Australasian Waste & Recycling Expo connects captains of industry

As Sydney’s only waste industry expo, the Australasian Waste & Recycling Expo will see industry professionals from across the nation come together to share ideas and showcase unique technologies.

Tim Barnes, Project Manager at UK-based sorting and separating equipment distributor Donasonic, is poised to enter an Australian market.

It’s a market he sees full of opportunities – due to its comparatively clean kerbside recycling stream.

Donasonic helps companies separate even the most bizarre waste stream combinations, from mango skins mixed in with wooden pallets, to the standard amalgamations of paper, rubber, plastics and metals within oil filters. The company designs and installs sorting and separating equipment to deal with a variety of wastes, including municipal solid waste and commercial and industrial.

“With today’s technology, from near-infrared to robotic separation, you can separate nearly everything in household waste. It just hinges on getting the economics right,” Tim tells Waste Management Review.

“We work across the Asian market and if you put it into context, their lower wages and the fact that there is a greater percentage of unskilled labour, then the economics turn and it doesn’t make sense for the customer to make a huge investment on the latest and greatest technology.

“So in this situation, we design a line to integrate manual labour with a processing machine.”

Tim says he visited Australia 20 years ago and at that point noticed it was further ahead than the UK in the area of environmental management. However, there is always room for improvement, he says, and this is where Donasonic is aiming to make an impact. “What I’ve seen in many pockets of the industry worldwide is there is never a complete lifecycle system put in place,” Tim says.

“Years ago when I travelled to Australia, one of the fundamental things I remember is that people were separating garbage at the household. Everybody in that level was very happy it was occurring, but nobody was actually aware of what was going on downstream and what the actual lifecycle of those products were.”

He adds that it’s often not seen commercially viable to turn waste into a resource and this is where looking at the full circle is important.

Donasonic offers specific products to deal with challenging waste streams, from its thunderstorm machine, which uses a special rotor shaft to pre-shred materials from tyres, to cables and e-waste, to eddy current separators which use strong magnetic fields to separate non-ferrous metals such as aluminium, copper and lead from bulk materials. The company can tailor make a solution depending on customer requirements. Tim says that for example, it has developed a shredder for seven different purposes.

Donasonic also partners with various technology companies to offer a complete solution for organics and helps businesses process their residual waste into biogas, which can be used for general electricity or liquified natural gas, depending on the composition of the material.

With Australia’s knack for source separation, Tim says Donasonic should be able to implement its solutions with ease, particularly for organics, with many councils increasingly turning to three-bin systems.

He says that to begin his first foray in the local market, he has decided to exhibit at Sydney’s only waste and recycling event – the Australasian Waste & Recycling Expo (AWRE). Based in the metropolitan suburb of Darling Harbour and offering picturesque views of the bay, the event offers an opportunity for the movers and shakers of the waste industry to come together in the highly influential NSW market.

AWRE will feature a host of exhibitors across a range of product categories, including vehicles, bins, food and organics, software and services, machinery and equipment, alternative waste technologies, e-waste and waste management.

Product demonstrations will highlight the latest in machinery, software and vehicles, with the industry’s leading brands sharing their insights in waste collection, processing, recovery and recycling.

Coupled with the opportunity to highlight innovative products is the ability for the industry to network with an influential community of suppliers/service providers, recyclers and waste transporters, public sector bodies and special interest groups.

Expert speakers will also touch down in Sydney to offer more than 10 hours of industry insights and lessons learnt, in addition to education invite-only programs providing valuable case studies.

It comes amid a vital time for the Australian waste and recycling industry, with China’s National Sword prompting a discussion for new connections, solutions and strategies to build a stable, sustainable and profitable economy.

Andrew Lawson, AWRE Event Manager, says that with new and changing regulations and the China import ban turning Australia’s waste and recycling industry on its head, AWRE couldn’t come at a better time for industry professionals looking to improve their waste disposal and resource recovery processes.

“With current market challenges as they are, this year’s event is set to be the most important waste management expo ever,” Andrew says.

With a vision for a green future, Tim says Donasonic wants to create opportunities for businesses to thrive with advanced processing technologies. He says he’s looking to gain new clients and contacts as a result of the event. Internationally, Donasonic has installed plants in Thailand and processed requests from countries such as Peru, Korea, Indonesia, Singapore and Romania.

  “We started this business about five years ago, with an engineering team and a lot of experienced professionals from the waste industry,” Tim says.

“The Australian people clearly discovered many years ago how to deal with litter and pollution. In Asia, it’s been a long forgotten story. So we’ve had a lot of exposure there due to market forces and because of that, we’ve neglected to push ourselves in places like Australia. We think we can actually have an easier time installing systems in Australia, because the waste streams are easier to control and cleaner.”

The Australasian Waste & Recycling Expo will take place from 29-30 August at the ICC Sydney, Darling Harbour. For more information, including free visitor registration, click here.