Toward Zero Landfill Project moves closer to target

This year’s Towards Zero Landfill Project is aiming to reduce its waste to landfill from 10 per cent last year to 5 per cent, says Pedro Gallo, operations manager of the Australasian Waste & Recycling Expo.

The project, which launched in 2015, sources contractors, suppliers and sponsors who work together to achieve the target, with the results presented at the two-day Australasian Waste & Recycling Expo at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre.

Mr Gallo said Agility Logistics and IMK Cleaning Services were just two companies on board this year.

“Last year we got Bottle Crusher, which crushed bottles on site creating less waste and making recycling easier,” Mr Gallo said.

“Everybody helps to reach that target and at the end of the show they wait to see what we sent out to recycling.”

Mr Gallo said another initiative this year included partnering with Launch Housing to donate used furniture that would ordinarily go to landfill.

“We also get a lot of metal wire from rigging we do on site, this year it won’t be going to landfill, we will collect it and send it to metal scrapping.”

He said he is aiming for one per cent diverted to landfill by 2018-19.

In order to achieve its goal, the project has applied a range of strategies, including separating waste on-site, sustainable plant-based packaging, compostable bin bags and using Fairtrade certified coffee.

The project’s launch in 2015 led to a 70 per cent increase in resource recovery, after 10.7 per cent of total waste was sent to landfill, compared to 80 per cent in 2014.

The Australasian Waste & Recycling Expo runs from August 23-24 at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre.

 

 

Queensland food recycling service the first of its kind

Food and organics waste
A business in Queensland’s south-east is operating the first and only Food Organics Garden Organics (FOGO) recycling service in Queensland.

The Queensland Times reported the Ipswich business, known as NuGrow, takes tonnes of food and garden green waste from across the Ipswich City Council green bin network.

Entrepreneur Roy Wilson told the publication the green waste is combined with other waste streams, including grease traps from restaurants to make compost, soil conditions and potting mixes.

He said the community and environment would benefit by improving water quality in catchments, combating climate change and fast-tracking a circular economy.

A circular economy is defined as an industrial economy that promotes greater resource productivity in aiming to reduce waste and avoid pollution through technological and biological cycles.

The company is focused on taking pressure off landfills and traditional waste management infrastructure that are grappling with population growth.

NuGrow recently created a hydraulically applied compost product used by civil contractors, which aims to reduce erosion and sediment loss while promoting vegetation growth alongside newly-constructed highways.

The business partnered with a third generation cattle farming family, near Rockhamption at the Raglan Station, to conduct a scientific field trial comparing NuGrow compost with traditional farming methods.

Raglan Station sits next to the Fitzroy Delta, a Great Barrier Reef catchment.

“The field trial sought to demonstrate whether above average pasture growing results could be achieved using reduced rates of synthetic fertiliser via substitution with a more economical product, such as organic-based compost,” NuGrow said in its publicity material.

Their testing found soil conditioner pasture was more productive, while also leading to a less harmful run-off into the river system.

Mr Wilson told the Queensland Times the results could have major implications for the health of the Great Barrier Reef, “but further education and uptake by the agricultural industry is required”.

NuGrow has four recycling facilities across Queensland, and plans to develop further sites interstate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Study finds China dumps most e-waste in Asia

Telstra e-waste reuse and recycling strategy went live in November 2016
China is dumping more electronic waste per year than any country in Asia, according to research by the United Nations E-Waste Monitor.

The regional study found China dumped the most waste at 6.7 million metric tons, while Hong Kong was responsible for the most per capita.

The United Nations University (UNU) research, which sampled 11 countries, found electronic waste in Asia and Southeast Asia rose by almost 63 per cent over a five-year period from 2010 to 2015.

In 2015 alone, the region overall dumped 12.3 million metric tons of electronics, which includes TVs, computers, mobile phones and refrigerators.

According to the World Bank, there are more than two mobile phones for every person in the nation in Hong Kong, while its 7.2 million population is estimated to be nearly 200 times smaller than China’s.

Last year, an investigation by Seattle environmental group ­Basel Action Network found Hong Kong had become a dumping ground for exporters of electronic waste in the United States.

The UNU research showed the increase in e-waste in East and South East Asia was driven by high demand for new gadgets and rising incomes.

It found Japan, Republic of Korea, Taiwan and Province of China had e-waste collection systems in place, while Hong Kong and Singapore had no specific e-waste legislation, but instead managed via a public-private partnership through their respective governments and producers.

South China Morning Post reported in December of last year that Hong Kong was in the midst of developing its first integrated recycling plant for electronics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Solution to Tasmania’s tyre problem nears

A stockpile of scrap tyres
The approval of a tyre shredding facility will see the removal of northern Tasmania’s massive stockpile of end-of-life tyres (ELTs).

Northern Midlands Council on Tuesday approved the facility on Tuesday, which plans to shred approximately 1 million tyres.

The Northern Midlands Mayor David Downie told ABC News the approval was a significant step.

“It has been a great concern, we’ve had two fires in our municipality over the years,” he said.

“Those fires were of stockpiles a lot smaller number than the tyres we have at the moment.

“The major concern is if they did catch on fire that it would have an effect on the outlying areas.”

The shredder, which is expected to be in operation later this year, will only progress once a processing facility is approved.

Conditions of the council’s approval include removing the stockpile by 2020.

TyreRecycle Tasmania operator Tim Chugg is working on getting the processing facility approved, in order to recycle the shredded waste into a sellable product.

This includes grinding the shredded tyres into a powder used in resurfacing roads and playground.

He told ABC News the concept was used extensively on the mainland.

“One has to go with the other,” Mr Chugg said.

“We’re extremely confident that now we’ve got one we can establish the other as well.”

UPDATE: An earlier version of this story incorrectly referred to TyreRecycle Tasmania operator Tim Chugg as Tyrecycle Tasmania operator – there are no affiliations between the two companies.

 

 

ABRI receives prototypes for analysis

The Australian Battery Recycling Initiative (ABRI) earlier this month received prototypes for its latest investigation into new business models for the collection, recycling and disposal of used batteries.

Designs were completed for three options for the NSW Environmental Trust funded project and the prototypes will now be evaluated.

ABRI said the focus is on safe disposal or recycling of small disc-shaped batteries used in a range of products including hearing aids, watches, toys, promotional items, cameras, car keys and remote controllers.

The not-for-profit association estimated around five children presented to an emergency department each week in Australia with a button or coin cell related injury.

The items range from 12 millimetres to 20 millimetres and are considered a safety hazard for small children due to risk of intervention.

The Institute of Sustainable Futures will evaluate the prototypes over the coming months by conducting surveys and workshops to obtain customer feedback.

The 12-month project was undertaken in conjunction with a range of partners including the Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF), Kidsafe, ACCC and the Hearing Care Industry Association.

ABRI is also working with the Battery Implementation Working Group (BIWG) to advance the creation of a national voluntary stewardship scheme for handheld batteries.

Last week, they said they were in the process of finalising a financial options paper that identifies pros and cons for establishing the scheme and they would meet with the BIWG in February to review the findings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GreenSync secures CEFC funds

Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Implementation Plan
Green-tech startup GreenSync has secured $11.5 million from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and Southern Cross Venture Partners to help expand its energy-tech operations to Asia.

GreenSync’s technology uses smart software to optimise energy resources in electricity grids, assisting transmission and distribution companies, as well as industrial and commercial facilities, and residential and remote precincts.

The Melbourne-based firm received $5 million from the CEFC’s Clean Energy Innovation Fund, with a further $5 million provided by Southern Cross Venture Partners, and the remainder from a private fund.

GreenSync CEO Dr Phil Blythe said the company’s transformation from peak demand services to the optimisation of electricity grids reflected changes to the energy market in Australia and internationally.

“As we move towards a new era where energy storage and digital control are essential to maintain stable grids, GreenSync will stay focused on innovations that harness the collective strength of all industry players, and deliver substantially new models for operating grids around the globe,” Dr Blythe said.

Blair Pritchard, Investment Development Director of CEFC, said their investment would assist the transition of the Australian energy market from the current centralised model, to a decentralised one that reduces the amount of power lost through the transmission process.

He said this would allow for better monitoring and managing electricity demand and supply peaks.

“Through the smart control of locally-generated energy resources, GreenSync is contributing to the growth of a new energy economy focused on a cleaner power supply and carbon reduction,” Mr Pritchard said.

Mark Bonnar, Managing Director at Southern Cross Venture Partners, said control systems such as Greensync would help enable the reshaping of the electricity distribution network.

 

 

Cleanaway contracted by Noosa Council

Noosa Council announced last month that Cleanaway has secured the Noosa collections, landfill and transfer station contract for 2017-2024.

Cleanaway will implement a new three bin collection service under the seven year agreement to single domestic dwellings across the urban areas of the Noosa region, as well as enhanced recycling initiatives and a greater range of bin sizes for waste and recycling collections.

Noosa Council said the Council was impressed with the range of competitive and innovative bids, but that Cleanaway’s proposal offered the greatest overall advantage for the Council’s objectives.

“Cleanaway has a known track record of providing a high standard of service to the Noosa community and this third consecutive contract is recognition of that service,” said Wayne Schafer, Noosa Council’s Waste and Environmental Health Manager.

Anthony Wetherspoon, the Manager for the Noosa area said Cleanaway will be working closely with Noosa Council to improve recovery and reuse of items. “From our bulk kerbside collection service, to improving landfill management and recovering a greater range of materials at the resource recovery facility, we’ll be supporting the community to achieve their waste reduction and recycling goals.”

“Cleanaway has a long and proud history of providing services to the Noosa Council and we look forward to the next seven years working closely with the Council’s waste management team to enhance services and increase waste diversion from landfill,” said Neil Perry, General Manager, Queensland.

The contract comes into effect from Friday 1 September, 2017, and covers collection of solid waste, recyclables and garden waste, management of the Eumundi Road Landfill and adjoining resource recovery facility.

Turning time into money

With the acquisition of Perth Waste in June last year, Suez shows no signs of slowing down.

To support its ambitious growth objectives, it relies heavily on its fleet of collection vehicles that were specifically designed for the efficient and safe transport of waste materials between Western Australian sites. Most recently, the fleet has been bolstered with a $3.5 million investment in Azmeb’s High Volume Side Tippers, which Suez’ WA State Equipment Manager, Peter Spight, considers ideal to navigate the difficult terrain and lengthy hauls native to the WA countryside.

“The company was successfully operating these trailers in Cairns,” says Spight, who has been responsible for the purchase of company equipment for over five years. “We collected and viewed the data on the efficiency of the units and bought our first two units in 2013. The quick tip time over our current moving floor fleet and the much lower maintenance were the two key factors in our decision to go with Azmeb.”

Azmeb’s one-of-a-kind tippers can unload up to 10 times faster than traditional moving floor trailers, offering major productivity gains for companies like Suez. The units feature hinged upper bodies which effectively double their volumetric capacity with little increase in tare weight, while their simplified designs require half the maintenance of its moving floor counterparts, according to Azmeb.

Spight says the purchase was approved on a tonnes-per-dollar basis, taking into account costs, maintenance, depreciation and purchase price. When compared to compaction and moving floor trailers, Azmeb’s side tippers came out on top over a seven-year period. “Particularly when considering unloading times, maintenance costs and capital outlay the side tippers ticked all the right boxes,” he explains.

Suez’s new fleet of 14 side tippers, operational since October 2016, are primarily responsible for transporting commercial and household waste from WA Landfill Services’ transfer station in Welshpool to landfill in North Bannister – a 130km trek. The side tippers run in a pocket road train configuration, consisting of seven units each hosting two trailers and a dolly.

Quick tipping times result in less time spent by the road trains at the landfill site, Spight adds, with the fleet managing up to three trips and carting 120 tonnes of waste per day. Further, after identifying that the mix of product was changing towards lower tare industrial and construction waste, Suez was able to specify larger capacity tubs on the new trailers.

The new WA Landfill Services trailers have a total volume of 69m3 compared to the previous trailers, which measured 63m3 – a 9.5 per cent jump in capacity which has helped Suez increase its payload and returns.

To read more, see page 46 of Issue 10.