A product stewardship program in Australia has prevented hundreds of tonnes of polyvinyl chloride plastics from going to landfill. Sophi Macmillan, of the Vinyl Council of Australia, explains how it gained traction.
Professor Graciela Metternicht, of the University of New South Wales, argues an opportunity exists to set a national standard for proper disposal and recycling of e-waste.
Warrnambool City Council will undertake a food organics and green organics trial in 2018, Fairfax Media reports.
The trial was outlined in the council’s draft plan for 2017-2021.
As a result of the trial, rates in the municipality will increase by 7.8 per cent.
A council spokesman told Fairfax Media the increase covered weekly household waste collection and disposal, and fortnightly collection of recyclables.
“Street and footpath cleaning is also provided as part of the waste management charge along with litter collection in parks and gardens,” he said.
“A food organics and garden organics (FOGO) collection service will be trialled.”
The spokesman said the increased charge would fund the green waste collection trial and also covered increases in the cost of waste collection and treatment/disposal.
The trial, currently under development, is said to be likely to include 10 per cent of Warrnambool households, a fortnightly collection alternating with recyclables, dedicated bins and kitchen caddies and surveys and audits to determine the effectiveness of, and support for food and garden organics collection.
The spokesman said the draft plan identified a shift in emphasis towards the city operating in a more sustainable manner.
“While the council remains committed to operating in a financially sustainable way, it is also responding to the community’s call to do more for the environment,” the spokesman said.
“So among the initiatives planned is another investigation into the interest in, and viability of, collection of organic food and garden waste. Council is interested in diverting waste from landfill where possible. This is done through waste minimisation and recycling while a food organics/green organics waste collection also offers the potential for more waste diversion and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
“Over time the cost of collecting and treating or disposing of household waste increases. Council also plans to trial an organics waste collection and these costs are reflected in the increased waste management charge.”
Cleanaway’s Wetherill Park waste oil refining facility has achieved Category 1 status under Australia’s Product Stewardship for Oil (PSO) program.
The company reported in May that category 1 processing, as defined under the PSO, generates the highest quality re-refined oil products, resulting in a non-carcinogenic re-refined base-oil which can be used as engine lubricant, transformer or hydraulic oil. In achieving Category 1 status, the facility must also comply with health, safety and environmental standards consistent with those which apply to facilities processing similar virgin products.
Vik Bansal, CEO and Managing Director of Cleanaway said “achieving PSO Category 1 status is a very positive step, strengthening our leadership position in the processing of used oil to the highest standards.”
“At Cleanaway, we’re able to use our national footprint to simplify the collection and processing of used oil. This allows us to optimise the volume of high quality re-refined oils returned to the market, reducing the requirements for virgin products – which in turn lowers the environmental impact.”
Cleanaway collected 130 million litres of waste oil from which almost 100 million litres of re-refined base and fuel oils were manufactured for sale in FY16. Re-refining of waste oil has a significant positive impact on the environment – creating valuable and high quality products from waste, as well as reducing the carbon footprint associated with the collection, transport and refining of crude oil to create virgin oil products.
The addition of PSO Category 1 status for Wetherill Park creates further capacity for re-refining, joining the company’s Rutherford Refinery as the second Cleanaway operation to meet this standard. Cleanaway said its Rutherford Refinery is currently the only facility in Australia which consistently produces base oils which meet API Group II requirements. These products are sold to a variety of domestic and international clients.
Cleanaway said this continued investment into sustainable resource recovery for waste oil aligns with Cleanaway’s Footprint 2025, a strategy formulated to increase the level of recycled products recovered from the numerous and different waste streams collected.
“Achieving PSO Category 1 status is the result of the exceptional efforts of our our site management and engineering teams at Wetherill Park. The requirements are exacting, and demand substantial investment now and into the future.”
“This is a significant achievement and will allow us to supply more high quality products back into the oil market. We will now focus on our Narangba site in Queensland where we also aim to achieve PSO Category 1 status, maximising our flexibility and capacity,” said Blake Senior, National Hydrocarbons Manager.
The regional New South Wales city of Bathurst has welcomed a new resource recycling facility.
Fairfax Media reports the new business, which opened in May, is currently re-purposing deposited concrete and bricks, with plans to expand into other materials, according to Bathurst Recycling’s Craig Clark.
“We’re currently focusing on recycling building and demolition items. We’re concentrating on bricks, concrete and tiles,” he said.
Mr Clark said Bathurst Recycling will be a more environmentally-friendly option for Bathurst residents and builders when it comes to disposing of their waste materials.
“We take bulk concrete, crush it and turn it into different products for the building industry. It can be used for roads, plumbers, building, landscapers,” he said.
“We also turn crushed products back into concrete, as well as retaining blocks and panels.”
Bathurst Recycling has worked side by side with both the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and Bathurst Regional Council.
Mr Clark said it was hard to get an EPA licence and that Bathurst Recycling’s was the first issued in the city.
He said people could be doing a lot better when it came to recycling.
“Everyone has to think of the end consequences of putting rubbish into landfill,” he said. “Think of how much money it costs, as a community, to fill the tip up and then start again.”
Australia’s largest and oldest recycler of tyres continues to expand its operations across Australia off the back of strong support from retailers, Tyrecycle says.
The company, which began in 1992, has doubled its recycling operation since partnering with Tasmanian horticulture firm Barwicks seven months ago.
Jim Fairweather, Tyrecycle CEO, says since the partnership launched last year, the percentage of tyres being recycled has grown from 30 per cent to 60 per cent.
“This equates to around 24,000 tyres per month or around 288,000 per year,” Jim says.
“In the last few months we’ve had another nine retailers come on board, taking our total in Tasmania to 25, which represents a significant win for the environment.”
Tyres previously going to landfill or stockpiled are now being processed through a purpose-built plant near Hobart.
From there, the tyres are transported to Tyrecycle’s state-of-the art recycling plant in Melbourne, where they are re-purposed for such uses as replacing fossil fuels as an alternate source of energy.
“The majority of used passenger and truck tyres are converted into tyre-derived fuel (TDF), with around 145,000 tonnes exported out of Australia every year.
“The extremely high calorific value of TDF makes it an attractive alternative fuel on an international scale.”
A recent report by the Australian Tyre Recyclers Association (ATRA) identified that end-of-life tyre by-product produces significantly lower volumes of carbon dioxide (CO2) than coal. The report stated that replacing one tonne of black coal with one tonne of TDF can save emissions of up to 1.05 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere.
To read more, see page 42 of Issue 12.
Hazardous waste collection company Toxfree have been awarded two Glencore Coal Assets Australia sites in the NSW Total Waste Management Umbrella Agreement.
The contract will be supported by the company’s existing Hunter Valley based business units. Toxfree said it further complements their current service offering to the region.
The company will be tasked with the collection, transport, treatment & reporting of all waste streams across Ravensworth Operations and Tahmoor Colliery.
“We are delighted to partner with Glencore Coal Assets Australia and look forward to long and productive relationship,” the company said.
Established and listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) in 2000, Toxfree has grown through acquisitions, new green-field developments and the organic growth of their existing businesses.
In 2000, the company employed 20 people, and operated from two locations in Kwinana and Port Hedland.
Today Toxfree employs over 1600 people and provides national services from over 80 locations Australia wide.
The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) is lending $30 million to leading resource recovery company ResourceCo to deliver an innovative alternative fuel plant in NSW.
The money will be used to build two new plants that will transform selected non-recyclable waste streams into solid fuel, known as Processed Engineered Fuel (PEF). The first plant is to be built at Wetherill Park in Sydney and the second to be in another Australian state yet to be announced.
PEF is used in cement kilns, reducing the reliance on coal and other fossil fuels. This fuel will initially be used locally, but will also be exported as an alternative to coal and gas for cement kilns in Asia.
Henry Anning, CEFC Bioenergy and Energy from Waste Sector lead, said PEF demonstrated the incredible potential to transform waste, that would otherwise go into landfill, into a baseload energy source as part of Australia’s future clean energy mix, while also lowering emissions.
“Our research into the bioenergy sector has identified investment opportunities of between $2.2 billion and $3.3 billion to 2020 in the urban waste industry. Commercial viability has been driven by a combination of rising landfill gate fees and falling technology costs,” Mr Anning said.
“Waste levies in states such as NSW, the ACT, South Australia, Western Australia and Victoria, are improving the business case for this kind of alternative use of the waste, rather than it going into landfill.”
The CEFC finance will enable ResourceCo to accelerate the development of the Wetherill Park plant, and proceed with a similar facility in another Australian state in due course.
Simon Brown, ResourceCo Managing Director said: “Our business operates across both Australia and South East Asia, which places us in a prime position to drive this new initiative forward and make a real difference in the way in which these communities view and deal with waste.”
When operational, the Wetherill Park plant will process around 150,000 tonnes of waste a year to produce PEF and recover other commodities such as metal, clean timber, and inert materials.
As an indication of the plant’s environmental credentials, it has been successful in securing $5 million in grant funding from the NSW Environmental Trust under the Waste Less, Recycle More initiative. The technology is also eligible for Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) due to the diversion of waste from landfill.
Mr Anning said generating heat and electricity from bioenergy and waste resources is cost competitive with other new-built energy generation. However, the technologies are not yet widely deployed in Australia.
“Being a throw-away society is a luxury Australia must reconsider. As a nation, we’re producing about 23 million tonnes of landfill each year, causing a growing problem with potential air, water and land quality impacts and generating ongoing monitoring and remediation liabilities,” he said.
“This investment is expected to abate over 8 million tonnes of CO2e over the expected lifetime of the equipment,” Mr Anning added.
The CEFC’s finance for ResourceCo is another example of the CEFC’s focus on delivering clean energy solutions in Australian cities, as part of its Sustainable Cities Investment Program.
Cleanaway has officially opened its South East Melbourne Transfer Station in Dandenong South.
Melbourne’s Gabrielle Williams, State Member for Dandenong joined Cleanaway CEO and Managing Director, Vik Bansal, to celebrate the opening of the facility.
Marking a significant milestone for the company, and designed with the capacity for growth, the transfer station will serve Melbourne’s growing south east corridor.
“As our population grows, so does the waste we generate. This means we need to plan carefully. Facilities like these are an important part of our long term strategies for waste management,” Ms Williams said.
Vik Bansal, CEO and Managing Director of Cleanaway said “the investment in this facility strengthens our long- standing commitment to Victoria’s economic and environmental wellbeing.
“At Cleanaway, we’re working to ensure that our national network of facilities and supporting infrastructure will meet Australia’s waste management needs well into the future.”
Once operational, the site will act as a consolidation point for waste, which will then be transported to the Melbourne Regional Landfill, in high capacity A-Double trailers. The use of these trailers will reduce the overall number of heavy vehicles, which would otherwise be transporting waste long distances, helping to ease congestion across Melbourne’s road network.
Cleanaway’s strategy supports Sustainability Victoria’s Statewide Waste and Resource Recovery Infrastructure Plan (SWRRIP) which favours greater resource recovery, with fewer, larger landfills to manage Victoria’s residual waste, supported by a growing network of transfer stations like this.
The opening coincides with the company’s closure of the final landfill in the Clarinda area. Rehabilitation work is already underway in close consultation with the City of Kingston.
“As our landfilling operations come to a close, we remain committed to rehabilitating Cleanaway’s managed landfills and progressively returning them to the community as recreational land,” said Clete Elms, General Manager – Solid Waste Services, Victoria/Tasmania.
The South East Melbourne Transfer Station will be fully operational from mid May 2017.
Check out Waste Management Review’s feature article on the new facility.