Keeping staff safe, employed and ensuring waste and recycling stays on track is essential in the face or coronavirus, writes Rose Read, CEO of the National Waste and Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC).
In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, defining what is and isn’t an essential service is a hot topic of discussion across every industry sector in Australia.
While not necessarily reflected consistently or comprehensively in all state legislation and regulations, there is no doubt governments at all levels consider waste and recycling services, and more importantly the workforce that make it happen, as essential.
“With a national focus on hygiene, the role of waste and recycling companies and their workers servicing homes, hospitals, building sites and supermarkets underlines the Prime Minister’s declaration that everyone who has a job in this challenging economy is now an essential worker,” wrote Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley on social media in March.
This is welcome news from the government. While it would be ideal to have a nationally consistent definition used by all states, what is key is that trucks can move across state and territory borders where necessary, staff can get to and from work and waste service providers have access to critical supplies needed to do their job.
This is evident by the willingness of all levels of government to listen and work with our members to address issues and challenges as they arise. From relaxation of collection curfews and flexibility in facility licensing conditions, to securing PPE and other key operational supplies.
Most state government Environment Ministers and departments have now set up weekly catch ups with key representatives from the waste and recycling sector to stay on top of issues, and feed them into the relevant state emergency and COVID response teams for consideration. Likewise at a national level, ministers and key federal agencies are accessible and listening. There is a lot on their plate.
For the NWRIC members, their focus has been on helping staff adapt to new working conditions out in the field or working from home. It’s a massive shift in everyone’s daily life and supporting staff through this process is an absolute priority.
Substantial work is also being undertaken on business continuity plans including working with council and business customers to maintain services in the context of social distancing, hygiene and staff safety. Likewise, looking at how businesses within the sector can help each other out in maintaining collections and operation of facilities, should the need arise.
The willingness to cooperate and help each other out where needed across the sector is a key strength. One example of this has been the driver exchange program setup by the Victorian Transport Association, which allows companies to share drivers should the need arise.
On the financial side, volumes are changing across the sector, which will obviously impact the bottom line for every business. With many businesses closing up, volumes in the C&I are slowing, while MSW are increasing as more and more of us ‘#stayhome’. It is still unclear how C&D or organic and FOGO volumes will change at this time.
On the e-waste side, the demand for second hand computers, screens and associated IT accessories to set up home offices has gone up, as has the need and ensure everyone has access to services online.
In terms of handling COVID-19 waste, the Federal and State Departments of Health provide guidance on this, with it being declared as a clinical waste in the health care environment, and to be bagged up and placed in the rubbish bin for residential properties.
With federal and state government support packages being announced on a regular basis, we encourage businesses to reach out to their state associations, the ATO and centrelink for information on what is available and relevant for your organisation.
The NWRIC has also suggested that relief be considered for landfill levy charges where relevant. For example, it is likely that some businesses will default on debts during this difficult time. Therefore, we propose that levies on bad debts be waived.
Similarly, planned levy increases, such as proposed recently by Victoria, should be deferred for six months. In the case of WA, a temporary waiver of levies at this time will discourage the disposal of metropolitan C&D waste out into regional areas.
Further, we believe now can be a challenging time for some recyclers as ports and overseas markets are slowing or closing. This is of particular relevance to those recyclers exporting recovered metals, paper, plastic, shredded tyres and refuse derived fuels. Providing temporary levy waivers on residuals from these recycling facilities would help keep staff employed and businesses operating.
The clear messages we are receiving from health departments are: practice good hygiene, social distancing and stay at home unless you are going to work, shopping, exercise or other essential travel. Even if we’re fit and well, these important actions will keep our staff safe and protect vulnerable Australians and health care workers.
Australia’s most iconic anti-litter movement captured the world’s attention when it began 50 years ago and significant progress has since been made. We look back at the organisation’s history.
What would the founder of Keep Australia Beautiful (KAB), the late Dame Phyllis Frost, say about the state of litter if she were still alive today?
Frost, who passed away in 2004, was known her commitment to causes, notably helping prisoners through the Victorian Women’s Prisons Council or combatting litter through the Keep Australia Beautiful movement.
In her address to the official launch of KAB NSW in 1975, Frost recounted how she was galvanised into anti-litter action. It followed her experience on a country highway between Melbourne and Bendigo in 1963.
En route to attend a meeting in Bendigo, Frost was feeling proud in a new car. In a small town called Elphinstone, a semi-trailer passed her by. Out of the window came fish and chip papers, a fruit peel and an old greasy rag. As a beer can bounced across the roof of Frost’s new car, she immediately pulled to the side of the road to inspect the damage.
Frost took a closer look at the scenery of the view behind her and to her horror found rolling plains strewn with paper, plastic bags, cans and bottles.
Soon after, she told the members of the National Council of Women of the experience and they agreed that the desecration needed to cease. In response, a group of service and voluntary organisations and a number of government departments were invited to join an anti-litter campaign.
There was no special name for the group in those days because anti-litter could too easily be confused with anti-liquor, which may in turn be perceived as un-Australian.
To that end, the group was called State Wide Civic Pride. Under the guidance of the then Minister of Local Government R J Hamer, the group adopted the name Keep Australia Beautiful Council. In 1968, the inauguration of the new look body was held.
Throughout KAB’s history, various programs which still exist today emerged. One of these is Tidy Towns, a concept borrowed from Ireland which commenced in 1968.
KAB Council WA on its website says it’s hard to think of a movement or campaign that has stirred such pride and action in our regional and remote communities than Tidy Towns. At the time, the competition accepted metro and regional entries and local government agencies, rather than communities, which are now in competition with one another.
GETTING ATTENTION FROM GOUGH
The 70s put the KAB movement on the map, with powerful publicity campaigns and educational approaches drawing support from government, celebrities, sporting heroes and the media.
By 1971, KAB’s National Association commenced, formed by KESAB and KABVIC by Colin Hills and Frost respectively. One year later, the then Prime Minister Gough Whitlam launched Live Without Litter Week.
The Prime Minister appeared on television urging each and every Australian to get behind the anti-litter week.
“If for one week each of us can concentrate on litter prevention, then we can extend this consciousness to an all-year round effort to keep our environment clean,” Whitlam said.
In the Live Without Litter Week, the Lord Mayor of Melbourne Cr A Whalley, Executive Director of KABC Gordon Cooper and then Premier R J Hamer all sported “Don’t rubbish Australia” t-shirts.
In 1974, KAB’s Dopes Rubbish Australia and Pig television campaigns launched. The Pig campaign urged communities not to be a “pig” and “keep it litter-free”, shaming those guilty of chucking stuff out the window or into their local basin.
In her 1975 reflection, Frost, a champion of social reform, estimated that litter was costing in the vicinity of $50 million a year to clean-up. At the time, KAB consisted of affiliations of major environmental, community and service organisations, including the environment protection authorities, gas and fuel bodies, water bodies, packaging companies and even the education departments.
Plastic manufacturers were also heavily involved, including the National Packaging Association, Plastic Institute, can makers and soft drink manufacturers. In that regard, Frost criticised the nay-sayers who took aim at their involvement in the process.
“Some fanatical but rather irrational conservationists view these last-named bodies as enemy forces in the battle for preservation of the environment,” Frost said.
“I believe, although some fanatics don’t concur with my belief, that to exclude them is just as ridiculous as debarring car manufacturers, salesman or drivers and those involved in the manufacture and sales of alcoholic drinks from taking any part in the fight against the road toll – as it is the misuse of their products that cause the road carnage.
“Let’s be realistic about it – the packaging and container people must be more involved than any other section of society if we are to win our battle.”
THE NATIONAL PICTURE
Since the various state and territory bodies operate independently, the achievements of the KAB movement are best looked at within each local jurisdiction.
Being Victoria-based, Frost remained at the coalface of Keep Australia Beautiful Victoria (KABV). KAB’s popularity even sparked attention from musical pop group ABBA.
In the 80s, events in Victoria recognised change took place at the grassroots with engagement from school children, holiday makers and beachgoers. Frost retired from her position as chairman of KABV in the 90s and the organisation kicked on with a range of new program initiatives like City Pride and Stationeers.
KESAB, a well-known organisation for community-based sustainability programs, presided over container deposit legislation in 1978. It also introduced the Waste Watchers program to schools in the mid 90s, opened a Statewide Recycling Education Centre in 2006 and introduced Australia’s first reverse vending machine in 2010.
NT, ACT, Queensland and Tasmania all embraced the Tidy Towns program over the years and in Queensland a variety of awards program rewarded positive behaviours. Additionally, the NSW branch held the first Litter Congress in 2014, which inspired various programs such as the EPA’s Hey Tosser! Campaign.
Now 16 years on from Frost’s passing, urbanisation has drastically changed the landscape and many stakeholders once involved in the KAB movement operate independently.
But despite the changes, stakeholders such as KAB Chair Dick Gross still affirm the organisation is still a grassroots community group and a “doer” rather than a “talker”.
Dick, who joined KAB at the ripe age of 60, was invited to join by longstanding litter stalwart the late Don Chambers.
He says that KAB has had strong times and less strong times, and now operates in a crowded space. Much of this, he attributes, is due to the industrialisation of waste management.
“Litter is dramatically different now in several ways. It dropped off the political agenda and now it’s dropping back in because of marine pollution and its effect on marine and human life,” Dick says.
On whether he ever sees a world without litter, Dick says that’s a dream, but questions whether it’s a pipe dream.
“I can’t see Australia ever getting rid of litter. We need punitive regulatory regimes and more resources and I don’t know if that will happen.”
In 2015, KABV changed its name to Keep Victoria Beautiful (KVB). In the wake of KAB’s 50th anniversary, Waste Management Review Editor Toli Papadopoulos sat down with current KVB CEO Sabina Wills to discuss some of the changes that have occurred over the past few decades.
“The purpose of the organisation is about people taking action to beautify their own environment. They’re not waiting for local government or state government, they’re taking action themselves,” Sabina says.
“We really embody that through the programs that we run where we enable volunteers to take action.”
Sabina says programs like Tidy Towns and Sustainable Cities have rewarded positive actions.
KVB embraced this and many other programs throughout the 2000s, engaging communities with initiatives such as the Stationeers, Sustainable Cities, Tidy Towns and Adopt a Roadside programs. For example, Adopt a Roadside sees volunteers equipped with safety training and other necessary resources to remove roadside litter and/or undertake revegetation works within Victoria’s arterial road network.
“We need to recognise our volunteers more and say thank you more. I think that’s an important part of KVB because the volunteers delivering those programs are creating a beautiful location,” Sabina says.
Highlighting some of KVB’s most successful programs, she cites Tidy Towns, noting the national program has helped bind communities together.
Dick says that Tidy Towns has inspired some healthy competition between communities.
In 2009, KVB also became part of Sustainability Victoria until 2015, when KVB formed a not-for-profit which reports to the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission. In addition to maintaining its initiatives from the early 2000s, KVB has entered new frontiers, including the development of a biodiversity report highlighting the accelerating rate of species loss.
Around 2016, Sabina joined KVB, after more than 20 years in the environmental services sector, including in government, associations and the private sector.
Reflecting on the past 50 years, Sabina says that although litter has reduced significantly, she laments on the overall rate of progress.
“I feel sad that we still have to pick up litter on the side of the road, that we haven’t in those 50 years transitioned away to it no longer being acceptable behaviour,” Sabina says.
“Yes, there’s been a huge reduction in litter, but it’s still there and that really saddens me.”
According to the National Litter Index by KAB, litter was up 0.9 per cent more in 2018-19 than it was in 2017/18 with 57,889 items counted. The biggest rises were observed in other glass, takeaway food and beverage packaging, offset to a degree by decreases linked to container deposit legislation.
In terms of how litter has changed over the decade, in 2008-09, there was almost 100,000 items counted. In 2018-19, that number sits just over 60,000. Taking into account population growth, there is far less litter than there was 10 years ago.
That being said, Sabina jokes that she wasn’t too upset when a litter run on the way to her office led to the discovery of a $50 note.
In terms of what lies on the immediate horizon, Sabina hopes to make some changes to KVB’s awards programs.
“The awards have been running over 30 years and I’ve certainly got a plan of how they’re going to look in 30 years. My big dream with the awards is for a state-based award and national-based award,” she says.
“I’d also love an international based awards to go to that next level. I think it is so important that everyone is proud of where they live and that sense of ‘my place is special’ is really important.”
But despite her dismay at the litter state of play, Sabina says if she were to ask herself what would Frost say in another 50 years’ time, given the changes over the past five decades, the future is unpredictable.
“It’s interesting what happened in the past 50 years. We’ve got an EPA and the EPA Act is getting re-written. So it is a bit hard to know how it will look in the future. I hope it’s going to look better, but then again I am an optimist,” she says.
Following its success internationally, artificial intelligence designed by ZenRobotics is poised to support the Australian waste sector with efficiencies and higher fraction purity.
The fear of robots taking over society in some dystopian future is a cliché-ridden notion that harks back to the 80s Terminator franchise.
Almost 40 years on from the iconic production, robots by and large still serve as an adjunct, rather than a threat to human existence.
While some modern futurists like Yuval Noah Harari go as far as to suggest human consciousness as we know could change over the century thanks to robots, this reality is far from the contemporary.
For example, futurist Bernard Marr argues critical thinking, creativity, strategy, technology management, installation and upkeep are skills robots can’t do well.
While some can be resistant to change, robots are poised to support the recycling workforce by taking menial tasks off their hands and creating new jobs.
That’s according to Juha Meiskonen, Head of Sales at ZenRobotics. Based in Helsinki, Juha has seen that in many cases, obsolescence of roles like picking empower those workers to take on more challenging tasks such as site management.
“Repetitive tasks are often more suited to a machine where the downsides of being a human could be getting tired, not being focused or being in a dangerous situation,” Juha explains.
Based in Queensland’s southeast, Robots in Waste has been working with ZenRobotics since its 2014 inception. ZenRobotics was founded in 2007 and entered the waste sector around 2010. The company has been most active in Europe since then, but expanded to Asia and North America around 2014-15.
Robots in Waste, which distributes ZenRobotics and other technologies locally, is now looking at accelerating its presence in the Australian market.
In traditional industrial automation, robots operate in defined, structured environments. In waste treatment, the process is less predictable, with complex waste stream compositions and harsh working environments such as temperature changes, dust and dirt.
Artificial intelligence (AI), however, has changed the game. According to ZenRobotics, unlike car manufacturing, waste processing is a chaotic, unstructured environment that is extremely difficult to automate. The company was pleased to take on the challenge, working to develop a robot that could match, if not exceed, human perception.
In 2010, ZenRobotics pioneered its own AI product based on the latest research in the field. In developing the solution, ZenRobotic’s ZENBRAIN hardware was designed to be flexible and adaptive to recognise, grab and sort objects from the waste stream. ZENBRAIN can not only perform complex tasks, but also handle collisions.
Juha says that what is unique about ZenRobotics is the company developed its own machine learning algorithms.
“Robotics in manufacturing requires a homogenous knife, clean environment and we wanted to apply the same efficiency of robotics to an industry which is more chaotic and heterogeneous.”
This, he says, is where the ZenRobotics system was developed to readily identify and recover objects, much like a human can with hand-eye coordination.
Juha says that initial development and testing involved training the robot to recognise new fractions. Now, operators can do this at their own accord, training the robot to recognise fractions in a similar fashion to a human.
Over the years, ZenRobotics expanded to Europe, Asia and North America. While Robots in Waste deployed a ZenRobotics system in Australia in 2017, it is hoping to increase this significantly and has already received extensive interest from a range of companies.
In addition to providing materials recovery facilities with increased efficiency and productivity, the machine can be run 24/7 with constant speed.
Additionally, the sophisticated technology aims to improve the purity of end fractions with sensors and AI software allowing for versatile sorting capabilities. Juha says this may come in handy when end users need to increase their purity to achieve a better price per tonne. End users can train the robot to sort specific objects, not just materials.
AI and digitisation also produces more data on the waste, which may help companies improve and monitor their operations. Robots in Waste’s Jim Duncan says that the digitisation of waste will help drive robotics forward, as the recycling sector moves from a feeling-based operation to a data-driven philosophy.
Two products that have proved popular for ZenRobotics internationally are the fast picker, suitable for municipal solid waste, and the heavy picker, ideal for commercial and industrial and construction and demolition waste.
The heavy picker uses the company’s own robot design with AI software that can be easily upgraded and in-house support guarantees a safe investment. Optional features comprise sorting belt speed control adaptable to the waste stream in addition to a feed rate control for upstream feeding and dosing. On top of replacing manual processes, the heavy picker can replace excavator hours, adjust waste sorting tasks and provide hybrid sorting.
The Fast Picker’s robust and compact design is suitable for demanding environments with an efficient solution for quality control. A single robot arm can simultaneously sort four different fractions to achieve up to 98 per cent purity.
The sensor includes NIR, 3D, hi-res, an imaging metal detector and VIS sensors. With a single sorting bay, the Fast Picker can be retrofitted to existing materials recovery facilities for different conveyor widths and multi-lane conveyors.
Software upgrades will also help future-proof the technology to work with various sensors into the future. With this in mind, Jim remains excited about the prospect of revolutionising the recycling sector with faster and smarter machinery.
As researchers attempt to gain a better understanding of the long-term effects of PFAS, ResourceCo’s Andrew Manning outlines a new engineering initiative.
In December 2018, a Federal Government sub-committee outlined nine recommendations to improve the country’s response to per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination.
Recommendations included improvements to voluntary blood testing programs as a source of longitudinal health data and establishing a coordinator-general with the authority to coordinate government responses.
With research to gain a better understanding of the long-term effects of PFAS exposure still ongoing, recovery and re-manufacturing company ResourceCo has invested in a multi-million-dollar purpose-built state-of-the-art hazardous waste disposal facility.
The $5 million double-composite-lined disposal cell is designed by engineers to accept and dispose of a range of toxic contaminants such as PFAS.
The disposal cell’s footprint covers nearly two hectares and is located at Southern Waste ResourceCo at McLaren Vale, approximately 35 kilometres south of Adelaide.
Andrew Manning, ResourceCo Group Environment Manager, says the project was three years in the making. He adds that ResourceCo is collaborating with the South Australian EPA on project delivery.
“The new cell certainly raises the bar in environmental and engineering performance to accept some of the new and emerging hazardous waste streams generated from contaminated sites, and reflects best practice landfill design and construction,” Andrew says.
Construction of the new disposal cell commenced in mid 2019 to the highest liner performance standards, Andrew says. He adds that the design is in full compliance with new South Australian EPA landfill guidelines, released in 2019.
“After assessing and determining the contamination level of the PFAS materials, we can then, in accordance with EPA guidelines, act and deal with it directly,” he says.
PFAS has become a major concern to the environment, humans and animals worldwide, Andrew explains, with the manufactured chemicals used in a variety of products.
“As PFAS has been commonly used in household products and specialty applications such as non-stick cookware, paints, textiles, coatings, food packaging, firefighting foams, hydraulic fluid and mist suppressants, affected sectors expressing interest in the new cell are widespread,” Andrew says.
He adds that PFAS has been used for products within the commercial and industrial, government, defence and aviation sectors.
“Perfluorooctane sulfonate, perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorohexane sulfonate are currently the most common chemicals belonging to the PFAS group, and this facility is equipped to accept all these substances,” Andrew says.
According to Andrew, the double composite lined disposal cell is a new design for the South Australian marketplace and is the only one of its kind to be built to date.
“It offers a higher level of environmental performance to traditionally lined disposal cells,” he says.
The cell uses a multi-layer liner system consisting of three different types of liners made from processed shale materials, high-density polyethylene and geosynthetic clay liners.
This specific combination of liners and leachate collection and extraction systems, Andrew says, provides a high level of confidence that all leachate generated, collected and removed from the cell for evaporation will be safeguarded from the environment. This prevents groundwater contamination.
“We know PFAS compounds readily dissolve into water, which means they can travel long distances from the point of generation. Any impacted water needs to be captured and managed appropriately,” Andrew says.
“Improved cell engineering means it has both primary and secondary leachate collection and extraction layers in place, facilitating an increased level of environmental performance.”
Contaminated water is recovered and removed through the extraction layers, Andrew says, before being diverted into a secondary holding and evaporation ponds.
“Residual PFAS contamination can then be concentrated into sludge, recovered and removed from the evaporation ponds and sent offsite for further destruction,” he explains.
“The double-composite-lined disposal cell allows landholders to actively remove and clean up contaminated sites, and take the hazardous waste away to a purpose-built facility that is of the highest standard to better protect the environment.”
Australia has been working since 2002 to reduce the use of certain PFAS, with other countries phasing out or already discontinuing their use.
“Many industries are already getting in touch with us to find out how we can help, as they review sites where potential contamination has occurred and future remediation is needed,” Andrew says.
Method Recycling has introduced a new bin to its portfolio to support small and medium office spaces.
When one enters the University of Melbourne halls, Qantas domestic terminals or Westpac offices, the last thing one expects to notice first is a bin, waste “tragics” aside.
But Method Recycling has well and truly bucked the trend, with colourful, eye-catching bins designed to enable lasting behaviour change.
Lee Bright, Method Marketing Manager, says that Method has always focused on helping organisations to create a culture of shared responsibility.
“We’re not trying to find a quick fix, but create a lasting change,” Lee says.
As a premium, design-led flexible working space in London, The Office Group provides a number of smaller shared spaces such as offices, working lounges, meeting rooms and kitchenettes. Last year, the business looked to Method to obtain a suitable bin system, but it was clear there was a gap in its existing product line.
Lee says that the message was loud and clear and the in-house design team got to work on designing a 20-litre bin just as elegant and effective as its esteemed 60-litre unit. Soon after, the Method Twenty was born, embracing Method Recycling’s core values of visibility, standardisation and consistency.
“The draw of the Method bin has always been behavioural change, and the more interaction people have with the bins consistently, the more this creates an unconscious habit,” Lee says.
Moreover, Method bins offer bin liners hidden from sight, with lid options to suit every space.
The staple Method 60 is ideal for open plan communal areas like office floors, breakout spaces and large kitchens.
Lee says that conversely, the Method Twenty is particularly suited to small office spaces such as meeting rooms, studio offices or kitchenettes where waste sorting is needed, but at a lower volume.
“Method bins are designed to last for years and not break down, in addition to being recyclable at the end of their life.”
Lee says Method Twenty embraces the use of more than 80 per cent recycled polypropylene, an increase on previous models which use 50 per cent. Last year, she says Method used more than 26 tonnes of recycled plastic across its product range.
“Believing in the circular economy, we couldn’t justify creating a product out of recycled materials just because it would look good. We needed to make sure the bins were recyclable at the end of it,” she says.
Lee says for this reason polypropylene is the only plastic ingredient instead of a mix.
“We trialled plastics and mixed bale recycling and we really found that keeping the plastic pure is the best way to ensure that it’s having a positive impact now and into the future.
“We’re working on finding a clear recycled polypropylene which would bring us to 100 per cent, but that’s still a bit down the road.”
Method Twenty features Method’s Patented Bag Retainer System, colour-coded lid with clear graphics and Method’s signature style. Each of these features need to be optimised for the size and use of the bins.
With the reduced capacity taken into account, the proportions of the bins have been adapted to accommodate various kinds of waste. Additionally, the chute design has been reconsidered with an enhanced handle on the back to make emptying a whole lot easier.
Lee says that depending on the customer’s requirements, Method can provide custom labels and signage.
“Recycling isn’t going to be a quick fix, it takes a system and a little bit of planning, but when you strike the right mix, you can really have quite a significant impact,” she says.
Queensland’s North West Services has been using Bomag compactors for more than 20 years, with a number of key factors contributing to the long-standing partnership.
With an ever-increasing emphasis on source separation, waste handling and landfill diversion, today’s waste facilities are well regarded.
This experience has led to a better understanding of machine performance and capacity, allowing waste operators to respond to all conditions.
In the Whitsunday towns of Proserpine and Bowen, North West Services (NWS) remains committed to best practice.
NWS began working with the Whitsunday Shire Council at Cannonvale Transfer Station and Kelsey Creek landfill sites in 1998. Since 2004, the company has remained the contractor for management and operation of the council landfills. Husband and wife team Ray and Noleen established the business together and Noleen has been a director for more than 20 years.
Luke Purvis, now a managing director, assumed the role after his father fell ill in 2014. Having worked very closely in all aspects of the business, including financial and customer management, Luke provides an honest, knowledgeable and proactive approach to his duties.
As part of its ongoing commitment to high standard landfill management, NWS has been operating Bomag compactors for more than 20 years. Available through Australian supplier Tutt Bryant Limited, Bomag has remained at the forefront of compaction technology for decades, continually refining its various models to suit the modern landfill.
He says that NWS participates in all aspects of management. This includes unlined and lined cells, storm water system installation, batter rehabilitation and maintenance, supervision of waste receival, and handling all contract environmental standards.
Luke says that NWS has investigated the comparable operating capabilities of other manufacturers’ landfill compactors in the same class. After rigorous testing and compaction analysis, he says NWS was assured that Bomag landfill compactors feature superior advantages on all levels, including both on-the-ground and operational.
“Low servicing costs, long machine life without major component failure and increased operator comfort are all important factors that make Bomag continue to stand out for us,” Luke says.
Luke adds that the machines also have reduced noise and emissions.
NWS own and operate landfill equipment for site management and fully serviced long and short-term dry hire, covering local government and commercial waste operations. The company maintain a fleet of around 30 pieces of plant with additional service and haulage vehicles.
Over the past two decades, NWS has gradually increased their fleet to meet stakeholder requests while replacing units to meet growing performance standards.
When it comes to the performance of Bomag compactors, Luke explains that compaction teeth are warranted standard at 10,000 hours – a key factor aiding long service life.
Reliability and efficiency in mechanical performance covers daily auto lubrication and service check points, self-cleaning wheels with adjustable wire cutters. Economical fuel consumption is supported by a load sensing engine fuel system and hydrostatic drive.
As operator comfort is a prominent consideration, Tutt Bryant landfill compactors feature a climate control cabin, heated seat, filtered air supply, joystick and malfunction warning system. The telematic system provides current machine diagnostics and location.
NWS has many contracts with customers in local government and commercial waste operations and Tutt Bryant Equipment forms an important part of that operation. Luke says NWS supplies fully serviced dry hire waste compaction and handling equipment packages in Queensland and Victoria.
“These are managed by NWS mobile servicing units, additionally also backed by Tutt Bryant Equipment servicing and spare parts departments,” Luke says.
Luke says the NWS mobile servicing units offer the proven ability to maintain their machinery to meet the usage required under landfill conditions. This usually requires an all year, seven day a week operation/service. NWS is an authorised agent for the servicing and maintenance of all their units.
In its workshop, NWS stocks major spare parts, including full power train componentry for the Bomag Landfill Compactor. This ensures 100 per cent availability of compaction machinery on-site at all times.
Refurbished exchange wheels and caps can be fitted to NWS’ 30 plus tonne compactors in a day to maintain compaction. They also position some on-site stock holdings of consumables and parts often required.
Luke says that NWS believes that extensive knowledge of the machines, backed by warranty through Tutt Bryant and Bomag, ensures NWS customers are provided with the high standard of service they’ve come to expect.
“NWS provides skill and expertise in our industry by keeping up to date with industry changes and assessing and using opportunities to build efficient, effective practices into their services which may benefit our customers,” Luke explains.
“Our experience with Bomag compactors and Tutt Bryant Equipment is that they both have proven to be extremely reliable and we have had no hesitation in purchasing further units when the need arises.”
Waste Management Review explores how CDE wet processing technology is supporting Melbourne-based recycling company Repurpose It to reduce a reliance on landfills.
Operating from its 150-acre rehabilitated quarry site in Epping, Repurpose It has an ambitious vision to achieve a 100 per cent recycling rate across its complete waste portfolio.
Likewise, it aims to ensure zero unnecessary waste is destined for landfill. This vision is perfectly aligned with CDE, an industry-leading manufacturer of wet processing technologies, whose ethos is unlock a “New World of Resource”.
To achieve its aspirational environmental aims, George Hatzimanolis, CEO of Repurpose It, turned to CDE to design and engineer a state-of-the-art solution to transform construction, demolition and excavation (CD&E) waste, along with contaminated railway ballast, into in-spec sand and aggregate products that meet the requirements of the local building industry.
George says Repurpose It is committed to recycling products at the end of their lifecycle to transform them into materials that will be used at the beginning of a new lifecycle. These include waste previously considered difficult to process, he adds.
“To achieve 100 per cent recycling of construction and demolition waste, we required a wet processing solution that could efficiently separate and wash every available fraction of material in the feed,” George says.
CDE’s solution, a first-of-its-kind in Australia, incorporates a selection of modular elements that work in synergy to produce best-in-class results, including an AggMax logwasher, the latest in the CDE patented Inﬁnity screening range, a ProGrade H2-60 screen, an EvoWash sand classification and dewatering system, conveyors, a decanter centrifuge and AquaCycle thickener.
Every day, the plant processes up to 150 tonnes an hour of CD&E waste into high-value construction products, which would have otherwise been bound for landfill.
CDE’s customised solution processes CD&E waste and rinses and grades it to make six in-spec products, four aggregates (4-10, 10-20, 20-150, 50-100 oversize) and two sands (0-2 and 0-4).
Daniel Webber, CDE Australasia Regional Manager, says entrepreneurial companies such as Repurpose It have identified that the Sydney Basin and Melbourne are running out of sand.
“The depletion of local sand reserves means that construction and concrete companies now have to transport sand via road from further away or turn increasingly to the production of manufactured sands from hard rock deposits which are more expensive to mine and more hard-wearing on plant and equipment,” Daniel explains.
“This is where CD&E waste processing plants come into their own. They accept waste feed from metropolitan areas and clean it to repurpose it back into the local construction market.”
At the same time, Daniel says there is limited room available for tailing ponds.
“CDE’s world-leading water recovery and tailings treatment technologies are used to make dry tailings that can be transformed into marketable products themselves,” he adds.
Hand-in-hand with protecting the planet’s finite natural resources is protecting the Earth itself and minimising the carbon emissions associated with the industry.
Vitally, the innovative wet processing plant commissioned for Repurpose It by CDE enables the waste-to-resource business to reduce its carbon dioxide output by more than 84,000 tonnes per year, based on processing 500,000 tonnes of feed material.
“Our investment demonstrates our commitment to reducing the construction industry’s reliance on extractive resources and underpins our company values of creating value from waste,” George says.
All recycling plants, whether they deal with metal, glass or pulp and paper processing, have one thing in common: they all need quality lubricants to keep their systems running reliably and efficiently.
Understanding the importance of a comprehensive lubrication solution for recycling plants, CBC Australia has partnered with Viva Energy to offer a wide range of premium Shell lubricants to customers across Australia.
CBC’s National Product Manager for Lubricants, Steve Keown, says easy access to Shell’s comprehensive portfolio of oils and greases for hydraulic parts, gears, heavy duty diesel engines and turbines is an attractive offer for their customers, especially given their global strength.
“It is an attractive option for our customers to work with a single brand that offers such an extensive product portfolio than to work with multiple brands. It reduces the number of products they need on-site and makes managing their lubrication store so much easier,” says Keown.
One issue that Plant Managers and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) currently face is having to deal with multiple brands of lubricants that are specified for each piece of equipment.
This can lead to confusion on their part, particularly in a scenario where there’s been a change of staff or if the inventory is not managed properly.
“One site we surveyed had 14 brands of lubricants on-site. Some products had been there for more than a decade and most of the products were well past their shelf life,” Keown says.
As part of its offering, CBC appoints local teams to work closely with their customers to assess their current lubricant scenario and provides recommendations on how to rationalise the number of different products that they are using.
They can also complete the necessary testing to ensure that all lubricants in use meet the relevant industry standards. Shell’s LubeAnalyst service is a lubricant health check available to customers who want their oil samples tested to monitor equipment and lubricant health.
CBC’s services include cataloguing the current lubrication store to present a new, high quality lubrication program. The team can also assist with recommending solutions to better handle lubricant deliveries and provide the necessary recovery equipment and spill kits.
If commissioned by customers, CBC can further carry out a plant survey to identify all areas for improvement, such as the use of wrong or duplicate products.
In addition, the CBC engineering team can provide preventative maintenance programs. These may include scheduled lubricant sampling, oil and vibration analysis and mapping normal levels to identify red flags before any major failure occurs.
“This could save the customer from minor inconveniences as well as significant downtime with major component failures. Some of these plants use bespoke parts that aren’t sitting on a shelf somewhere. Should something unexpected occur, the team can conduct a root cause analysis,” he adds.
Viva Energy Lubrication Expert, Paul Smallacombe, explains why it’s particularly important for recycling plants to use premium lubrication products.
“Waste recycling systems often place excessive load and temperature stress on the lubricants used. Using quality lubricants that are designed for the specific applications helps reduce the operating temperatures and extend the machine’s life.
“A prime example of this is Shell Tellus S2 MX 68 hydraulic oil that resists breakdown under heat or mechanical stress and helps in preventing damaging deposit formation, therefore extending the operating life of machinery,” he explains.
Another objective in planning the best lubrication program for a recycling plant, Smallacombe says, is to extend oil drain intervals.
“Operating costs are always at the top of a plant manager’s mind. Using lubricants with longer service life ensures less downtime and therefore more efficient operation. For example, one of our customers was able to double their oil drain interval after we introduced them to the correct Shell product.”
To help customers identify the most suitable lubricants, Smallacombe and the Viva energy technical Team work closely with CBC and their customers to share their expertise.
“There are a number of less reputable lubricants in the market that do not meet the industry standards and have not received the necessary approvals. But their advertisements use terminologies that can be misleading for customers. This creates the additional risk for a customer to lose their warranty on certain machinery if they use an unapproved product,” he said.
“Through our oil testing services, we can establish how equipment is operating with a certain lubricant. If necessary, we can trial a higher tier product for the customer and report the results after a second analysis.”
Adam Gordon, Astec Australia National Account Manager, talks high-frequency screening efficiencies and a growing waste sector presence.
With the Victorian Government’s recent $100 million investment in recycling and Infrastructure Australia’s call for a harmonised national waste plan, sector growth is imminent. Add increasing market interest in the use of waste for infrastructure applications and, according to many stakeholders, the future looks bright for domestic reprocessing markets.
While equipment supplier Astec Australia has traditionally focused on the quarrying and mining sectors, Adam Gordon, National Account Manager Aggregate and Mining, says developments in the resource recovery sphere have entrenched the company’s growing interest in “waste as resource.”
“In recent years, our interest in, and equipment offerings for, the waste and recycling industry has increased significantly. And we now have multiple screening options on offer to help operators separate deleterious material from valuable resources,” Adam says.
“Plus, with demand for fine material growing for applications such as glass in roads and crushed rock, and the growing acceptance of reclaimed asphalt pavement, operators need access to the best possible tools for separating fines. That’s a progressive development we want to support.”
One such offering, Adam says, is Astec’s new GT2612V track high-frequency screen. He adds that as the screen is high, rather than multi- frequency, the GT2612V is capable of screening finer and more difficult to manage material.
“Our high-frequency screens offer ideal gradation control for reclaiming fines in dry applications, with all high-frequency screen decks driven by variable-speed hydraulic vibrators for optimal screen efficiency and production,” Adam says.
“Producers save time and money with easy hydraulic screen angle adjustments and our unique rotary tensioning system, which ensures some of the quickest screen media changes in the market.”
The screen works via stratification, with larger size particles rising to the top of the vibrating material bed, while smaller particles sift through voids to the bottom.
“It also works on the probability of separation, as particles that reach apertures are rejected if they’re larger than the opening or passed through if smaller,” Adam says.
“As fines screening is most efficient when machines are configured with a short stroke, high revolutions per minute and steep angle, the GTV2612V can operate at angles up to 43 degrees to operate through the natural angle of material repose.”
Astec’s track-mounted screens, Adam says, are engineered to provide higher production capacities and more efficient sizing when compared to conventional screens.
“Our track-mounted screens combine heavy-duty screens with industry-leading conveyor heights.With easy-to-reach engine controls and grease points for routine service, they facilitate operator ease and process efficiency,” he says.
Adam adds that due to the high-frequency screen inducing vibrations directly into the screen media, operators have reduced maintenance issues and increased production and uptime.
Astec’s new screening addition has a hopper size of 7.2 metres cubed, which Adam says facilitates consistent and high-level processing.
He adds that the GT2612V separates at up to 4200 revolutions per minute.
“Our unique rotary tensioning system also provides quick screen media changes, up to 50 per cent faster than competitive models,” Adam says.
“Easy replacement of each screen section also translates to less downtime for screen changes and increased operational time.”
In addition to selling high-quality equipment, Adam says Astec is committed to providing ongoing support and assistance to all its clients.
“We have a dedicated team of customer service staff who are always ready to provide clients with information about what machinery is best suited to their application,” he says.
Adam says Astec also has a number of business processes, including sound commercial and project management, based on industry standard principles and best practices.
He says that this means that all customer projects are carried out through known project phasing. This comprises appropriate project software to ensure equipment is delivered, installed and commissioned on time and on budget.
Adam adds that Astec stamps all of its equipment with an “Astec Response Promise”. This means equipment purchases are supported by quality maintenance, repairs and spare parts nationwide.
“We believe in our responsibility to ensure our equipment operates effectively and efficiently throughout its life, which fits in nicely with our growing waste industry presence,” he says.
Shred-Tech has released its ultra-high security STX-Line to the Australian market, revealing a unique feature which reduces the need for historically used technology.
Once a criminal catches wind of your personal information, the consequences can be destructive.
In the business world, document theft can be precarious, with both data security and intellectual property theft on the line.
Moreover, the erosion of customer trust can have serious financial and reputational consequences.
According to IBM Security’s Cost of a Data Breach Report, lost business was the biggest contributor to data breach costs. While the brave new world of digital opens up the immense risk of data breach, secure document destruction is an area within an operator’s sphere of influence and control.
A high-performance shredding system can ensure businesses mitigate and eliminate the risks of fraud surrounding the disposal of paper-based and other physical documents.
High throughput and reliable pieces of technology leave less room for error, providing operators with the necessary peace of mind.
The European Union introduced General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2018, indicating the scale and seriousness of the issue. One of the implications is individuals can request companies reveal or delete personal data they hold.
Australian businesses of any size need to comply if they have an establishment in the EU, if they offer goods or servicesin the EU or if they monitor the behaviour of individuals in the EU.
Additionally, the GDPR and Australian Privacy Act 1988 share a number of common requirements, including to implement a privacy by design approach to compliance and being able to demonstrate compliance with privacy principles and obligations. Moreover, adopting transparent information handling practices is another key trait.
Australian businesses may need to comply with the GDPR and if so, take steps to ensure their personal handling data complies with GDPR. Shredding with accuracy led data-conscious regulators to respond with the development of legislative standards such as DIN 66399 Level 4 (P-4) Protection Class 3.
The decades-long evolution of data protection has opened the door for companies like Shred-Tech to put their engineering finesse to the task, developing smarter and more efficient ways of doing business. Around 10 years ago, Shred-Tech released its ultra-high security STX-Line to the international market.
In 2013, the units evolved from a truck-based to plant-based operation, opening up a new round of capabilities. In the last few months, the machine has made it Down Under and is available in both systems for paper and other products, such as CDs, DVDs, ID cards and other forms of media.
This time round, the biggest innovation is a revolutionary dual mode system, allowing STX shredding units to switch between standard and high security modes at the touch of a button.
Justin Johns, Sales Manager at Shred-Tech Asia, says the activation of high-security mode produces an incredibly small DIN-certified shred size and maintains high throughputs. He says high-security mode reduces a reliance on screens or moving additional shredders in and out of position.
“When operators want to change the shred size using a screen shredder, they often have to shut down the machine, pull the screen out and insert a new screen, which can be a timely process,” Justin says.
“This is the first technology that is able to shred to a high security process on the fly.
‘The machine can switch from high-speed to high-security mode within seconds.”
In addition to productivity benefits, the technology can eliminate the need for users to purchase specialised machinery. Justin says the technology was designed by Shred-Tech engineers overseas. He helped drive the initial research and development phase just under 10 years ago which was driven by GDPR reform.
Moreover, he says it meets stringent DIN European standards emanating from GDPR and increases the operator’s competitive capabilities, helping them to take on new work.
Available in the ST-15 E and STX-1E models, the machines are powered by an electric drive and comprise knife widths of 15.3 millimetres and 9.3 millimetres respectively. For example, the ST-15E shredder achieves throughputs of up to 1134 kilograms per hour.
Justin says the unique design of the machined hex shafts maximises knife placement options and supports easy knife removal and machine maintenance. He says Shred-Tech’s hex shaft drive system offers one of the highest knife-tip cutting forces of any comparable shredder on the market.
“The motor and gearbox is finely tuned for maximum cutting force.”
The STX control panel has been designed and fabricated by certified Shred-Tech engineers and features a Siemens touchscreen, with simple operation and graphical feedback on machine status.
The programmable logic controller supports knife reversal on overload. Optional features comprise custom stands and hoppers, feed and discharge conveyors and explosion-proof motors.
Justin says that quality is supported by an extra heavy duty stand and hopper which can be fit in to existing customer installations.
Importantly, several design refinements have been made for ease of maintenance and to improve shredder durability. These include bulkhead walls at either end of the cutting chamber to support high-quality bearing and seal protection. The modular lightweight cast construction also allows for quick and easy assembly. Justin says the machine body was designed in-house and access to skilled Shred-Tech engineers means the sales department can work closely with the customer to solve their unique challenges.
“The idea behind it was because we wanted to make these machines global, we made maintenance minimal and able to be performed easily in-house without requiring specialised equipment,” Justin says.
“Through our head office in Ontario and manufacturing offices in Australia, US, the UK, Thailand and Japan, we have the capability to respond to our customers’ market needs quickly.”