mazher says.

Another material source Mazher identified was all the HDPE milk cartons the School uses for its coffees.

“That led to me thinking that this is another free resource, so could we take these HDPE cartons and do the same thing as we were planning with scrap ABS plastics,” he says. “That became the premise for the project for two of our students.”

Around the same time, Mazher’s team became aware of local business GT Recycling. They wanted to go beyond a grassroots research-based project.

“We wanted to develop a viable commercial venture in itself, where we could look to reinvigorate the local manufacturing scene in Geelong, which has suffered a huge decline due to the closure of the Ford plant,” Mazher adds.

As a result, they thought with the local infrastructure available through GT Recycling, which processes large volumes of plastics waste and granulate it into a feedstock they could use, this could be the start of such a venture.

To read more, see page 22 of Issue 10.

Victorian Government launches waste to energy fund

The Victorian Government has launched a new $2 million program to support the development of waste to energy technologies, including anaerobic digestion and thermal treatment of waste.

The Waste to Energy Infrastructure Fund will boost sustainable energy production using organic and other materials and divert more waste from landfill.

As a major food producing and processing state, Victoria’s commercial and industrial sector produced more than 300,000 tonnes of food waste in 2014-15, but only 22 per cent of that was recycled.

Diverting commercial and industrial food waste from landfills means methane produced during decomposition is not released to the atmosphere where it is a major greenhouse gas.

Methane released to the atmosphere is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide which traps heat and contributes to climate change.

The Waste to Energy Infrastructure Fund is designed for the waste management sector, councils, water authorities and businesses with proposals for new or upgraded projects that can be commissioned by 31 December 2019.

Expressions of interest close on 3 April 2017. A full application and detailed business case assessment process will follow for eligible project ideas.

Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio said waste to energy projects helped to reduce business costs, generating sustainable energy and reducing pressure on landfill.

“This program supports investment in renewable energy technologies that will help Victoria become a low carbon economy and reach our target of zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

“A variety of industrial and organic waste products can be used in waste to energy projects, however thanks to our agricultural base and food-culture, Victorian farms, food processors and commercial operations are well-placed to benefit from turning waste to energy.”

EnergyAustralia proposes waste conversion energy project in NSW

EnergyAustralia is looking to convert part of its coal-fired Mount Piper Power Station on the New South Wales central tablelands into a purpose-built boiler that would run on waste.

ABC News reported the $60 million project would be the first of its kind in Australia, as non-recyclable materials known as refuse-derived fuel are converted into energy, including plastics, linen and non-recyclable paper.

The power plant reportedly produces 15 per cent of the NSW’s electricity and sources all of its coal from the nearby Springvale Mine.

Mark Collette, energy executive at EnergyAustralia, told ABC News that while the technology was used to generate electricity in the United States and Europe, this project would be a national first.

“It’s a world-class technology. It’s commonplace throughout Europe, and we’re very excited to bring this technology to the central-west,” Mr Collette said.

“The central-west has always focused on new and innovative technologies in the energy arena and we’re continuing that fine tradition with this project.”

Mr Collette said the company would work with recycling management company Re.Group on a feasibility study into the economic viability of the project and its possible impacts.

“We’ll then look at all the things that really matter to us and to residents, so things like the potential environmental impacts, noise, we’ll look at dust, we’ll look at transport,” he said.

“We’ll make sure that we’re comfortable as one of the big residents in the area, that this project works on all those fronts.”

Mr Collette said there was the potential for significant environmental benefits, as materials used in the proposed facility would otherwise go to landfill.

“The refuse-derived fuel and the paper and the other components that it makes up, we actually think of that as a renewable source of energy,” he said.

“It is something that continually gets produced, and then used and produced, because paper is ultimately a renewable resource.

“So when you look at it from that perspective, we’re expecting that it will improve the overall emissions profile of Mount Piper.”

However, environmental group the Colong Foundation told ABC News the proposed project was the wrong step for diversifying sources of power.

Director Keith Muir said he was concerned about the potential impacts of pollution from the site.

“In burning waste, what you’re doing is you’re actually burning a resource, so any sort of strategies that we have for zero-waste gets undermined by this plant,” Mr Muir said.

“There is a big move now in Europe to stop building these sorts of plants and to go towards reusing waste as a resource.

“The air emissions include highly toxic pollutants, and these things are really carcinogenic and you only need tiny amounts in the air to increase cancer risks.”

Mr Muir said the ash from such a plant would also pose a risk to waterways.

“It’ll be emplaced in the Coxs River catchment, part of the drinking water supply [for Sydney],” he said.

“It shouldn’t be in that sort of environment. It should just be ruled out at this feasibility stage.”

The feasibility study, design work and planning applications are expected to take 12 months.

EnergyAustralia said a decision on whether to proceed with the project would be made in 2018, with first power scheduled for 2019.