The largest collection network: MobileMuster

Spyro Kalos, MobileMuster General Manager, speaks with Waste Management Review about the product stewardship scheme’s 21st anniversary and shifting approaches to sustainability.

While Australians are early adopters of technology, the length of mobile phone ownership remains relatively stable, with half the population using their mobile phone for two or more years, according to MobileMuster research.

Reuse and repair rates are also rising, as the circular economy concept continues to take root.

Aside from shifting supply chains, one of the most important circular economy outcomes is changing the public’s attitudes when it comes to reuse, repair and recycling. People are realising that an out-of-date phone doesn’t need to become waste. It can be reused through sale or passed on to family and friends.

Spyro Kalos, MobileMuster General Manager, says to support the growing reuse and repair market, MobileMuster has developed education resources and partnered with several leading commercial reuse programs.

“Traditionally, refurbished devices were shipped to developing markets overseas, but there is a growing demand for refurbished devices locally,” he says.

“When a device has no commercial resale value however, consumers are encouraged to recycle them with MobileMuster.”

Spyro says MobileMuster’s expansion into reuse and repair education is typical for the program, which since 1998, has continued to adapt and grow in line with advancing technology and consumer expectations.

Celebrating its 21st birthday earlier this year, Spyro says MobileMuster began as a standard take-back program.

“Since it began, MobileMuster has collected over 1500 tonnes of mobile phone components, and now operates the most extensive drop off network of any stewardship program in the country,” he says.

At an anniversary event at Sydney’s The Mint in early November, Spyro highlighted the importance of collaboration and building strong relationships with collection network stakeholders.

“Our collection partners are critical to the success of the program. They are motivated and actively engage in supporting our work, including raising awareness to get more people recycling,” he says.

“We have also seen a significant growth in the number of repair stores joining the program, with over 220 stores now participating as a collection point,” he says.

The event was attended by Telstra Executive Director of Regulatory Affairs and Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association Chair Jane van Beelen and Assistant Waste Reduction and Environmental Management Minister Trevor Evans. Spyro says the event highlights how far the scheme has grown.

MobileMuster collected and recycled 84.1 tonnes of mobile phone components in 2019, including 1.2 million handsets and batteries. Spyro adds that one in three Australians have recycled a mobile phone since the program began.

“The success of our scheme relies on raising awareness through promotions, and addressing barriers to recycling through education,”
he says.

“We are committed to continuing to invest in the next generation of mobile phone users, educating them about the impact of their mobiles and how to act for a sustainable future.”

In addition to behavioural and awareness changes, Spyro says MobileMuster is committed to a high recovery rate through its recycling process, and notes that the design of mobiles phones has changed over the programs 21 years

“The material make-up of mobiles is always changing. Manufacturers are using more glass and metals than ever before – material that is highly recyclable and also in demand,”
he says.

With public scrutiny increasingly focused on the recycling industry, Spyro says MobileMuster is committed to total process transparency.

“The program only uses a single recycling partner, which helps us understand their end to end operations. We also audit their recycling processes yearly,” he says.

“Additionally, our recycling partner has experience working under Basel Convention rules, along with the importing and exporting of hazardous waste.”

Looking to the future, Spyro says MobileMuster will work closely with its members, stakeholders and the government to ensure the program’s continued success.

“Over the past five years, collections have remained high with MobileMuster meeting its targets and key performance indicators under the Product Stewardship Act’s voluntary accreditation,” he says.

“That said, there is always room for improvement. We need more consumers participating because, without them, we have a fundamental flaw in the circular economy concept.”

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Are you going to Ballarat?

Ahead of the Australian Waste to Energy Forum, Barry Sullivan, Committee Chair, discusses the developing national sector.

A waste-to-energy (WtE) facility in Creswick, Victoria is exploring how to inject clear, filtered green gas into the state’s gas network. Diverting 2000 tonnes of organic waste via bio-digestion each year, the facility will serve as a case study, with replication potential highlighted by the state government.

With news of green gas and a number of high-profile WtE projects, public WtE perceptions appear to be shifting. Images of smoke and burning plastics have been replaced by productive conversations about landfill diversion and the future of renewable energy.

It’s welcome news for the team at the Australian Waste to Energy Forum, which returns to the Mercure in Ballarat this year from 18-20 February.

In its fifth consecutive year, the forum aims to provide a platform for all interested parties to discuss developments in Australia’s growing WtE sector. This year’s theme, “On the road to recovery”, has been selected to address two key areas: the application of waste hierarchy fundamentals, and changing perceptions about WtE facilities and their role within an integrated waste management strategy.

According to Barry Sullivan, Forum Chair, one of the biggest WtE challenges is lack of access to information necessary to make informed and considered investment decisions.

“We are finding there is a lot of misinformation in the public arena that inhibits project development,” Barry says.

“The issue with going to a technology vendor without basic knowledge is they will often say, don’t worry, we can make this work. In other words, when you sell hammers, everything looks like a nail.”

He adds that before looking to technologies, people need to understand their waste stream, moisture levels, quantity and calorific value, as well as the type of offtakes they hope to produce.

“The committee, and conference host, the Australian Industrial Ecology Network, intend to foster that understanding with our event,” Barry explains.

The two-and-a-half-day conference will feature a range of informative thought leader driven discussions.

“It has always been a priority of the committee to seek out presentations that will address key themes through the program, instead of just grouping abstracts into sessions,” Barry says.

“The committee has closely monitored WtE projects and changing technology over the past seven years, and we want to highlight those developments to our audience.”

Nurturing community engagement and education is also the driver behind the committee’s decision to run with a single stream.

“As WtE is still in early phases, many don’t know if they need thermal or non-thermal solutions for example, so we decided to cover all WtE elements in the one stream,” he says.

“You don’t know what you don’t know, so it makes sense for all delegates to attend each presentation.”

The program features a range of range of speakers including Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley, Blue Environment Director Bill Grant and a keynote from Veolia Kwinana Project Director Toby Terlet.

Toby’s presentation, Energy Recovery Facilities: What’s not written on the tin, will detail challenges faced by a WtE facility in Tyseley, UK, including major upgrade works at the same time as industrial action, heavy snow and a declining national public sector budget. This presentation will discuss how Veolia worked proactively through the challenges with City of Birmingham to further cement the successful long-standing partnership and resulting in a five-year contract extension.

To develop a thriving national industry, Barry says it’s important to not only showcase success, but share challenges openly.

“Last year we had a technology company present on their biggest failure, which provided a valuable lesson for everyone in the room,”
he says.

Other discussion topics include WtE in a circular economy, anaerobic digestion, licence to operate, current project updates, project development considerations and future opportunities and developments.

“We are hosting a session where local governments can talk about future plans. It won’t feature cities with official requests for a proposal in place, but rather those that want the WtE community to know they are thinking about it,” Barry says.

Another will be how to develop technologies that provide return on investment, in spite of small tonnages.

“While WtE in Australia is certainly advancing, progress has been slow, as government agencies tend to rely on standards from Europe and North America,” Barry says.

“But Australia is a different animal with different requirements. We simply don’t have the tonnages other countries do and it’s important to develop technology around that.”

According to Barry, hosting the forum in Ballarat creates a sense of occasion.

“Not only is Ballarat accessible, with trains running every hour from Melbourne, but having a group of likeminded individuals converge on one place creates a real sense of community, and with everyone in town, the evenings are known for networking,” he says.

“We’ve now gained quite a reputation – people aren’t asking ‘are you going to the WtE forum?’ They’re asking, ‘are you going to Ballarat?’

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One million tonnes of PEF: SUEZ-ResourceCo

SUEZ-ResourceCo’s South Australian waste to energy plant has officially produced one million tonnes of alternative fuel.

Australia’s first waste-to-energy plant celebrated the production of one million tonnes of alternative fuel in November, and as a process aside, the diversion of two million tonnes of waste from landfill.

Working closely with Adelaide Brighton Cement, ResourceCo developed a Processed Engineered Fuel (PEF) as a partial replacement for fossil fuels for the company’s cement kiln in 2006.

The result is a plant capable of sorting, sizing and extracting 300,000 tonnes of combustible material each year. The Wingfield plant in South Australia is operated as a partnership between ResourceCo and SUEZ.

Simon Brown, ResourceCo Managing Director, says the company is proud to play a role in Australia’s efforts to move away from a make, use and dispose model in favour of a circular economy.

“ResourceCo’s ethos is to recover, recycle and re-use products to extract their maximum value – in this case dry non-recyclable material,” Simon says.

“The plant is a great example of what’s possible when it comes to circular economy initiatives.”

Cement produced by Adelaide Brighton, using PEF from the Wingfield plant, has been used in a host of major infrastructure projects across South Australia.

According to Simon, the Wingfield facility uses world-leading technology to harness the energy value in construction, demolition, commercial and industrial waste, otherwise destined for landfill, transforming it into a baseload fuel.

When unveiling a plaque to mark the one-millionth tonne milestone, Steven Marshall, South Australian Premier, acknowledged the facility as a great example of what’s possible in the resource recovery industry.

“South Australia leads the nation in resource recovery, and projects like this are fantastic for the environment as well as the economy,” Steven says.

“We know that for every tonne of waste recycled, there are more than three times the amount of jobs created compared to when sent to landfill.”

David Speirs, South Australian Environment and Water Minister, says the SUEZ-ResourceCo facility reinforces South Australia’s reputation as a national leader in waste management and circular economy initiatives.

“The waste management and resource recovery industry is a major player in South Australia’s economy with approximately 4800 people employed, and we want to this number to grow,” David says.

Mark Venhoek, SUEZ-ResourceCo Chairman and SUEZ Australia and New Zealand CEO, says in addition to creating employment, the SUEZ-ResourceCo partnership has resulted in significant environmental outcomes.

He adds that the facility has contributed not just to significant landfill diversion, but also a reduction in the state’s reliance on fossil fuels.

“PEF presents a cost-effective, sustainable solution to the generation of baseload energy, while helping to address the complex issues of waste management – it’s a win/win,” Mark says.

“Since launching as Australia’s first waste-to-energy plant in 2006, the facility has helped reduce annual green house gas emissions to the equivalent of the electricity supply of 50,000 homes.”

Nick Miller, Adelaide Brighton Limited CEO, shares Mark’s enthusiasm.

“SUEZ-ResourceCo’s alternative fuel reduces Adelaide Brighton Cement’s reliance on natural resources, as well as the use of raw materials in the cement manufacturing process,” he says.

“Through the use of this alternative fuel, Adelaide Brighton Cement has achieved a reduction of approximately 500,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions since project inception.”

Tony Circelli, South Australian EPA Chief Executive, says the plant illustrates an innovative way of dealing with waste that would otherwise have gone to landfill.

“The EPA has driven a regulatory risk-based framework to ensure that innovation can occur with strong attention and adherence to their social license,” Tony says.

“The outcome is positive both for the environment and the people of South Australia.”

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Extending shredder service life

Shredding and removing deleterious materials can place extensive pressure on the machine itself, meaning the right componentry is needed to support the task. Fortunately, innovations in productivity have continued to offer the recycling sector higher throughputs at a lower operating cost.

For shredding applications, a high performance spherical roller bearing is no different, paving the way for precise, repeatable motions and reliable extended operations.

While the basic functionality of today’s spherical roller bearings is similar to that introduced in the 1950s, suppliers such as Timken have tirelessly worked towards continuous improvements and upgrades.

As an overarching principle, Timken has worked towards the core principles of greater load-carrying capacity, reduced operating temperature and extended service life.

Depending on the size of the shredder and application, Timken offer a range of spherical roller bearings to support an after-market solution or product replacement. It offers a range of solutions, including pulp and paper, power transmission, metals, cement/aggregates and other applications.

Hardened steel cages, for example, work to deliver greater fatigue strength and protection against shock and acceleration loads. The steel cage comprises a unique slotted design that allows increased contaminant purging and lube flow, supporting lower temperatures and longer operating life.

Rollers are guided by cage pockets, as opposed to a centre ring, which eliminates a friction point, resulting in four to 10 per cent less rotational torque and five degrees Celsius lower operating temperatures.

In designing high-performance bearings, Timken has expanded its offering to suit the challenging needs of various sectors.

One of its strengths as a supplier is offering both hardened steel cages and brass cages, while maintaining an acute awareness of the intricacies of each customer application. Its full line-up of spherical roller bearings includes coverage of all common sizes, from a small (25mm to 240mm), mid-size (240mm to 440mm) and large bore (>440mm).

“If you’re looking for a replacement shredder bearing, Timken has a number of advantages,” explains Tony Tormey, CBC Australia Product Manager – Industrial Bearings.

Timken spherical roller shredder bearings by design have lower operating temperatures to extend bearing life. By running 5°C cooler, on average, than the competition, the bearings can increase lubricant life which can mean nine per cent more bearing life.

Lower temperatures reduce the oxidation and deterioration of oils, greases and films and extend lubrication, thereby extending bearing service life. Additionally, this reduces friction and allows the bearing to turn and reduce torque.

Tormey says extra strength is important to reducing downtime, as some recycling plants could be running 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He says that Timken spherical roller bearings offer higher load ratings that create a significant advantage over standard bearings, giving rise to less fatigue and placing less stress on the bearings.

Heavier loads may not only help operators take on more materials, but offer a variety of benefits. High performance can mean an increase in bearing service life, which allows operators to downsize other component selections while maintaining current levels of systems performance. For example, this might allow a metal recycler to increase its power density, leading to greater throughputs and longer system life.

Longer rollers also result in four to eight per cent higher load ratings or 14 to 29 per cent longer predicted bearing life. With higher load ratings, operators can carry heavier loads, thus improving productivity.

In shredding applications for example, Timken recommends brass cages to handle the extreme operating environment. Brass cages offer extra strength and durability in the most unrelenting conditions allowing for high gravitational forces, shock loads and minimal lubrication.

New surface finishing techniques on the roller and raceway surfaces further enhance the benefits of greater durability and cooler operation. Importantly, the result reduces operating costs and extends the life of one’s shredder.

A practical example was observed when a Belgian Pellet Mill installed Timken spherical roller bearings at its site, reporting a fivefold increase in bearing life and operating temperatures 5 ̊C – 8 ̊C cooler than the competition. The end result led to fewer maintenance cycles and greater uptime – demonstrating the importance of choosing the right technology to fit the task.

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UNTHA specialist to present at Waste to Energy Forum

UNTHA’s waste-to-energy (WtE) specialist Gary Moore is heading to Australia to join the team at FOCUS enviro for AIEN’s Australian Waste to Energy Forum.

The forum, held 19-20 February in Ballarat, will focus on waste hierarchy fundamentals and their applications, as well as waste diversion and the energy supply landscape.

Other key topics include the appropriate use of alternative WtE technologies and the definition of residual materials.

According to a FOCUS enviro statement, Mr Moore will discuss the latest equipment solutions from UNTHA, and present on whether RDF and PEF represent Australia’s future resources.

“With almost 30 years’ experience within the waste and recycling sector, Mr Moore will be drawing upon international examples from the ever-changing landscape to explore what role alternative fuels will play in the country’s future resource strategy, using successful, global WtE projects as reference points for delegates,” the statement reads.

FOCUS enviro will also host a Demo Day showcasing UNTHA shredding technology in Melbourne 20 February.

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National Cleantech Conference seeks EOIs

The National Cleantech Conference and Exhibition (NCTCE) is seeking expressions of interest from event sponsors and exhibitors looking to showcase clean technology innovations.

In its second year, NCTCE will take place at the Brisbane Conference and Exhibition Centre on the 3-4 August.

Cleantech’s 2020 theme is fast tracking sustainable growth, with a program covering all sectors including water, energy, waste, mobility, agriculture, manufacturing and built environment.

According NCTCE Event Director Peta Moore, developing clean technologies is key to mitigating the impact of climate change, while creating new economic opportunities.

“I, like so many, am filled with horror as I watch the fires destroy so much of our country. While I am one of the lucky people not personally affected by the flames and smoke, it has still been an emotional time, a time of despair and frustration,” she said.

Ms Moore said after years working in the cleantech sector, she knows of multiple organisations, businesses, start-ups and innovators developing sustainable solutions around the country.

“As a team of conference organisers, my business, Nectar Creative Communications, is doing what we know how to do best. We are putting on NCTCE and are determined to make a positive impact on this issue by supporting the sector’s growth and commercial implementation,” she said.

The two-day program will focus on cleantech as an instigator of innovation, economic development, creative collaborations and inclusive prosperity.

Program Director Tiffany Bower said the national platform will bring all the major players from the cleantech sector together.

“NCTCE is not focussed on just one solution – it’s a multi-sector event – because it will take a holistic approach, across technologies, behaviours and policies,” she said.

“The conversations at the event will encompass energy, water, waste, built environment, transport, agriculture and manufacturing, because these days, projects aren’t just an ‘energy’ project or a ‘water’ project – they are often across all of these sectors.”

Ms Bower said a key topic of the 2020 event will be investment opportunities and access to funding.

“Many people don’t realise there are government agencies at all levels already doing great work in this area. There is funding available and resources they can access to help build their cleantech innovation and business,” she said.

“Our speaker program aims to spotlight the best-practice case studies, the innovative partnerships and new business models to help delegates navigate their way through the implementation process.”

NCTCE is working in partnership with industry groups such as Climate-KIC, EnergyLab, Cities Power Partnership, Brisbane’s CitySmart and the Australian Electric Vehicle Association.

“It’s really important to us that this conference is accessible to the small businesses and start-ups that comprise the majority of the cleantech industry,” Ms Moore said.

“We have kept ticket prices as low as possible, while ensuring a world-class education and professional development program.”

Tickets go on sale mid-February. For more information click here.

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Immersed in industry: VWMA Waste Expo site tours

The Victorian Waste Management Association’s recent industry site tours took delegates through a range of resource recovery and manufacturing facilities.

The partnership between the Victorian Waste Management Association (VWMA) and Waste Expo Australia was particularly significant in 2019, given current challenges facing the Victorian arm of the sector.

While the event had a national focus, Mark Smith, VWMA Executive Officer, says Victoria was lucky to have Waste Expo located in Melbourne.

“We support Waste Expo because of the relevance this national event brings to the Victorian landscape, with thought provoking discussions and presentations on everything important and impactful to the sector,” he says.

As a strategic Waste Expo partner, VWMA ran three concurrent industry tours on the Friday following the expo, a first for the leading waste and resource recovery event.

Hosting a wide range of delegates including representatives from the Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group, industry heavy weights such as TOMRA, local government agents and small business owners, VWMA’s tours were designed to educate and stimulate conversation.

The day’s events included a construction and demolition tour, an organics tour and a packaging process tour.

“Working with industry partners Alex Fraser, the Australian Packaging and Covenant Organisation (APCO) and the Australian Organic Recycling Association (AORA), VWMA ran the tours to bring the steps industry is taking to support Victoria’s recycling agenda into focus,” Mark says.

As attendees gathered at the Melbourne Convention Centre on Friday morning, many expressed difficulty over choosing which tour to attend.

After an opening address from Mark, delegates piled into three separate buses, each with an industry specific tour guide.

The construction and demolition tour, sponsored by Alex Fraser, included site visits to Bingo Industries West Melbourne Facility, Alex Fraser’s Sustainable Supply Hub, a Level Crossing Removal Project site and the Toll Shipping’s terminal at Webb Dock.

Bingo Industries West Melbourne Facility is established on a site acquired 18 months ago by the company, with Bingo pouring $23 million into the facility since then. The site allows Bingo to convert waste into seven different products and has capacity for around 300,000 tonnes per annum. The company aims to achieve a 75 per cent recovery rate on-site.

At Webb Dock, Alex Fraser has worked with contractor Civilex to develop a heavy-duty pavement which incorporates reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) that meets VicRoads guidelines. The pavement base layers are comprised recycled glass sand and recycled concrete.

As part of the Level Crossing Removal Project, the Western Program Alliance used Alex Fraser’s recycled sand as bedding material for the combined services conduit housing the communications and power cables. The grade separation was undertaken at Kororoit Creek Road in Melbourne. The low embodied energy material replaces virgin sand with all 900 tonnes diverted from landfill at a lower cost.

Finally, Waste Management Review got to explore where Alex Fraser’s recycling happens, touring its Laverton North supply hub where more than one million tonnes of C&D waste, and one billion bottles of glass waste is reprocessed to make the quality construction materials needed to build greener roads.

A climb to the top of Alex Fraser’s high recycled technology asphalt plant topped off the excursion. The new $18 million faciliity is capable of producing over half a million tonnes of green asphalt per year, utilising the recycled glass sand and RAP produced in its collocated recycling facilities.

Shifting material focus, the Organics and Composting Tour’s first stop took attendees to the South Melbourne Market, where they were told about the market’s 32 tonne a year dehydrating compost initiative.

From there, VWMA and AORA directed the tour bus to Sacyr’s new indoor compositing facility. Michael Wood, Sacyr Environment Australia Consultant, guided the group through the 120,000 tonnes per annum facility, and explained the challenges associated with adapting a European model to an Australian environment.

The group was then guided through Cleanaway’s South East Organic Processing Facility and food depackaging unit.

Melinda Lizza, Cleanaway Development Manager, explained the depackaging unit’s 150,000 tonnes per annum capabilities, before handing the tour over to Michael Lawlor, Cleanaway Operations Supervisor.

After the tour, the group had lunch with the Cleanaway crew and discussed interactions with the EPA and growing levels of scrutiny on the compost industry.

From there, the group was driven to Bio Gro’s Dandenong South Facility, where Sage Hahn, Bio Gro General Manger, explained the company’s approach to organics diversion and composted mulch production.

After taking the group through the Bio Gro site, Sage fielded a range of technical questions and detailed the mineral additive process of mulch manufacturing.

Doug Wilson, AROA Victoria Admin Officer and compost group tour guide, says the day allowed delegates to closely inspect organics processing.

“At the very time when the state government is bringing the circular economy into focus, the organics tour took delegates on an interactive experience with some of Melbourne’s most exciting and innovative organics recovery technology,” he says.

The APCO packing tour, which was delivered in partnership with the Australian Food and Grocery Council and Australian Institute of Packaging, took attendees to Ego Pharmaceuticals, the South Melbourne Markets and recycled plastic manufacturer Replas’ Carrum Downs site.

Of the APCO tour, Mark says industry is at a critical time where collaboration is essential to address challenges in the packaging supply chain and achieve the 2025 National Packaging Targets.

“Great stuff happens all across Australia by the waste and recycling industry and many organisatsions that we partner with,” Mark says.

He added that these were areas of interest that were not spoken about enough.

“It was exciting to see demonstrations of the circular economy in action. Parts of our sector are leading on this front and there are scale interventions that only really need the appropriate government policy to delivery environmental, economic and social benefits to Australia.”

He says this was clearly demonstrated on the tours in the Victoria context.

“Industry is leading on parts of this and it’s important to acknowledge the good work being done locally.

“A big thanks to all our partners for coming on board and collaborating with us.”

This article was published in the December issue of Waste Management Review. 

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Treading carefully on waste exports

It’s time we transformed into an economy that values all our resources and takes accountability onshore, writes Matt Genever, Director Resource Recovery, Sustainability Victoria.

The announcement by the Council of Australian Governments in August that Australia would ban the export of certain types of waste came as a surprise to most in the industry.

Global markets are already closing their doors to some degree, but Australia is still exporting around four million tonnes of material annually despite import restrictions set by China and other countries. Thus, the decision will certainly have implications for Australia’s domestic sector and the impacts will depend on how the ban is enacted and what materials are targeted.

Waste versus commodity

The intent of the ban is clear and easily justifiable. The images seen across media earlier in the year of mixed Australian waste, including soiled nappies, turning up at multiple Asian ports were not well received by the community. The social license of this great sector is already under siege and these images certainly didn’t help.

However, the situation is much more complex than this. It is unlikely that anyone could successfully argue that soiled nappies represent a tradeable commodity, but it does beg the question of where, and how, we draw the line between a waste and a commodity.

The recyclables being targeted as part of the ban include plastics, paper, glass and tyres.

Over the years, we’ve become more opportunistic in moving large volumes of plastics and paper offshore, which has led to less work being done locally to fully separate or “add value” to these resources.

In the case of tyres, there are valid questions being raised about where whole tyres, in particular, end up and how they are treated.

It’s this idea of “value adding” that offers the greatest opportunity for Australia, and equally where the most work needs to be done from the perspective of defining the boundaries of the ban.

How far does one need to go to add value? Is it simply separating material into different material types or is it fully commoditising it into a manufacturing-ready feedstock?

This is a conversation that Australia, and other nations, has been having for years.

In fact, there is a whole document dedicated to this called: Australian Waste Definitions: Defining waste related terms by jurisdictions in Australia. It is certainly not bedtime reading, but it is worth looking at the many and varied definitions we have for waste across each state and territory.

Words like “rejected”, “abandoned”, “surplus” and “discarded” commonly appear, as does the phrase “where not intended for recycling”.

In a world where one person’s trash is another person’s treasure, there is a fine line that must be walked here in developing these definitions.

Balance is everything

The complexity in defining a waste and how and when it becomes a commodity should not be the driving force that diverts us from this course of action. Like so many things in this system, it’s really all about balance.

We have an obligation to protect human health and as global citizens this needs to extend far beyond our own ocean-locked borders. Having said that, we also have an obligation to ensure that we are positioning our sector to develop its own domestic capacity and have the ability to participate in a thriving global commodity.

The sweet spot in here offers pause for some very optimistic reflection. There are already strong signs that industry is in a state of growth.

New investments are coming online and many businesses have already taken the leap toward commoditising the materials they collect. From hot-washed PET going into new bottles to government procurement of glass sand, the tide is most certainly turning.

So, Australia’s collective decision to ban exports needs to support and accelerate the change underway but at the same time consider our place in a global marketplace – one where we already have high operating costs (energy, in particular) and high
labour costs.

When one door closes, a window opens

Regardless of definitions, the idea of value-adding or commoditising our resources is one that is appealing. The opportunities for economic growth, new skills, new infrastructure and new jobs in the recycling sector are significant, but are only the tip of iceberg.

When we start commoditising our resources domestically, a whole range of opportunities for local manufacturing emerge. I was immensely pleased with the level of interest in Sustainability Victoria’s recent Buy Recycled Conference 2019.

I spoke with a number of manufacturing businesses that have the capacity right now to absorb more recycled content but are unable to source it from the local market. With the door to exports closing, its heartening to see the window into our domestic manufacturing is well and truly open.   

While there are probably more questions than answers in the commentary above (in the spirit of walking a fine line, I too must traverse my own path of balance), there is no doubt in my mind that the rewards here far outweigh the risks.

We’ve got to get the definitions right. We’ve got to get the balance right. But it’s high time we transformed into an economy that values all our resources, takes accountability for their management onshore and is focused on adding value and commoditising material when it reaches end of life.

This article was published in the December 2019 edition of Waste Management Review. 

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MAC 111/2 baler

The MAC 111/2 baler is characterised by its long-lasting, robust and easy maintenance capabilities.

Following the success of the MAC 2 range, the MAC 111 is now available with updated features and extended channel sections for higher compaction.

Available through Australian distributor CEMAC technologies, the baler has been designed to treat large quantities of material in a short space of time, including paper, PET, metals and refuse-derived fuel.

Using 15-millimetre Hardox 450 steel, bolted as opposed to welded for easy changeover, total protection of the internal parts of the baler is achieved, increasing the lifetime of the machine.

Using REXROTH variable flow pumps and high efficient IE3 electrical drives, Macpresse also further improved the hydraulic block for better wear resistance and counter pressure control.

The trolley runs on eight high strength bearing side rollers with enlarged diameters. The ram features hinged front guards to stop wire blockages.

In terms of compacting ability, the compacting cylinder provides a thrust of 170 tonnes at 320 bar, completing a full forward/baling/return cycle in 12 seconds with material.

Additionally, a movable tying unit connected to a hydraulic cylinder can be used during the cutting and twisting phase of the wires, proving to be particularly useful for difficult-to-bale materials. The machine can be optionally equipped with a POLY-TIE wire tying system.

SSE Europa also offers a Siemens TP1200 operating panel and software for real-time diagnostics.

Palfinger finds its niche at AWRE

Palfinger’s new NSW Key Account Manager Seth Ozbas found the company’s DINO T22A unit was in high demand at the Australasian Waste and Recycling Expo.

When Palfinger began exploring which of its hookloader units to showcase at the Australasian Waste and Recycling Expo (AWRE), the team identified its DINO T22A hookloaders as the ideal fit.

The conference’s NSW-centric location meant that a hookloader with the capacity for various rail widths and hydraulically adjustable hook heights was highly sought after, inspiring the team to display the unit on the show floor.

Supplied with either a hydraulically adjustable arm or an articulating arm, the DINO T22A is ideal for various waste streams, from construction and demolition waste to organics.

Palfinger clients are handling a range of challenging waste streams and the company recognises that containers vary in design, with multiple rail widths and assorted hook heights creating logistical challenges.

Having a single hookloader that can collect most containers is a strong value proposition for Palfinger’s diverse range of customers in NSW.

Holding AWRE in October timed well with new NSW Key Account Manager Seth Ozbas having just come on board.

Joining Palfinger in August, Seth was keen to meet and greet Palfinger’s new and existing customers.

His main responsibilities are to ensure Palfinger maintains its strong connections with its existing NSW customer base, while also working to forge new relationships with waste operations and fleet managers.

With more than 10 years’ experience in mining and construction, Seth is an expert in hydraulic equipment.

Seth explains he first moved to Australia last year where he worked for Wam Australia – a company based in Italy manufacturing bulk handling equipment.

From there, he stumbled upon Palfinger after discovering their products online and was immediately impressed with their quality of build.

He says he is determined to ensure Palfinger’s strong reputation in the cranes sector is equally as well-known in waste management, an area Seth considers a personal passion.

“Waste management is an established industry, experiencing rapid growth as consumer sentiment shifts towards reducing our impact on the planet,” Seth says.

“NSW is an interesting state and I look forward to learning more about our various customers and applications.”

Seth says that the majority of Palfinger’s diverse range of NSW customers are in the Sydney CBD or western suburbs, with a number also spread across regional areas, an area he hopes to continue to grow.

While he is new to the waste industry, he says AWRE has helped him forge connections with new and prospective customers.

Seth says the DINO T22A has been an easy unit to sell in NSW, given the demand to carry a variety of containers.

“Waste managers are knowledgeable and they know what they want most of the time, so it’s about combining our technical capabilities to suit their needs,” Seth explains.

Glen Woodrow, Hookloader and Skip Loader Account Manager at Palfinger, says the DINO T22A hookloaders are unique to Australia.

“We manufacture products that are bespoke – it’s as simple as that. This hookloader is not sold anywhere else in the world because of our unique customers needs, particularly in NSW,” Glen says.

He says that historical designs have had limited clearance on the front of the bin due to a large hook, an issue the DINO eliminates.

Glen explains the DINO’s hydraulically adjustable hook will pick up any bin at any rail width or height from 1360 to 1650 millimetres. As an added benefit, the unit comprises front bin locks for seven points of contact ensuring NSW customers can secure their loads safely.

The colour scheme of black and yellow is a design that stands out on the AWRE floor, complementing Palfinger’s red backdrop and brand promise of lifetime excellence.

Glen explains that the units all originate from France and can be customised to suit customer’s colour needs.

Augmenting the unit is Palfinger’s PAD controls – an intelligent system that aims to provide users better information and improve safety. The controls include features such as automatic cycle for increased safety and additional information, including real-time record data and information displayed on the truck dash.

“Through our digitisation process, Palfinger is looking to make its units easier, smarter and faster. The new process removes all relays out of the control circuitry, so it’s quite a maintenance-free system,” Glen explains.

He says the PAD control box is an intelligent system and will inform users if the unit is not set up correctly.

“If you’re trying to tip and have the front bin locks in instead of out, it won’t go into tip mode,” Glen says.

“If the vehicle is not ready to travel and you have a bin unlocked, the audible warning will tell you it’s not safe to travel, even if you disconnect the PTO.”

He says that PAD controls are offered in both the T22A articulated DINO unit for low loading and T22T – a telescopic unit able to pick up every bin on the market.

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