Compost Revolution

Food waste accounts for nearly half of average household waste and keeping this out of landfill can significantly reduce costs.

It is for these reasons that Compost Revolution has spent the past five years engaging more than 18,000 households across Australia to help scale organics recovery for councils. During this time, they say they’ve also managed to divert more than 4000 tonnes of food waste from landfill while saving councils more than $1 million in landfill costs. Designed with councils for councils, the Compost Revolution is an all-in-one education, infrastructure logistics and marketing program to scale home composting and worm farming in local government areas across Australia, helping councils achieve their waste and emissions targets while cutting costs.

Compost Revolution works with local government to tailor-make a program suited to their area. The organisation provides councils with real-time quantitative data, resident behavioural information and integrated social media platforms, allowing them to increase public education around composting. Real-time quantitative data uses industry-tested methodology to calculate the total kilograms of waste from landfills, carbon dioxide-equivalent greenhouse gas emissions avoided, waste collection cost savings and the total number of households engaged.

The organisation’s online educational platform and home deliver service allows councils to run their own Compost Revolution. Residents can complete a quick online tutorial and quiz to learn about composting, worm farming or bokashi bins, then order and pay for their kit through an integrated e-commerce platform.

Cleanaway opens high-tech recycling facility in WA

The City of Perth has welcomed what Cleanaway says is the most high-tech recycling facility in the southern hemisphere.

Cleanaway says its brand new Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) has the capacity to process the city’s entire household recyclable waste.

Up to 250,000 tonnes of recyclable material, enough to fill almost 470 Olympic-size swimming pools could be handled by the new MRF, each year, they said.

Cleanaway said its MRF is the most advanced commingled recovery system in the country, with optical sorting technology capable of separating recyclable materials including plastics, metals, paper and cardboard. The new plant plans to deliver some of the highest diversion rates in Australia – 97 percent, in comparison to average recovery rates of less than 85 percent.

Mr Reece Whitby, Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment, today joined Cleanaway CEO and Managing Director Vik Bansal to mark the official opening of the MRF in Perth’s north east.

“This multi-million-dollar facility is a major step forward in both infrastructure and technology and will take recycling in Western Australia to a whole new level of quality and purity. The Perth MRF is a significant investment for Cleanaway in line with our Footprint 2025 plan, and a demonstration of our firm commitment to creating a sustainable future for Australia,” Mr Bansal said.

Cleanaway General Manager for Western Australia, David Williamson, said the high-tech facility has an unmatched capability designed to address Perth’s recycling needs for the next decade and beyond.


  • 95% recovery of all recyclables up to 10% higher than current MRFs
  • Up to 15% more waste diverted from landfill
  • 50 tonnes throughput of recyclable materials every hour
  • 53,000 tonnes of recovered paper and cardboard every year
  • 7,500 tonnes of recovered mixed plastics every year
  • 1,000 tonnes of recovered aluminium and metals every year

“With the city’s population set to reach 3 million by 2020, Perth households and businesses will be producing more waste than ever before. Increasing the state’s capacity for resource recovery is a top priority for Cleanaway. Our new MRF will be the first facility capable of recycling household and business waste. We are opening the door to small and large scale commercial customers and making recycling easier in the workplace, giving businesses the ability to recycle in the same way as households,” Mr Williamson said.

Almost 20 years ago, Cleanaway introduced the first MRF to Western Australia. These older MRF’s have now been decommissioned and replaced by the new MRF in South Guildford.

“This significant investment by industry recognises the value of resources that are lost when recycling is not maximised,” Mr Whitby said.

“The McGowan Labor Government is committed to improving recycling performance in Western Australia.

“It’s great to see the private sector playing an active role by complementing the actions taken by the Western Australian Government and local governments to promote improved recycling, such as the Better Bins kerbside recycling program.”


Cans for recycling

ACT to get its own container deposit scheme

The ACT will soon be getting its own container deposit scheme.

City services minister Meegan Fitzharris announced on Monday $800,000 would be included in next week’s ACT budget on a feasibility study into a recycling scheme for drinks containers, Fairfax Media reported.

The scheme is set to come into effect in early 2018 and funded as part of a $23 million package with other areas not related to waste management promised before the last election.

A spokesman for the minister told Fairfax Media the shape of the scheme had not been decided but would most likely mirror that of NSW.

South Australia and the Northern Territory also have container deposit schemes, with plans for the West Australian and Queensland governments to introduce their own schemes in 2018.

The feasibility study will reportedly include due diligence on the NSW scheme to ensure it is compatible with the ACT scheme.

The scheme will be administered by a private company but monitored by the ACT government once it commences.


recycling challenge

Illawarra picks up litter, finds valuable data

More than 140,000 items of litter have been collected by volunteers over the past six months thanks to a new kit being championed by councils in the Illawarra region, on NSW’s south coast.

‘Picitup’, a program co-funded by the Australian Packaging Covenant (APC), is an initiative spearheaded by councils keen to tackle the issue of litter around local parks and beaches. It provides a free kit to people in the community to collect rubbish while also allowing local government to collect valuable data on the types of items that are collected.

The kits encourage people to pick up litter on their daily walks and record what they pick up.

Regional Waste Education Coordinator, Yvette Barrs, said the program addresses both the immediate removal of litter from our environmentally sensitive sites and the data supports a focus to stop litter at the source.

‘’We don’t want to just clean up, we want to make our efforts count and find ways to work together effectively,’’ she said.

Over the last six months, more than 900 volunteers have participated and 140,000 items have been recovered from 47 sites.

The Picitup initiative is operated by the Illawarra Joint Organisation of Councils in partnership with the Tangaroa Blue Foundation, the Australian Marine Debris Initiative and local councils.

Remondis announces new Organics Processing Facility

A new organics processing facility contracted by Remondis will be built in the town of Awaba, in Lake Macquarie, New South Wales.

The new facility, to be completed in 2018, will be located at Awaba Waste Management Facility and established in partnership with Lake Macquarie City Council.

The multi-million dollar project is supported by an organics infrastructure grant, awarded by the New South Wales Environment Protection Authority under the Waste Less Recycle More Initiative. The initiative is funded through the waste levy and is the largest waste and recycling funding program in Australia.

Mayor Kay Fraser, Lake Macquarie City Council said the project marked a groundbreaking moment for the community in managing waste and reducing food waste to landfill.

“We are proud to be partnering in this project with Remondis, which has a reputation for innovation in the waste management sector,” he said.

When complete, the facility will receive and recycle more than 40,000 tonnes of food and garden organics every year. The waste, which was once destined for landfill, will be transformed into quality compost products for market. The facility will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from household waste and create job opportunities for the local community.

“Remondis is delighted to partner with such a progressive and proactive council and to be developing the region’s recycling infrastructure for the future,” said Luke Agati, Remondis CEO.

Lake Macquarie’s residents will be the first in the Hunter to have access to a designated food and garden waste kerbside collection and processing service capable of producing high-quality compost.

Anthony Pratt named Australia’s wealthiest person

Paper, packaging and recycling magnate Anthony Pratt has been named Australia’s wealthiest person with a $12.6 billion fortune.

Pratt took the top spot from real estate property developer Harry Triguboff, having moved from second to first over a one-year period.

He last made the list of Australia’s 200 wealthiest people eight years ago, months after the death of his father Richard Pratt.

Financial Review Rich List editor John Stensholt told News Corp Pratt was reaping the rewards of expanding his business in the rust belt states of the US and investing in American manufacturing, which people thought was dying five years ago.

“Making those counter-cyclical investments sometimes is what’s the hallmark of people on the rich list … they can certainly take advantage of it when things are down and probably see things as buying opportunities,” he said. “What he has done in America is probably one of Australia’s great business success stories.

“Not many Australian businesses make a success of it overseas and he definitely has.”


NT environmental groups claim plastic bag ban has failed

Northern Territory environmental groups have claimed the State Government’s legislation banning plastic bags has failed in its intent to reduce unwanted litter.

The Northern Territory Government introduced laws prohibiting single-use plastic bags less than 35 microns in thickness in September 2011.

Heimo Schober, chief executive of the Keep Australia Beautiful Council NT, told ABC Radio Darwin that litter surveys had revealed plastic bag litter had increased in the past five years.

He said while surveys showed most plastic bag litter was found on roadsides and in car parks, they were unable to determine who was ditching them.

“Whether the bags are just being thrown on the ground or they’re being removed from bins and landfill by animals or wind, we’re not sure.

“It’s education that we need; we need people to be aware that a 15-minute use of a plastic bag that then lasts 10 years above ground, maybe thousands of years below ground, is just unacceptable.”

Glen Evans, project manager at the NT Environment Centre, told ABC News he had no reason to doubt the findings of Keep Australia Beautiful’s litter surveys.

But he said a lack of independent data both before and after the ban was implemented made it difficult to assess its efficacy.

“Personally, when I go into supermarkets I’ve definitely noticed an increase in the trend of people using reusable plastic bags,” he said.

“Initially the impact was that people didn’t want to pay [for reusable bags], but over time their behaviour has changed.”

Mr Evans agreed with Mr Schober’s stance that it was society’s attitude towards plastic bags that needed to change, rather than legislation.

“It’s not just thinking about recycling a product but looking at other ways we can minimise the amount of plastic bags that are being used.”

Lauren Moss, the Minister for Environment and Natural Resources, told ABC News a 2014 review of the ban showed it had reduced the number of bags being sold or given away by more than 10 million units.

A statement from the NT Environment Protection Authority said the review also found shoppers more frequently reused plastic bags and were “generally supportive of the ban”.

While Ms Moss did not comment on any future reviews of the ban, she admitted Queensland’s scheduled ban on plastic bags in 2018 would be a good opportunity to reflect on how it was working in the NT.

“Legislation is only one part of this. I think the community education and making sure we are really encouraging people to use those [reusable] bags more is really important,” she said.

Organic waste to energy projects on show in Sydney

Visitors to Ozwater in Sydney last week had a chance to see CST Wastewater Solutions’ latest waste to energy technologies.

Environmentally advanced technologies transform waste organic materials and wastewaters from an environmental liability into a profit centre, says CST Wastewater Solutions Managing Director, Mike Bambridge.

One of the technologies, GWE’s Rapid Transformation of Organic Residues(RAPTOR), is a liquid-state anaerobic digestion process that consists of enhanced pre-treatment followed by multi-step biological fermentation.

RAPTOR is suited to both industrial and municipal applications in Australasia, with one of its most recent installations demonstrating its potential for similar applications here, says Bambridge, whose company distributes the technology throughout Australia and New Zealand.

RAPTOR has been used successfully in several projects around the world. One example is an organic-waste-to-energy project in Connecticut USA, which moved into production late last year. It converted up to 40,000 tons of organic waste annually into environmentally green energy and dry bio fertiliser.


The plant also avoided the need to dump the waste into landfill, from where organic wastes can seep into water tables of surrounding urban and rural development.

The Quantum Biopower Plant serving the central Connecticut region incorporates its GWE RAPTOR rapid anaerobic digestion system at the heart of its process that harvests mixed organic wastes for conversion into enough biogas (primarily methane) to generate 1.2 MW of electricity and up to 5.6 tons a day of dry bio fertiliser.

Biogas extracted from the refuse replaces fossil and other fuels typically used to generate electricity for the nearby Town of Southington, CT, reducing its environmental footprint and helping the State meet its renewable energy goal of generating 27 per cent of the state’s electricity from renewable energy resources by 2020.

The Southington plant’s biogas production of more than 420,000Nft3 (about 12,000 Nm3 ) a day @62.5 per cent methane (CH4 ) is equivalent to 8000kg a day of fuel oil, or more than 3000 tons of the fossil fuel a year, projected to be worth  over $A10 million in the plant’s first decade of service.

The company responsible for the installation, GW&E (a subsidiary of Global Water Engineering Engineering) has also completed another waste-to-energy plant in Canada and is currently completing another in the Caribbean that converts food waste and a form of grass to energy.

As well as profit and environmental benefits, this technology provides consistent and reliable base load power, which is not always possible with alternative green energy technologies, such as wind and solar. Further expansion of the facility to 80,000 tonnes/yr is planned, with the additional biogas to be converted to renewable natural gas and injected into the local gas pipeline network.

GWE anaerobic technologies have been successfully deployed on diverse organic and agribusiness waste streams produced by industries including food and beverage processing, starch and fermentation industry, pulp & paper and many other type of agro-industry. GWE has successfully built and commissioned scores of biogas utilisation plants for clients worldwide over the past 15 years, while CST Wastewater Technology anaerobic digestion installations in in Australia and New Zealand include meat, dairy, fruit processing and brewery production.

The technologies are also suitable for processing biological waste produced by a wide range of specific user types, including universities, grocery chains, restaurants, food transporters, hospitals, sports arenas, large office complexes, commercial buildings and large residential complexes.

This article originally appeared on Food & Beverage news.

Tyre recycling on a growth trajectory

Australia’s largest and oldest recycler of tyres continues to expand its operations across Australia off the back of strong support from retailers, Tyrecycle says.

The company, which began in 1992, has doubled its recycling operation since partnering with Tasmanian horticulture firm Barwicks seven months ago.

Jim Fairweather, Tyrecycle CEO, says since the partnership launched last year, the percentage of tyres being recycled has grown from 30 per cent to 60 per cent.

“This equates to around 24,000 tyres per month or around 288,000 per year,” Jim says.

“In the last few months we’ve had another nine retailers come on board, taking our total in Tasmania to 25, which represents a significant win for the environment.”

Tyres previously going to landfill or stockpiled are now being processed through a purpose-built plant near Hobart.

From there, the tyres are transported to Tyrecycle’s state-of-the art recycling plant in Melbourne, where they are re-purposed for such uses as replacing fossil fuels as an alternate source of energy.

“The majority of used passenger and truck tyres are converted into tyre-derived fuel (TDF), with around 145,000 tonnes exported out of Australia every year.

“The extremely high calorific value of TDF makes it an attractive alternative fuel on an international scale.”

A recent report by the Australian Tyre Recyclers Association (ATRA) identified that end-of-life tyre by-product produces significantly lower volumes of carbon dioxide (CO2) than coal. The report stated that replacing one tonne of black coal with one tonne of TDF can save emissions of up to 1.05 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere.

To read more, see page 42 of Issue 12.