Biojet fuel company Fulcrum plans to open a waste to energy facility in the US that will convert municipal waste into a low carbon, renewable jet fuel.

BP licenses new waste to energy technology for biojet fuel

Biojet fuel company Fulcrum plans to open a waste to energy facility in the US that will convert municipal waste into a low carbon, renewable jet fuel.

The facility will use research developed by oil and gas company BP and chemical company Johnson Matthey (JM), which convert synthesis gas generated from municipal solid waste into long-chain hydrocarbon molecules that make up diesel and jet fuels.

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Fulcrum has secured the license to the technology and expects to convert 159,000 tonnes of municipal waste into 41.6 million litres of fuel each year, the equivalent of more than 180 return flights between London and New York.

BP’s head of group research Angelo Amorelli said BP first became interested in the technology, called Fischer-Tropsch (FT), in the 1980s while looking to turn gas into liquid fuel.

“The breakthrough came five or so years ago, when we started to explore the potential for our FT process to turn biomass into fuels,” Mr Amorelli said.

He explains that JM redesigned the reactors which looked like baked beans cans filled with the catalyst, creating ‘cans tech’.

”BP then changed the recipe for the catalyst and, by combining that with the’ baked beans’ reactors, we trebled the productivity and halved the cost of building the technology compared to traditional FT reactors,” he said.

Image Credit: BP

City of Yarra uses recycled glass and plastic in road resurfacing

Around 100 tonnes of recycled glass and plastic have been used in a road resurfacing project in Melbourne’s City of Yarra.

A road resurfacing trial took place in the suburb of Richmond, with Stanley and Margaret Street repaved with an asphalt product containing recycled glass, asphalt and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic.

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The project repurposed around 7300 two litres plastic bottles and 55,000 glass bottles, which is equivalent to the annual kerbside recycling collection for every household on Stanley Street.

The City of Yarra engaged recycling company Alex Fraser for the project and has called on the company to repair and repave more streets in the coming weeks, which will use an additional 1000 tonnes of sustainable asphalt.

Alex Fraser Managing Director Peter Murphy said this was a prime example of how a circular economy can be achieved – with government, industry and community working together to recycle problem waste streams, and invest in recycled materials to build new, sustainable infrastructure.

“The City of Yarra’s progressive approach to the use of sustainable material is an excellent illustration of how local councils can proactively reuse the waste generated in their communities to build and maintain their cities while reducing the carbon footprint of their projects by up to 65 per cent,” Mr Murphy said.

City of Yarra Mayor Daniel Nguyen said the City of Yarra had worked with Alex Fraser to incorporate sustainable materials like glass and recycled concrete into its road works.

“As a council with a strong focus on sustainability we are excited about using recycled plastics in our latest roadworks for the wide range of environmental benefits it delivers,” said Cr Nguyen.

More than JustWaste

JustWaste’s research into social behaviour provided Tasmania’s Launceston City Council the information it needed to roll out its food and garden organics collection program.

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Scrunching the issue of soft plastics

The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) has compiled a comprehensive gap analysis on the market barriers to recovering soft plastics. Waste Management Review sat down with APCO’s Brooke Donnelly to discuss how it fits into the broader plastics issue.

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New national targets set within 2025 packaging plan

New targets within the 2025 plan have been outlined alongside the launch of the Australasian Recycling Label.

The new targets aim to aim to increase the average recycled content within all packaging by 30 per cent and phase out problematic and unnecessary single-use plastic packaging through design, innovation or the introduction of alternatives.

Additionally, the targets aim to ensure 70 per cent of plastic packaging is recycled or composted.

These build on the previous announcement of a target to achieve 100 per cent of Australian packaging being recyclable, compostable or reusable by 2025.

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The targets build on commitments made by federal, state and territory environment ministers and the President for the Australian Local Government Association earlier in April this year.

Industry representatives and environmental groups support the targets including Aldi, ALGA, Amcor, Australia Post, Boomerang Alliance, Chep, Close the Loop, Coca-Cola Amatil, Coles, Detmold, Goodman Fielder, Lion, Metcash, Nestlé, Orora, Pact Group, Planet Ark, Redcycle, Simplot, Suez, Tetra Pak, Unilever, Veolia, Visy and Woolworths.

Woolworths General Manager, Quality and Sustainability Alex Holt highlighted the importance of this collaboration.

“We’re really pleased to see such a wide range of industry players come together in support of such a worthy goal. Moving towards a circular economy won’t be easy, but we have the right mix of organisations on board to help make it a reality,” Mr Holt said.

Federal Environment Minister Melissa Price congratulated the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) and the initial working group of businesses that are supporting the targets.

Minister Price has also officially launched the Australasian recycling Label to help achieve the 2025 National Packaging Targets, developed by Planet Ark, PREP Design and APCO to help consumers better understand how to recycle packaging.

“The Australasian Recycling Label provides people with easy to understand recycling information when they need it most, in those few seconds when they are deciding what bin the package goes in. The label removes confusion and reduces waste,” Ms Price said.

With more than 200 recycling labels currently being used in Australia, the new system aims to reduce confusion and contamination in the waste stream.

Nestlé Head of Corporate and External Relations Oceania Margaret Stuart said the inclusion of the label on Netslé’s packaging was a demonstration of the company’s commitment to sustainability.

“More and more people who buy our products want to know how to manage packing waste, so we have committed to implementing the Australasian Recycling Label across all our locally controlled products by 2020,” Ms Stuart said.

Unilever ANZ CEO Clive Stiff has said the announcements are a critical step towards greater collective action on increasing the nationals recycling capability.

“Plastic packaging waste represents an $80 billion loss to the global economy every year. The benefits of the circular economy approach are clear for business and the environment – the more effective use of materials means lower costs and less waste,” Mr Stiff said.

“We are proud to have recently announced that bottles of popular Unilever products like OMO, Dove, Sunsilk, Surf and TRESemmé will soon be made with at least 25% Australian recycled plastic.

“This is just the start for us and no business can create a circular economy in isolation. Heavy lifting is needed from all players involved – suppliers, packaging converters, brand owners, policy makers and retailers, collectors, sorters and recyclers. We need a complete shift in how we think about and use resources.”

Recycling company wins Governor of Victoria export award

Lithium battery processing company Envirostream Australia has won the Regional Exporter Award in the 2018 Governor of Victoria Export Awards (GOVEA).

The awards are open to a range of industry sectors, including the waste and recycling industry and showcase some of the state’s most successful and innovative exporters.

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The company recovers 95 per cent of the materials contained in energy storage battery and sells the steel, copper and aluminium into national markets to be manufactured into new projects.

It began operating recycling facility in the Melbourne suburb of Campbellfield which is able to recover 40 tonnes of batteries per month on each processing line.

Envirostream has partnered with Planet Ark and other stakeholders to develop a battery collection and recycling program that uses battery recycling  and high material recovery.

“We believe this model will challenge the status quo in the recycling industry by adding value in Australia before exporting. This model creates jobs, decreases the cost to recycle and increases the recycling rate of batteries,” Envirostream Australia Director Andrew Mackenzie said.

The GOVEA are open to all Victorian exporters, regardless of size or total export sales.

Winners of the awards are automatically placed as finalists in the national Australian Export Awards.

The Winners:

  • Exporter of the Year – Leica Biosystems
  • Export Award for Innovation Excellence – Sealite
  • Emerging Exporter Award – FitMyCar
  • Victorian Women in International Business Award – Dr Ewa Douroux, Business Services Manager from Leica Biosystems
  • Agribusiness Award – Hussey and Company
  • Business Services Award – OMC International
  • Creative Industries Award – FanHubMedia
  • eCommerce Award – DPP Pharmaceuticals
  • Education and Training Award – IDP Education
  • Environmental Solutions Award – GeoFabrics Australasia
  • Digital Technologies Award – Catapult
  • Health and Biotechnology Award – Leica Biosystems
  • Manufacturing Award – Bosch Australia
  • Minerals, Energy, and Related Services Award – Business For Millennium Development
  • Regional Exporter Award – Envirostream Australia
  • Small Business Award – Cornerstone Solutions

Pictured Left to Right: Victorian Trade Minister Philip Dalidakis, Envirostream National Development Manager John Polhill, Governor of Victoria Linda Dessau. 

Cleanaway releases 2018 annual report

Cleanaway has released its 2018 annual report to shareholders, providing a comprehensive discussion of its strategies across the business.

It follows the release of its FY18 full-year results last month.

The report, titled Making a Sustainable Future Possible, provides a snapshot of Cleanaway’s business, having acquired Daniels Health and Toxfree and commenced operation in May of this year. With the two businesses in operation, Cleanaway has more than 260 sites across Australia, including more than 4000 vehicles and 115 licensed infrastructure assets.

The 2018 year at a glance shows underlying revenue of $1.7 million, up 17.9 per cent on last year. Earnings, before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) sat at $339.7 million – up 12.7 per cent.

Commenting on the full-year results last month in a statement, Cleanaway Chief Executive Officer Vik Bansal said that each of the company’s three operating divisions – solids collections, solids post collections and liquids and industrial services – again increased revenues and earnings in the period.

“Our quality of earnings experienced some downward pressure during the year driven by industry wide changes to the recycling and commodities markets as a result of China’s National Sword policy. This policy negatively impacted commodity prices and increased our costs of sorting material to required levels. However, over the past few months there has been some recovery in commodity prices, especially for higher quality recycled materials.

“Earnings quality was also impacted as we rolled out a number of major new contracts which have strengthened our market leading positions. We remain confident that margins will transition to normal levels as we complete the mobilisation phase of these contracts.”

According to the annual report, in 2018, Cleanaway recycled more than 320,000 tonnes of paper and cardboard, 16,000 tonnes of plastic packaging and 14,500 tonnes of steel, while less than 50,000 tonnes of organic liquid waste re-used as nutrient.

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In terms of community investments, more than $795,000 was invested in Australian communities and in excess of 1250 education programs held.

“A major highlight of FY2018 was the completion of our acquisition of Tox Free Solutions Limited (Toxfree). This consolidated Cleanaway’s position as Australia’s leading waste management company, strengthening our integrated total waste management offer,” the CEO’s report said.

“In FY2018 we commenced a number of significant new contracts – including Brisbane City Council, Chevron Wheatstone, Coles, New South Wales’ Central Coast and the Container Deposit Scheme in New South Wales. As sizeable contracts, each has incurred significant ramp up costs, impacting margins in the short term. We expect this margin pressure to ease in FY2019 as we complete the mobilisation phase of these contracts and move into ongoing operations.”

One section on the impact of China’s National Sword policy argues the strategic long-term answer to the policy is not to keep finding the next offshore market for commingled refuse, but to encourage investment in the domestic processing capacity.

“We also need to educate, sort, recycle and reuse locally based on a set of consistent standards. This will take a much stronger level of alignment between all levels of government as well as commitment from industry to use an increased percentage of recyclable materials in the production of new foods, and, of course, the continuing education and partnership with communities all over Australia,” the report says.

“Australians remain strongly supportive of more responsible waste management and recycling policies. An Australian Council of Recycling survey, conducted earlier this year, found that 91 per cent of respondents support a national action plan on recycling, and 88 per cent support new requirements for packaging to be recyclable and for national education to help reduce contamination in kerbside recycling,” it continues.

“We are working closely with both councils and the broader community to reduce the level of contamination in commingled recycling.”

You can read the full report by clicking here.

Oil recycling facility relocation proposal assessed by EPA TAS

EPA Tasmania will allow an oil recycling facility to relocate, with certain conditions in place to ensure the proposed development is managed in an environmentally sustainable and acceptable manner.

Gourmet Oil, trading as Hagen Oil, operates a facility that processes waste oil and related products which are collected in tankers and delivered to the site.

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These products are separated, recycled and packaged for re-sale or disposal, which processes approximately 3000 tonnes of recycled oil products each year.

Some of the conditions applied to relocation includes a 3000 tonne per year limit on raw material which is refined, produced or reprocessed, a daily record or all waste oil received by the facility must be made and kept for two years, instituting odour management measures as necessary and must not operate outside the hours of 7am to 5pm.

The facility also must not process waste oil is the nature of the oil is not clearly identified, exhibits odorous characteristics likely to exceed the plant’s odour emissions capabilities, contains polychlorinated biphenyls, or is mixed with any other contaminant that significantly increases the corrosiveness, volatility, reactivity or ignitability of the waste oil.

Any permit subsequently granted by Launceston City Council will be required to include the conditions from EPA Tasmania.

The proposal was considered by the Acting EPA Director Martin Read in the context of the sustainable development objectives of the Resource Management and Planning System of Tasmania.

“Various environmental issues were considered in the assessment, particularly control of potential emissions into water and air by ensuring adequate onsite storage, treatment and spill response,” Dr Read said.

The Acting Director’s environmental assessment report, including the environmental conditions, has been issued to Gourmet Oil and Launceston City Council.

To view the report, click here.