NSW EPA releases new C&D guidelines

The NSW EPA has published two new guidance documents to help the construction and demolition industry strengthen their procurement and contract processes around waste disposal.

In NSW, waste owners and transporters may be guilty of an offence if construction and demolition waste is transported to the wrong facility or disposed of illegally.

Individuals can be fined up to $250,000, while corporations can be fined up to $1,000,000. If the offence involves asbestos waste, the fines double.

EPA Executive Director Waste Operations Carmen Dwyer said the documents, Construction and Demolition Waste: A Management Toolkit and Owner’s Guide to Lawful Disposal of Construction and Demolition Waste, will help both private and government organisations strengthen their waste processes.

“We know that most people in this industry are keen to cut out unlawful behaviour, and the toolkit and guide provide steps that businesses can take to ensure their waste material is lawfully disposed of,” Ms Dwyer said.

“The documents provide step-by-step guides to help industry bolster their contracts with waste transporters, and factor in control measures from the beginning of the procurement process through to disposal.”

Guidance includes knowing what waste streams will be generated, questioning waste management quotes that appear too low, checking council development consent and environment protection laws and having clear roles and responsibilities for everyone managing waste on the project.

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$30M Victorian stockpile clean-up begins

The first truck loads of construction and demolition waste are being removed from a waste stockpile in Lara, Geelong, after the Victorian Government took control of site management in May.

Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said the process could take several years, with the state government providing $30 million for clean-up and fire prevention measures.

“Poor site management practices by the previous operator let the recycling waste grow to dangerous levels, resulting in an unacceptable fire risk to the local community, the environment and emergency services,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

“There is absolutely no excuse for the reckless behaviour of the people who left this mess for us to deal with, and we will have no hesitation pursuing them to cover the cost of the clean-up.”

According to Ms D’Ambrosio, the site contains an estimated 320,000 cubic metres of predominantly construction and demolition waste, including materials such as timber, concrete, bricks, plaster, glass and ceramics.

“The first stage will be the processing and removal of a 27,000 cubic metre stockpile of timber, weighing an estimated 3500 tonnes,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

“The City of Greater Geelong will project manage the works on behalf of the EPA and government, including managing interim fire risk measures by maintaining 24/7 security, secure fencing and maintenance of firefighting equipment.”

Ms D’Ambrosio said the EPA is pursuing previous site occupiers, owners, company directors and any other relevant parties to recover the costs of the fire prevention measures and clean up.

“Since August 2017, the EPA has had additional powers to support Victoria’s fire services and issue remedial notices to facilities not properly managing potential fire risks,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

“These powers will be strengthened further under the new Environment Protection Act which will come into effect on 1 July 2020, to prevent situations like this in the future.”

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Alex Fraser wins Sustainable Environment Award

Alex Fraser has won the Sustainable Environment Award at the Victorian Transport Association’s 30th annual Australian Freight Industry Awards.

Alex Fraser Communications Manager Cara Spencer accepted the award on behalf of the company, at a black-tie gala dinner at Melbourne’s Crown Palladium Ballroom.

“It’s a great honour to accept the award on behalf of Alex Fraser, which is particularly special in what is a milestone year for the company – in October we celebrate 140 years of operation, making Alex Fraser one of Victoria’s longest standing companies,” Ms Spencer said.

“There’s around 360 people behind the scenes at Alex Fraser, making it happen. It’s wonderful to see their hard work, drive and innovation recognised with this award. Thank you.”

Alex Fraser was recognised for their Victoria first integrated sustainable supply hub in Laverton.

The facility houses Alex Fraser’s new Ammann High Recycled Technology asphalt plant, which is capable of producing high-quality asphalt mixes made entirely of recycled material.

The recycled material is supplied by Alex Fraser’s co-located construction and demolition plant, and onsite glass recycling facility.

Ms Spencer said the co-location of production facilities and sustainable hub design eliminates the need for cartage and significantly reduces carbon emissions and costs.

“Our sustainable supply hub in Laverton is doing some pretty amazing things. It is part of a critical network of facilities surrounding Melbourne, including sites at Clarinda and Epping, that work together to recycle up to three million tonnes of construction waste, and the equivalent of one billion bottles of glass each year – that’s enough to overflow the MCG,” Ms Spencer said.

“We take that waste material and recycle it into the high quality products Victoria so urgently needs to build greener roads and rail, reducing the carbon footprint of new infrastructure by up to 65 per cent.”

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GCM Enviro: brooklyn bound

Sunshine Groupe Operations Manager Colin Riley tells Waste Management Review how the rise in construction and demolition waste prompted their latest purchase.

With capital injections at a state and federal level, the Australian construction industry is booming.

Capital influx, paired with growing public consciousness around the impacts of waste and the reality of finite resources, has led to an increased number of construction companies seeking sustainable solutions for their construction and demolition waste (C&D).

Located within a 10-kilometre proximity of the Melbourne CBD, Sunshine Groupe’s Brooklyn recycling site has become a hub for the city’s C&D waste.

Operations Manager Colin Riley says C&D is now one of the company’s most commonly received waste streams.

“We are heavily invested in safeguarding the community and the environment through recycling, and as such need effective and accurate equipment to separate heavy impurities from the material we want to process,” Colin says.

“I’ve been working at Sunshine Groupe for over 20 years and the rise in C&D is substantial. A number of challenges come with that given the materials high variability and substantial weight.”

Colin says the scale of the Brooklyn site is what inspired the need for a new for a new piece of mobile sifting equipment.

“We already have lot of fixed processing equipment on site but are dealing with significant space and multiple stockpiles. Transporting waste around the site to access that fixed equipment was becoming unsustainable,” Colin says.

“After consulting with GCM Enviro, we decided to purchase a moveable Terra Select W80 Windsifter four months ago and its really solved that issue for us.”

The Terra Select W80 mobile windsifter separates stones from wood materials, wood from building rubble and impurities from aggregate.

“We depend on cleanly separated feedstock so recycled components can be further processed. Our situation is therefore ideally suited to separation via windsifting,” Colin says.

According to Colin, Sunshine Groupe use the Terra Select windsifter to process roughly 50,000 tonnes of material each day.

“The Terra Select outperforms all other windsifters I’ve used and has far exceeded my expectations,” Colin says.

The sifter can achieve a throughput of up to 120 cubic metres per hour and has an adjustable level of cleaning of up to 95 per cent, with an optimum feed grain size of one to four.

In addition to its own feed hopper, the mobile windsifter also has an integrated metering roller that Colin says enables fast turnaround times.

“The machine has flexible options for feeding material, which we can adjust depending on the specifics of what we are working with at the time,” Colin says.

“It can be adjusted to work either at an angle with a wheeled loader, or at an angle from an upstream screening plant. The dosing roller then evenly feeds the material from the hopper to the windsifter.”

If required, the discharge conveyor of the separator can be fitted with a magnet to remove metals from building rubble, further highlighting its application use for varied waste streams like C&D.

The machine is controlled centrally via a modern display, with all machine components readily accessible due to large maintenance hatches. Additionally, it is driven by its own high-output diesel engine, which supports total mobile function.

“It’s a mobile machine in every sense of the word and can be completely set up and functional within a short space of time for new locations or feedstock changeover. It also has road approval for off-site operations,” Colin says.

In addition to separation, the windsifting process protects other machines and plants by removing heavy debris before later processing stages.

When dealing with stone or concrete for example, sifting removes potentially harmful objects, purifies the material before crushing and leads to a longer shelf life for all machinery involved.

“GCM Enviro really pulled through for us, we told them what we needed, and they delivered on all fronts,” Colin says.

“The servicing and parts department is really on the ball – if we make a spare or extra parts order it arrives the following day.”

Colin says while he hasn’t needed to take them up on the offer yet, GCM Enviro has committed to sending service and maintenance teams downs to Melbourne if any issues arise.

“I’ve been in the industry for over two decades and have seen a lot of equipment, some that works well, some that doesn’t,” Colin says.

“The Terra Select W80 works so well because it takes a lot of different technology types and combines them, really expanding the capabilities of a relatively small machine.”

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Location, location, location essential to the future of C&D

Construction recyclers do most of the heavy lifting in Australian recycling, but several stones remain in the gears to drive its future, writes Rose Read, CEO of the National Waste and Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC).

The trend isn’t hard to spot, behind the successful recycling strategy of any city are construction and demolition (C&D) recycling companies recovering large material volumes. C&D waste generation in 2016-17 (the latest year available) was just over 20 million tonnes nationally, or 38 per cent of the waste produced in Australia by weight.

Recovery of C&D materials across major urban centres can be as high as 90 per cent. So C&D recyclers have taken a hard problem, and over the last decade, have thoroughly crushed it.

Despite this welcome progress, many stones remain in the gears that drive its future development.

In 2019, the NWRIC undertook a survey of key C&D recyclers to determine barriers to advancing recycling in this sector. Our research identified six key areas for improvement:

  1. Implementation of effective specifications for the use of recycled aggregates in infrastructure construction
  2. Competition with virgin products
  3. Inconsistent landfill levies and insufficient enforcement resulting in levy avoidance
  4. Planning frameworks which often fail to provide certainty of site tenure
  5. Poor waste data that can inhibit policy and investment decisions
  6. Market economics that inhibit greater recovery of C&D materials in regional areas

While several of these challenges are self-explanatory, a few are worth discussing in detail.

The first is that local and state land use planning can fail to provide the site tenure required for some of the state’s highest performing C&D recovery facilities. This is a major challenge, as for C&D recovery facilities to be financially sustainable, they must be set close to urban centres where the waste materials are generated and eventually reused. Minimising transport distances is a key driver to the success of these facilities.

Likewise, these facilities require a reasonable footprint to be able to manage the flow of materials through the process; from receival, sorting, processing to stockpiling the various grades of final products ready for reuse.

Unfortunately, many of these sites across Australia are being threatened by encroachment of urban or commercial development, and in some cases, are being closed by local councils to create parks.

To solve this problem, the NWRIC recommends that current waste and recycling infrastructure plans that provide for C&D recycling be formally incorporated into local and state planning regulations, so that precincts or green zones for such facilities are clearly identified and protected for the long term. To be effective, the location and duration of tenure of these ‘green zones’ must be agreed by all levels of government.

A second major challenge is waste levy avoidance in the C&D recovery sector. Construction recyclers charge a gate fee to cover the cost of sorting and processing the materials they receive. This gate fee must be lower than the cost of landfill. To reach this cost, typically a landfill levy is required.

Unfortunately, where there are landfill levies, there is also levy avoidance resulting in potentially recyclable material being dumped or transported vast distances outside levy zones. One prominent example is the illegal waste stockpile in Lara, Victoria. This site contains a massive stockpile of up to 320,000 cubic meters of construction and demolition waste, including materials such as timber, concrete, bricks, plaster, glass and ceramics.

If one cubic meter weighs half a tonne, then this stockpile represents a loss of more than $10 million in levy revenue.  To clean up this illegal dump of C&D waste, the Victorian Government has committed $30 million, the largest waste related budget item for Victoria in 2019.

To ensure the success of the C&D recovery sector, states must address levy avoidance urgently. Possible solutions include better inter-agency engagement (across Police, EPAs and the ATO) to monitor and prevent illegal activity, and more widespread use of regulatory tools like mass balance reporting and GPS tracking.  Setting levies so any differences do not encourage its movement from one region or state to another, or applying the levy portability principle (i.e. the levy liability is a point of generation not disposal) both within and across state and territory boundaries.

Finally, C&D recovery providers can also help to support other recycling streams, including the recovery and reuse of tyres, glass and used plastics. Where these products are not suitable for cradle to cradle recycling, they can be reused as a substitute material for civil construction works. This further diversifies the market opportunities for these recovered materials, which in the past have relied on limited opportunities locally and internationally, ended up in landfill or illegally dumped.

This is why integration of state resource recovery infrastructure plans into local and state land use planning regulations is critical to the future success of C&D resource recovery. By securing space and long term tenure for these facilities states and territories will ensure a viable industry that can supply materials to the ongoing infrastructure development and construction needs of Australia.

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Finlay: separating the grime

Phoenix Environment Group is sorting problematic C&D waste from all over Melbourne into saleable streams, with the assistance of Finlay Screening, Crushing and Recycling Systems.

Mixed waste from construction and demolition sites is regularly left out in the rain or intense heat for long periods of time by some contractors and site managers. As a result, construction and demolition waste (C&D) often arrives at processing and recycling facilities as a wet, sticky mass, loaded with heavy and bulky debris.

Phoenix Environment Group, a recycling company based in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, receives waste from all over the city and deals primarily in C&D. Phoenix operates largely as a sorting facility, separating C&D into seven different streams before sending it to alternate facilities for remanufacturing.    

Company Director Ash Walker says given the nature of C&D, the material Phoenix receives is often quite contaminated, with multiple mixed materials needing to be screened and separated simultaneously.

To facilitate the cleaning of grimy material, Phoenix purchased a Terex TRS 500 from specialist equipment suppliers Finlay Screening, Crushing and Recycling Systems last year.

“We needed a recycling screen capable of separating heavy weight material from recyclable waste before we send it to separate picking stations for further separation,” Ash says.

“Our previous screen worked well. However, as the company grew and began to work with larger, more commercial clients, we required a new recycling screen to keep up with processing demands.”

The TRS 500 recycling screen is a versatile mobile screen that operates with a specialist screen box designed by German manufacturer Spaleck.

Ash says he spent a number of months researching recycling screens online before coming across the TRS 500.

After contacting Finlay about the machine, Ash was flown to Queensland to view the screen in operation.

“Once I had watched the TRS 500 in action at Finlay’s facility in Burpengary, I became confident in its ability to fulfil Phoenix’s business requirements,” Ash says.

“The Terex machine is much bigger than our previous screen, so we are able to put significantly more material through each hour – it ticked all the boxes for me.”

Phoenix has been using the TRS 500 for just under 12 months, and Ash says it hasn’t missed a beat.

“We use the screen to reclaim a lot of mixed soil and it works 100 per cent of the time,” Ash says.

“Every inch of soil is screened and cleaned effectively and quickly, which means we can remove all the contaminants at a cheap price.”

According to Ash, the machine was specifically designed for difficult applications, with the combination of a three-way split system and Spaleck 3D Combi screen box allowing operators to process material previously classed as problematic.

Phoenix uses the TRS 500 to process a minimum of 2000 tonnes of C&D waste at its Coolaroo recycling centre each month.

“Most of our material comes from Campbellfield Bins, Ben’s Bins Hire, Cleanaway and a handful of smaller waste removal companies,” Ash says.

Spaleck screen boxes are designed for efficient screening of wet inhomogeneous material, with separation cuts between 0.2 and 50 millimetres.

The TRS 500 incorporates the Spaleck screen box into a standard Terex platform and frame, with features including a steel apron feeder for feeding heavy bulk material, a 3D top deck screening panel and an aggressive flip-flow bottom deck.

The base frame is agitated by a shaft and unbalanced motor drive, with the vibration passed to the frame via thrust rubbers.

Ash says the tracked heavy duty screen can be operated in a wide range of primary and secondary screening applications.

“The 3D flip flow bottom deck mats can handle high-moisture material, even when screening as small as two millimetres without blinding,” Ash says.

“This ability is critical given the nature of the material we’re processing, as it reduces downtime and maximises our production capabilities.”

Additionally, Ash says the TRS’s 3D screening segments facilitate correct grain size and eliminate long and extraneous material for the tension shaft screen on the lower deck.

“The screwless mounted screening mats create less contamination than regular mats and the high acceleration has a self-cleaning effect,” he says.

Ash says Finlay has a services and parts division in Melbourne, meaning it is just around the corner when the machine needs servicing.

“They respond straight away when I make a booking and are always on call. I’ve been really happy with the service,” Ash says.

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Taking the eco road: ECO Resources

ECO Resources is doubling its output, reducing contamination and improving safety with the installation of an Australian made picking, sorting and recycling facility.

Since starting off as a small site cleaning business in 2006, ECO Resources has made significant inroads in the construction, demolition and general inert recycling space.

The Perth-based company has over the past decade grown through a combination of key acquisitions and organic growth to become a major construction and demolition (C&D) waste management company and multi-user recycling business.

Since the launch of ECO’s first resources facility in 2011, the company has diverted significant volumes of C&D waste from landfill, servicing more than 200 businesses in Perth, including local councils, waste collectors and construction and demolition businesses.

Supporting and diverting more than 500,000 cubic metres of waste from landfill each year, ECO is focused on growing its landfill diversion rates beyond 93 per cent with $6 million of investment approved for 2019.

The company partners with Perth suppliers of reconstituted building blocks and produces recycled sand and roadbase compliant with Main Roads WA and state government requirements.

Steve Hyams, a consultant for ECO Resources, says the company’s ownership structure is unique to the waste industry. He says that ECO’s love of logistics and all things mechanical, combined with a passion for the environment, has been the foundation for its growth.

The company’s environmental focus prompted a review of collected waste streams, existing disposal options and recycling performance.

“The team identified that large quantities of C&D waste were heading to landfill and after meeting with similar local businesses, the team launched ECO’s first C&D recycling facility at Naval Base in Perth’s south,” Steve explains.

Following this review, the ECO team adopted a plan to eliminate reliance on third party disposal, develop C&D recovery and treatment capacity, diversify the business to cover the whole lifecycle of waste, along with a number of other benchmarks.

To increase its involvement in the C&D market, ECO Resources invested in a new picking, sorting and recycling facility. The new facility doubles its output in safety, volume and quality, while reducing contaminants and residual waste. The plant will allow the company to improve its sorting and segregating of C&D waste at its Hope Valley operations.

Commissioned in May this year, the 12-month project included tender, design, construction and delivery. Skala Australasia won the tender to deliver its first-ever C&D turnkey plant in WA.

Simon Toal, Skala Australasia Director, says the project was designed from scratch, working with ECO Resources managers and the operations team to develop the design via 3D modelling. The plant was designed to match Perth’s climatic conditions and input materials, reducing overall maintenance.

“ECO Resources has been operating other plants for a number of years and have some good experience on what works and doesn’t work,” Simon explains.

“We’ve build a number of plants down the eastern seaboard similar to this so we combined our collective experience to deliver them the best solution.”

As Skala also specialises in mining and industrial processes, it was able to apply its heavy-duty applications to the design, including in the chute design and wear components.

He says that ECO Resources was after a robust vibratory in-feed system that could handle larger input material and reduce the amount of pre-sorting and double handling. The primary in-feed system includes a General Kinematics primary fingerscreen to direct feed all material. Simon says this is able to process heavy-duty materials – a key point of different for Skala which aims to use less power and improve productivity.

The company processes multiple sized streams and therefore vibratory screens were needed for secondary and tertiary screening.

The overs line comprises an enclosed picking station plus ferrous and waste bays providing picking bays for timbers, plastic and other waste.

The secondary screening and density separation lines includes a double deck screen and multiple General Kinematics destoners for middle fraction and fines clean-up to remove plastics and paper.

In the unders line, an enclosed picking station allows for final cleaning of materials, with the final output being clean aggregate.

Simon says one of the unique attributes of the project is that a majority of the parts were designed and customised using Australian manufactured materials.

“Historically we’ve been more reliant on European integrators and fabrication which was a more modular off-the-shelf solution. With this project, we saw an opportunity to use Australian content which meant a greater adherence to local standards and availability of spare parts and componentry,” Simon says.

A number of features were designed for Australian conditions. As an example, European programmable logic controllers may not contain features such as an adequate air conditioner – important for the sweltering Perth heat. The magnets were also derived from STEINERT and made in Australia.

“We used flip flow technology because we know that performs better in wetter materials so we incorporated this for secondary and tertiary screening.”

Simon says that oversized bearings and impact rollers lead to higher service reliability and less downtime.

“It’s a lot easier for us to support a plant that is designed and built in Australia than components that are overseas.

“For the components we do import, we standardise on those which allows us to hold significant inventory, spare parts and technical capability.”

In terms of after-sales support, the plant has been designed with the ability for Skala to dial in and provide technical support where necessary, organise spare parts and conduct preventative maintenance checks.

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