Pre-lodgement meeting for Green Distillation Technologies plant

A pre-lodgement meeting has been held with Toowoomba Regional Council to determine the planning steps for the construction of Green Distillation Technologies’ tyre recycling plant at the Wellcamp Business Estate.

The plant will be operated by Green Distillation Technologies, an Australian company that has developed a unique process to recycle old tyres into oil, carbon and steel.

The plant is expected to process 19,300 tonnes, or a mix of 658,000 car and truck tyres per year, to yield approximately eight million litres of oil, 7700 tonnes of carbon and 2000 tonnes of steel.

GDT Chief Operating Officer Trevor Bayley said that no significant obstacles were raised that cannot be easily overcome.

“We anticipate that the next step will be the lodgement of the planning development application in three to four weeks time,” he said. Mr Bayley said he anticipates construction to start by September this year.

“The plant is expected to cost $10 million to become fully operational in mid-2019 and employ 15 to 18 permanent staff and local contractors during construction.

“The initial plant will be designed to handle car and truck tyres but could be expanded at a later date to process oversize tyres such as those used for mining dump trucks, quarries, road making and agricultural equipment,” Mr Bayley said.

The tyre recycling facility will be built at the Wellcamp Business Park which is being developed by the Wagner Family, who was responsible for the construction of the new Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport. The land will be leased by Green Distillation Technologies, using their technology to recycle end-of-life tyres into oil, carbon and steel using their destructive distillation process.

The plant is expected to draw the stock of old tyres from the Toowoomba region and further west which will be expanded with the completion of the new inland rail link.

The GDT ‘destructive distillation’ process recycles each tyre into oil, carbon and steel. The oil can be used as a heating fuel, direct into stationary diesel engines or is capable of further refinement into automotive or aviation jet fuel and other oil derived products.

The oil from the recycled tyres is described as a light crude which is easy to refine and is expected to go to the Northern Oil refinery at Gladstone.

GDT said the carbon is a high-grade product that has potential for sale as carbon, in the form of carbon black. The company said it is one of the world’s most widely used ingredients in many products, ranging from tyres, plastics and paints, water filtration, printers ink, paint, electrodes, toothpaste and cosmetics.

The steel reinforcing mesh and beading of the tyre can be fully recycled or returned directly to the tyre manufacturers for reuse in new tyres.


Deakin University looks to recycling skills

University graduates trained in sustainability, resource efficiency and waste management have valuable career opportunities according to a Deakin University environmental science researcher.

The news follows the introduction of the National Sword policy in China, which has disrupted local recycling markets.

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Deakin School of Life and Environmental Sciences lecturer Dr Trevor Thornton said the skills have emerged as career-winning qualifications on modern resumes.

Dr Thornton said there had been a major shift in the perception of waste management, with a new growth industry of experts now being employed to review organisational sustainability and waste action plans.

“The person responsible for waste management at an organisation used to be the cleaner, now we have sustainability managers at the executive level of major companies,” he said.

“More organisations and businesses are recognising the value of having a concerted sustainability plan and employing people with the skills to implement it.”

Dr Thornton said candidates with sustainability skills also stood out in other roles, particularly given the current national conversation about plastic bag bans and recycling issues.

“No matter what career path someone is undertaking, the issue of waste management gives them another string to their bow,” he said.

“Sustainability is a life skill, and the benefits aren’t just environmental – they can also help a business’ bottom line and perception among consumers.”

Dr Thornton said an understanding of regulatory controls, waste auditing techniques and minimisation methods, emerging technologies, clean production, municipal waste laws, and sustainability strategies would only become more valuable as resource management and waste issues continued to exacerbate.

“Whether you’re working in a lab, a factory, a retail business, city council or on a construction site, having the skills to recognise waste management issues and introduce sustainable alternatives makes you a very valuable employee,” he said.

Survey shows support for Gov assistance towards recycling

A recent survey has shown 88 per cent of Australians support government action to assist the recycling sector.

The survey, conducted by polling firm Crosby|Textor, found groups most in favour of government action were older than 65, weekly recyclers and Coalition voters.

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It found 58 per cent of responses strongly support and 33 per cent supported specific measures to improve recycling through a national plan. Similar support was also found for government purchasing of recycled content products, compulsory changes for all packaging to be recyclable, national education to reduce kerbside recycling contamination, and compulsory recycled content in all packaging.

The survey found that 51 per cent of Queenslanders supported the introduction of waste levies in their state.

96 per cent responded they regularly participated in recycling and 50 per cent were aware of China’s restriction on Australian recyclate exports.

Australian Council of Recycling (ACOR) Chief Executive Officer Pete Shmigel said the survey shows the Australian public overwhelmingly supports leadership by governments to reboot recycling.

“Across all states, age groups, city and country, and social and political lines, Australians are resoundingly saying to Ministers: act now for domestic recycling in Australia to survive and thrive,” Mr Shmigel said.

“Australians especially support: having a first-ever national plan for recycling; governments buying more recycled content products, and; making it compulsory for the packaging industry to produce goods that are both recyclable and contain recycled content.”

Crosby|Textor Chief Executive Officer Yaron Finkelstein it is uncommon to see very high figures of overwhelming support for policy changes like what was revealed on this issue.

The nationwide survey selected 1000 people at random of representative Australians from 16 to 18 April, and was commissioned by ACOR, with an margin of error of 3.1 per cent.

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.

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Australian company will convert China’s waste plastic to fuel

Australian company, Integrated Green Energy Solutions (IGES), has announced a joint venture agreement with the Chinese Crown World Holdings (CWH) to expand its plastic-to-fuel production operations in China.

The agreement targets construction of a waste plastic-to-fuel facility in Weifang in Shandon Province of China. The facility will have an initial production capacity of 200 tonnes per day, producing 70 million litres of road-ready fuels per annum.

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The proposed site has existing infrastructure and sufficient space to expand the facility to over 600 tonnes per day as the joint venture ramps up supply and offtake activities.

The first project will be jointly funded by both parties, with IGES contributing US$12.75 million (AU$16.41 million) and CWH contributing US$12.25 million (AU$15.77 million).

Crown World Holdings is a wholly owned subsidiary of Beautiful China Holdings (BCH), committed to becoming the leading eco-environmental protection operation and service provider in China.

In 2017, the Chinese government notified the World Trade Organisation it intended to ban the import of all scrap plastics and unsorted paper by the end of 2017 as part of a broad clean-up effort against “foreign garbage.”

As of January 2018, China enforced this policy. The move has hit Europe’s recycling industry hard, as 87 per cent of Europe’s waste ended up in China.

As China has committed to cleaning up the plastic problem that has led them to ban foreign plastics, IGES is using the opportunity to help the country convert the waste plastics into road-ready diesel fuel, using its patented pyrolysis technology.

IGES’s patented plastic-to-fuel process enables the company to reduce the environmental impacts of waste plastic, that would otherwise be used in landfills or discarded into the environment.

Earlier in January, IGES had announced the purchase of an Amsterdam-based entity with a fully approved and sanctioned Environmental Approval Permit, enabling IGES to produce road-ready diesel that meets European Standard EN590 and gasoline by December 2018.

PIDA finalist use smart technology to fight War on Waste

SAGE Automation and Container Deposit Systems Australia (CDSA) have been announced as finalists in two categories of the 2018 Packaging & Processing Innovation & Design Awards (PIDA) for an innovative solution that promises to fight the War on Waste.

Their Vision Counting & Sorting System (CSS) solution was named finalist for the Design Innovation of the Year Award (Beverage Category) and the 2018 Sustainable Packaging Design Award for Machinery/Equipment.

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The Vision CSS automatically sorts, identifies and counts container types for recycling depots – all to help increase the uptake of recycling under the Australian Container Deposit Legislation (CDL) scheme.

The system is also an example of the Internet of Things (IoT) in practice; container data is sent to the cloud for a faster processing and customer refund process, as well as historical reporting and greater probity of information across multiple sites.

The system developed by SAGE and sister company digital transformation consultancy Nukon, targets to improve problems experienced by the recycling depot industry, including long wait times for customers, theft and poor count accuracy due to manual counting and sorting.

Technology alternatives to the manual counting method have also been limited; the European-made reverse vending machines on the market only accept and scan containers with intact barcodes – and one at a time. Anything slightly damaged or with no label cannot be refunded.

CDSA executive chairman Brett Duncanson said years of experience in the industry had prompted CDSA to find an alternative solution.

“We knew manual sorting was a pain point in the customer process and other technological solutions weren’t quite hitting the mark,” he said.

Automated sorting, counting, data collection and processing solutions

The award nominated ‘Vision Container Sorting System’ (CSS), the ‘Smart Wall’, the ‘Smart CAGE’ and the ‘Input Station’ are each designed for specific use from depots, through to public spaces or at public events.

The Vision CSS has five skids with 26 conveyors and a central vision system camera (by UniSA) which identifies each item and sorts them into the correct skid using a smart algorithm.

“The vision CSS accurately sorts and counts containers by type as well as providing daily and historical reports, depot performance, material amounts and linking to CCTV to deal with customer issues,” Nukon senior consultant Damian Jolly said.

It harnessed a range of technologies; the Nukon customer-facing solution used Single-Board Computers, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Encryption, while the SAGE control system solution used Beckhoff control and NORD drives.

“We’ve brought the worlds of IoT, digitisation, control systems and research together to come up with something highly novel and fit-for-purpose”, SAGE Group CEO Adrian Fahey said.

“As data becomes more pertinent across manufacturing, transport, operations and business, we see this collaborative approach as the gold standard. We’re bringing together industry and researches’ best minds to deliver the best thinking,” Fahey said.

“But it’s also about encouraging our clients to collaborate more between their IT and operational departments as this is where the biggest gains will be found.”

Greater quality for manufacturers

Combinations of the vision technology, sorting system and/or IoT data network is able to bring facilities faster and more accurate quality processes and data probity – at low implementation and operating costs.

“What’s exciting here is how the technology were using, like single-board computers and cloud-based IT infrastructure, is cheap to implement and run,” Mr Jolly explained, “We can set up 5-6 devices for less than cost of a desktop computer.”

The fact that the customer-facing solution was developed and deployed as Platform as a Service (PaaS), also reduces IT infrastructure and data hosting costs.

“We’d never be able to do this with traditional technologies so this shows how the IoT is changing our world – from manufacturing to recycling and beyond,” he said.

The PIDA award finalists will be announced in May 2018.

Ipswich Council change stance on recycling

UPDATE: Ipswich City Council has reversed its decision to send stop recycling household waste.

Ipswich Mayor Andrew Antoniolli told ABC News the council was looking to utilise a provision in the Local Government Act which would allow the employment of a short-term recycling contract.

“We have been upfront with the people of Ipswich, and we have proudly sparked a national debate on council waste management practice. This is an issue of global significance, and our position is strong,” he told ABC News.

“The existing methodologies of recycling are not working — they’re short-term, they’re not sustainable — we need some long-term strategies.”

Cr Antoniolli said the council would run a campaign to better educate residents about what can and can’t be recycled.

“The cost is not the issue — the issue is contamination,” he told ABC News.

“If we can’t meet a certain level of contamination, they won’t accept it — it’ll go to landfill.

“At present there are quite simply too many pizza boxes, plastic bags, burger wrappers and other items not fit for recycling.”


Ipswich City Council has announced all contents from household recycling waste will be sent to landfill.

The council also aims to focus its efforts on green energy and intends to call tenders to bid on waste to energy projects by mid 2018.

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The move comes in response to the recycling price surge nationwide. Ipswich City Council said recycling contractors notified the council that the current rate being paid to them would skyrocket if recycling was to continue in the order of $2 million per year, which could potentially lead to a 1.5 to 2 per cent rate rise.

Additionally, the current contamination levels in the city’s recycling was said to be unacceptably high, according to the council, which said about half of everything collected from household recycling bins was not able to be recycled.

Ipswich Mayor Andrew Antoniolli said Ipswich was the latest domino to be affected by a nationwide issue – one which required a three-tier government solution.

“As a city, we need to move forward,” Cr Antoniolli said.

“We want to become a leader in the waste-to-energy space, which will in the medium to long-term provide us with an environmentally-friendly energy source, jobs and a better economic outcome for Ipswich.

“We’ve actually been looking at waste as an energy source for some time, and this gives us the ideal opportunity to be ahead of the game in that space.”

Deputy Mayor Wayne Wendt said the move is a fundamental shift in how we as a community think about waste.

“The focus on recycling will now be very much about waste reduction. Everybody plays a role in the protection of our environment, and ways to reduce waste now become even more important to our daily lives,” Cr Wendt said.

“Under the current and previous rates of contamination waste experts advise it would be almost unachievable even with the best and well-intentioned community education program to lower the rate of contamination to acceptable levels.

“In a nutshell, this means we were left with no other choice but to send yellow lid bin contents to landfill. Importantly, it is worth repeating that this does not change the way household rubbish is collected. There will still be the same number of trucks, the same number of staff, and we anticipate a similar level of waste,” he said.

Ipswich City Council is advising residents to continue sorting their waste as normal and that green waste would continue to be recycled.