Waste export bans alone won’t drive resource recovery

Waste export bans won’t deliver the National Waste Policy Action Plan resource recovery targets unless recycled materials are used in packaging, products and infrastructure, writes Rose Read, CEO of the National Waste and Recycling Industry Council.

Led by the Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley, state and territory environment ministers agreed at their recent meeting on a timeline for COAG’s waste export bans and signed off on the National Waste Policy Action Plan.

The proposed waste export bans in large are being introduced to reduce harm to human health and the environment overseas. But the likelihood of them delivering the 80 per cent resource recovery target by 2030, or the 70 per cent plastics recovery rate by 2025 on their own is low.

To achieve these resource recovery targets, the demand to use recovered materials locally needs to be fast tracked.

The environment ministers commitment on the 8th November to identify significant procurement opportunities such as major road projects that could use recycled material is a good start. As is prioritising work to develop specifications and standards for the use of recycled materials in building, construction and infrastructure development.

However, this will only increase demand for glass and crumbed tyres. It won’t increase the demand for recovered plastic, paper and cardboard locally.

What is needed to create markets for plastics, paper and cardboard is legally requiring packaging companies, manufacturers and retailers to increase the proportion of recovered materials in packaging put onto the Australian market, including imports, as most of these materials come from overseas.

Some may say that manufacturers have already committed to this. But evidence to date suggests this is limited to one or two global brands that cover less than 40 per cent of the packaging market.

Likewise, none of the major supermarkets have committed to increase the proportion of recycled content in the packaged products they sell. Nor is there any commitment to indicate the level of recycled content on packaging to give consumers the choice to buy recycled.

On the phased timings proposed to implement the export ban:

The NWRIC considers the timeline for mixed plastics is insufficient for industry to purchase and install equipment, especially as there are limited markets.

The timeframe should be extended to match the 2025 APCO recycle content target. If the government wants this to progress more quickly, manufacturers should be required to meet specific plastic recycled content targets sooner.

The NWRIC also does not support the banning of single resin/polymer plastics that have not been processed (e.g. cleaned and baled PET), nor the banning of baled paper and cardboard. Both these recyclates have legitimate overseas markets, clearly demonstrating they are value added products that will not have a negative impact on human health or the environment.

To give government confidence that there will be no harm to human health and the environment overseas, exporters should be able to verify their downstream pathways and material recovery rates with the aid of third-party audits.

Submissions in response to the government’s discussion paper on implementing the banning exports of waste plastic, paper, glass and tyres discussion paper are due by 3 December 2019.

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ACOR launches NSW recycling app

The Australian Council of Recycling (ACOR) and the NSW Government have launched a recycling app to help the state improve resource recovery rates.

ACOR CEO Pete Shmigel said Recycle Mate identifies what suburb a user is in and provides tailored information to each council’s recycling collection system.

“It’s like having a huge recycling guidebook in your pocket – it’s the most comprehensive recycling app of its kind,” Mr Shmigel said.

“The app’s database is constantly being updated – more items are added every day as users photograph their waste and recycling. That means that everyone who downloads and uses the app is helping us to make it even better.”

Environment Minister Matt Kean said the app will simplify the recycling process.

“NSW has been recycling for more than 30 years, but with a changing landscape we need to be even more careful with what goes in our recycling bins, and this app will help us achieve that,” Mr Kean said.

“This app will make recycling easier, and more importantly, it will help sort our waste, which ultimately means more items can be recovered and reused, as we move closer to closing the loop and creating a circular economy.”

Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock said the NSW Government is committed to helping the state’s 128 councils increase recycling rates.

“This app will keep recycling front of mind for residents across the state and help make local communities cleaner and greener,” Ms Hancock said.

“The government will continue to work closely with local councils to reduce waste and strengthen recycling.”

The project was supported with a $350,000 grant from the NSW EPA’s Waste Less, Recycle More initiative.

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Sussan Ley warns against ‘greenwashing’ recycling

Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley says a meeting with the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (CGIQ) QLD branch has highlighted the importance of practical recycling initiatives, and the risks of ‘greenwashing’ recycling.

Greenwashing refers to a form of marketing that deceptively persuades the public that an organisation’s products and practices are environmentally friendly.

According to Ms Ley, greenwashing gives Australian consumers a false sense of assurance around recycling.

“Today I was joined by Assistant Minister Trevor Evans and a number of small to medium-sized businesses at the CGIQ headquarters in Brisbane, to identify the issues particular to their sector and the ways we can work together to build a circular economy that is less wasteful and more resourceful,” Ms Ley said.

Ms Ley said business participants said it was important to identify and develop recycling streams that people could see were delivering real outcomes

“Everyone accepts achieving these deadlines (export ban) is going to be a journey rather than an overnight outcome, and the commitment to work together is gathering momentum,” Ms Ley said.

“An example today was retailers seeking a common national standard to ensure that a reusable plastic bag is genuinely reusable, and that consumers are not buying products thinking they can be recycled when they can’t.”

Ms Ley said the Australasian Recycling Label is a step in the right direction, and would soon be carried by more and more products.

“A discussion paper on the waste ban timetable and growth opportunities to remanufacture our waste into recycled product has been circulated to industry, and consultation will continue in the lead up to COAG confirming the export phase out,” Ms Ley said.

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APCO hosts annual sustainable packaging awards

Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management Trevor Evans has reaffirmed the Federal Government’s commitment to drive the delivery of the 2025 National Packaging Targets.

Speaking to an audience of 180 at this year’s Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) Awards in Melbourne, Mr Evans congratulated APCO on its progress thus far.

Going “off script” Mr Evans told attendees that before entering politics he served as the National Retail Association’s CEO.

“It’s fair to say that all those years ago, APCO had a mixed reputation, as it looked to take the next steps in its journey,” Mr Evans said.

“I think I can be blunt in saying that under Sam and Brooke’s Leadership it has found direction and all of the passion and drive that it needs to take APCO into the future.”

APCO CEO Brooke Donnelly expressed similar sentiments, telling the crowd that over the covenant’s 20 years there had been both good and bad moments.

“Especially over the last two or three years, it’s been a very challenging time. There was a time where we weren’t sure we would be here this evening, that we wouldn’t be able to continue to do the work that we do,” Ms Donnelly said.

“But we’ve managed to come back from that and find a way forward – a way that is so much more progressive, that is acknowledging the contribution that industry can make, and how industry and government can work together collectively in this space.”

Ms Donnelly added that much of that work came to fruition with the 2025 National Packaging Targets.

“We went to the MEM meeting in April 2018, and got asked a very big question: we’ve got this problem, it’s called the China National Sword, what can we do about that?” Ms Donnelly said.

Ms Donnelly said National Sword represents a tipping point and a time where APCO as an organisation, and Australia as a country, had rethink its approach to waste and resource recovery.

“Kudos to the Australian Government for agreeing on a target – just one guiding light to get us where we need to be, and to empower and endorse APCO to be able to do the work to get us there,” she said.

This year’s APCO Annual Awards took place on the organisations 20th anniversary and showcased businesses leading the way in sustainable packaging design and innovation across 18 separate categories.

“Tonight marks the 20th anniversary of APCO, and reflecting on the importance of the organisation’s work, it might just be the time to put our heads together this evening and think about a more exciting name for your awards night,” Mr Evans joked.

The assistant minister said that if politics had taught him anything, it was the importance of selling your message. He then made two suggestions, the “Pulitzer Prize for Packaging” and the “Walkley’s for Waste”.

According to Ms Donnelly, finalists and winners were selected based on their performance in sustainable packaging design, recycling initiatives and product stewardship programs to develop sustainable supply chains.

The event’s premier award, Sustainable Packaging Excellence, went to supply chain specialists CHEP, for their work delivering a global reusable packaging model.

BioPak took out the Outstanding Achievement in Leadership Award for its commitment to sustainability initiatives, including the development of compostable packaging for single-use food service items.

This year’s event also featured two new categories – High Performing New Member, which went to Marechal Australia, and the APCO Sustainability Champion Award, a category recognising individual achievement.

The Sustainability Champion Award went to Endeavour Drinks Quality and Sustainability Manager Diarmaid O’Mordha.

Mr O’Mordha was recognised for his commitment to improving packaging sustainability across the wine industry supply chain, and working in partnership with APCO to develop the Sustainable Packaging Guidelines for the beverage industry.

“All of tonight’s winners and finalists have demonstrated industry leadership and excellence in sustainable packaging,” Ms Donnelly said.

“While these initiatives represent different approaches to this challenge – research, design, innovation or collaboration – what they collectively demonstrate is that Australian industry is driving forward with the positive business case for sustainable packaging.”

In his keynote address, Mr Evan’s also touched on the Federal Government’s plans and policy priorities in the wider waste and resource recovery space.

“This is an area of policy that has very quickly gone from zero to hero, and in a short period of time we are seeing that rapid transition. These issues take centre stage in the national conversation,” he said.

Mr Evans added that for too long, government’s across Australia have not be sufficiently forward thinking when it comes to waste.

“It is defiantly the case that the policies that have been brought to the table in the last few years have been diverging in all sorts of directions,” Mr Evans said.

“I’m sure many of you in this room wouldn’t need convincing about the need for harmonisation and national leadership across all of the jurisdictions and all the levels of government.”

In reference to the COAG export ban, Mr Evans said that while the phased ban represents a significant step forward, it needs to be backed up by a series of simultaneous policy changes.

“We need appropriate funding that will drive the investments that we need to see in Australia, to create confidence and certainty to help industry make those investments,” he said.

“The achievements on show tonight demonstrate the strength of Australian industry’s leadership on the sustainable packaging issue.”

The 2019 APCO Awards winners are:

• Sustainable Packaging Excellence- CHEP Australia
• Outstanding Achievement in Industry Leadership- BioPak
• Outstanding Achievement in Packaging Design- Panasonic Australia
• Outstanding Achievement in Sustainable Packaging Operations- Amgen Australia
• APCO Sustainability Champion- Diarmaid O’Mordha
• High Performing New Member- Marechal Australia
• Chemicals & Agriculture Sector- LyondellBasell Australia
• Clothing, Footwear & Fashion Sector- Hugo Boss Australia
• Electronics Sector- Dell Australia
• Food & Beverage Sector- Red Rooster Foods
• Homewares Sector- LEGO Australia
• Large Retailer Sector- Coles Supermarkets Australia
• Logistics Sector- CHEP Australia
• Machinery & Hardware Sector- RYCO Group
• Packaging Manufacturer Sector- Detmold Packaging
• Personal Care Sector- ABC Tissue Products
• Pharmaceuticals Sector- Amgen Australia
• Telecommunications Sector- SingTel Optus

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Recycled plastic used to resurface Melbourne streets

The City of Melbourne is using plastic previously destined for landfill to resurface five prominent city streets.

According to Lord Mayor Sally Capp, the first road to be re-surfaced with asphalt made with recycled plastic was Flinders Street, with works occurring between Exhibition Street and Spring Street in October.

“We collect 11,000 tonnes of residential recycling each year. Using a mix of plastic to resurface our streets is one way we can support the circular economy and reduce landfill,” Ms Capp said.

“The paving on these historically significant streets will look exactly the same as any other street. The difference is that using plastic in the asphalt creates demand for recycled products.”

Sections of Anderson Street in South Yarra have also been resurfaced, with further works on Alexandra Avenue to be completed this week.

Ms Capp said works will also be completed on sections of Spring Street next year, between Little Collins Street and Little Bourke Street and Flinders Street and Collins Street.

Deputy Lord Mayor Arron Wood said the paving consists of 50 per cent recycled plastics and other recyclable materials such as slag aggregates and recycled asphalt products, with the remaining made of virgin materials.

Mr Wood said the trial will allow the city to assess whether it can use more recycled materials and plastic for road resurfacing.

“The City of Melbourne uses 10,000 tonnes of asphalt annually, and we resurfaced eight kilometres of road last year. This trial will help us understand whether it’s possible to use recycled plastic in more of our major projects,” Mr Wood said.

“By using recycled plastic and other recycled materials on our roads we’re creating more sustainable infrastructure and showing there are local markets for recycled materials.”

The trial is a joint initiative from the City of Melbourne, its subsidiary Citywide, and the Citywide North Melbourne Asphalt Plant, with plastic waste sourced from metropolitan Melbourne.

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Acquisitions in the spotlight part two: Cleanaway

Waste Management Review talks to some of Australia’s largest waste management companies about the role of scalability in the future of the waste sector. 

This article is the second in a three part series featuring Bingo Industries, Cleanaway, Corio Waste Management and SUEZ. 

With more than 300 sites, 115 prized infrastructure assets and around 6000 employees and 4950 vehicles, Cleanaway is Australia’s largest waste management company. 

At the heart of its approach to scaling up and supporting Australia’s recycling woes is Cleanaway’s Footprint 2025 strategy – a plan to significantly grow its infrastructure by 2025. Launched in 2015, Footprint 2025 continues to expand.

It’s already done so in 2019 with a new waste transfer station and resource recovery facility in Sydney licensed to process 300,000 tonnes of putrescible waste per annum. In addition, its recent infrastructure moves also include a new South East Melbourne Organics Facility, a 50 per cent stake in ResourceCo’s process engineered fuel facility in Sydney and a transfer station in Perth.

Official data on market share is difficult to come by, but CEO Vik Bansal estimates the company controls around the mid to high 20 per cent of the total waste management market.

Its annual report shows the integration of Toxfree is on track to achieve a $35 million synergy target by June 2020. Cleanaway’s acquisition of Toxfree in 2018 was unopposed by the ACCC and concluded that increased vertical integration would be unlikely to substantially lessen competition due to competitive constraints imposed by alternative suppliers.

The official review shows customers can and do disaggregate contracts if they are dissatisfied with pricing and/or service levels. Likewise, there are other large suppliers present in multiple waste streams and geographical areas throughout Australia.

Cleanaway’s net revenue, which represents gross revenue less landfill levies collected and passed through the customer, increased by 35 per cent in 2018-19 to $2.11 billion compared to the prior corresponding period. Its growth was driven by a combination of organic growth and the Toxfree acquisition.

“We have spent about $150 million building prized waste infrastructure across the country which includes transfer stations, resource recovery centres, used oil refinery and liquid, hazardous and non-hazardous waste processing facilities organically and via the acquisition of Toxfree,” Vik says.

Its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation increased 34 per cent to $433.7 million in 2018-19 due to improved profit performances across solid waste services, industrial and waste services and liquid waste and health services. In its annual report, Cleanaway highlights itself as having an excellent balance sheet with debt ratios well within banking covenant requirements.

The annual report declares volatility in the commodities supply chain has led to increased sorting costs and instability in commodity pricing. Vik has often maintained Australia’s recycling crisis presents an opportunity rather than a threat to the viability of the sector.

“It is the right thing for the waste industry in Australia and in general. There is something not right about waste going to developing countries and them sorting it out. We just don’t want that to happen,” Vik says.

He says that being a publicly listed entity places additional pressure on Cleanaway as a company, but it’s a challenge it is pleased to take on.

“Because we are a listed entity and have to go to market every six months, our changes become a lot more visible than an international subsidiary or a company which is not listed,” he says.

The positive side effect of market fluctuations is that Cleanaway has fast-tracked much of its Footprint 2025 strategy to support the local marketplace.

Following the collapse of SKM Recycling Group, Cleanaway Waste Management acquired the senior secured debt in the group for around $60 million with the exception of its glass recovery services business. This includes the property, plant and equipment from a network of five recycling sites, comprising three materials recovery facilities (MRFs), a transfer station in Victoria and a MRF in Tasmania. SKM also has two sites in South Australia.

KordaMentha have been appointed the receivers of the group. At the time of Waste Management Review’s interview with Vik, Cleanaway was looking to acquire the assets and return them to a sustainable footing as part of the sale process being undertaken by the receivers.

Prior to the publication date, Cleanaway was successful in its bid for SKM assets with completion of the process on track for the end of October. One of its sites in the network includes an advanced plastic sorting facility in Victoria.

Commenting on the acquisition, Vik said significant progress had been made in clearing waste stockpiles from the sites, repairing plant and equipment and bringing the sites to required safety, environmental and operational standards.

“We expect to gradually restore operations in Victoria over the coming months,” he said.

Speaking to Waste Management Review, Vik agrees some systematic changes are needed to support the future viability of the industry. However, he concedes collection will be difficult to consolidate due to the low barriers to entry.

“There is something fundamentally wrong about the industry structure. Aside from Visy, there is not even a single big waste management player which is upstream and vertically integrated. There is not even a single big waste management player in commingled recycling in Victoria.

“China’s National Sword has triggered the industry structure to go back on a balanced, even, long-term sustainable footing and hence our interest in SKM assets.”

“A company like Cleanaway cannot have a Footprint 2025 strategy flowing through without commingled assets in Victoria. That is part and parcel of a vertically integrated waste management company.”

It was speculated that Cleanaway was interested in buying SKM’s glass recycling business not covered by the receivership. Vik says that while Cleanaway was initially interested in this, the acquisition is now in doubt given the scale of glass stockpiles.

Instead, should Cleanaway acquire SKM’s assets, Vik says Cleanaway will look at building its own glass beneficiation plant.

He says that Cleanaway’s future focus will be to become a downstream processor.

“We see ourselves investing in plastic pelletising and going downstream on glass crushers,” Vik says.

Vik says that Cleanaway’s view is that Australia needs to move to a harmonised national four-bin system with mandatory FOGO and glass bins the key to improving commodity value.

“We are ready to invest a lot more in different parts of the country if we can see that certainty of policy and harmonisation,” he says, adding there is a fair amount of Footprint 2025 still to be revealed.

Likewise, he says that whenever Cleanaway invests, it looks at the entire value chain, including location, policy framework and its total market share.

Vik says that each state should have a container deposit scheme but recognises it might be difficult to harmonise all at a national level.

He says this system would then become best practice through better education, investment in infrastructure and manufacturer and consumer acceptance of recycled material as the final piece of the circular economy puzzle. 

Footprint 2025 is going from strength to strength as Cleanaway in October announced a joint venture with Macquarie Capital’s Green Investment Group to develop a waste-to-energy (WtE) project in Western Sydney.

A site has been acquired for a potential facility in Eastern Creek and an environmental impact statement is being prepared and released for public consultation early next year. The site is expected to cut Western Sydney’s annual landfill volumes by 500,000 tonnes – almost a third of the red bin waste generated per year in the local area.

CONSOLIDATION DEBATE

Trevor Thornton is a lecturer in hazardous materials management at Deakin University and has prior experience with the Environment Protection Authority Victoria.

He says the metropolitan areas certainly benefit, but one concern would be whether the same level of service is afforded to regional areas.

“I’ve heard some issues about large companies that get a statewide contract but just outsource a lot of the more distant rural areas under their banner, but they don’t get the same service to the client.

“But I think in the main, if you’ve got five or six companies offering the complete service, I think that’s a good thing.”

Likewise, he believes the purchase of ailing companies such as SKM can only be a good thing, and that if additional oversight is required, that would be a matter for the ACCC.

He says the trend towards consolidation in Australia would mirror that of other more populous nations such as the US, Canada and parts of Europe.

Corio Waste Management CEO Mathew Dickens

Mathew Dickens, CEO of Corio Waste Management, a family-owned business focused on waste collection and organic waste treatment based in Geelong, sees an opportunity from consolidation to compete with the major players.

“Consolidation does lead to less competition, but it can also mean the acquirer has more to lose as you have most of the market share and that can only go in one direction, but for companies my size it creates opportunity,” he says. 

Mathew says with further consolidation, Corio can aim to compete on service standards, respond quickly to changing customer requirements and provide a point of difference as a family-owned business.

“From a customer perspective it [further consolidation] would mean less choice and higher prices, and that’s not a problem for us as we don’t compete on the basis of price. We know what our costs are because we measure and analyse them all the time,” he says.

He says that Corio tends to focus on what it can offer in terms of variety and frequency of service, collection standards and customer service.

Mathew says the recent consolidations are nothing new but rather history repeating itself in an industry cycle where consolidation inspires new entrants into the industry.

In the US, integrated companies such as Waste Management Inc, Clean Harbors, Republic Services and Advanced Disposal dominate the market.

Mathew points out that Republic Services is an example of smaller operators merging to become a larger organisation, a trend that could always repeat itself locally.   

Republic Services is one of the largest providers of non-hazardous solid waste and owns around 207 transfer stations and 190 landfills, according to Superperformance SAS data.

He says there will still be room for niche, specialised operations that handle smaller volumes.

“If there is going to be a remanufacturing industry that’s developed onshore, you need to spread that risk,” he says.

Mathew says that Corio remains focused on growing its organic waste collections in Geelong and Melbourne treated at its composting facility
based in Shepparton.

“We want to build tunnel composting facilities in other regions in Victoria. It relies on government contracts, but we’re confident we can make it happen,” he says.

Next week’s instalment features an interview with SUEZ CEO Mark Venhoek. 

Click here to read part one

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Graham Lusty Trailers wins product innovation award

Graham Lusty Trailer’s (GLT) new high volume side tipper was awarded the Eastern Region and National Product Innovation Award by the Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia (HVIA).

Aimed specifically at the waste transfer and high volume markets, the trailer made its international debut at the Brisbane Truck Show in 2019.

GLT Chief Executive Officer Graham Lusty said the company is pleased to be recognised for its design efforts by the HVIA.

“Three separate companies have trialled our prototype trailer over the past four months with wood chip, green waste and general waste,” Mr. Lusty said.

“Feedback has been extremely positive and we are now ready to launch into production.”

HVIA Chief Executive Officer Todd Hacking said the judging panel recognised how the trailer’s centre of mass stays within the foot print of the wheel base through the tipping cycle, while achieving a tipping angle of 47 degrees.

“HVIA’s members are at the forefront of design, innovation and research and development, to make the heavy vehicle industry safe, more productive and sustainable,” Mr Hacking said.

“HVIA congratulates Queensland based Graham Lusty Trailers for their ongoing quest to think outside of the square, and to do so in ways that improves safety and productivity.”

GLT Chief Operating Officer James Yerbury said GLT wished to thank the HVIA judges for the award.

“Our high volume side tippers are a module design. Each unit can be easily customised to suit the application, whether it’s low impact product such as wood chip, all the way through to high impact builders’ waste,” Mr Yerbury said.

“Another manufacturer has controlled this market sector for years, so we are pleased to offer a lighter and safer alternative to industry operators.”

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ACT Bins’ hooklift manufacturing

ACT Bins manufactures hooklift bins in various sizes from four cubic metres up to 40 with four-five and six-millimetre walls. This aims to provide superior strength and durability.

According to ACT Bins, its bins are some of the strongest on the market, with floors, doors and rows of 100 by 80 millimetres and a 100-by-100-millimetre channel down the sides and under the floor.

All the reinforcing joins along both sides are fully welded and have a 10-millimetre plate added to each side of the joins for extra strength.

ACT Bins uses a 50-millimetre steel shaft for the hooklift pin and 22-millimetre side plates and 10-millimetre gussets to reinforce the front A-frame.

The door hinges are 30-millimetre steel shafts. The locking mechanism has 12-millimetre steel plates. For extra security, the company notes a ratchet lock can also be added at minimal cost.

Both sides of the bin have 100-millimetre chamfers along the full length of the floor to help reduce dirt or contents build-up.

As an optional extra, the company can accommodate any AS2700 colour choice with two top coats of high-quality industrial enamel paint. Stencilling and welded serial numbers can also be arranged.

All bins are welded to Australian standards and available with a range of modifications to suit a customer’s requirements, such as rated crane lift pad eyes, oversize fork pockets and top swing watertight doors.

Concentrating contaminants: CDE

CDE’s Daniel Webber explains how high-pressure filtration and decontamination can increase the resale potential of construction and demolition waste.

The NSW EPA’s new construction and demolition (C&D) waste guidelines, released April 2019, highlight environmental risk via contamination and poor recycling processes as a core concern.

Daniel Webber, CDE’s Regional Manager for Australasia, says the presence of contaminants in the C&D stream is particularly significant, given one of the material’s major resale markets is road base.

“If the material used in road base contains heavy metals or polycyclic-aromatic hydrocarbons, which are known to be carcinogenic, those materials can leach out and penetrate the water table, and once they enter the water table, they can potentially contaminate drinking water,”
Daniel says.

For CDE, an international materials wet processing design and manufacture company, eliminating contaminants in C&D waste is critical to market viability.

“One of the first things we noticed when we first began working with the C&D waste sector was that there are no completely pure C&D sites.

“They all drag contaminated soil in eventually, and when there are no clean sites, there’s no clean materials. CDE quickly learned that this was something we needed to address with our clients.”

A central challenge to addressing the issue, Daniel says, is the variability of C&D contamination regulations across jurisdictions.    

“Conflicting regulations range from waste levy rates, urban development and state planning zones, to contaminant levels and disposal requirements,” he explains.

“We need to be across all the various legislative requirements and, as such, prioritise working in partnership with our clients to achieve that.”

According to Daniel, leachate is a focal point when dealing with C&D. He adds that because of the location of most C&D plants, large tailing ponds are often unfeasible.

“C&D is not like virgin mining or quarrying, which happens in the outer suburbs or the regions. Most construction sites are in metropolitan areas,” he says.

“To minimise transportation costs and therefore maintain resource recovery practicality, a lot of resource recovery also happens in metropolitan areas, meaning operators have to be much more cognisant of the contaminant problem.”

To remove contaminants, CDE facilitates two separate processing methods, both of which can be customised to suit individual client needs. Daniel adds that contaminants include anything from unwanted material such a plaster board and heavy metals, to dangerous chemicals such as PFAS.

“To wash and process contaminated C&D material, CDE designs plants that push contaminants into a tertiary water body for filtration, or alternatively, into sludge for processing via filter press technology,” Daniel says.

“When a client chooses the filter press option, their material is passed through mesh under extremely high pressure to produce a dry filter cake, which is then discharged into a bay below the filter press enclosure.”

Daniel says the filter press method allows CDE-designed plants to salvage 90 per cent of the original feedstock material.

“If a client is running a 200-tonne-per hour plant, with feeds coming through the front end, CDE equipment can concentrate existing contaminants into 20-tonne-per-hour of feed material.

“That means 180 tonnes of material can be repurposed and put straight back into the market as clean construction material.”

Additionally, Daniel says by concentrating contaminants, operators can save on landfill charges and prevent extra investment in waste storage equipment. Effectively removing contaminants also requires high-energy scrubbing and dewatering cyclone systems.

“By introducing CDE technology, plant operators can eliminate the need for settling ponds, reduce the space required to accommodate a washing plant and maximise water recycling.”

CDE’s minimum target, Daniel says, is an 80 per cent recovery rate, designing plants to increase traditionally unusable recycled sand and aggregates for multiple resale applications.

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MWRRG develops Sustainability Hub business case

Business cases for an Inner Metropolitan Sustainability Hub and Western Waste and Recycling Centre of Excellence have identified opportunities for a variety of sites.

The business cases, developed by the Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group (MWRRG) in collaboration with key stakeholders, were prepared to inform the Victorian Government’s upcoming Circular Economy Policy.

According to a MWRRG statement, the Inner Metropolitan Sustainability Hub business case investigates the creation of a sustainability hub in Fishermans Bend.

This includes informing them of opportunities for the construction of a water recycling plant, an anaerobic digester, a resource recovery centre, community facilities and additional space for private investment opportunities.

“The concept of a sustainability hub to co-locate all essential facilities sees major efficiencies in waste, water and energy use on a much smaller footprint,” the statement reads.

The second business case presents options for a Waste and Recycling Centre of Excellence in the western metropolitan region.

“The proposed Centre of Excellence is a small, multi-function innovation centre that would support communities, businesses, local government, and tertiary education providers to transition towards a circular economy through practical and scalable services,” the statement reads.

“This includes activities such as partnering businesses to trade priority waste streams, grant writing assistance, networking events and business workshops, assistance with research and development of circular economy projects, online resources and audits or material flow analyses.”

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