Food scraps can be dropped off at the Environment Centre to be processed by the new machine, nicknamed The Hungry Composter. The project aims to support members of the community who feel as if they don’t have the time, space or knowledge to compost at home.
The Hungry Composter is able to process 100 litres of mixed waste a day, including paper, cardboard, food scraps and green waste. It is solar power, odourless, continuous-feed system that processes food scraps into ready-to-use compost within 10-14 days.
Community members need to register with the Environment Centre before disposing of their waste for composting.
ACT Government Sustainability Programs Senior Manager, Ros Malouf said it was a fantastic example of a community group working with the ACT government to implement a project which will have significant benefits for both residents and the environment.
“In addition to generating nutrient rich soil, composting is a great way to reduce emissions. Organic material sent to landfill produces methane, a greenhouse gas that is approximately 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide.”
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.
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.
The $65 million South Eastern Organics Processing Facility will be the most advanced of its type in Victoria and will produce approximately 50,000 tonnes of high grade compost each year.
The compost will be made from processed household garden and food waste from council kerbside green waste collections in Melbourne’s south-east, which will then be used on local parks and gardens.
Food and green waste makes up an estimated 42 per cent of landfill for Australia’s municipal and commercial waste streams.
The Melbourne councils include Bayside, Cardinia, Casey, Frankston, Glen Eira, Greater Dandenong, Kingston and Monash.
Sacyr expects the fully-enclosed, in-vessel aerobic composting and maturation plant will be operational by mid-2019. It will aim to operate for 15 years, with a potential five-year extension.
The new facility will have an annual processing capacity of 120,000 tonnes of waste each year, the equivalent of 12,000 truckloads of waste. It is expected to abate more than 65,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions annually. This would cut the greenhouse gas emissions from landfill by 85 per cent if it were to be landfilled, which is equivalent to taking 13,900 cars off the road.
Sacyr Group has built 48 plants around the world and handles more than three million tonnes of waste each year. It currently operates in Australia through its subsidiary, Sacyr Water, which has built and operates the Binningup desalination plant.
The technology used in the plant has been developed over two decades, ensures plant storage reservoirs are completely closed, and uses efficient and reliable deodorisation systems.
Federal Government Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg said converting waste to compost can play a part in Australia’s long-term waste solutions.
“This facility alone, which will be the most advanced of its type in Victoria, can process around 12,000 truckloads of waste per year,” Mr Frydenberg said.
“It means food and organic waste produced by south east Melbourne residents will not end up in landfill and will instead produce high-grade compost for our gardens and parks.”
CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth said the corporation is looking across the economy to identify finance opportunities to reduce Australia’s emissions.
“We’re pleased to be making our first project investment to help councils and communities tackle emissions from their organic waste,” he said.
“When organic waste such as food and green waste ends up in landfill it breaks down and produces methane. With this technology, councils can avoid those emissions by turning their organic waste into reusable compost, while also reducing our unsustainable reliance on landfill as a waste disposal option.
“We strongly endorse the principle of avoiding and reducing waste at the source. Our finance is about effectively manage the remaining waste, so that it doesn’t end up as landfill and we make a meaningful difference to our greenhouse gas emissions,” Mr Learmonth said.
CEFC Bioenergy Sector lead Henry Anning said the CEFC finance model for the Melbourne project was an industry first, providing councils with access to a project financing structure that has rarely been leveraged across local government.
“Australia’s waste sector is facing enormous challenges, because of the growing amount of waste we produce as well as increasing community concerns about the way we handle that waste. This new Melbourne facility provides us with a practical and proven way to turn organic waste into a reusable commodity at the same time as avoiding harmful emissions,” Mr Anning said.
“We expect to see more councils and communities consider innovative ways to manage all forms of waste. This innovative project finance model offers opportunities for other groups of councils considering investing in substantial waste management infrastructure to reduce landfill waste.”
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.”
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.
The Tasmanian Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) is considering a proposal for an organics processing facility at Mowbray in Launceston.
The proposal by Launceston City Council is to produce up to 15,000 tonnes of compost product a year, using Forced Aerated Floor (FAF) technology to aerate the compost piles and reduce the potential odours.
No representations were received in relation to the permit application, and a 40-day public consultation period was open in July 2017.
The Chair of the Tasmanian EPA Board Warren Jones said that the board concluded the proposed development could be managed in an environmentally sustainable and acceptable manner, with certain conditions.
“Various environmental issues were considered by the Board in its assessment, particularly air emissions,” Mr Jones said.
“Conditions have been imposed to ensure appropriate management practices are in place during operation of the organics processing facility to reduce the risk of impact to surrounding sensitive receptors from odour emissions,” he said.