Perth’s top 10 recyclers

For the first time, local council waste and recycling data is available on the Western Australian Government’s MyCouncil website.

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said the data offers an opportunity for local government communities to better understand their waste footprint and assess progress towards a more sustainable and low-waste future.

“Western Australians want to do the right thing when it comes to waste and by making this data publicly available we can all work collaboratively to reduce waste generation,” Mr Dawson said.

The data, sourced from the Waste Authority’s annual Local Government Waste and Recycling Census, includes the quantities of waste collected, disposed to landfill and recovered by local governments for each type of waste service offered.

“As we roll this out we expect to see improved resource recovery in metropolitan local governments that will be reflected each year on MyCouncil — helping us to meet the state government’s target of at least 75 per cent of waste generated in Western Australia to be reused or recycled by 2030,” Mr Dawson said.

According to Local Government Minister David Templeman, the data shows councils south of the river are significantly reducing waste to landfill, with East Fremantle, Melville, Cockburn and Fremantle all ranking among the top five recycling performers in the Perth metropolitan area.

“Making this data available in a central location on the MyCouncil website will improve transparency around local government waste performance and provide them with an increased incentive to improve their resource recovery performance,” Mr Templeman said.

Top 10 metropolitan recyclers

East Fremantle (Town) 61%
Cockburn (City) 61%
Melville (City) 60%
Joondalup (City) 55%
Fremantle (City) 54%
Wanneroo (City) 53%
Nedlands (City) 52%
Cottesloe (Town) 50%
Stirling (City) 47%
Vincent (City) 46%

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Australians throw away $8.9 billion in food annually

The Rabobank Food Waste Report shows Australians are wasting a collective $8.9 billion on food waste, a seven per cent reduction from $9.6 billion in 2017.

The report shows more than a third of all food produced globally is never consumed as it is either spoiled in transit or thrown out by consumers.

This results in one third of the world’s agricultural land being used to produce food that is subsequently not eaten.

Rabobank Australia Head of Client Experience Glenn Wealands said while the report shows changing attitudes towards food waste, the $890 waste bill per household illustrates more needs to be done.

“While is it pleasing that Australian consumers are wasting less food compared to 12 months ago, there is clearly much to do to raise awareness about food production and waste – while improving the finances of all Australians,” Mr Wealands said.

The report shows food delivery services are having a negative effect on food waste, with those who use food delivery services wasting 6.8 per cent more food than those who don’t.

According to Mr Wealands, the main culprit is food going off before it can be finished at 75 per cent, while 45 per cent of Australian’s are simply buying too much at the grocery store.

Mr Wealands said despite this, many Australians are actively embracing better habits at home including 50 per cent who use a shopping list when buying groceries, 38 per cent who eat leftovers, 36 per cent who plan meals in advance and 30 per cent who freeze food.

“As our population increases we will struggle to feed additional mouths. If we don’t curb our waste, we could run out by 2050,” Mr Wealands said.

While the reduction in food waste is a global responsibility, we all – as individual consumers – can play a significant role in sustaining this planet for generations to come.”

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City of Mandurah installs hydraulically driven floor

The City of Mandurah has become the first WA local government area to install moving floor technology, reducing operational costs and boosting safety.

Regional councils across Australia have been showing exceptional leadership in recent times, in spite of the challenges of working in smaller communities that produce less waste.

Within these communities there are champions of waste management, willing to investigate, trial and invest in new technologies that will future-proof their resources for decades to come.

From NSW’s Albury City Council, which is on track to halve its waste by 2020, to Shoalhaven City Council’s recent investment in a first-of-its-kind mixed waste processing facility, regional councils across the nation are leading by example.

At the end of 2018, the coastal City of Mandurah, located an hour away from Perth, made a bold decision to invest $1.25 million in a hydraulically driven floor conveyance system at its Waste Management Centre.

As the existing concrete pit was showing signs of deterioration, the council risked closing its tipping shed for a significant period of time by repairing the existing piece of infrastructure. The Waste Management Centre has been around since 1997 and processes commercial and industrial and municipal solid waste.

The team spent two years investigating a variety of options before opting for moving floor technology, a system that would not only reduce the city’s reliance on staff-operated front end loaders, but improve safety and lower operational costs. It also allows its waste processing capacity to increase from 55,000 to 75,000 tonnes per annum.

Kyle Boardman, Coordinator Waste Management at the City of Mandurah, says the city was aware of moving floor technology being used in Tasmania and Melbourne. Back in 2012, the city had installed a static compactor and compaction trailers, with turnkey specialists Wastech Engineering winning the contract through a competitive tender process.

The Wastech team had proved to be a reliable service provider for the city and was successful in a tender for the moving floor technology. The company knew the ins and outs of the city’s Waste Management Centre, having visited it multiple times over the years to install the compactor and deliver the compaction trailers.

“We’d had a number of dealings with Wastech, which helped a great deal,” Kyle explains.

Two moving floors were installed onsite in September 2018, servicing both residential and commercial waste. The commercial waste moving floor is located within the existing push pit, with the residential moving floor located on the adjoining tipping floor. The interconnected moving planks are driven by hydraulic rams which move forward and backwards, allowing the waste to travel smoothly along the floor.

It is unique in that when the planks move forward, they move together, but when they retract, they do so in a series of three distinct movements.

“This allows the waste to stay in its original position so it remains stationary while the planks move backwards, and then it moves forward together,” Kyle says.

Another benefit of the floors is the ability to run them in reverse, allowing material to be shifted to the start of the floor while more is loaded in front of it.

The moving floors are safe enough to run while loads continue to be loaded into the pit, another benefit to increasing throughput and speeding up vehicle movements onsite.

The waste then flows into a hopper connected to the static compactor, which loads the compaction trailers.

“In the past, a front-end loader was required to push the waste into a hopper.

“Now, a front-end loader is not required as the waste moves automatically along the floor and into the hopper.”

Kyle says the front-end loader can now be released to manage other waste stockpiles onsite.

“One of the key advantages of the system is the design incorporates a large metal resource recovery deck at the end of the residential moving floor. That allowsrecovery of recyclable materials from the residential waste stream whereas before, once it went in the pit, there was no recovery at all.”

He adds that this allows the recovery of scrap metal, e-waste, cardboard and hazardous waste from the municipal waste stream. Kyle says the new design lets the city do that safely.

The moving floor technology seamlessly integrates with the existing compaction infrastructure, reducing loading times for compaction trailers and stress on the compaction unit. The technology will also allow the facility to handle additional waste volumes as the city grows.

Wastech moving floors are hydraulically powered via a 30-kilowatt power pack and floor speeds can be varied to suit high throughputs during peak loading periods. In addition to a faster and more efficient means of moving waste, the technology has the ability to improve vehicle queuing time. Leak-proof pits can be installed according to council requirements, whether it’s a deep pit for more than 1200 tonnes a day, shallow pit for 20 to 500 tonnes a day, ground pit for low volumes or a combination of all of the above to suit mixed waste streams.

While it’s still early days for the Waste Management Centre, Kyle predicts the moving floor technology will save on maintenance costs and provide a measurable benefit in resource recovery.

“Wastech has always been very professional to deal with. They promptly assisted in resolving any issue that arose with the static compaction or compaction trailers,” Kyle says.

“Maintenance is critical to the operation of the site and Wastech have a service arm to maintain the compaction system and moving floor, with local contractors who provide support.”

He says the city’s officers would have no hesitation in turning to Wastech in the future should they require any further upgrades.

Pilot plant opens to purify industrial wastewater

The Queensland University of Technology (QUT) has opened a pilot plant in Banyo Queensland to study the removal of salts from bore water and industrial wastewater.

QUT researchers from the Institute for Future Environments have been working with the Japanese chemical conglomerate Asahi Kasei for three years on the technology, using solar energy or low-grade waste heat produced by industry to remove dissolved salts from water samples.

QUT Science and Engineering Professor Graeme Millar is heading the research team to further develop the system using Asahi Kasei membranes.

Through a process called membrane distillation, the pilot plant will have the ability to process 1000 litres of pure drinking water each day.

According to Dr Millar, one of the advantages of the system is that it can use industrial waste heat, which is heat produced as a byproduct, to distil the water through membranes.

Dr Millar said future applications of the new technology include treatment of coal seam gas associated water, bore water in remote communities and the reverse osmosis of brine and seawater.

“Agriculture is the major consumer of freshwater resources in Australia,” Dr Millar said.

“Consequently there is a need to develop means to use impaired water resources such as coal seam gas associated water for irrigation purposes.”

Professor Millar said the planned design for a commercial module using the system would be able to convert 1 million litres a day of water — with uses ranging from installations at mining, agricultural and industrial sites and portable solar-powered units that could be used by emergency services in the wake of natural disasters.

“It offers low-cost water treatment for remote communities,” Dr Millar said.

“It’s about taking those brackish waters and making them drinkable.”

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Bastille Festival announces sustainability plan

The Bastille Festival in Sydney has teamed up with SUEZ to transition into a more environmentally sustainable event.

Director Vincent Hernandez said the festival welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors over four days, generating an estimated 20 tonnes of waste.

“Tonnes of rubbish – plastic wine cups, food packaging, food waste, cigarettes buds and more. How can we do better?

“That’s precisely the question I asked myself after the success of last year’s festival but I needed an expert to lead us and SUEZ accepted the challenge to help us make a difference,” Mr Hernandez said.

SUEZ will implement the festival’s waste collection system to ensure waste is minimised and diverted from landfill.

SUEZ NSW General Manager Tony Grebenshikoff said simple changes such as installing appropriate recycling bins and raising awareness about what is and is not recyclable will make a significant difference.

Other changes include a plastic ban, and requirement that all stall holders use energy-saving LED lights.

Re-usable glasses and compostable cutlery and plates will be mandatory for food stall holders, and non-recyclable packaging will be eliminated for food consumed at the festival.

Wastewater and cooking oil will be collected separately and treated appropriately, and public transport will be encouraged.

The festival will also attempt to minimise the contamination of recyclable material and food waste by using separate organic and co-mingled bins, with a target of 75 per cent diversion rate from landfill.

Power generators will be shared by stall holders, operating on energy saver mode to optimise the use of electrical resources as well as using electricity generated from solar panels.

To support the effort, the festival will be working with local organisations, communities and individuals to help implement and manage the new policy.

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WALGA releases CDS discussion paper

At its annual policy forum, The Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA) released the Sharing the Benefits of the container deposit scheme (CDS) discussion paper.

WALGA Manager Waste and Recycling Rebecca Brown said the paper would form the basis for advocacy on key components of CDS regulations.

CDS laws were introduced into the Western Australian Parliament in December 2018, with the scheme expected to start in early 2020.

The scheme is expected to deliver a net positive benefit of around $152 million over the next 20 years.

WALGA proposes negotiations between local governments and material recovery facilities (MRF) on how to best share cost benefits of the CDS start at a 50/50 basis — net the verifiable inclusion costs for MRF’s.

Ms Brown said a 50/50 starting point would provide both parties with an equitable share of the benefits of CDS, while including considerations of the costs to the MRF operator.

The paper also explores how CDS will influence the cost of operating an MRF, potential sampling protocols and approaches to transparency.

At the policy forum, Ms Brown also announced the development of a new WALGA resource for local government that provides an overview of the legislative framework, anticipated implementation timeframes, contractual relationships and local government considerations of the CDS.

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Grant applications open for WA waste and recycling program

The Western Australian Government has announced grant applications are open for its $1 million Community Industry and Engagement (CIE) program, designed to support local waste and recycling plants and equipment.

The funding, announced by Environment Minister Stephen Dawson, will be allocated as part of the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030 – the state’s blueprint for managing future waste.

“This is another step in the government’s commitment to reduce waste generation, increase material recovery, reduce waste disposed to landfill and increase recycling across Western Australia,” Mr Dawson said.

“The CIE program provides an opportunity to get financial backing for projects that address the state government’s waste management priorities and help make Western Australia a sustainable low waste society.”

The infrastructure funding stream is targeted at plants and equipment that support the sorting and processing of materials collected for recycling, including optical sorters, screening systems and equipment to process and recycle priority waste materials into marketable end products.

“I encourage funding applications to tackle issues such as reducing waste generation, diverting waste from landfill, and community and industry education,” Mr Dawson said.

Projects previously funded through the CIE program include a comprehensive organic waste study to support the development of a regional anaerobic digestion facility, and research into concrete manufacturing to replace natural aggregates with construction and demolition waste.

The funds will be delivered by the Waste Authority – applications close 10am 29 April.

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NWRIC releases statement in support of Labor waste policy

The National Waste Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC) has released a statement in support of Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s proposed waste and recycling policy.

Labor’s proposal sets out a number of priorities to enhance waste and recycling services, six of which have been highlighted by NWRIC.

NWRIC praised Labor’s commitment to a national container deposit scheme, which includes inviting, but not mandating Victoria and Tasmania become part of an integrated national scheme.

Victoria and Tasmania are currently the only states without a state run container despot scheme in place.

The announcement of a National Waste Commissioner, funded with $15 million over six years, and the expansion of product stewardship schemes to include more e-waste, batteries and white goods were similarly praised.

The council also highlighted the proposed $60 million investment in a National Recycling Fund, and the setting of targets for government purchasing of recycled goods.

NWRIC also cited Labor’s commitment to provide an additional $10 billion in capital for the Clean Energy Finance Corporation over five years.

NWRIC’s statement said the proposal follows Labor’s national policy platform commitment to capture the economic opportunities of a harmonised and strategic national waste reduction and recycling policy, including appropriate energy recovery technologies.

Labor’s policy also commits to establishing a federal EPA and a new Australian Environment Act to replace the current Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Mr Shorten said the new act will aim to tackle inefficiencies, delays and hurdles in the current law, giving business more certainty while protecting the environment.

Presently there are eight different sets of laws and regulations governing waste management and recycling across Australia’s states and territories.

NWRIC CEO Rose Read said every household and business in Australia purchases waste services, and most purchase recycling services.

“The Commonwealth can cut costs for all Australians by creating national, high quality regulations covering waste and recycling,” Ms Read said

“NWRIC is calling for a bi-partisan approach to harmonising the regulations protecting our industry.”

Despite welcoming the policy, Ms Read said NWRIC is concerned about Labor’s proposed roll back of the Emissions Reduction Fund.

“Through the Emissions Reduction Fund, a number of leading recycling initiatives have been funded, including returning composting to soils and harvesting renewable energy from biogas,” Ms Read said.

“Waste and recycling services are essential to all Australians. Therefore, it is critical that whichever party wins the upcoming Federal election – they work proactively with industry to create jobs, serve communities, protect workers and reduce pollution.”

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