Endeavour Awards nominates TSA and Flexiroc initiative

Protectiflex, an innovative spray-on concrete made from used tyres that can protect buildings against blast, ballistics, impact and fire, has been short-listed for Australia’s most prestigious manufacturing awards.

The Endeavour Awards 2020, now in its 17th year, sees a high calibre of entrants representing Australia in an international capacity with innovative ideas, new technologies and the best in supply chain strategies.

In both good and challenging times, Australian manufacturing always has something to offer in terms of excellence and innovation.

Despite the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, this year’s finalists showcase what Australia has to offer the world in manufacturing.

This year, Tyre Stewardship Australia (TSA) and Flexiroc Australia are finalists for the Environmental Solution of the Year Award, which recognises companies based on how their development, technology or initiative has made a positive impact on environmental sustainability in manufacturing.

Sprayed Protectiflex is a blast and ballistic mitigating cementitious building product comprised of Tyre Derived Product aggregate. It is manufactured by a conventional concrete batching plant and applied as a sprayed concrete-like material.

According to Flexiroc Managing Director Gary Bullock, Protectiflex is a one-stop solution that can be sprayed on buildings and structures to strengthen and protect them – and the people within them – from explosions, weapons and ballistics attacks, forced entry and fire.

“When subjected to extreme blasts, ballistics and impact, conventional concrete masonry materials can create deadly shrapnel,” he said.

“We saw a need to create an innovative, eco-friendly and cost-effective concrete-like material to meet security and safety design.”

Roughly 56 million tyres go to waste every year in Australia, with only 40 million repurposed, TSA Chief Executive Lina Goodman said.

“It is the role of TSA to work with organisations like Flexiroc and products like Protectiflex to see more rubber crumb being used in alternate markets,” she said.

“To be nominated as a finalist is such an honour and the innovation behind this product is incredible. Imagine using used tyres within walls of buildings to protect the structure and help save lives.”

The National Tyre Product Stewardship Scheme, implemented by TSA, works to reduce the environmental, health and safety impacts of the 56 million tyres that reach the end of their life in Australia every year.

The voluntary scheme consists of representatives from across the tyre supply chain including retailers, manufacturers, auto-brands, recyclers and collectors.

TSA has committed $5 million to a wide range of Australian projects using waste tyres including ProtectiFlex, roads, horse racing tracks, car parks, sporting grounds and playgrounds.

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Measuring essential temperatures: FLIR Systems Australia

With a commitment to corporate responsibility, FLIR Systems Australia will prioritise the delivery of its new line of thermal imaging cameras to operators responding to COVID-19.

In the wake of COVID-19, industry consensus is clear: waste management is an essential service.

While legislative recognition is still a matter of debate, waste management operators across the country are committed to maintaining their services for councils, businesses and the wider community in challenging times.

Despite the altruism of this commitment, individuals working in the waste management space, much like their medical and food service counterparts, are having to forego self-isolation.

As such, Sean Towner, FLIR Systems Australia Sales Manager Instruments, says it’s now more important than ever to prioritise appropriate health and safety monitoring.

He adds that by doing so, businesses can protect their workers and stave off potential operational disruptions.

“Like all businesses, FLIR have had to adjust our operations in light of the current COVID-19 situation. That said, we also felt it paramount to use our technological innovation expertise to help the international community adapt,” Sean says.

The result, he explains, is FLIR’s A400/A700 Thermal Smart Sensor and Thermal Image Streaming fixed camera – launched 31 March this year.

“FLIR’s thermal imaging technology has been used in waste facilities across the globe for fire prevention for over 40 years. From warehouses to recycling sites and waste to energy facilities, FLIR understands that protecting one’s site from damage is integral to keeping insurance premiums down,” Sean says.

“With the new A400/A700 line, we’ve built upon that existing technology to provide an efficient screening solution for monitoring equipment, production lines, critical infrastructure, and importantly, skin temperatures.”

The highly configurable smart camera systems provide accurate, non-contact temperature monitoring across a wide range of disciplines including waste management, emissions monitoring, facility maintenance and environmental, health and safety regulation.

According to Sean, delivery of the FLIR A400/A700 Thermal Smart Sensor solution will be initially prioritised for operators and companies responding to COVID-19.

“As the world works together to face the global COVID-19 pandemic, FLIR will prioritise initial deliveries of this new A-series camera to professionals using it in elevated skin temperature screening, as an adjunct to other elevated body temperature screening tools to help to fight the spread of the virus,” he says.

With multi-image streaming, edge computing and Wi-Fi connectivity, Sean says the range can help speed up data flow. This, he adds, improves productivity and safety for all operations and applications.

“FLIR designed the A400/A700 cameras with two configurations to better meet application-specific needs,” Sean says.

“The Thermal Smart Sensor configuration, recommended for measuring elevated skin temperatures, incorporates advanced measurement tools and alarms with edge computing to enable faster critical decision making.”

Furthermore, the Image Streaming configuration provides multiple thermal streaming capabilities to help optimise process control, improve quality assurance or identify potential failures that could shut down facility operations.

“Users can design their systems by choosing either the Smart Sensor or Imaging Streaming configurations, selecting either the A400 or A700 camera body based on the resolutions they need, and then adding lenses and a range of optional features to fit their application,” Sean says.

The smart sensor range also includes options to adjust measurements and alarms based on a reference temperature source, with advance image quality up to 307,200 pixels and a measurement accuracy of +/- 2°C.

Sean adds that with multiple field-of-view choices, multi-streaming capabilities, motorised focus control and optional compressed radiometric streaming over Wi-Fi, FLIR’s fixed-mount camera solutions can tackle complex remote monitoring objectives.

“The camera’s remote monitoring capabilities are an added value when considering how many people are currently working from home,” he says.

“Easy configuration also allows operators to tailor the monitoring system to their company’s quality, productivity, maintenance and safety needs.”

Through compressed radiometric streaming that cuts bandwidth, Sean says FLIR’s thermal streaming solution makes it possible to add multiple cameras without the cost of expanding infrastructure.

He adds that this is a significant advantage in light of current global economic challenges.

“Regardless of external circumstances, waste management operators are committed to getting the job done. This means it’s crucial we ensure both the personal health and wellbeing of operators and the maintenance and efficiency of their equipment,” he says.

For more information click here.

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CDS success story: Exchange for Change

Return and Earn has delivered exceptional results across litter reduction and participation since launching in 2017. Exchange for Change explains the five key factors behind the scheme’s success. 

Since Return and Earn launched in December 2017, a staggering 3.4 billion containers have been returned for recycling.

Millions of containers are now returned every single day and more than $1 million has been raised for charity and community groups through reverse vending machines (RVMs).

Put in perspective, prior to the scheme’s commencement, more than 160 million drink containers were littered across the state each year.

Since the scheme’s launch, litter from drink containers has reduced by an annual average of 40 per cent in NSW, supporting the NSW Government’s commitment to reduce overall litter by 40 per cent by 2020.

The Return and Earn scheme is delivered through collaboration with three partners.

The NSW Government who designed the scheme; Exchange for Change (EFC), the scheme coordinator, and TOMRA-Cleanaway who operate the network of return points.

Importantly, it is an excellent example of producer-responsibility, with the beverage industry funding the scheme and the community receiving a 10 cent refund when they return containers.

Since the launch of the scheme in December 2017, 3.4 billion containers have been reused or recycled.

CEO of Exchange for Change, Danielle Smalley says it’s the collaboration between the NSW Government, EFC, TOMRA-Cleanaway, and the beverage industry that drives great results.

“Return and Earn has fundamentally shifted people’s thinking around litter and waste. The community is no longer seeing containers as something you throw away, they’re actually seeing it as a valuable commodity,” she says.

She says that it’s the community that has really benefited from the success of Return and Earn. Danielle highlights that there has been a significant reduction in litter.

The scheme has also created significant opportunity for smaller and local businesses to play a role collecting containers as over the counter return points or automated depots. This also generates the potential for local job creation.

Last, but not least, the scheme shares the wins with everyone, including consumers, councils and charities.

More than $1 million has been raised for official donation partners listed on reverse vending machine return points since the scheme launched, and countless more funds raised for charities, schools and community groups through their own return and earn activity.

Public participation in Return and Earn is also very strong, with 59 per cent of NSW adults having participated in the scheme.

The majority – 78 per cent of these participants, which is nearly half the population of NSW, return containers every month or more.

Danielle says it’s repeated behaviour that is really important.

“There was initially awareness building and then when people started to engage, it was about getting them to make it habitual and Return and Earn has been successful on both fronts,” she says.

“A great deal of the repeated behaviour can be attributed to the excellent customer experience. It’s accessible, easy to return and there’s an instant refund, so people come back again and again.”

This positive experience has been driven by the customer-centric design of Return and Earn, which mandated that return points needed to be located at convenient locations in existing paths of travel for consumers.

These community access principles were central to the tendering process for the scheme. On the ground, the customer centricity is being delivered through TOMRA Cleanaway’s network of more than 635 convenient return points widely available across NSW.

These include over the counter, RVMs, automated depots and donation stations. Variations between the type of return point, whether it be cash refund, donation or voucher, and the quantities they accept also make it easier for the public to choose a return system that suits them best.

The scheme is also data-rich thanks to a strong technology foundation through TOMRA Connect, enabling scheme partners to respond to issues quickly and rapidly adapt to the needs of the customers.

For example, a live data feed is connected to the Return and Earn website and the myTOMRAapp, helping NSW consumers find the nearest return point and to quickly check availability before returning.

The network of return points also enables real-time monitoring of the scheme, helping identify the busiest points and enabling evidence-based decision making on possible future locations and how best to optimise network use.

At the time of writing, in response to COVID-19, consumers could access Return and Earn for returns if it was in line with the most recent advice from the NSW Government Public Health Order.

The network operator has been able to adapt to the unfolding situation, introducing ‘touch-free recycling’ at RVMs with no need for consumers to touch machines, alongside a range of extra measures to ensure participants follow government advice on good hygiene and maintaining social distancing.

Looking at the future, there is real potential for the model of partnerships and producer-led responsibility to help deliver the NSW Government’s vision for a circular economy.

For more information click here

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Smashing contamination: Woodlands

A trial in a local council park housing a bin with compostable dog waste bags has led to a less than one per cent contamination rate, showing promise for a wider roll-out.

In 2020, Andrew Wynne of Woodlands is counting his lucky stars that he stuck to 100 per cent Australian-made, as he says the ability to support locally made products is important now more than ever.

“Given the current climate and economic and social challenges we face, the more we can do to support local products and employment, the better,” Andrew says.

Based in Perth, Woodlands, which has been around for around 30 years, has been designing Australian-made litter receptacles and complementary products for more than a decade.

With demand for food and garden organics (FOGO) collection increasing, driven by WA’s push to a three-bin system, Andrew says a few years ago, the company saw a gap in the market for bins that would support compostable bags with minimal contamination.

A casual barbecue, long before the world of social distancing, saw Andrew come up with the name Doggie Dunnie – a bin that allows compostable dog waste bags to be collected and composted off-site.

The bin is threaded through a dog waste bin, ensuring no other waste contaminates the bins.

The compostable bag liner can then be taken and thrown straight into the green waste stream, preventing it from going to landfill.

The company offers both 55-litre capacity or 240-litre solo bin capacity – either a fixed galvanised liner or litter receptable, respectively.

Andrew says that with subsequent demand for compostable receptacles, one shire approached him late last year to accommodate a dog waste bag.

As part of a three-month dog waste trial project in a massive park in Port Elliot, green waste was collected for the first time in two green bins over December 2019 through to March 2020.

The headline result from the community-driven trial was a less than one per cent contamination rate with only two or three plastic bags found in the Doggie Dunnie.

The trial comprised a standard 240-litre wheelie bin that was locked and had a small round hole in the top lid with the 55-litre Doggie Dunnie bag inside.

Both green bins were weighted each week for 12 weeks and monitored for contamination for anything that was not a lime green compostable bag.

Around 121 kilograms of material in a wheelie bin was collected over 11 weeks, weighing an average of 11 kilograms per week.

Additionally, 65 kilograms collected in the Doggie Dunnie bin weighed an average of 5.9 kilograms per week, making the collective total of both bins 186 kilograms.

The number of rolls of compostable bags placed in the three dog park dispensers were also monitored before and during the trial.

Results show around 1000 bags were diverted from landfill in 12 weeks in conjunction with the dog waste collected, resulting in a positive and measurable outcome.

“The 240-litre unit can accommodate larger parks and we’re looking at rolling this out to a range of councils in WA and hopefully across the country,” he says.

For more information click here

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CEMAC’s range of Weima shredders

German Shredder manufacturer Weima, a world leader in shredding, chipping and briquetting solutions, builds over 1200 machines each year.

Weima has successfully supplied solutions across the globe, from large industry to small workshops.

The WL range covers the usual timber, wood, paper and plastics applications. They easily compete with lower-range pricing, but have the quality typical of a German machine.

CEMAC’s Weima WL 8 shredder

For applications requiring more advanced technologies, the WLK and WKS range features extra strength, hydraulic screen baskets, segmented floor, offset rotor bearings, bolted rotor flanges and many more options. Machines are available up to three metres in width.

The WKS uses a swing ram for material feeding and offers an inspection flap at the rear of the rotor for ease of maintenance access or quick removal of foreign objects.

For unsorted and highly contaminated streams of infeed material, the rotors are executed with the toughest hard facing materials and can be completely cased in Hardox sleeves.

Various drive options are available such as hydraulic drive, direct drive and power belt drive.

Applications range from small factory recycling right through to industrial scale plastics, wood and paper recycling, and large waste shredders for residue-derived fuels.

In Australia alone, Weima has over 100 installations in plastics recycling, wood recycling, joineries and residue-dervied fuels.

With such a wide range of know-how and applications, Weima is an industry leader contributing to resource recovery and the circular economy.

For more information click here.

Construction sector to prioritise recycled

Recycled First aims to bring a unified approach to the application of recycled materials on road infrastructure projects. Waste Management Review homes in on the program.

With Victoria’s big build delivering more than 100 road and rail projects across the state, there are significant opportunities to grow the use recycled and reusable materials in construction projects.

In early March, the Victorian Government announced the Recycled First program. Recycled First will build new requirements into future projects under the Major Transport Infrastructure Authority, with the goal of bringing a uniform approach to the use of recycled products.

The program will mean recycled and reused materials that meet existing standards, whether it be recycled aggregates, glass, plastic, timber, steel, reclaimed asphalt pavement or organics, take precedence over new materials.

The program complements the Victorian Government’s Recycling Victoria: A new economy policy, which includes the introduction of a four-bin system, supported by a planned Container Deposit Scheme (CDS), waste-to-energy investment and a dedicated waste authority and new Act.

Recycled First doesn’t set mandatory minimum requirements or targets, it focuses on a project by project basis. In this way, the aim is to allow contractors to liaise with recycled material suppliers and determine if there are adequate supplies of the products needed for their project.

For these projects, bidders will need to demonstrate how they’ll optimise the use of recycled materials. Additionally, contractors must report on the types and volumes of recycled products they used.

Organisations interested in delivering major transport infrastructure projects will need to demonstrate how they will prioritise recycled and reused materials while maintaining compliance and quality standards.

According to the Victorian Government, work is already underway with current construction partners to get more recycled content used on major projects, in addition to the new Recycled First requirements.

The M80 Ring Road, Monash Freeway and South Gippsland Highway upgrades are using more than 20,000 tonnes of recycled materials and 190 million glass bottles are being used on surfaces of the $1.8 billion Western Roads Upgrade.

Recycled demolition material has also been used in recent months to build extra lanes along 24 kilometres of the Tullamarine Freeway, as well as the Monash Freeway and M80 Ring Road.

Around 14,000 tonnes of excavated soil from the Metro Tunnel site in Parkville is being applied on pavement layers on roads in Point Cook.

Alexis Davison, Director, Program Services and Engineering, Major Road Projects Victoria, says Major Road Projects Victoria is working closely with the Department of Transport to review the current specifications for recycled and reused content to allow for greater use and remove barriers to their implementation.

“We’re aiming to deliver sustainable and innovative transport infrastructure for Victoria – and Recycled First will explore new and better ways to do that,” Alexis says.

“Specifications already allow the use of some recycled materials, and we’re compiling reference guides for road and rail infrastructure to ensure our project teams and contractors are aware of them.”

Claire Ferres Miles, Chief Executive Officer of Sustainability Victoria (SV), says the first-of-its-kind policy builds on SV’s ongoing work in research and market development to find new uses and create markets for recovered materials in the construction sector.

She says that SV will expand its work to support the groundwork for new recycled products and materials, through testing, trials and commercialisation.

“Through Major Roads Project Victoria and Recycled First, we now have a direct line for these products to be utilised in major Victorian Government projects, and in parallel, SV will work in partnership with the local government sector to increase the use of recycled content in their procurement,” she says.

Claire adds that SV will continue to build on its partnerships with the Australian Road Research Board (ARRB) and the university sector to ensure performance-based standards and specifications are in place.

Claire points to the state government’s 10-year Recycling Victoria plan, which includes a landmark $300 million industry package.

“The introduction of Recycled First by the Victorian Government sends strong, positive signals that align with SV’s successful Research, Development and Demonstration program. This has achieved a significant increase in the use of crushed concrete, crumb rubber and recycled glass sand in construction projects,” she says.

Alex Fraser remains one of Victoria’s leading suppliers of recycled construction materials: recovering, recycling and supplying up to three million tonnes of construction materials made from recovered, construction and demolition and glass waste each year.

The use of these materials is reducing the carbon footprint on new infrastructure projects by up to 65 per cent. In addition to reducing carbon emissions, the company’s efforts are reducing construction materials to landfill, truck traffic and extraction of limited natural resources.

With its Melbourne sites in Clarinda, Laverton and Epping, Alex Fraser’s network of facilities circumference the city and are ideally placed to reliably supply major projects.

From the Western Roads Upgrade, the Southern Roads Upgrade, Level Crossing Removal Authority projects, and freeways like the Monash and Mordialloc Freeway and North-East Link, the company is poised to support Recycled First.

Alex Fraser Managing Director Peter Murphy says recycled construction materials are being used in great quantities in all sorts of projects throughout Victoria, and increasingly in other states.

“The vast majority of the construction industry is well aware of the consistent high quality of recycled materials, as well as the many commercial and environmental benefits they offer,” Peter says.

“An initiative like Recycled First sends an important message from government to industry that investing in Victoria’s circular economy and reducing the environmental impact of construction through responsible product choices is a priority.”

Peter says that now more than ever, it’s important that those building our cities are aware of the sustainable options available to them.

He cites the Joint Ministerial Statement on Extractive Resources – which highlights the Victorian Government’s priorities to address constraints in virgin extractive resources, including by facilitating substitution with recycled product.

“Virgin material close to Melbourne is already limited. Switching to recycled not only attracts environmental savings but reduces the strain on metropolitan extractive industries,” he says.

Major works such as the Tullamarine Freeway, the M80, The Dingley Bypass and the Monash Freeway have exemplified the Recycled First concept, as they have included large quantities of recycled materials.

“Current projects like the Mordialloc Freeway, many Level Crossing Removal projects, the Monash Freeway upgrade, and the Western Roads upgrade include masses of recycled content, including millions of glass bottles from kerbside collections,” Peter says.

Additionally, Peter says forward thinking municipalities like Bayside, Monash, Yarra and Maribyrnong are actively seeking out sustainable materials to build greener roads in their cities.

When it comes to the debate on mandatory targets, Peter says Alex Fraser does not advocate for mandating the use of recycled materials across the board. He says project managers should make decisions based on quality, timelines, cost and environmental factors.

“We’ve seen mandated approaches in other jurisdictions result in perverse outcomes. For example, there may not be much benefit in mandating the use of recycled material on a project that is many kilometres from a recycling facility, but only around the corner from a quarry.”

He says it would be encouraging to see a stronger policy position on the protection of critical resource recovery infrastructure.

“We know for recycling to work at all, facilities need to be positioned close to where recyclable material is generated and close to where markets exist for recycled products,” he says.

“Planning policy has to support other policies to ensure continued investment in resource and recovery infrastructure in Victoria is viable.”

Peter points out that even with the introduction of recycling schemes like the CDS and a glass bin, recycling glass fines in construction remains critically important to the effective management of glass waste.

He says that experience with the rollout of the CDS interstate indicates that higher overall glass recovery volumes are achieved but recycling options need to be found for the kerbside glass that is seen to be inferior to the cleaner CDS derived glass.

“More than 40 per cent of recovered glass is unable to be traditionally recycled back into bottles, because the fragments are either too small to be optically sorted, opaque, or covered in paper and plastics. In Victoria this equates to around 140,000 tonnes per annum,” he says.

“Recycling this mass of glass fines into construction sand will be important in reducing landfill and providing the construction industry with a sustainable alternative to already limited supplies of natural sands.”

Peter says Victoria has long led the way in the use of recycled material in infrastructure.

“It would be great to see the same enthusiasm in other states, where greater barriers to the uptake of recycled material exist. It’s especially encouraging to see other states drafting improvements to their specifications” he says.

“The quality and performance of recycled material has been well proven over decades. Clear policy positions from government along with supportive and straight forward specifications will make a significant difference to the use of recycled materials in major projects beyond Victoria.”

The Australian Road Research Board (ARRB) focuses on supporting the commercialisation of intelligent transport solutions.

As sustainability becomes an increasing priority for the roads sector, it has had an increasing recycling focus over the past few years.

Through its Port Melbourne research lab and partnerships with the roads sector, ARRB has been testing recycled crushed glass, crumb rubber asphalt, reclaimed asphalt pavement and a range of other materials. ARRB CEO Michael Caltabiano says stakeholders are focused on ensuring they can do their best to reinforce circular economy principals.

“For the roads sector that means using recycled product as much as we can,” Michael says.

ARRB is involved in a number of key Victorian projects, including a trial of recycled crushed glass in asphalt on local roads in west Melbourne with Brimbank City Council. Additionally, Tyre Stewardship Australia, ARRB and the Victorian Department of Transport are conducting the first crumb rubber asphalt trial on an arterial road.

Michael says ARRB has also been funded by Queensland and WA state road agencies to look at the polymer characteristics of the plastic waste stream and how it might be incorporated into bituminous projects.

“The flame burns brightly in keeping the recycled products agenda going in the roads sector,” Michael says.

“Government is focused on it and so is ARRB – our task is to design the specifications for the future. We need to understand the science of how these product perform and produce the guidelines and specifications for local governments and state governments to use and put in their tender documents.”

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APCO releases June webinar schedule

The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) has released the June schedule for its Weekly Community Webinar series.

Launched in March, the webinars are designed to bring together professionals across the business, government and environmental communities and help the sustainable packaging community stay connected during lockdown.

To date, the sessions have been attended by more than 1800 professionals discussing topics ranging from sustainable packaging design and green communications, through to compostable packaging best practice and the importance of a packaging sustainability strategy and action plan.

APCO CEO Brooke Donnelly said despite lockdown presenting a number of serious challenges, progress is still occurring. She added that the willingness of thousands of industry professionals to come together every week to collaborate and learn “is a powerful demonstration of that.”

“It has been so rewarding to be joined by hundreds of professionals every week who are equally as engaged and passionate about this space. We look forward to seeing even more of you in June and July,” Donnelly said.

Webinar schedules will be released monthly. June’s schedule, including links to register, is available below:

3 June: World Environment Day special: Building a career in sustainability

This week is World Environment Day (5 June), the United Nations day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action to protect the environment.

To celebrate, APCO is discussing what it takes to build a career in sustainability and how to deliver impactful sustainability initiatives and actions.

Speakers: Business Council for Sustainable Development Australia’s Andrew Peterson, APCO’s 2019 Sustainability Champion Award winner and Endeavour Drinks Group Sustainability Manager Diarmaid O’Mordha and Fiona Baxter, Packaging Development manager from Simplot.

To register click here.

10 June: Topic Deep Dive: Soft plastics

This week will discuss one of the biggest challenges – and opportunities – for the recycling system: getting Australia’s approach to soft plastics right.

Topics for discussion include practical actions brands can take around soft plastics, challenges and opportunities for meeting the 2025 National Packaging Targets, the critical role of closing the loop by buying back the end product and the vision for soft plastics recycling in Australia.

To register click here.

17 June: Science Based Targets

As companies worldwide strive to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in line with commitments made under the 2015 Paris agreement, Science Based Targets (SBTs) are emerging as an effective benchmark by which to plan and review progress towards a low-carbon business model.

A growing number of APCO members have made public commitments to SBTs, establishing a whole-of-business agenda for delivering emissions reductions.

Topics for discussion include challenges and opportunities for packaging to reduce the carbon footprint of a business, and how businesses can use SBTs in partnership with other APCO tools and resources.

Speakers will include leading practitioners of SBTs, including Jonas Bengtsson, CEO of Edge Environment.

To register click here.

24 June: Launching APCO’s FY21 Priority Projects

This week, APCO will unveil its new Priority Projects schedule. In 2021, APCO will facilitate 23 new projects developed to drive targeted and tangible progress on Australia’s 2025 National Packaging Targets.

The program was developed in consultation with, and will be overseen by, APCO’s 2020 Working Groups – a community of more than 160 participants, representing the entire packaging supply chain.

Topics for discussion include an overview of this year’s priority projects, and how each project connects to Our Packaging Future – the strategic framework for how Australia will deliver the 2025 Targets. The session will also cover insights for how organisations can contribute to and participate in this work.

To register click here.

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New policy rules out incineration of waste

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government has ruled out any incineration of waste under a new ACT energy policy.

The territory government has released its ACT Waste-to-Energy Policy 2020-25, following ten weeks of community and industry engagement to develop the policy and move towards its 90 per cent resource recovery by 2025, as stated in the ACT Waste Management Strategy 2011-2025.

The Waste Feasibility Study, completed in May 2018, found that the ACT is unlikely to meet the 90 per cent target, or move beyond 80 per cent resource recovery, without some form of waste-to-energy.

“The policy establishes underlying principles and outcomes to guide the transition to a circular economy and provides clear direction about the types of activities that are permitted,” the ACT Waste-to-Energy Policy 2020-25 states.

Resource recovery rates in the ACT have plateaued at around 70 per cent for the last decade, which means that approximately 300,000 tonnes of waste are going to landfill each year.

Shane Rattenbur, ACT Greens Leader and Environment Spokesperson said the policy explicitly bans the “thermal treatment” of waste in the nation’s capital.

According to the policy, new facilities, proposing thermal treatment of waste, by means of incineration, gasification, pyrolysis or variations of these for energy recovery, chemical transformation, volume reduction or destruction will not be permitted in the ACT.

“When it comes to managing our waste, as the nation’s climate action capital, we can – and must – do better. We should be a waste management leader, ” Rattenbury said. 

“The new ACT Government policy starts to lay the foundations for this, by ruling out thermal treatment of waste, but still allowing cool technologies for organic waste treatment, such as anaerobic digestion.”

The policy’s key outcomes include anaerobic digestion of waste is permitted and encouraged, production of, but not burning of RDF is permitted, the waste hierarchy is respected and recycling is not undermined, improved resource recovery rates and existing waste-to-energy operations are not negatively impacted.

“These initiatives will continue the focus on improving avoiding, reusing and recycling waste in line with the waste hierarchy,” the policy states.

“Where waste-to-energy activities are permitted in the ACT, only residual waste will be eligible as a fuel.”

All waste-to-energy facilities will be required to have a licence under the WMRR Act, and any proposal that is not consistent with the policy will be refused a waste licence. 

“New facilities, proposing thermal treatment of waste, by means of incineration, gasification, pyrolysis or variations of these for energy recovery, chemical transformation, volume reduction or destruction will not be permitted in the ACT,” the policy states.

“Existing waste-to-energy activities will be encouraged to improve their environmental impact over time.”

“There are cleaner, greener and more efficient ways of managing our waste, than burning it. The last thing we need are the toxic emissions or greenhouse gases from burning waste in Canberra,” Rattenbury said. 

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SA allocates $1.6M in funding to tackle waste spike

Household waste production has spiked in South Australia, with more people staying home due to COVID-19.

According to Environment Minister David Speirs, preliminary data from the Australian Council of Recycling shows waste volumes are up by more than 10 per cent in the past two months.

“With increased purchasing and consumption due to COVID-19 restrictions, South Australian councils and the local compost industry are also reporting an increase in organics waste, a large portion of which is food scraps,” he said.

“To help reduce the amount of food waste sent to landfill, the state government is making $1.6 million funding available for councils to improve household food waste recycling programs.”

The Kerbside Performance Plus Food Organics Incentives Program, a Green Industries SA initiative, encourages councils to provide an effective food waste recycling service to residents by subsidising the cost of kitchen caddies, certified compostable bags and supporting education.

As it stands, as much as 40 per cent of the material in South Australian household waste bins sent to landfill is food and organics, which could be diverted through the green bin, Speirs said.

“With $1.6 million of funding now available, there is a great opportunity to stimulate a wider uptake of food waste recycling, particularly while householders are staying at home in response to COVID-19,” he added.

“Our aim is to ensure householders continue to recycle their food waste by reducing the cost of compostable bin liners provided by councils, and improving the accessibility of the bags.”

Only five South Australian councils currently provide an area-wide distribution of ventilated caddies lined with certified compostable bags.

“This funding will help councils improve their food waste collection and reduce their waste management costs,” Speirs said.

“To relieve pressure on council resources, Green Industries SA will pay the costs of delivering the certified compostable bags on request to housebound residents unable to access these due to closed council libraries and other distribution centres.”

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10 things to prioritise when buying a new shredder

Robbie McKernan, FOCUS Enviro director, and Gary Moore, UNTHA Global Business Development Director, explore the 10 things companies should prioritise when buying a new shredder.

With shredders playing an increasingly crucial part in waste management and recycling facilities, operators are quite right to ensure these assets deliver on their promises.

Once required simply to act as heavy-duty workhorses, these machines must now demonstrate far more sophisticated performance criteria if they are to provide a true return on investment.

One: define your input materials

Know the specifics of the materials you wish to shred. Think carefully about the type and bulk density of the ‘waste’ you’re handling for example, as well as any likely variation in this specification and the preferred in-feed method for loading the shredder.

These factors will influence everything from the drive power, to the chamber dimensions, cutter capabilities and even the height of the machine.

It’s also important to define the likely volume of input materials that need to be processed and at what pace, as this will shape the shredder’s throughput criteria.

As difficult as it can be to predict the future – and you don’t want to invest in too large a machine unnecessarily – it is crucial to look ahead a little too.

Very few organisations stand still, so some additional capacity is often helpful, as is a shredder’s proven flexibility to handle different input materials with quick and simple reconfiguration. A mobile shredder will offer even further flexibility, if it can be relocated around a site with ease.

Two: define the output specification

Likewise, operators must be clear on exactly what the shredder must do.

Some facilities invest in shredding machinery purely to reduce the size of the bulky materials they no longer have use for and/or find difficult to store, in which case output fraction is not such a priority.

Others are driven by increasing compliance requirements – certainly as more state and territory laws seem to be coming to the fore – which means output performance matters far more.

Then there are organisations with extremely defined specifications to satisfy. If a plant is manufacturing a Waste to Energy fuel such as PEF for example, a clear calorific value and homogenous particle size of <2” (50mm) is typical.

It is therefore important to look for a shredder with a proven ability to achieve the desired output specification, and in an ideal world, the machine should be flexible to evolve alongside the operator’s changing needs too. Often this is possible thanks to just a simple screen swap.

Three: ask application-specific questions

Next, ask detailed, application-specific questions to understand the shredder’s true performance capabilities. For example:

— Confidential document shredders benefit from a low speed, high torque design, as they can shred classified material to an agreed specification without destroying the material fibre, which aids downstream recycling.

— If shredding organic waste and packaging, look for specialised bearing and seal protection systems that will eliminate contamination into the machine’s gearbox and bearing areas from this potentially aggressive material.

— E-Waste shredders must have a proven ability to liberate the various high-value composite materials ‘locked’ in redundant electrical equipment and appliances, as well as an in-built resistance to ‘foreign objects’ or unshreddables that could otherwise lead to costly downtime.

Whatever the shredding scenario, ensure the chosen supplier can provide tailored advice relevant to the specific project.

Four: stipulate safety criteria

Few people would disagree that industrial shredding has the potential to be a hazardous exercise, which is why manufacturers have worked so hard to ensure equipment safety – by design – over the years.

From easy maintenance tasks that minimise operators’ exposure to the inner workings of the shredder, to proactive diagnostic control panels that prevent the need for machine entry, and foreign object protection mechanisms that ensure equipment auto-stops should it encounter an unshreddable item, there are many ways to heighten technological safety.

But engineering innovation is driving even more safety benefits.

For example, low noise shredders mean operators are protected from the potentially debilitating effect of prolonged exposure to excessive noise; machines can now feature in-built UV, infrared, heat and spark detectors to help prevent the outbreak of fire; and ergonomic design is even being prioritised so that personnel can service and maintain equipment quickly, safely and in an upright position, without the need to hunch or over-stretch.

Five: think about the environment

Attitudes towards recycling and waste management differ across Australia, not just from state to state, but from operator to operator too. This is, in a large part, due to the absence of a cohesive governmental policy which would no doubt otherwise influence a certain type of behaviour or best practice.

Compare this to certain parts of Europe, for instance – where waste and recycling is heavily legislated and target-driven – and operators must prioritise far more than their own performance criteria when it comes to investing in fit-for-purpose shredders.

This is the reason some modern machines are driven by energy-efficient electric motors such as synchronous drives instead of diesel hydraulic drives.

Not only does such technology represent far less of a fire risk, but reduced energy consumption means the net environmental gain of such shredders is much greater.

There seems little point transforming waste into a renewable fossil fuel substitute, if the ‘cost’ of the manufacturing process is extremely harmful to the environment.

Being ‘green’ also makes commercial sense, as energy-hungry shredders don’t just have a detrimental carbon impact – they can prove costly in terms of fuel consumption too, which limits the machine’s possible return on investment (ROI).

Six: ensure the shredder is ‘tried and tested’

Identify reputable shredder manufacturers who can supply individual pieces of machinery, as well as those that can help design, source and install an entire recycling or waste management system.

Whether an operator needs a complex plant or a simple waste processing line, true shredding experts will be able to help map out a turnkey solution for maximum efficiency throughout every piece of equipment.

Also, don’t just trust suppliers at face value! ‘Seeing is believing’ so ask to speak to existing customers and better still, request a site visit to witness a working demonstration of the equipment.

The perfect scenario is a trial of the chosen shredder, using your own materials. This is the best way to evidence that the shredder will truly deliver on any promises made.

Seven: new vs used

Many industrial shredders are built to last, which means that while a machine may have reached the end of its useful life in one facility, it could still have years of operational potential with another organisation.

This presents an attractive investment option for many businesses, especially those who can procure a high-performance used shredder for a fraction of the cost of new technology.

Some manufacturers offer shredder rebuild services too, giving the operator greater peace of mind regarding the ongoing condition of the equipment.

Eight: remember non-machine considerations

Of course, the shredder needs to fulfil the performance criteria set out for it, but wider due diligence is also important.

Ask the manufacturer about typical service intervals and to what extent they are likely to affect uptime, for example. Labour intensive maintenance tasks can soon cause operational disruption which isn’t just inconvenient – it costs money, restricts the payback period of the shredder and could even put operators’ health and safety at risk.

Think also about factors such as the cost of spare and wear parts, typical wear rates, and the availability of these crucial machine components. Again, this will all impact on future uptime statistics plus the shredder’s whole life running costs.

Some suppliers take aftersales support very seriously, which means long-term ROI is far more likely.

Others don’t think much beyond the initial sale of the machine, which can leave operators feeling a little isolated when it comes to refresher training or future process optimisation.

In short, look for a shredder specialist that truly prioritises a long-term partnership approach.

Nine: ask for a project plan

While some facilities can be flexible in their lead times for a new shredder, others have to work to strict project plans.

So, whether a machine is replacing incumbent technology and downtime cannot be afforded, or the commissioning timeframes risk jeopardising the likelihood of a new plant coming online, talk to the supplier about next steps and key calendar milestones.

Shredders are commonly engineered to order, so a rapid turnaround is probably not possible.

But a serious and engaged supplier will respect the project criteria and do what they can to keep the installation moving, while communicating with the operator every step of the way. If this project proactivity is not apparent, it may be wise for the search to continue.

Ten: do the math

The ‘business case’ for an investment in new capital equipment will almost always come down to the numbers. The price tag matters, of course, although different finance routes can make things more affordable for organisations that need to spread the cost.

However, other metrics are also important. It’s crucial to calculate ongoing wear costs as this will rapidly inflate the financial impact of the investment.

Think as well about power consumption – some electric-driven machines are now so energy efficient that fuel savings alone, when compared to more traditional diesel-driven equipment, quickly accelerates the payback period.

Then there’s the possible revenue that can be generated from the sale of cleanly segregated recycled products, so include these projections in the numbers too.

If in any doubt regarding how to build the perfect business case, ask the shredder supplier to help – this exercise should be very straightforward for them.

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