City of Swan ‘health checks’ residential bins

The City of Swan in Perth is conducting ‘health checks’ on residential kerbside bins to help the community improve recycling habits and reduce waste contamination.

The bin auditing program involves city staff visually checking the contents of general waste and recycling bins in randomly selected areas.

The checks are followed by constructive individual feedback on how each household can waste less and better recycle.

Feedback will be provided in the form of a tag on the bin handle, which states if there are any contaminated items in the recycling bin or items in the general waste bin that can be recycled.

City of Swan Mayor David Lucas said while most of people have good intentions when it comes to waste and recycling, many are unsure of what to place in different bins.

“If your recycling bin is contaminated with even a few unsuitable items, the remaining recyclable material in that bin will go to landfill,” Mr Lucas said.

Mr Lucas said through individual tailored feedback residents will learn how to properly separate their waste.

According to the Western Australian Local Government Association, similar programs in South Australia have reduced waste contamination by up to 60 per cent, and increased the amount of material sent to recycling facilities by 25 per cent.

Mr Lucas said 2000 households and businesses in the City of Swan are planned to take part in the program.

Whiteman Ward Councillor John McNamara said each property selected to take part will be audited four times over an eight week period.

“We’re focusing on providing useful feedback to residents to change behaviour, however if contaminated items continue to be placed in bins by the end of the program, residents will be required to remove the contamination before the bin is emptied,” Mr McNamara said.

“There have been some recent changes around what can be recycled which can be confusing, we’re using this program to empower our community to recycle better and waste less.”

The city will use information collected through the program to understand how well recycling is understood and to determine where more information is required.

Related stories: 

The City of Yarra to trial kerbside glass collection

The City of Yarra in Melbourne has announced plans to trial a fourth kerbside glass bin in 1300 Abbotsford households.

According to the City of Yarra website, starting in June the city will provide residents with a purple-lidded bin for glass waste in addition to the current garbage, recycling and food and garden waste bins.

“We need to change how we recycle as individuals, as a community and as a municipality,” the website reads.

“Our current model of consumption and waste is not working for the planet, environment or our community. We’re all part of the waste system and together must all be part of the solution.”

The trial is estimated to run for 12 months and builds on a successful food and garden waste collection (FOGO) trial conducted last year.

Results from the FOGO trial saw a 40 per cent diversion of waste from landfill, with current FOGO contamination rates now averaging less than one per cent.

“Currently the glass in the kerbside recycling bin is creating contamination,” the website reads.

“Broken glass damages the quality of other materials, by removing it recycling will be better quality and more valuable to processors.”

The website highlights that a lack of available landfill space in Victoria, particularly in metropolitan Melbourne, is creating additional pressure on the waste and recycling industry.

“For years we’ve ignored the potential of locally processing our recycled materials like glass,” the website reads.

“We are being proactive and exploring new ways to collect and manage your recycling to help fix the recycling industry, create local jobs and use waste as a resource instead of sending it to landfill.”

Following the trial period the city will consider expanding the service through Yarra.

The trial will be run with support from the State Government, Sustainability Victoria, RMIT University, Australian Paper Recovery, Four Seasons Waste and Alex Fraser Group.

Related stories:

Why the Circular Economy is such a hot topic

By applying circular economy principles to the textile waste issue, we can clearly identify stakeholders along the lifecycle of products and pathways for landfill diversion and resource recovery, writes Graham Ross​, Co-Founder of BlockTexx.

Read more

Feasibility study supports Australian Paper WtE plant

Australian Paper’s $7.5 million waste-to-energy (WtE) feasibility study has confirmed the social, economic, environmental and commercial viability of its proposed WtE facility in Maryvale Mill Victoria.

The study’s summary report highlights the waste management challenges facing south east Melbourne and concludes that Australian Paper’s WtE facility could provide a unique opportunity to address pending landfill closures.

According to the report, the facility could annually prevent 550,000 tonnes of waste from being trucked across Melbourne from municipalities in the south east to landfill sites located in the city’s west.

Australian Paper Chief Operating Officer Peter Williams said the project would result in an investment of over $600 million in the Latrobe Valley, creating 1046 jobs per annum for the three years of construction.

“With Melbourne’s looming landfill challenge Australian Paper’s WtE project is the missing link in waste management infrastructure for the south east – creating efficient energy from residual household and commercial waste and achieving a more sustainable outcome than disposal to landfills,” Mr Williams said.

“By diverting 650,000 tonnes per annum of residential and commercial waste from Victorian landfill, the facility could provide Melbourne with essential waste management and resource recovery infrastructure.”

According to Mr Williams, the facility will reduce CO2 emissions by more than 540,000 tonnes per year.

“By replacing natural gas at the Maryvale site, Australian Paper will return enough gas to the market to meet the annual needs of up to 70,000 Victorian households annually,” Mr Williams said.

“WtE technology is a proven and reliable low emissions technology, meeting the strictest European emissions standards and has been used extensively in Europe, Japan and North America for decades.”

Mr Williams said Australian Paper would now focus on the development stage, working with partner SUEZ  to finalise approvals and seek to secure long term waste supply contracts.

Related stories:

Container deposit site to open in Queensland’s Hervey Bay

Environment Minster Leeanne Enoch has announced that a new container deposit site will open in Urangan, a suburb of Hervey Bay in Queensland’s Wide Bay region.

The site will be run by container refund scheme operator U Can Recycle, who operate 14 other container refund points across the state’s network.

“We’ve seen an overwhelming demand for more sites in the area and across Queensland, with 400 million containers already returned in the state,” Ms Enoch said.

“The Wide Bay region has the third highest return rate in Queensland and the new depot will accommodate this strong demand and create local jobs.”

According to Ms Enoch, over 37.3 million containers have been returned in the Wide Bay region since the scheme launched in November 2018.

“That’s $3.73 million going back into the Wide Bay community. I’m delighted to see the continued growth of container refund points across Queensland,” Ms Enoch said.

U Can Recycle General Manager Jason Irwin said he was thrilled to expand the companies services in Hervey Bay.

“We have 12 new local staff members on board all ready to go, including three long-term unemployed people,” Mr Irwin said.

“Our depot is on a huge two-and-a-half-acre block, which means we can receive higher volumes, improve traffic flow and reduce wait times for our customers.”

Mr Irwin said the facility features a drive-thru process, a cash refund option and an air-conditioned waiting room for customers.

“I’m planning to add a café in after we’re up and running,” Mr Irwin said.

The Urangan depot is one of five sites set to open this week including facilities in Cooroy, Atherton, Duaringa and Beerwah – with more openings scheduled in May.

Container Exchange Chief Executive Officer Ken Noye said the organisation is working hard to ensure everyone in Queensland has a chance to participate in the scheme.

“New sites continue to be added to the network to accommodate for the unprecedented volume the scheme has seen in the first five months,” Mr Noye said.

“We’re travelling along nicely towards meeting our goal of having 307 container refund points open by the end of 2019 – after this week there will be 274 sites across Queensland.”

Related stories: 

Malaysia issues warning to plastic smugglers

Malaysian Government Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin has announced a government investigation into illegal plastic waste imports.

According to Ms Yin, the investigation follows a two-week inspection period where 111 shipping containers full of plastic were found disguised as other goods.

Ms Yin has warned smugglers that Malaysia will not hesitate to send falsely declared plastic waste back to its country of origin.

Ms Yin’s announcement follows a 60 Minutes report that claimed 71,000 tonnes of Australian recyclable plastic had been exported to Malaysia and processed at illegal facilities.

While the Australian waste management industry rejected many of the claims made by 60 Minutes, the glut of specific kinds of plastic waste with no end destination is a global hot button issue.

Malaysia saw an influx of plastic imports after China’s 2018 crackdown on contamination, with data from UK HM Revenue and Customs, a non-ministerial department responsible for tax collection, showing UK plastic waste exports to Malaysia tripled in the four months following the contamination ban.

Earlier this year, India similarly issued a total ban on solid plastic imports.

Ms Yin said Malaysia would need the support of international government’s to stop the trade of illegal plastics.

“This operation is to avoid Malaysia becoming full of dirty plastic waste from other countries especially developed countries,” Ms Yin said.

“The Department of Environment, in collaboration with other government agencies, will continue to enforce the interests of the environment and the wellbeing of the people of Malaysia.”

Related stories:

International Compost Awareness Week kicks off in May

International Compost Awareness Week (ICAW) will see global organisations band together to build awareness of the benefits of compost.

Activities and celebrations will take place in Australia, the United States, Canada, Europe, Ireland and the Czech Republic in the first full week of May.

Starting in Canada in 1995, ICAW has grown into an annual international event as more people, businesses, municipalities, schools and organisations begin to recognise the importance of compost and the long-term benefits of organics recycling.

Australian Organics Recycling Association National Executive Officer Diana De Hulsters said the goal of the program is to raise public awareness of how the use of compost can improve and maintain high quality soil, grow healthy plants, reduce the use of fertiliser and pesticides, improve water quality and protect the environment.

“Globally we have seen that innovative programs and successful efforts have improved organics recycling and sustainability,” Ms Hulsters said.

“International partners are coming together to broaden the understanding of compost use and promote awareness of the recycling of organic residuals.”

Ms Hulsters said while details vary amongst countries, a number of the facts about organics recycling and compost use transcend political and cultural boundaries.

“Soil health and productivity are dependent on organic matter in the form of compost or humus to provide the sustenance for biological diversity in the soil,” Ms Hulsters said.

“Plants depend on this to convert materials into plant-available nutrients and to keep the soil well-aerated. Additional benefits include the reduced need for pesticide usage to ward off soil-borne and other plant diseases.”

Ms Hulsters also highlighted the climate change mitigation benefits of composting by explaining how compost soil returns serve as a carbon bank.

“Diverting food and yard waste from landfills reduces the emission of methane, a greenhouse gas twenty-five times more powerful than carbon dioxide,” Ms Hulsters said.

“The use of landfill space and incineration can be reduced by at least one-third when organics are recycled. Focused attention on recycling organic residuals is key to achieving high diversion rates.”

The ICAW program includes tours of compost facilities, school gardening programs, compost workshops, lectures by gardening experts and compost give-away days.

Related stories:

March 2019

Mobile shredding system for alternative fuels and biomass

The new XR3000 mobil-e capitalises on the benefits of an electromechanical drive without having to forgo the advantages of a mobile machine.  

Available through national distributor FOCUS enviro, the machine aims to provide operators with maximum efficiency and flexibility.

Just like all UNTHA XR products, the XR mobil-e is equipped with an energy-efficient UNTHA Eco Drive. This ensures minimal operating costs and maximum material quality.

A key feature of the machine is that it operates only electrically, conversely to energy consuming, and at times, noisy diesel operated alternatives. 

For the shredding process, the XR mobil-e is connected to the power supply with a hands-on quick fastener, allowing the machine to be moved across a variety of indoor and outdoor locations.

Mobility is ensured through a reliable crawler-type undercarriage in combination with a small petrol-powered engine. The XR mobil-e can be easily moved to any spot via remote control. With an extensive range of interchangeable screens and cutters, the shredder can be configured according to the customer’s output specification. 

For example, consistent 30-millimetre or 400-millimetre particle sizes are achievable, as is anything in between. This means the XR mobil-e can shred bulky, municipal solid waste, commercial and industrial, construction and demolition or wood waste with ease. Other applications include industrial waste, scrap wood, plastic bales and more. 

The machine also produces a homogenous alternative fuel to the waste-to-energy, cement, gasification or biomass markets. In addition, a height-adjustable discharge conveyor belt and an optionally available magnetic separator lead to an efficiently operating mobile shredding system.

Genox Shredders from Applied Machinery

Applied Machinery offers a diverse range of Genox shredders to process an array of waste streams down to specific sizes. 

For size reduction of flexible, medium hardness, voluminous products, Genox’s K Series Single Shaft Shredders process various plastics (films, mouldings), paper and cardboard, copper, aluminum, textiles and a range of other applications. The M Series shredder, which performs largely the same functions, is suited to other potentially contaminated materials such as metals or stones.

When it comes to small and medium size reduction, the Genox V Series Single Shaft Shredders are capable of processing a wide range of materials to uniform particle size. Typical applications include plastic, timber/wood, paper and cardboard and copper. 

If operators are looking to process large volumes, then the X Series Twin Shaft Shredders works as an ideal pre-shredder for municipal solid (MSW) and commercial and industrial (C&I) waste, scrap metal, end-of-life vehicles and a range of other applications. Segmented blades greatly reduce blade changing time and cost. 

BH Series Single Shaft Shredders are heavy-duty reduction machines designed to process a variety of untreated waste materials down to coarse or medium-sized fractions. This powerful, wear-resistant machine is suited to demanding recycling tasks and can handle MSW, C&I, construction and demolition and other wastes.