City of Mitcham installs recycled tyre pavement

Paving material made with recycled tyres has been installed by the City of Mitcham, as part of a field trial in sustainable urban drainage design.

The permeable paving, created by the University of Melbourne with funding from Tyre Stewardship Australia, has been laid at St Marys Park in Adelaide.

The material is made from 50 per cent used tyres and is designed to assist water drainage through surface resistance.

Tyre Stewardship Australia CEO Lina Goodman said the City of Mitcham is one of many councils interested in investigating the performance of waste tyre permeable pavement.

“This trial will utilise four tonnes of tyre-derived aggregates, the equivalent to diverting 500 passenger tyres from the waste stream,” Ms Goodman said.

“This project is envisaged to be the first of many, and has been undertaken to demonstrate the effectiveness of the product.”

Ms Goodman said wide spread implementation of the material could see 300,000 tyres used in local government infrastructure per year.

“The use of end-of-life tyres as an aggregate blend for permeable pavement has various applications such as pedestrian walks, bike paths, car parks and low volume roads,” Ms Goodman said.

“TSA is eager to see more trials take place to showcase the products full potential in the urban environment.”

City of Mitcham Mayor Heather Holmes-Ross said the trial is a first for Australia, and will involve testing the permeable pavement under various traffic loads.

“We are very excited to be involved in this innovative trial. This paving product provides many benefits to the environment, including harvesting water to help water nearby trees and gardens,” Dr Holmes-Ross said.

“Not only does it sustain urban vegetation, it can help to increase groundwater recharge, reduce surface runoff, decrease the risk of flash-flooding and help with the treatment of storm water.”

Dr Holmes-Ross said equipment had been installed below the surface of the parking bays to monitor the performance of the pavement, as well as record the surface temperature of the different pavement colours.

“The pavement design has obvious benefits for water sustainable urban design, which will be evaluated during the trial,” Dr Holmes-Ross said.

The trial will also monitor the quality of water passing through the pavement structure, and evaluate its efficiency in reducing contamination of resulting waterways.

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SUEZ renews Sydney Trains’ contract

SUEZ has renewed its contract as Sydney Trains’ waste management provider, continuing a seven-year partnership with the rail operator.

SUEZ will continue to service Sydney Trains’ network of infrastructure throughout the greater Sydney area and across New South Wales, including train stations and maintenance facilities operations centres.

SUEZ NSW State General Manager Tony Grebenshikoff said the renewal follows a competitive tender process, and reflects SUEZ’s record of successful service expansion across the Sydney Trains network.

“A new feature of the contract includes the introduction of advanced technologies, such as weight-based billing and enhanced reporting capabilities, as well as additional training modules that can be easily accessed by all employees through a range of devices,” Mr Grebenshikoff said.

“These and other initiatives will enable SUEZ to work closely with Sydney Trains to provide a seamless and streamlined experience under the renewed, up to 5 year, contract.”

Mr Grebenshikoff said SUEZ had worked closely with Sydney Trains on the rollout of multiple initiatives to achieve waste reduction targets.

“We are proud to have maintained an average on time service success rate of 98 per cent,” Mr Grebenshikoff said.

“SUEZ looks forward to continuing to work with Sydney Trains to provide safe, reliable and efficient collection services across all sites, and supporting this essential public transport network in Australia’s largest city.”

Sydney Trains Chief Executive Howard Collins said the contract renewal enables SUEZ to continue an already well established partnership between the two parties.

“We have been satisfied with the service provided by SUEZ over the past seven years, and we look forward to seeing what new initiatives SUEZ has that will provide further efficiencies in waste management.”

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Sustainability Victoria announces $4.7M RRIF grants

Sustainability Victoria have announced the recipients of 13 new grants, administered via the Resource Recovery Infrastructure Fund (RRIF).

A total of $4.7 million has been awarded to projects that will increase Victoria’s capacity to recycle locally generated waste materials into high value commodities.

Sustainability Victoria Interim CEO Carl Muller said RRIF funding supports the recovery of recycled materials, the expansion of recycling facilities for kerbside, construction and demolition, commercial and industrial waste and improvement in the quality of collected and sorted materials suitable for commercial use.

“We cannot deny the importance of the waste and recycling industry. These grants will boost the resource recovery industry, creating jobs and driving investment in the sector,” Mr Muller said.

“The Resource Recovery Infrastructure Fund facilitates change to support industry growth and development, in tandem with Victoria’s growing population.”

Mr Muller said investment in recycling infrastructure is vital to increasing the recovery valuable materials, for use in other manufacturing sectors.

“These exciting and innovative projects will drive a strong circular economy that maximises the reuse and recycling of materials and reduces waste,” Mr Muller said.

“Collective action from industry, government and the community can ensure Victoria remains a great place to live and operate in.”

Recipients include: 

Alex Fraser Group: $336,500 to install an additive bin at its Clarinda facility, which will divert low-value recovered glass that is unfit for reuse from landfill.

Repurpose It : $500,000 to install new infrastructure and improve the recovery and washing of glass fines sourced from materials recovery facilities.

Cleanaway: $500,000 to install optical sorting equipment for plastics from e-waste processing.

Pipeconnex: $500,000 for a new facility production line that will recycle up to 5246 tonnes of plastic each year.

Close the Loop: $500,000 for infrastructure that will recover 5,000 tonnes of soft plastics annually, for use in asphalt road base.

Boral: $500,000 to upgrade its asphalt plant to receive plastic, glass and crumbed rubber for asphalt production.

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VIC allocates $11M to recycling relief

The Victorian Government will tackle ongoing waste management issues with $11.3 million in immediate financial relief to councils and infrastructure investment.

Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said SKM Recycling were significantly undercutting the prices of other recycling providers, and since they stopped accepting waste, many councils are paying double what they were for recycling services.

“To alleviate this financial pressure, the state government will deliver a $6.6 million package to the 33 affected councils over the next four months, providing a rebate that will cover the additional costs they are incurring to deal with their recyclable waste,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

“The state government also stands ready to work with the receiver of SKM Corporate, and any prospective buyer to remove the stockpiles at SKM-managed sites and offsite storage of material.”

Ms D’Ambrosio said it had become clear that the quality of Australia’s recyclable material is compromised due to its high rate of contamination.

“To that end, the state government will also work with councils and industry stakeholders on a major overhaul of kerbside collection to improve the quality of recyclables being collected by councils,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

Council’s hoping to receive assistance will have to provide evidence that alternatives to landfill are being sought, agree to participate in collaborative procurement and provide information on current contractural rates and conditions.

The government has also announced new grants worth $4.7 million, to support projects that will improve the quality of recycled materials through better sorting and processing.

“At the most recent Council of Australian Governments meeting, the Prime Minister acknowledged that recyclable waste is a national issue, as well as an opportunity to rebuild a domestic recycling sector that can provide products to local markets,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

“To achieve this, targets will also be considered to drive investment in end uses, such as glass for road base and railway sleepers made from plastics.”

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Applications open for $20M CRC grants

The Federal Government has committed $20 million to innovative projects designed to grow Australia’s domestic recycling industry.

Funds are available through round eight of the Cooperative Research Centre grants program, which opened 13 August.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the funding was part of government’s commitment to work with the states and establish a timetable to ban the export of waste plastic, paper, glass and tyres.

“We are committed to protecting our nation’s environment while also building our capacity to turn recycling into products that people want and need,” Mr Morrison said.

“By engaging industry and researchers, we can make sure we’re seeing these changes introduced in a way that cuts costs for businesses and ultimately even creates jobs.”

Industry, Science and Technology Minister Karen Andrews said the funding would help create Australian jobs, while also reducing global plastic pollution.

According to Ms Andrews, recent figures suggest only 12 per cent of the 103 kilograms of plastic waste generated per person in Australia is recycled each year.

“This funding will strengthen Australia’s recycling industry and help us achieve higher recycling rates,” Ms Andrews said.

“Boosting our onshore plastic recycling industry has the potential to create over three times as many jobs as exporting our plastic waste, ensuring a more sustainable and prosperous future.”

Applications close 24 September 2019.

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Nominations open for VTA’s Freight Industry Awards 2019

Nominations are now open for the Sustainable Environment Award, as part of the Victorian Transport Association’s (VTA) Freight Industry Awards.

The awards recognise achievements across a range of categories, with the winners to be announced on the evening of the event.

Victorian Waste Management Association (VWMA) Executive Officer Mark Smith said there are six awards available including the Sustainable Environment Award, Investment in People Award, Best Practice Safety Award, Application of Technology Award, Female Leadership Award and Young Achiever Award.

“Reflecting on the last 12 months we’ve seen some amazing projects realised by big and small operators,” Mr Smith said.

“I encourage those businesses to apply and share their good news stories. We need to hear them, especially now.”

According to Mr Smith, the Sustainable Environment Award acknowledges the close relationship between the VTA and the VWMA, and recognises implementation of a policy or program and or technological innovation that improves sustainability.

Alex Fraser Managing Director Peter Murphy said the company was honoured to be recognised at last year’s awards for its work with problematic glass waste.

“It was wonderful for our people to be recognised for their innovation, hard work and commitment to getting better outcomes for the planet,” Mr Murphy said.

Alex Fraser won the Waste and Recycling Award, now named the Sustainable Environment Award, for its efforts turning waste into valuable infrastructure building material.

Nominations are open until 28 August.

The event, themed Queen, will be held Saturday 7 September at Crown’s Palladium Ballroom in Melbourne.

Tickets to the event cost $320 (excluding GST), with a table of 10 costing $3000 (excluding GST).

For more information and to book tickets, click here.

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Australian Infrastructure Audit examines waste

The 2019 Australian Infrastructure Audit has examined some of the challenges faced by Australia’s waste sector, including growing pressure due to population growth, export bans and heightened environmental awareness.

The audit, released 13 August, also considers the energy, transport, telecommunications, water and social infrastructure sectors and outlines Australia’s challenges and growth opportunities over the next 15 years.

According to the audit report, Australia is one of the world’s largest waste generators, producing 9 per cent more waste per person than comparable countries.

“We have achieved limited progress on waste reduction or on recycling more waste material back into useful products,” the report reads.

“Our waste management is often poorly planned, and the sector is under increased pressure as waste generation increases and the capacity of infrastructure declines.”

The report highlights a lack of mature markets for private investment in recycling and waste disposal.

“There is a chance to capitalise on increased demand for recycled products and larger economies of scale as waste generation increases,” the report reads.

“Developing a domestic market could improve recycling rates and the sustainability of Australia’s waste disposal.”

The report also explores the limited number of new waste facilities, waste transportation challenges and patchwork government regulation.

“New solutions are needed, yet the market settings required to achieve the best outcomes have been slow to crystallise,” the report reads.

“More will need to be done to ensure the right mix of waste management and infrastructure assets is deployed.”

To meet Australia’s long-term needs, the report argues significant investment is needed in waste recovery and reprocessing infrastructure.

“Such investment could also stimulate local economic activity through the creation of jobs, new products and tax revenue, while retaining valuable resources within the local economy and reducing reliance on virgin materials,” the report reads.

“Greater commercial focus on the development of waste markets could encourage greater innovation in the sector, complementing existing priorities of pollution control.”

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Industry welcomes COAG recycling pledge

The Victorian Waste Management Association (VWMA) has welcomed the Federal Government’s pledge to ban the export of waste plastic, paper, glass and tyres.

The decision was made at the 9 August Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting, with the intention of developing Australia’s capacity to generate high value recycled commodities.

VWMA Executive Officer Mark Smith said the decision would help create market certainty among the private sector, which is the biggest investor in Victoria’s waste management system.

“For too long there’s been an air of uncertainty around Victoria’s recycling challenge, fuelled by finger pointing and short-sighted solutions, so it’s promising to see COAG agree on the urgent need for a new approach,” Mr Smith said.

“In order to successfully manage our waste needs, now and into the future, we need appropriate investment in the people, system, processes, education and engagement to drive sustainable change.”

According to Mr Smith, as the primary employer, purchasers and manager of waste and recycling assets across Victoria and Australia, business has an integral role to play in developing the sector.

Mr Smith said VWMA has long called for all levels of government to work together with the private sector and other key stakeholders on a sustainable solution to the state’s ongoing recycling challenge.

“The private sector supports more than 23,000 Victorian jobs and invests over $800 million into waste and recycling services and infrastructure annually,” Mr Smith said.

“COAG’s agreement to build the sector’s capacity to collect, recycle, reuse, convert and recover waste will be very welcome and serve as a catalyst for investment and innovation.”

Mr Smith said while it’s still early days, the COAG’s announcement is a step in the right direction.

“VWMA looks forward to continuing to work with local and state government, as well as councils and other expert bodies, to arrive at a solution that benefits all Australians,” Mr Smith said.

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Sydney Metro reuses sandstone

Excavated sandstone from Sydney Metro tunnels will be reused to build the new Western Sydney International Airport, as both infrastructure projects begin to take shape.

More than 500,000 tonnes of sandstone will be transported from Metro tunnelling sites to the Western Sydney International Airport site.

Western Sydney Airport Chief Executive Officer Graham Millett said more than 148,000 tonnes of sandstone had already been transported.

“This high-quality sandstone will be used as a high-strength foundation to support the construction of the runway, taxiways and roads on site,” Mr Millett said.

“This is a great example of how we can make the most of Sydney’s infrastructure boom, to not only save taxpayer funds but also cut down on waste.”

Mr Millett said Western Sydney International Airport was committed to sustainability, efficiency, reusing resources and reducing carbon emissions.

“Building the airport is one of the biggest earthmoving challenges in Australian history, but we’ve already moved more than 1 million cubic metres of earth across the 1780-hectare site,” Mr Millett said.

Sydney Metro aims to reuse 100 per cent of the crushed rock produced during the excavation of the 15.5-kilometre twin tunnels between Chatswood and Marrickville.

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COAG proposes export ban

Federal, state and local government ministers have agreed to work on a timetable to ban the export of waste plastic, paper, glass and tyres, to improve Australia’s recycling capacity.

The agreement was made at the 9 August Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison arguing more needed to be done to deal with rising amounts of recyclable waste.

Environment Ministers will advise a proposed timetable and response strategy following consultation with industry and other stakeholders.

COAG agreed the strategy should draw on the best science, research and commercial experience, including that of agencies like the CSIRO and the work of Cooperative Research Centres.

Australia exported roughly 4.5 million tonnes of waste last year, with the majority sent to Indonesia, Vietnam, India, Malaysia and Thailand.

Indonesia, India and Malaysia have since begun to review their waste import policies.

“It’s our waste, and it’s our responsibility,” Mr Morrison said in a post-meeting press conference, according to an ABC report.

“That’s why I think setting a clear path forward as leaders — that we don’t want to see this going into the ocean, that we don’t want to see this go into waterways, and we’ll do everything in our remit to achieve that goal — is a very important outcome.”

Australian Council of Recycling CEO Pete Shmigel said the COAG announcement aligned with domestic sustainability goals.

“The best route to COAG’s vision of recycling sovereignty and security is for governments to now match very big deeds and dollars to their discussions. This great leadership by COAG must be followed by great investment that matches industries own,” Mr Shmigel said.

“As part of the Environment Ministers’ upcoming plan, that means: major scale support for reprocessing and remanufacturing infrastructure; unprecedented public sector purchasing of recycled content products and other bold incentives for domestic use of recyclate, such as tax credits for manufacturers, removal of ridiculous regulatory barriers and indeed proposed bans for recycled content products in some states.”

Mr Shmigel said material export bans needed to be implemented over a clear timetable with consultation and care to avoid unintended consequences.

“If there are no new and sustainable markets established for the 4.5m tonnes of currently exported material, there will only be the option of domestic disposal – which is highly undesirable,” Mr Shmigel said.

“Ministers must also remain open to alternative waste treatment and waste to energy where Australia only uses some 2 per cent of its waste, which is massively below European countries, who also have much higher recycling rates.”

Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR) CEO Gayle Sloan said the meeting represents a step in the right direction towards building a sustainable domestic remanufacturing industry.

“Waste management and resource recovery were firmly on the table at the COAG meeting in Cairns, and leaders agreed to develop a timetable to ban the export of waste plastic, paper, glass, and tyres, while building Australia’s capacity to generate high value recycled commodities and associated demand,” Ms Sloan said.

“This is a significant and positive commitment – industry has always advocated that Australia should be processing our own waste and recyclables. Industry can, and is keen, to build capacity and the fact that we’re on the agenda and we have the Prime Minister’s and Premiers’ attention means we can finally move forward.”

Ms Sloan said WMRR support the task given to environment ministers to advise on a proposed timetable and response strategy following consultation with industry and other stakeholders.

“As part of this exercise, leaders agreed the strategy must seek to reduce waste, especially plastics, decrease the amount of waste going to landfill and maximise the capability of our waste management and recycling sector to collect, recycle, reuse, convert and recover waste,” Ms Sloan said.

“We also look forward to Meeting of Environment Ministers convening sooner rather than later to progress what we all know we need – and what is now clearly in everyone’s sights – market signals that will enable industry to invest and all stakeholders to support onshore remanufacturing and markets for domestic recycled products.”

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