Cleanaway unveils new optical container sorting facility

Cleanaway has officially opened its new automated optical Container Sorting Facility at Eastern Creek, NSW.

The facility initially opened on 1 December 2017 and included a manual sorting line, which used magnetic sorting and manual picking to separate steel, aluminium, cartons and plastics with a capacity of 1.5 tonnes per hour.

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With construction of the new automated sorting line completed, the facility now has a capacity of eight tonnes per hour.

Optical sorters used in the plant identify containers based on their material type at thousands of reads per minute with air jets being used to separate them for compaction and baling.

These baled materials are then distributed domestically and internationally to be recycled back into food grade containers.

Since beginning operation last year, the facility has processed most of the 900 million containers collected by the NSW Return and Earn scheme.

The NSW Government’s scheme aims to reduce the volume of litter across the state by providing a 10-cent refund for each eligible container returned.

Cleanaway CEO and Managing Director Vik Bansal said schemes such as Return and Earn require the community to pre-sort containers for recycling, reducing the level of contamination at the source.

“With the new sorting technology installed at this facility, we are now able to improve the quality of the commodity streams even further,” Mr Bansal said.

“The Eastern Creek Container Sorting Facility is a critical part of our Footprint 2025. We’re committed to putting the infrastructure and facilities in place to deal sustainably with Australia’s waste, well into the future.”

Mr Bansal says the challenges facing the waste industry over the past 12 months have changed the way Australians view waste.

“It is more important than ever before that we work together to address these challenges. Return and Earn is a great example of that,” he said.

“It has been encouraging to see so many people getting involved and increasing the amount of recyclables being sorted at the source.

Coupled with a better network of facilities to sort the containers collected, we can produce commodity streams which are in demand, meaning more items are being recycled into new products,” Mr Bansal said.

NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton said the Return and Earn had been a great success, reducing litter across NSW by a third.

“I commend the people of NSW and congratulate Cleanaway on their state of the art facility that supports Return and Earn to provide a smart solution to reduce litter in NSW and contribute to a more sustainable future,” Ms Upton said.

Cleanaway secures seven-year contract with City of Sydney

The City of Sydney has selected Cleanaway as its new waste and recycling provider with a seven-year contract beginning 1 July 2019.

Services for the council will include general waste, recycling, garden organics and bulk or hard waste and electronic waste kerbside collections.

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The contract also includes 25 new vehicles which have Cleanaway’s integrated data platform installed. The system uses on board cameras to track collections and service events like missed pick-ups, broken bins and can be used for single-call customer service response. Cameras can also provide insights that aim to reduce contamination, improve recycling and increase truck safety.

Cleanaway’s education team will also provide the City of Sydney with sustainability training which aims to reduce waste sent to landfill and improve recycling rates.

Cleanaway Regional Manager – Sydney Metro Michael Sankey said the company looks forward to bringing its expertise to Sydney.

“As part of the contract, Cleanaway will be setting up a new facility and implementing new operational teams and some educational resources,” he said.

“Over the next seven years we’ll be working closely with the council’s waste management team to add value for the community and help the City of Sydney achieve their sustainability goals.”

Cleanaway releases 2018 annual report

Cleanaway has released its 2018 annual report to shareholders, providing a comprehensive discussion of its strategies across the business.

It follows the release of its FY18 full-year results last month.

The report, titled Making a Sustainable Future Possible, provides a snapshot of Cleanaway’s business, having acquired Daniels Health and Toxfree and commenced operation in May of this year. With the two businesses in operation, Cleanaway has more than 260 sites across Australia, including more than 4000 vehicles and 115 licensed infrastructure assets.

The 2018 year at a glance shows underlying revenue of $1.7 million, up 17.9 per cent on last year. Earnings, before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) sat at $339.7 million – up 12.7 per cent.

Commenting on the full-year results last month in a statement, Cleanaway Chief Executive Officer Vik Bansal said that each of the company’s three operating divisions – solids collections, solids post collections and liquids and industrial services – again increased revenues and earnings in the period.

“Our quality of earnings experienced some downward pressure during the year driven by industry wide changes to the recycling and commodities markets as a result of China’s National Sword policy. This policy negatively impacted commodity prices and increased our costs of sorting material to required levels. However, over the past few months there has been some recovery in commodity prices, especially for higher quality recycled materials.

“Earnings quality was also impacted as we rolled out a number of major new contracts which have strengthened our market leading positions. We remain confident that margins will transition to normal levels as we complete the mobilisation phase of these contracts.”

According to the annual report, in 2018, Cleanaway recycled more than 320,000 tonnes of paper and cardboard, 16,000 tonnes of plastic packaging and 14,500 tonnes of steel, while less than 50,000 tonnes of organic liquid waste re-used as nutrient.

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In terms of community investments, more than $795,000 was invested in Australian communities and in excess of 1250 education programs held.

“A major highlight of FY2018 was the completion of our acquisition of Tox Free Solutions Limited (Toxfree). This consolidated Cleanaway’s position as Australia’s leading waste management company, strengthening our integrated total waste management offer,” the CEO’s report said.

“In FY2018 we commenced a number of significant new contracts – including Brisbane City Council, Chevron Wheatstone, Coles, New South Wales’ Central Coast and the Container Deposit Scheme in New South Wales. As sizeable contracts, each has incurred significant ramp up costs, impacting margins in the short term. We expect this margin pressure to ease in FY2019 as we complete the mobilisation phase of these contracts and move into ongoing operations.”

One section on the impact of China’s National Sword policy argues the strategic long-term answer to the policy is not to keep finding the next offshore market for commingled refuse, but to encourage investment in the domestic processing capacity.

“We also need to educate, sort, recycle and reuse locally based on a set of consistent standards. This will take a much stronger level of alignment between all levels of government as well as commitment from industry to use an increased percentage of recyclable materials in the production of new foods, and, of course, the continuing education and partnership with communities all over Australia,” the report says.

“Australians remain strongly supportive of more responsible waste management and recycling policies. An Australian Council of Recycling survey, conducted earlier this year, found that 91 per cent of respondents support a national action plan on recycling, and 88 per cent support new requirements for packaging to be recyclable and for national education to help reduce contamination in kerbside recycling,” it continues.

“We are working closely with both councils and the broader community to reduce the level of contamination in commingled recycling.”

You can read the full report by clicking here.

AFIA waste winner announced

Close to 700 members of the Australian freight and logistics industry gathered in Melbourne Saturday evening to celebrate the achievements of winners and finalists of the Victorian Transport Association’s (VTA) Australian Freight Industry Awards (AFIA).

The annual awards recognise excellence from transport operator and supplier companies and individuals across a range of categories and celebrate the enormous contribution the industry makes to the national economy.

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Seven award winners were recognised at the AFIAs this year, which were proudly sponsored by TWUSUPER and Viva Energy Australia and held in the Palladium Ballroom at Crown Melbourne.

This year’s AFIAs acknowledged the importance of the waste and recycling sector through the Waste and Recycling Award.

Four finalists were announced on the night, with waste company Alex Fraser winning the coveted award.

Alex Fraser has developed a recycling process to convert waste glass into sand to be used in construction of new roads and infrastructure, harnessing the valuable resource needed to fulfil Victoria’s multi-billion dollar infrastructure pipeline.

More than 850,000 tonnes of waste glass have been diverted from landfill to be recycled into high-quality construction sand and sold on to Victoria’s councils and developers.

Other finalists include the Melbourne International RoRo Automotive Terminal (MIRRAT), which will allow for the number of vehicles handled by the Port of Melbourne to rise from 370,000 in 2013 to one million by 2035.

Cleanaway’s South East Melbourne Transfer Station saw the company announced as a finalist, with the facility to be a critical part of the state’s waste and recycling network.

Resource recovery company Close the Loop was also announced as a finalist for the award, in part due to the company’s collaboration with construction company Downer.

The winners of the night were:

  • Paul Retter AM, National Transport Commission, Personality of the Year Award – sponsored Transport for Victoria
  • Jacquelene Brotherton, Oxford Cold Storage & Transport Women Australia, Female Leadership in Transport – sponsored by Viva Energy Australia
  • Katrina Burns, SCT Logistics, Young Achiever of the Year Award – sponsored by Daimler Truck & Bus
  • Alex Fraser Group, Waste & Recycling Award – sponsored by National Transport Insurance
  • L. Fraumano Transport, Application of Technology Award – sponsored by Transport Certification Australia
  • Transking Innovations, Best Practice Safety Award – sponsored by CMV Truck & Bus
  • Barker Trailers, Investment in People Award – sponsored by Logical Staffing Solutions

VTA CEO Peter Anderson announced the winners, who were presented with their award by VTA President Cameron Dunn and Victorian Minister for Roads Luke Donnellan, representing the Victorian Government and Transport for Victoria.

“The Australian Freight Industry Awards showcase the very best our industry has to offer and with dozens of high-quality applications received across the various categories it’s clear the transport industry is committed to innovation, improvement and best practice,” said Mr Anderson.

(Image L-R: VTA CEO, Peter Anderson, Victorian Roads Minister, Luke Donellan, Victorian Women’s Minister, Natalie Hutchins, Female Leadership in Transport Award Winner, Jacquelene Brotherton, VTA President, Cameron Dunn.)

ResourceCo and Cleanaway open Wetherill Park PEF plant

The largest resource recovery and Processed Engineered Fuel (PEF) plant in Australia has been unveiled at Wetherill Park in Sydney.

Owned in a joint venture between resource recovery company ResourceCo and Cleanaway, the plant is licensed to receive up to 250,000 tonnes a year of dry commercial and industrial, and mixed construction and demolition waste, to recover commodities including metal, clean timber and inert materials, with the balance converted into PEF.

Over its lifetime, the plant is expected to abate more than four million tonnes of carbon emissions.

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Cleanaway’s customer base and waste supply in NSW will help drive volume to the facility to divert waste from landfill.

PEF is used as a substitute for fossil fuels in both domestic and offshore markets in the production of cement.

The plant will supply Boral, Australia’s largest construction material company, with PEF for its Berrima cement kiln as a substitute for coal.

Chief Executive Officer Sustainable Energy at ResourceCo Ben Sawley said the new plant will divert up to 50,000 truckloads of waste from landfill, while also reducing reliance on fossil fuels such as coal and gas.

“It will replace over 100,000 tonnes of coal usage per year alone and will take the equivalent of 20,000 cars annually off the road in terms of greenhouse gas emissions,” Mr Sawley said.

“We’re committed to playing a key role in Australia’s future sustainable energy mix, by reducing waste and lowering carbon emissions through production of a commercially viable sustainable energy product,”

“The opportunity to tap further into this market is huge and it makes good sense, both environmentally and economically,” Mr Sawley said.

Cleanaway Chief Executive Officer Vik Bansal said this is an important new resource recovery solution in New South Wales that creates a landfill diversion option for commercial and industrial, residual recycling, and some construction and demolition waste.

“Investment in resource recovery and innovative waste to energy solutions is essential to making a sustainable future possible, and one of the ways we’re delivering on our Footprint 2025 strategy,” Mr Bansal said.

Cleanaway and ResourceCo’s Wetherill Park facility

The project was supported by a funding from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), which had committed $30 million in debt finance to support development of the plant, as well as an additional plant at a second Australian location still to be identified.

CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth said the priority in managing waste must be to reduce the amount waste produced in the first place.

“With what remains, we need to invest in proven technologies to repurpose it, including as alternative fuels. By turning waste into PEF, this facility is showing how industrial processes can reduce their reliance on fossil fuels,” he said.

“We can also reduce the amount of waste materials going into landfill, an important factor in cutting our national greenhouse gas emissions,” Mr Learnmouth said

CEFC Bioenergy and Energy from Waste Sector lead Henry Anning said the CEFC was working with the waste management sector to increase energy efficiency and energy generation, as well as reduce carbon emissions.

“With Australia’s waste sector facing considerable disruption, now is the time to adopt new ways of doing business,” Mr Anning said.

“With the right investment in proven technologies, companies can turn our urban and industrial waste into new energy sources, creating an important revenue stream while also reducing landfill gas emissions.

“In Australia there is a growing commercial opportunity for resource recovery, reinforced by tightening state government landfill regulations. We are working alongside waste companies to invest in long-term infrastructure that can make a lasting difference to the way we handle our waste,” he said.

Return and Earn sees half a billion containers returned

More than half a billion containers have been returned to Return and Earn reverse vending machines in NSW, eight months after the scheme launched.

The container deposit scheme aims to improve recycling rates and reduce the volume of litter in the state by 40 per cent by 2020.

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Each eligible container is worth 10 cents when returned to a reverse vending machine or depot.

Drink containers litter currently makes up 44 per cent of the volume of all litter throughout NSW and costs more than $162 million to manage, according to the NSW Environment Protection Authority.

The University of New South Wales (UNSW) was the first educational institution to install a reverse vending machine as part of the scheme.

UNSW Senior Manager, Environmental Sustainability Will Syddall said that while this initiative helps to reduce littering and improve recycling rates, it is just one step in improving the way we create and manage waste.

“In the waste hierarchy, reducing and reusing resources is better than recycling them. We encourage the community to use reusable water bottles and coffee cups so that they can avoid disposable cups and bottles altogether,” Mr Syddall said.

“We also recognise that we have more work to do to reduce the amount of single-use plastic and other consumables used on our campuses.”

According to the World Bank, half of the plastic ever manufactured was made in the last 15 years.

Cleanaway to enter into JV with ResourceCo

Cleanaway has entered into a binding joint venture agreement with ResourceCo to acquire a 50 per cent interest in ResourceCo’s Wetherill Park facility.

ResourceCo’s new Wetherill Park facility has the capability to divert 250,000 tonnes of waste per annum, reducing emissions and saving costs for businesses in the long-term – more information on that here. 

Located in western Sydney, the facility receives dry commercial and industrial waste. After extracting any commodities suitable for recycling, the balance of non-recyclable waste is converted into Process Engineered Fuel (PEF) that will be used as a substitute for fossil fuels in domestic and offshore cement kilns.

According to an ASX statement, the investment provides Cleanaway with a further waste disposal solution in NSW and forms an integral part of its Footprint 2025 strategy.

Waste processed by the facility includes residuals sourced from the Cleanaway Sydney transfer station, currently under construction, and other recycling facilities, in addition to commercial and industrial customers with source-separated collection systems.

The purchase price for the 50 per cent interest comprises a $25 million payment at completion plus an earn out of up to a further $25 million payable in two instalments over two years once the facility generates agreed earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation targets.

The joint venture, to be branded “Cleanaway ResourceCo RRF” is part financed by a $10 million loan facility from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, with additional funding from the New South Wales Environmental Trust.

The transaction is expected to be complete during the first quarter of financial year 2019, subject to satisfaction of customary conditions precedent and commissioning and performance standards.

Cleanaway Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Vik Bansal said the investment plays a key role in the development of the company’s post collections footprint in NSW and its overall Footprint 2025 strategy, which encompasses the development of prized waste infrastructure assets across Australia.

“This facility is the only one of its kind on the East Cost of Australia and enables us to increase waste internalisation rates, and importantly, to offer an advanced resource recovery solution to our customers,” Mr Bansal said.

NSW consumers return and earn with TOMRA app

More than 100,000 people have downloaded TOMRA’s recycling app linked with the NSW Return and Earn scheme.

The free app, called myTOMRA, shows the status with Reverse Vending Machines (RVM) in NSW and has partnered with digital payment provider PayPal.

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Users can scan their personal barcode at the RVM and claim money from returned containers electronically.

The app shows whether a RVM is open, almost full, temporarily unavailable, or in sleep mode during out of hours periods. It also includes a map which can direct users to the nearest RVM.

The Return and Earn scheme was implemented in NSW on 1 December and has seen more than 310 million containers returned since it launched. It aims to reduce the amount of litter across NSW by 40 per cent by 2020.

Consumers are able to claim a 10-cent refund when they return an eligible drink container to a collection point in NSW. Most 150 millilitre to three-litre drink containers made from plastic, glass, steel, liquid paperboard and aluminium are returnable.

TOMRA Cleanaway is the network operator for the scheme, with TOMRA providing the RVM technology and Cleanaway delivering the logistics and sorting for collected containers.