Veolia hosts MRF education day

Veolia opened the doors of its Echuca materials recovery facility (MRF) to local councils and commercial businesses on 11 September, to educate them on MRF operations and processing.

Veolia Commercial Services General Manager Daniel Paone said educating customers and the wider community was an important part of Veolia’s approach to materials recovery.

“Veolia owns and operates the MRF in Echuca, which has a design capacity of approximately 20,000 tonnes per annum. The MRF processes mixed recyclables that are collected throughout the region,” Mr Paone said.

“By working with our customers, we can reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfill and avoid contamination risk, which not only has a negative impact on the environment, but puts the safety of our people at risk. The more our customers and the community understand how the facility works, the more effectively we can serve the community and our customers.”

Veolia Sustainability Coordinator Francesca Stafford said the open day highlighted a range of issues caused by contamination including safety risks for MRF employees, a reduction in commodity recyclability and an increase in sorting and disposal costs.

“Hosting an industry open day like this one is an essential component of our wider engagement strategy,” Ms Stafford said.

“Education and awareness is fundamental to sustainability, and allowing our clients to see the issues first hand will help them drive positive change within their local communities.”

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Australasian Waste & Recycling Expo announces speakers

The Australasian Waste & Recycling Expo has announced its upcoming 2019 Speaker Series, including a new stage addition.

Over the last 10 years AWRE has built a reputation for attracting some of the finest speakers from Australia and overseas to its two-day event, featuring leading minds from not only the waste and recycling industry, but all levels of Australian government and Top 200 ASX listed companies.

It appears 2019 will be no different, with speakers from the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, the Waste Contractors and Recyclers Association of NSW, Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation, Australian Battery Recycling Initiative and Veolia Australia & NZ.

Headlining the Industry Forum, presented in partnership with the Department of Industry, Planning and Environment, will be a panel discussion on ‘The Future is Recycling,’ which will deep dive into the core issues, insights and opportunities currently facing the waste and recycling sector.

Panellists include Veolia Australia & NZ General Manager Resource Recovery NSW Christine Hodgkiss, Renew Chief Operating Officer of IQ Renew Graham Knowles, SUEZ Australia & NZ State General Manager NSW Tony Grebenshikoff and Waste Contractors and Recyclers Association NSW Executive Director Tony Khoury.

According to an AWRE statement, the event will also shine a spotlight on the national issue of food waste, with the addition of the new Food Waste Stage.

“From sustainable package solutions, updates on the national food waste strategy to presentations from true food waste warriors, AWRE is driving the conversation on food sustainability,” the statement reads.

“Key speakers taking to the Food Waste Stage include industry experts from Coles, Fight Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre, Australian Institute of Packaging, Yume Food Australia and many more.”

AWRE 2019 will take place on the 30th and 31st October at the ICC Sydney in Darling Harbour.

Register for free online here.

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Finlay: woodchips to energy

Veolia’s recent moves in the waste-to-energy market has seen them team up with specialist equipment supplier Finlay.

Populations are growing and, as a result, so too is waste generation. Conversely, landfill capacity is declining as urban areas become increasingly dense.

While the waste hierarchy privileges avoidance, reuse and recycling, interest in waste-to-energy as a solution for material that falls through the cracks is growing. Capturing this potential was the driving force behind Veolia’s decision to open a new facility in Horsley Park, New South Wales.

According to site manager Stephen Bernhart, the new resource recovery facility handles wood waste material, which it then processes into a wood chip product.

“After running multiple equipment trials in 2018, we have recently kicked into operation,” Stephen says.

He adds that the wood chip product will be provided to a customer where it will be used as a substitute for coal within a cement kiln.

Veolia’s facility processes a significant amount of wood waste, such as pallets, offcuts and plywood which need to be shredded, and has the capacity to receive 430,000 tonnes of general solid non-putrescible waste per year.

“We have detailed specifications we need to meet to supply our waste-to-energy customer, and a big part of that is ensuring we achieved a material size sub 50 millimetres,” he says.

“It’s quite a challenging task because it’s such a small grade, so we decided to invite multiple suppliers out to the site to run tests and demonstrate their equipment.”

Stephen says Finlay Screening, Crushing and Recycling Systems, a supplier of screening and processing equipment for the waste and recycling industry, stood out during the trials.

“Finlay were heads and shoulders above the rest in demonstrating not just what their equipment could achieve, but how it could achieve it consistently,” he explains.   

Finlay initially trialed a medium speed shredder, however, the resulting material didn’t quite meet specifications. Three weeks later they were back, with a Terex Finlay 693+ Super Track Screening Plant that, according to Stephen, worked extremely well.

“During the second trial there was a large lump of steel which had passed through the primary shredder into the secondary shredder,” Stephen says.

“The TDSV20 shredder shut down as intended, and Finlay representatives opened it up to remove the steel. The machine was back up and running in approximately three minutes – I was very impressed with how the equipment handled it.”

According to Stephen, Finlay also demonstrated how the shredding equipment could maintain the required tonnage throughput in spite of the small material specifications.

In addition to the screening plant, Stephen purchased a Terex Finlay TDS 820 Slow Speed Shredder and a Terex Finlay TDS V20 Mid Speed Shredder and Finlay 5032HD wheeled conveyor.

Built to process bulky, solid waste, the TDS 820 has a two-metre shaft manufactured with a fully welded tooth configuration. Stephen explains that the length allows for significant throughput and size reduction of material.

“The machine’s independent gearboxes enable each shaft to be run separately, which reduces material wrappage and facilitates viable shredding,” he adds.

The Terex Mid Speed Shredder has a twin-shaft, allowing it to perform both primary and secondary shredding. The TDS V20 also has the ability to self-protect against uncrushable material like steel, making it well suited to shredding waste wood materials.

“We have had no trouble meeting specifications after procuring the equipment, all three machines have been running very well.”

According to Stephen, there has been very little down time at the Horsley Park facility.

“There were one or two minor teething issues initially, but Finlay were able to handle them quickly and without fuss,” he says.

Finlay representatives also assisted on-site equipment training when the facility was commissioned.

“They are very forthcoming with their information and we were able to get local contractors trained up on how to run and maintain the shredders and screening plant as well,” he says.

“We are at a really exciting stage in our capability with an eye for expansion, so it’s crucial to have equipment that’s both reliable and efficient.”

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Premier’s Sustainability Awards finalists announced

Sustainability Victoria has announced finalists for the 2019 Premier’s Sustainability Awards, after a record number of entries.

The awards celebrate sustainability in 11 categories, as demonstrated by educational institutions, businesses in every sector, health organisations, government and community groups.

Sustainability Victoria Interim CEO Carl Muller has congratulated finalists, describing the 2019 entrants as exceptional.

“Not only is the quality impressive, but we’ve had the largest number of entries in the program’s 17 year history,” Mr Muller said.

“As sustainability becomes increasingly important for communities, businesses, industries and governments, the Victorian Premier’s Sustainability Awards has never been more significant to share learnings and inspire us all.”

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews will personally select two winners for the Premier’s Regional Recognition Award and the Premier’s Recognition Award, to be presented at a ceremony on 10 October in Melbourne.

Waste finalists include:

Education category: Ballarat Tech School for their Precious Plastic Program, which empowers students, other schools and businesses in the battle against plastic waste, encouraging them to consider the long-term effects of waste on our environment and to use circular economy thinking.

Large Business category: Veolia for their Waste Pioneers Program, which teaches school students about waste and recycling in an interactive way, covering waste hierarchy and circular economy principals, environmental stewardship and community leadership.

Innovative Products or Services category: Hotel to Hands by Soap Aid, which collects discarded soap from hotel and travel industry partners, then sorts, cleans, and reprocesses it into fresh, hygienic soap bars. In 2018, Soap Aid distributed over 301,440 bars of soap to communities without adequate sanitation in Cambodia, Zambia, Ghana, Uganda and the Philippines, as well as remote Australian Indigenous communities.

Community, Environmental Justice and Innovative Products or Services categories: Enable Social Enterprises, whose mission is to break unemployment cycles by enabling disadvantaged jobseekers to connect with community and environment, improving their prospects of participating in gainful employment through supportive work and learning programs. In 2018, their IT Recycling business created 10 employment pathways while diverting 133,046 kilograms of e-waste from landfill.

Small and Medium Enterprises category: Smart Recycling, which has been operating on a 35-acre former landfill site in Dandenong South for the past 22 years, recycling roughly one million tonnes of waste. It has developed a Smart Pallets App, used by their fleet of collectors to locate timber pallets from building sites all over Victoria, ensuring that pallets are collected efficiently, repaired effectively and returned for re-use.

Small and Medium Enterprises category: retub, a modern reusable take-away food container that reduces waste in up to three different ways and uses a unique, built-in container exchange program, Reswap. It endeavours to eliminate single-use take-away food-containers through product and process design with a focus on supply chain and marketing.

Health category: Drukshini Dissanayake, for her role as Associate Nurse Unit Manager and leader of the Green Team at the Alfred Hospital, where she established a successful program saving 45-60 kilograms of pure aluminium from disposal into landfill via free collection bins and hospital pick-ups in a dedicated waste recycling program.

Melbourne Health, for tackling food waste by having surplus patient meals collected daily by OzHarvest, who deliver them to community food hub Northpoint Centre for processing and distribution, helping community members in need. Since February 2018, over 4000 meals per month have been redistributed, removing nine tonnes of food from landfill and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 17 tonnes CO2 per year.

Western Health for its Equipment Reissue Program for Hardship, which re-homes potentially useful second-hand pieces of allied healthcare equipment, such as crutches and shower chairs, to patients who would have struggled to obtain them otherwise.

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Sustainability allies: Veolia

Waste education, awareness and engagement are taking centre stage at major sporting events, as Veolia takes its relationships with stakeholders to new heights.

As a nation devoted to sport, the Australian sporting events industry showcases some of the world’s best athletes.

Tapping into this enthusiasm, forward thinking waste management organisations are using sport as a platform to demonstrate leading recycling practices and promote sustainable behaviours.

The scale, location and complexity of events means developing and implementing an appropriate waste management strategy can take months of meticulous coordination between stakeholders to ensure seamless operations on the big day.

Added to this, there are growing expectations around responsible waste management at events. It’s no wonder organisers increasingly rely on the expertise of forward thinking operators.

Companies such as Veolia are not only tasked with delivering a solution for general waste management, recycling and landfill diversion, but also providing value-added services like waste education and increased source segregation.

DRIVING CHANGE

For more than 20 years, Veolia has been working closely with event partners such as Incognitus to implement effective sustainable solutions. One aspect of this is incorporating waste reduction and recycling programs to improve diversion at major sporting events around the nation, such as the Melbourne Cup Carnival and the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix.

Veolia and Incognitus have been tackling issues like waste contamination and improved source segregation head on. These include introducing a range of proactive measures to increase awareness among event attendees, organisers and employees. However, the success of this approach is heavily reliant on its customer’s full support and shared vision for sustainability.

Anthony Roderick, Veolia Group General Manager – Victoria & Tasmania, says that one of Veolia’s strengths in the events space is its ability to build long-term partnerships with customers, allowing for a dynamic and flexible approach.

“Trust and transparency provide us with the ability to challenge each other for continuous improvement as we grow together,” Anthony says.

“We’re conscious that our customers are motivated by a range of operational factors, but it all boils down to value and wanting to partner with a ‘safe pair of hands’ that can facilitate effective and compliant waste disposal.”

SPORTING A NEW APPROACH

Francesca Stafford, Veolia Sustainability Coordinator, has a long-term passion for sport and its ability to bring people together and inspire collective outcomes.

“Sporting events are a platform for people to come together at any point in time and if we can capture that passion and sense of community, and communicate positive messaging that goes beyond the event, I think that is really important,” Francesca says.

“We work with businesses to help them understand the importance of best-practice recycling methods and how they can use these to reduce the environmental footprint of their operations.”

Francesca adds that by leveraging their enthusiasm, energy and business strategy to promote change, Veolia develops a long-term approach to sustainability and it grows from there.

THE RACE THAT STOPS THE NATION

The 2018 Melbourne Cup Carnival was a great example of stakeholders working together towards a common goal. As South-East Asian countries were tightening contamination tolerances around the same time, Veolia was spurred into action.

“One of the challenges is that people have lost faith in the industry and I think tackling this is about sharing a story that shows people that if they do engage in this correctly, there will be real outcomes and an impact,” Francesca says.

Veolia and Incognitus developed a collaborative approach working with James Reid, Executive General Manager Operations. Over six weeks, a specialised events team, equipment and source separation systems were deployed onsite at Flemington Racecourse.

Nine drivers, two-full time operations staff and 20 “Sustainability Champions” tasked with facilitating education sessions ensured maximum diversion was achieved for the 800 tonnes of waste generated at the event.

Francesca says extensive efforts were placed on educating cleaning and kitchen staff at the event to recycle food waste using aerobic digesters provided by ORCA, glass crushers by Bottle Cycler, as well as correctly sorting general and cardboard waste streams.

Over a four-day period, Veolia’s team of Sustainability Champions were able to build on staff knowledge and provide feedback on recovery figures from the previous day and any issues encountered. Francesca says immediate feedback was important to instilling behavioural change.

At the conclusion of the event, a comprehensive and instructive waste management report was prepared by Veolia, which provided an analysis of the success of the program and key learnings.

James says installing glass crushers onsite significantly reduced transport costs, particularly as Flemington has seen an increase in glass use with the site serving and using more premium beverages.

Food waste is also recycled on site using ORCA units, which break food down over a 24-hour period. The residual waste water is captured and used to produce biogas.

A VEHICLE FOR CHANGE

Earlier this year, Veolia and EventCorp commenced a five-year partnership with the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix.

Francesca says the timing of this event allowed Veolia to apply key learnings from its most recent Melbourne Cup Carnival service delivery.

“To maximise recycling at the Grand Prix, it was really important to offer patrons the ability to segregate their waste front-of-house.”

Veolia’s experience with other large-scale clients in the retail and commercial property sectors allowed it to educate retail, cleaning and kitchen staff on best source separation practice.

She says that quite often, Veolia is working with staff where English is not their first language.

“This, coupled with the transient nature of the event industry means we need to ensure our education strategy overcomes these barriers effectively. This was achieved by making sure that staff were empowered to feel as though they were part of the solution.

“We explain what happens to each waste stream and by equipping them with that information and supporting it with adequate signage, we can modify behaviour,” Francesca states.

Anthony says that if consumers go to the right efforts to separate the material, the onus is then on the recycling company to close the loop.

From an operational perspective, Anthony says that when it comes to waste collection, best practice is eliminating as much waste as possible and then driving collections with lean operations that minimise labour. He hopes to leverage Veolia’s global experience and advance Australia’s processes in areas such as waste to energy, water reuse and plastics recycling and remanufacturing.

LESSONS FROM THE FIELD

Craig Lovett, Principal/Partner at Incognitus, says understanding the infrastructure in the surrounding environment and tailoring a service around that is crucial.

“I think the answer is total control of waste streams, engineering the outcome right from the outset and working out what ends up inside the venues front-of-house,” Craig says.

He recalls planning for the Sydney Olympic Games of which Veolia was a contractor. Despite being almost 20 years ago, the learnings gave recognition to the value of sustainable waste practices.

Craig says that basic questions were asked such as the amount of newspapers arriving on site and how products were being delivered to the kitchen. PET was the only accepted front-of-house single-use packaging, with Styrofoam boxes banned from the kitchens of the Olympic venues and replaced with cardboard. Two bins were established front of house with signage stating PET cups, cans and food packaging were recyclable.

He says that the key to a successful collaboration with waste contractors is understanding each other’s skillset, capabilities and infrastructure. Engaging all stakeholders with simple messaging, including caterers, is also crucial.

“We’ve had a 23-year history of working with Veolia and although not exclusively, most times we did because they were prepared to be collaborative.”

Anthony agrees sport plays a role in inspiring the community to take ownership of their waste.

“Melbourne is synonymous with hosting world-class events. If we’re fortunate enough to be in a position to service these clients we have a responsibility to help them reduce their environmental impact and ensure the events are remembered for the right reasons,” he says.

He notes that Veolia is more than just a waste management company – it’s a global resourcing company with sustainability capabilities across municipal and hazardous waste, water and energy.

“We’re creating solutions that allow us to lead in that space. We tend to narrowly focus on waste and recycling [as an industry], but the globe demands something bigger and Veolia is in a position to change that.

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Veolia takes over Greater Shepparton waste services

Veolia Environmental Services will undertake Greater Shepparton kerbside waste collections, after council agreed the current contractor, Wheelie Waste, could novate their contract.

According to Greater Shepparton City Council Infrastructure Director Phil Hoare, Veolia will take over all of Wheelie Waste’s Shepparton operations including its commercial transfer station and waste management fleet.

“Residents can be assured it is business as usual and there will be no disruptions to kerbside bin collections,” Mr Hoare said.

“Veolia will be picking up the red, yellow and green lid bins as usual – the only change residents will notice is the branding on the trucks.”

Mr Hoare said all current local Wheelie Waste employees will transfer to Veolia.

Veolia Group General Manager for Victoria Anthony Roderick said the decision allowed Veolia to expand their operations in the Greater Shepparton region.

“This is an exciting opportunity for Veolia as we build capability in northern Victoria and add further value to customers through fleet expansion and route optimisation,” Mr Roderick said.

“Planned and ongoing services, including the kerbside collection services will continue as normal.”

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Veolia signs $170 million NZ contract

Veolia has signed a $17 million per year contract to operate and maintain council-owned water services company Wellington Water’s four wastewater treatment plants.

Wellington Water’s Chief Executive Colin Crampton said the 10-year contract marked the start of a new and exciting focus for Wellington’s wastewater.

“We need to start thinking of wastewater treatment by-products as a resource, and Veolia is a leading company in this area,” Mr Crampton said.

“Veolia already has a long history of involvement in the region, having operated Wellington City’s Moa Point and Western wastewater treatment plants since 2004.”

Mr Crampton said progressively, all four treatment plants will be brought under one contract.

“This will not only provide better value for the region, but also increase opportunities for improved services in the future,” he says.

Veolia General Manager New Zealand Alexandre Lagny said the contract would allow Veolia to deliver better environmental outcomes for the Wellington region.

“Veolia operates approximately 3000 wastewater treatment plants globally and we look forward to bringing our international expertise to Wellington,” Mr Lagny said.

“Wastewater treatment is actually the area where the greatest technological innovation is taking place when it comes to three waters management.”

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Hazardous waste progress: Veolia’s innovations

Veolia’s significant market position in the hazardous waste disposal sector has increased with new contract wins and technical advancement.

Read moreHazardous waste progress: Veolia’s innovations

Veolia and Nestlé partner to tackle plastic waste

Veolia and Nestlé have announced a partnership to work on waste collection and sorting, and recycling plastic material with an emphasis on flexible plastic packaging.

Projects will focus on eleven priority countries across Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe.

The collaboration will explore technologies to establish viable models of recycling in different countries, including chemical recycling technologies like pyrolysis which is capable of producing virgin quality plastic.

These potential technologies will help Nestlé increase the recycled content of its bottled water packaging to 35 per cent and its overall product packaging to 15 per cent by 2025.

Nestlé Executive Vice President, Head of Operations Magdi Batato said plastic waste is a challenge that requires an ecosystem of solutions that work simultaneously.

“This partnership is another specific step to accelerate our efforts in addressing the critical issue of plastic waste.

“Leveraging on Veolia’s technology and expertise, we will start with pilot projects in multiple countries with the intention of scaling these up globally,” he said.

In late 2018 Nestlé committed to making 100 per cent of its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025.

Veolia Senior Executive Vice-President for Development, Innovation and Markets Laurent Auguste said the company welcomed the partnership as part of Veolia’s quest for a more circular economy of plastics.

“Our expertise in resource recovery and recycling has positioned us to tackle this issue with global brands and other value-chain actors across all continents.

“We believe it is time to move towards more recycling of materials, and we are happy to help our clients be ever more inventive so they can keep improving our quality of life, whilst protecting our planet and its resources,” he said.

The partnership follows a series of initiative’s taken by both companies to accelerate action to reduce plastic waste.

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The NWRIC’s visionary policy

The National Waste and Recycling Industry Council CEO Rose Read highlights the association’s priorities in 2019 and its long-term plan for resource recovery in Australia. 

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