Dubbo Regional Council opens new organics processing plant

A new organics processing facility has been opened at the Whylandra Waste and Recycling Facility to recycle food and organic waste from the surrounding councils.

The Dubbo Regional Organics Processing Plant (DROPP) commenced operations in early July and has begun receiving food and garden waste from Dubbo Regional Council, Mid-Western Regional Council and Narromine Shire Council.

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It aims to divert a significant amount of organic waste from landfill and turn it into compost, reducing environmental pollution caused by leachate and methane gas production.

The facility received more than $7 million of funding from the NSW EPA, Dubbo Regional Council and JR Richards & Sons. The project was supported by the Environmental Trust as part of the NSW EPA’s Waste Less, Recycle More Organics Infrastructure initiative, funded by the waste levy.

Dubbo Regional Council Mayor Ben Shields said the high-tech composting facility was built to handle organic material collected by three council as part of the new Food and Garden Waste Management service.

“It is great to see neighbouring Councils working collaboratively and sharing resources to achieve a common goal,” Cr Shields said.

NSW Member for Dubbo Tony Grant said the regional organics recycling will greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions produced by landfill.

“The carbon footprint of trucking the waste is minor compared to methane that would otherwise be produced by food and garden waste buried in landfill,” Mr Grant said.

“This is a fantastic local initiative where organic waste from the region will be processed locally and reused locally,” he said.

Image: Mayor of Dubbo Region Councillor Ben Shields, Member for Dubbo the Hon Troy Grant and Mayor of Narromine Shire Councillor Craig Davies officially opened the DROPP. 

REMONDIS and Lake Macquarie open new organics processing facility

REMONDIS Australia and Lake Macquarie City Council have opened a new organics processing facility at the Awaba Waste Management Facility.

REMONDIS Australia and Lake Macquarie City Council have opened a new organics processing facility at the Awaba Waste Management Facility in late July.

It is part of the council’s new three-bin waste management system, which aims to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill by as much as one third by recycling food refuse.

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Food and green waste will be recycled at the new facility and turned into compost products for reuse on parks, grounds and sporting fields.

The facility has a unique hybrid model of ‘in-vessel’ and ‘mobile aerated floor’ systems and includes a fully automated tunnel composting system to pasteurise food waste in two weeks

With a mobile aerated floor finishing. It also includes an automatic, cashless weighbridge system that gives users access to the facility with the swipe of a card.

REMONDIS CEO Luke Agati said the company is proud to be investing in Lake Macquarie and the Australian resource recovery sector.

“REMONDIS has been composting garden waste at Awaba for Lake Macquarie City Council since 2013, and this new facility will enable us to also convert food waste into a valuable resource,” Mr Agati said.

“The facility will convert up to 44,000 tonnes per year of organic waste into compost and soil amendment products.

“REMONDIS applauds forward-thinking local government organisations such as Lake Macquarie City Council for their dedication to building the vital recycling infrastructure that will create job opportunities, strengthen the Australian economy and reduce our environmental footprint.”

Lake Macquarie Mayor Kay Fraser said the Organics Resource Recovery Facility would see the City take a leading role in recycling and waste management.

“This is a significant step in our Waste Strategy and in our efforts to encourage people to think and act more responsibly about household waste disposal,” Cr Fraser said.

“By making it easy for residents to dispose of organic waste appropriately, we will encourage them to recycle and close the food consumption loop.

“About one third of household garbage bin contents is food waste, so this will divert significant amounts of organic material from landfill, extending the life of our Awaba Waste Management Facility and saving an estimated $4 million over 10 years in waste management costs.”

The project was supported by a grant of $2 million as part of the NSW EPA’s Waste Less, Recycled More initiative, funded from the waste levy.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald said the NSW Government was pleased to assist by contributing a $1.4 million grant to the facility and $0.6m for community engagement initiatives, from the EPA’s Waste Less Recycle More initiative.

“This facility will improve the availability of organic compost for local primary producers and reduce unnecessary wastage of high quality organic material. I congratulate Lake Macquarie City Council in securing investment from a business with the calibre of REMONDIS.”

More than 100 contracting firms were engaged to build the facility, which also features an education centre where schools and community groups can see the recycling process.

Lake Macquarie Organics Resource Recovery Facility Branch Manager Gunther Neumann said REMONDIS is proud of its environmental achievements in Lake Macquarie.

“Since 2013, REMONDIS has diverted more than 100,000 tonnes of garden organics from landfill in the region, saving more than $13 million in landfill levies for residents,” Mr Neumann said.

“With the opening of the Lake Macquarie Organics Resource Recovery Facility, REMONDIS looks forward to a new chapter in organics processing that will deliver additional landfill levy savings and create new market opportunities locally, reinforcing our role as a valued member of the local community.”

Image: Lake Macquarie City Council

AORA Victoria 2018 Award winners announced

The Australian Organics Recycling Association (AORA) has celebrated industry achievements from the past year in Victoria at its 2018 awards dinner.

Its event was attended by more than 90 representatives from organics processors, industry suppliers, to state and local government organisations.

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Speeches from Sustainability Victoria CEO Stan Krpan and Parliamentary Secretary for Environment Anthony Carbines highlighted the support the government is putting forward into the organics industry.

The Melbourne Cricket Club won the 2018 Sustainability Victoria Outstanding Contribution to Industry Development Award thanks to the club’s organic fertiliser that it creates on site form organic waste.

Waste produced at the MCG is treated in-house and turned into a soil additive that is being used to sustain the heritage listed Yarra Park which surrounds the stadium. An Eco Guardians dehydrator at the MCG takes the organic waste and processes them into a soil additive known as SoilFood.

Glen Eira City Council won the 2018 Yarra Valley Water Outstanding Local Government Initiative in Collection/Processing/Marketing Award thanks to the councils Food Organics into Garden Organics (FOGO) program.

Food scrap recycling was identified as a priority in the council’s Environmental Sustainability Strategy 2016-2021. Glen Eira changed organics processor to Veolia to bring the service to residents sooner, as the company are the only contractor currently servicing the South East Organics Processing contract that is capable of processing food waste.

The campaign was soft launched in November 2017, with further marketing in the lead up to its introduction on 1 May 2018. Council offered residents a free kitchen caddy as part of the program, with around 7721 households receiving one.

Environmental management company Kilter Rural won the 2018 RMCG Compost User Demonstrating Innovation and Advocacy in Agricultural Markets Award. The company has led the recovery of severely degraded farmland in the irrigation district in Northern Victoria and restored the land to profitable production.

Burdett’s Sand and Soil won the 2018 Compost User Demonstrating Innovation and Advocacy in Amenity Market Award after using compost through its solids for at least 20 years. The company has expanded into pine barks and mulches and is known to be an avid compost user and support of recycled organics.

Image: Melbourne Cricket Club

Strong results for Perth’s first FOGO trial

The trial of a Perth metro first, three-bin Food Organics Garden Organics (FOGO) system, has yielded higher than anticipated diversion from landfill.

The Southern Metropolitan Regional Council (SMRC) alongside three of its member councils – the Cities of Fremantle, Melville and Town of East Fremantle has been working towards the implementation of a three-bin FOGO system.

Commencing in October 2017, the new bin system was rolled out to approximately 7000 households across five areas in the City of Melville.

As part of the rollout, residents received a brand new 240-litre lime-green topped bin for FOGO material, along with a kitchen caddy to help them separate food waste in the kitchen. The kitchen caddy contained educational materials for the residents, along with a year’s supply of compostable liners to line the caddy with.

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Residents also received a brand new smaller red-topped 140-litre bin for general waste items that can’t be composted or recycled. The red bin is collected fortnightly. Residents kept their existing recycling bins with collections changing from weekly to fortnightly. For households who required more room to recycle, larger 360-litre bins were made available free of charge. The old general waste bins were removed and sent for recycling into new bins.

In the first six months of the project, 66.5 per cent of all household waste generated from the trial areas was recovered as compost or recycled into new products, above the state government target of 65 per cent of all household waste diverted from landfill by 2020.

In April, a resident survey was undertaken by independent research company Catalyse. All residents participating in the trial were asked for feedback on their experiences with 30 per cent of residents responding and having their say on the new system.

The findings showed strong support towards the new system with:

  • 79 per cent of respondents wanting the 3-bin FOGO system to continue.
  • 94 per cent of respondents rating weekly FOGO collections positively.
  • 87 per cent of respondents rating fortnightly recycling collections positively.
  • 69 per cent of respondents rating fortnightly general waste collections positively.
  • 80 per cent of respondents satisfied that they received the right amount of information about the new system.

Many residents highlighted the need to reduce landfill, create compost and increase recycling as their key reasons for wanting to keep the system moving forward. One resident said, “It makes sense to produce compost ‘en masse’ if individual households are not providing their own. We need more good soil, not landfill”.

Residents were also asked to make suggestions as to how the system could be improved, and between 10-22 per cent of respondents suggested improvements could be made by investigating the size and collection frequency of the red and yellow bins, odour management and sourcing more robust compostable caddy liners.

In a statement, council said many of these issues highlighted by residents are being addressed on an ongoing basis rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. To date, more than 17 per cent of residents have already opted for a larger 360-litre recycling bin and approximately half of the 4 per cent of households who requested additional capacity have been provided with more room following a needs assessment. Alternative compostable bags have been sourced with many residents now reporting improvements in the strength and durability of the bags.

City of Melville Mayor Russell Aubrey said that with mounting global pressures to better manage waste services our surveyed community has expressed a desire to move to an improved, more sustainable waste management model.

“The results show the FOGO three-bin trial by and large has been a fantastic success for everyone involved, noting there are some areas for improvement,” he said.

There is also strong support from those not in the trial areas, with 74 per cent of all residents who took part in a survey across all five SMRC member councils expressing a desire for a third bin for FOGO waste.

Further analysis and reporting will continue over the coming months to help formulate the decision-making process for participating councils.