EPA VIC consider application for $12M waste to energy facility

Resource Resolution Pty Ltd has applied to establish a $12 million commercial food waste processing facility which has the capability of producing biogas for energy.

The proposed facility would process 30,000 tonnes of liquid food waste a year and produce 2.4 megawatts of power.

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Resource Resolution also aims to recover organic matter for use as animal feed or to generate renewable energy with an anaerobic digestion facility.

Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Victoria received the works approval for the site, planned to be located at 19 Winter Road, Girgarre.

Resource Resolution has proposed to use the Biogass Renewables AD system, which is currently used in Perth, WA. It is estimated that the bioenergy operation will process 23,382 tonnes of dairy, 3,475 tonnes of food products, 2,421 tonnes of fruit and vegetables and 722 tonnes of supermarket and grocery waste.

EPA Victoria’s assessment of the application will consider best practice technology, energy efficiency, greenhouse gas emissions and waste composition. It will also assess any potential risk to human health and the environment, including from emissions to air, noise, disposal of digestate, the waste water treatment system and operation contingencies.

An application for an amendment to the current planning permit is currently under assessment by Campaspe Shire Council.

Works approvals are required for industrial and waste management activities that have the potential for significant environmental impact.

ECU to phase out single-use plastics

Edith Cowan University (ECU) will begin phasing out single-use plastic water bottles and straws across all of its campuses from the start of semester two.

It follows initiatives on the east coast from the Universities of Canberra, Melbourne, Sunshine Coast and Monash University.

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ECU said it believes it is the first Western Australian University to limit the use of plastic water bottles on campus.

The phase out will be done as part of a staged approach to restrict single-use plastic water bottles. Beginning with around 40 events it holds on its campuses, ECU will instead provide water refill stations.

The university is also investigating solutions including an increase to the number of water fountains on campus, offering free or discounted multi-use water bottles on campus and discussing with commercial tenants for alternatives to single-use bottles.

ECU Vice-Chancellor Professor Steve Chapman said it was a big step forward for the University.

“With around 30,000 students and 1800 staff, we can make a huge difference by taking this first step to limit single-use plastic water bottles at our campus events,” Professor Chapman said.

“It’s also financially responsible. More than 90 per cent of the cost of bottled water can be traced back to the bottle, lid and label.

“This is not a ban. This is about education and providing alternatives. By offering high quality, convenient options to students, staff and visitors, we are confident we can reduce the demand for single-use plastic water bottles on our campuses.

New app links cafes and charities to fight food waste

A smartphone app that links food businesses with charities is aiming to reduce food waste by donating excess food.

Researchers from Edith Cowan University (ECU) have trialled the ReFood app in Perth council City of Swan to connect local restaurants and cafes with community not-for-profit organisations that redistribute excess food to those in need.

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The app fills a gap in the market for smaller businesses to give away food and divert it from landfill.

The app was developed by ECU PhD candidate Ele Stojanoska thanks to a $12,798 grant from the Waste Authority WA’s Community Grants scheme.

“The main aim of the ReFood app is to both reduce the amount of food waste going into landfill and also making it much easier for small businesses to link up with not-for-profits to share food,” Ms Stojanoska said.

“The app is very simple to use. All a business has to do is download the app, then when they have excess food they can enter it into the app along with a time that it can be collected. Then a not-for-profit organisation can see what’s available and if the food is suitable for their needs, come and collect it.

“It even shows what food has been donated so businesses can have a record of what they have given away.”

Ms Stojanoska said she was currently analysing data collecting in the pilot of the app to continue the rollout across Perth.

Waste Authority WA Acting Chair Jenny Bloom said the ReFood app would help to achieve the target of diverting 65 per cent of municipal solid waste from landfill by 2020.

“Initiatives like the ReFood app can help increase awareness and education around our understanding of the benefits of waste avoidance, reuse and recycling,” she said.

Owner of the Crooked Spire Coffee House café Mike Matich said the best thing about the app was how easy it was to use.

“No one likes the idea of food being thrown away, so when I heard about the ReFood app and how it could help us link up with local not-for profits I was stoked to take part,” he said.

“It’s super easy to use, all I have to do is enter what type of excess food I have, how much I have and what time it can be collected then wait for it to be picked up.”

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.

City of Swan saves $400,000 on recycling

The City of Swan has announced it is on course to save up to $400,000 after implementing a new recycling strategy.

Bullsbrook Recycling Centre (BRC) was opened by the council to reduce illegal dumping and make recycling more accessible.

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After opening in July of 2017, the BRC has demonstrated exceptional savings according to the City of Swan.

The latest figures have shown that illegal dumping has been reduced by nine per cent and has provided $205,747 in savings to date, with an estimate to save $400,000 annually. The city also reported that it is estimated to save 2281 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.

It also saves money by avoiding waste levies, based on the amount of waste that would normally end up in landfill. The City of Swan said the landfill levy savings in the first eight months of operation amounted to $196,592.

City of Swan Mayor David Lucas said the Centre offers significant cost savings and makes a major contribution towards protecting the environment.

“The BRC has performed exceptionally well since it opened,” he said.

“I’m delighted that we’re reaping the rewards of our investment. Cost savings and revenue generated will be reinvested to improve services across the city.”

Recyclable goods can be dropped off at the center for free, which the City of Swan says reduces the need for further investment in additional staff and equipment.

Additional revenue is earned from disposal charges on specific items like tyres and the resale of scrap metal.

Pearce Ward Councillor Kevin Bailey said the recycling strategy encourages active participation from residents.

City of Swan recognised for waste management

The City of Swan in WA has been recognised for its efficient delivery of waste management and other essential services.

A major survey of local governments has found the City of Swan’s waste management cost per resident was less than the WA and national average.

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Residents living in the area were also fond to dump 14 per cent less rubbish than the average council in WA.

Data was collected from 133 participating councils throughout Australia and New Zealand.

The results were published in the Australasian LG Performance Excellence Program 2017 by PwC Australia and Local Government Professionals NSW.

The survey found the cost per tonne of actual waste collected per 10,000 residents $265, nearly 32% below the average rate of $389.

The City of Swan has been identifying ways in which it can reduce waste, and has diverted more than 180 mattresses from landfill, and operates its own waste collection service using shared resources, labour and plant between the various waste services.

City of Swan Mayor David Lucas said he is proud of the city’s performance.

“Waste management has become a global issue and I’m really pleased with how the city performed in this major survey,” he said.

“We will continue our efforts to improve this service and encourage responsible waste management and recycling throughout the city.”

Swan Valley/Gidgegannup Ward Councillor Rod Henderson congratulated residents on their role in contributing to the city’s performance in the survey.

“The city collected less waste compared to other WA councils and credit must go to residents for their role in achieving this.”

See-through bins rolled out in Perth

Clear bins are being rolled out across Perth suburbs to spark a conversation about how much waste is thrown out in Australia.

20 see-through bins will be rolled out and replace the traditional green rubbish and recycling bin as part of the eight-week Face Your Waste campaign.

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The campaign aims to bring waste to the forefront instead of hiding it away and encourage residents to think about what they’re throwing out.

The bins will be moving to a new location every month to encourage as many people to start the discussion on reducing waste.

The move won’t be a permanent change, with the campaign creators hoping to inform residents about waste reduction.

“The idea behind the clear bins is so people can’t ignore what is going in their bin,” Mindarie Regional Council Chief Executive Officer Gunther Hoppe told Communitynews.

“We want people to look at how they can not generate the waste in the first place or re-use or re-purpose the materials they are recycling,” Mr Hoppe said.

“We want to create awareness that what we generate does cause a problem. For so long recycling has been the answer to waste and it’s great rather than seeing waste going into landfill.

“Now we want people to look at their recycling bin and think how can we reduce what’s in there,” he said.

For more information, visit: https://faceyourwaste.com/

WA City of Cockburn accept waste supply tender

The City of Cockburn has accepted a tender to supply its general waste to HZI consortium’s waste to energy (WtE) plant for the next 20 years.

The deal will begin from 2021 and will be processed at a proposed facility WtE in East Rockingham, WA.

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Under the agreement, waste will be delivered from kerbside collection to the plant at an estimated cost of $3.47 million for the first year.

This represents a considerable cost saving on the current arrangements for waste disposal, according to the City of Cockburn.

The Eastern Metropolitan Regional Council has accepted the consortium as the preferred waste disposal tenderer.

Moving grate combustion technology is planned to convert energy from general waste and turn it into electricity, while also producing ash by-products that could potentially be used in road construction.

City of Cockburn Waste Manager Lyall Davieson said the waste supply agreement represented significant savings for ratepayers and would divert greater volumes of waste from landfill.

“Waste disposed at landfill attracts an ever-increasing state government landfill levy, which is currently $65 per tonne, but this levy does not apply to WtE,” Mr Davieson said.

“The state government has determined that no further landfills will be approved on the Swan Coastal Plain,” he said.

“When existing landfills reach capacity, the city, along with many other metropolitan local governments, will have to transport its general waste to regional or inland rural areas, a costly proposition that would also increase the city’s transport carbon emissions.

“The WtE process is environmentally favourable to landfill in that valuable materials are converted for energy production. There is also potential for the city to purchase the electricity produced by processing the waste.”

Mr Davieson said the initiative will build on the weekly recycling and green waste services provided by the city.

“Sending the city’s waste to the New Energy WtE facility will help the city reach an overall waste diversion rate from landfill of 85 per cent for all its household waste streams, well above the Waste Authority’s target,” Mr Davieson said.

HZI consortium sign 20-year waste to energy supply deal

A Hitachi Zosen Inova (HZI) led consortium has signed a 20-year agreement with the Eastern Metropolitan Regional Council (EMRC) for the supply of waste to the East Rockingham Recovery Facility.

Approximately 330,000 tonnes of waste are converted into renewable energy at the East Rockingham Resource Recovery Facility (RRF), producing 28 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 36,000 homes.

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HZI’s partners in the consortium include the New Energy Corporation and Tribe Infrastructure Group.

The project will set a benchmark in the Perth market for waste to energy projects in terms of flexibility and value and represents a $400 million private sector investment in the metro area.

Under the agreement, the EMRC’s participating councils will supply residual waste to the RRF and will only pay for capacity they use. This means councils that have successfully implemented landfill waste reduction schemes will receive no penalties.

This system favours a service provider model that supports higher order utilisation or recovery of waste resources instead of a take-or-pay structure which can lead to financial penalties if committed volumes are not met.

HZI will act as the technology provider, engineering and construction contractor and will execute long term operations and maintenance contract for the project.

The RRF will divert 95 per cent of the waste it receives from EMRC away from landfill.

New Energy Chairman Enzo Gullotti said he supports waste minimisation and composting should councils choose to do that.

“It’s an important part of our social licence to operate our RRF over the long term. We’ll deliver the EMRC the best possible environmental outcome for residual waste streams and certainty of price over the period of the contract. This presents a real opportunity to divert waste from landfill and deliver value for money to the ratepayers of the EMRC councils,” Mr Gullotti said.

“The EMRC should be commended for showing leadership in diverting waste from landfill. This signing represents the delivery of a strategic commitment the EMRC undertook back in 2000 in this regard. It’s not only a win for the environment but also for the member council ratepayers who are now insulated from the ever-increasing cost of landfilling, due at least in part to the state’s rising landfill levy,” he said.

The consortium currently working through the pre-engineering and update of the site environmental approval. The project is scheduled to begin construction in Q3 2018.