Brittany Coles

Final works to remove illegal waste in VIC

The final stage of works to remove the remaining illegally dumped waste at Broderick Road, Lara, has begun with stage three plans to have a further 30,000 cubic metres of pre-sorted materials removed from the site.

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Beyond the destruction: Shred-X

Shred-X diverts almost 50,000 tonnes of paper per annum from landfill, partnering with Australian recycling organisations to recover and repurpose the material it collects.

Australians throw out 2.7 million single-use coffee cups every day, adding up to almost one billion coffee cups a year.

Van Karas, General Manager at Shred-X, says to efficiently recover and repurpose products, there has to be flexibility to enable current business capabilities to increase landfill diversion.

“It’s in our DNA to ensure wherever possible, following the required destruction process, the products we collect are recycled or repurposed,” he says.

Although Shred-X started out in the document destruction and paper recycling industry 20 years ago, Karas says the company has since expanded, pursuing recycling for an array of products other than paper including used coffee cups, QSR waste, e-waste and textiles.

Karas stated that following some recent tests, it has partnered with an Australian packaging company to collect and process their 100 per cent recyclable coffee cups.

“We’ve also invested in new ways of processing millions of ‘non-recyclable’ coffee cups, partnering with another Australian company that’s leading the way finding innovative solutions for recycling and repurposing use coffee cups aiding a circular economy,” Karas says.

Shred-X is continuing to align itself with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s), which were first implemented into the global sector in 2016.

“One of the SDG’s Shred-X is actively working towards is building resilient infrastructure, promoting sustainable industrialisation and fostering innovation,” he says.

By 2025, Australia has committed to National Packaging Targets ensuring 100 per cent of packaging is either reused, recycled or repurposed.

Further to this, an Australian chain of quick service restaurants (QSR’s) are also aiming to recycle its customer packaging and waste.

According to Karas, Shred-X has always been a business that collects and processes specialised waste in line with recyclers needs.

“We’re working very hard with resilient partners to achieve common goals. Following an upcoming trial, we will be looking at smart innovations that add value to processing QSR waste, ensuring it goes to recyclers that will continue to add value to the waste product,” he says.

“It’s pretty impressive that we’re able to help companies achieve national targets by finding a new home for waste besides landfill. Shred-X are working with a range of partners and have begun undertaking trials with quick service restaurants to achieve their sustainability targets.”

Shred-X has achieved the highest industry certifications for its secure destruction facilities and operations located in every state and territory which incorporate the latest and most environmentally sustainable shredding technologies.

Through the company’s partnership with Australian recyclers, Shred-X recovers 98.5 per cent of the material collected and processed through its facilities.

Shred-X has also introduced a range of innovative secure destruction solutions for textiles and uniforms, high-end garments and accessories, seized goods, recalled items and liquids with an aim to ensure ethical disposal and landfill diversion whenever and wherever possible.

Environmental Policy and recycling partnerships reflect the company’s ongoing commitment to improving the sustainability and resilience of the business, while also ensuring its services remain cost-effective and best practice.

The company has applied these same foundational goals of sustainability and innovation to the medical waste industry through its Med-X Healthcare Solutions brand.

Shred-X and Med-X have continued to invest in technology and innovation that support the reduction of landfill and promote recycling, even amid essential operations during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Karas says Med-X operations ramped up during the COVID-19 pandemic, spotlighting the company’s investment in robotic technology to encourage human contact-less waste disposal and recovery.

“Plastic is infinitely recyclable and we like to think if people choose us, they know they’re part of a sustainable chain that positively impacts the wider community and environment,” he says.

On the other hand, the e-waste sector has its challenges. Shred-X pioneered IT asset management, destruction and recycling solutions when Australian businesses were beginning to go paperless.

“People thought we were just taking their paper and not doing anything with it, but beyond secure shredding, we’ve been a firm leader in removing all information contained on electronic and IT assets and responsibly recycling or repurposing the end components.”

As more offices convert to digital only businesses, Shred-X has been continually exploring further opportunities with ewaste, textile and fibre recycling and repurposing partners, plastic product developers and waste-to-energy processors.

“Shred-X works with our partners to recycle all electronic components of ewaste including precious metals, glass and plastic, as well as repurposing assets once the confidential information contained on the assets is removed,” he says.

“We’ve been led to so many avenues from beginning with just pieces of paper. Our exploration of sustainable recycling and destruction is undertaken in the most ethically responsible manner, to suit even the most stringent sustainability targets and government regulations.”

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Repurposed fuel to the fire: Alvan Blanch

The material drying process is essential to improving efficiency. Robust systems by Alvan Blanch are repurposing materials to benefit Australian industries beyond the waste sector.

Cement is primarily used for concrete, the world’s second most consumed material after water.

It’s no secret that concrete has one of the highest CO2 emissions of all building materials, making it a focal point for companies looking to innovate and experiment with its production and application in construction, while decreasing its environmental impact.

Brandown Resource Recovery Centre in NSW was approached by Boral in 2018 to help them explore opportunities to integrate solid waste derived fuels (SWDFs) into the heat energy process at Boral’s Berrima Cement Works.

Typically, SWDFs are made from materials which would have been destined for landfills, space for which comes at a premium in the populated areas of NSW.

As the state expects to reach its landfill capacity in the next 10-15 years, exploring repurposed fuel will positively contribute to the NSW 20-Year Waste Strategy, set out by the state government.

Located in the Southern Highlands region of NSW, the Boral Berrima Cement Works produces up to 60 per cent of total cement products consumed within the state.

Wood Waste-Derived Fuel (WWDF) was added to the site’s planning approval for use in 2016.

WWDF consists of the off-cuts and leftovers of processes working with wood, such as furniture manufacturing.

By the end of 2018, when Brandown was utilising its Alvan Blanch Materials Conveyor Drier (CD) for Boral’s WWDF, the NSW site’s SWDF system was functioning at a rate of 20,000 tonnes per year of WWDF.

During the present 2019-20 financial year, the site aimed to increase its annual SWDF usage rate to 75,000 tonnes per year. It is projected that the target of 100,000 tonnes per year could be reached as early as 2021.

Woodchip drying is a vital part of biomass fuel production which adds to bio solid fuel quality.

A Biomass Energy Centre study indicates that the wetter the intake fuel is, the less responsively the boiler operates. Therefore, the drying process becomes essential to improving woodchip usage efficiency.

Terry Martin, General Manager at Brandown recycling facility, says it was vital to find a CD that met the specific drying requirements set by Boral, as well as being an overall economically viable system.

Martin travelled over 16,000 kilometres to the other side of the world to investigate CD machinery operations.

Following two site inspections in London, England to see the CD’s in action, the Alvan Blanch UK team flew to NSW to assist installing Brandown’s CD in mid-2018.

According to Jim Duncan, Queensland based Manager at Alvan Blanch Australia, Brandown had done a lot of market research and were primarily after a system that reduced moisture in a quick and simple manner.

Duncan credits Alvan Blanch CD’s simplicity as the winning factor that inclined Brandown to order the system within weeks of the company’s initial machinery inspection.

He says the running cost of annual maintenance is very minimal compared to other systems, which is appealing for clients such as Brandown, who are churning tens of thousands of tonnes of material at a rapid pace.

“It’s an extremely robust system and I think the team at Brandown recognised the benefits of a fully automated system, that could integrate into their existing process,” Duncan says.

Once the Alvan Blanch team understood Brandown’s requirements, Alvan Blanch looked further into the heating system to ensure it was as effective as possible.

For Brandown’s specific woodchip drying needs, to be repurposed into WWDF, Alvan Blanch ensured the system’s heat exchange collaborated with their external electricity generation system, which is powered by diesel generators.

“The system is designed to recover some heat from the generation island on site within the CD, allowing the Brandown crew to control the temperature and reduce moisture from its material,” Duncan says.

According to Duncan, reducing moisture from materials is becoming an interesting consideration for Australian waste and manufacturing companies,which is why robust systems are crucial to meet material requirements.

He says more companies are expressing interest in reallocating human resources into smart machinery following the recent pandemic.

“A lot of people are curious about what they need to do in terms of machinery that can be customised to its materials requirements,” Duncan says.

Most recently, Alvan Blanch has been approached by a client in far north Queensland that is interested in a CD for a material the company had never worked with before, all Australian banana waste.

Queensland accounts for 94 per cent of Australia’s banana production. Duncan says that Alvan Blanch’s client is recovering waste from banana production and processing lines and repurposing the content from its CD system as animal feed to the agriculture sector.

“From helping clients service Australia’s largest infrastructure projects to the nation’s largest mammals, it’s safe to say we’re continuing to supply engineered systems that are designed to meet any expectation.”

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Endeavour Awards winners for 2020 announced

The winners of Australia’s most prestigious manufacturing awards have been announced, featuring a high calibre of companies sharing their innovative ideas, technologies and products.

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