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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Packaging belt life to capitalise on industry growth

As the 2025 National Packaging Targets deadline approaches, resource recovery facility operators are presented with an opportunity to capitalise on expected throughput growth.

Between 2017-18, Australia generated 4.4 million tonnes of packaging waste, with only 68 per cent collected. Of that 68 per cent, 56 per cent was recovered via recycling.

In contrast, the national packaging targets aim to ensure 70 per cent of all plastic packaging is recycled by 2025. In addition to delivering significant environmental outcomes, the targets are set to grow economic opportunity in the sector through increased material availability.

To capture this potential, Mark O’Brien, BSC Product Manager, says recycling plant operators need to invest in streamlined equipment processes to ensure consistent throughput levels and quality recyclate. He adds that this includes the installation of durable and high efficiency belt drives.

While belt drives might not represent the most high-tech or glamourous component of an average recycling plant, Mark says superior strength and high grip belts are critical to maintain operations and minimise downtime.

“Sorters, conveyors and crushers are all central to the recycling process and are typically belt driven by an electric motor,” he says.

“BSC provides a wide range of belt drives to facilitate recycling applications, from our economy range right up to high performance V and Timing Belts.”

To provide a complete power transmission package, Mark says BSC works closely with American manufacturer of Carlisle drive belts by Timken.

Carlisle belts have been manufactured in the USA since 1905. The billionth Carlisle belt was sold in 2015. Recently acquired by The Timken Company, Carlisle belts are backed by a long history, yet continue to innovate and introduce new belt lines and products to market.

New lines include the Panther XT synchronous belt which acts as a powerful alternative to chain and polyurethane belts. Timken also launched its Drive Engineer mobile web app to assist in the design and maintenance of Carlisle belt drives in 2017.

“We have been working with Carlisle since the early 90s and have developed a very strong working relationship, which will continue to grow under The Timken Company for the marketplace,” Mark says.

BSC is the sole distributor of Carlisle belts in Australia and offers a range of Carlisle belts including Raw Edge Cog Belts. Super II, Blue Label, Power-Wedge, Wedge-Band belts, Super Vee-Band belts, Double Angle v-belts, Poly-Rib belts and Panther timing belts.

With over 15,000 different industrial belt combinations available, Mark says BSC are able to handle most power transmission applications; notably packaging recycling facility conveyor belts. He adds that different application requirements insist on varied and specific belt drives.

“In applications that require some level of slippage, a V belt is the best solution and you have variety of options within the Carlisle range” Mark explains.

“For applications with no slip requirements and synchronised drives however, I’d recommend a timing belt such as the Panther synchronous belt.”

According to Mark, correct installation and tensioning is necessary to ensure the proper operation of the entire belt drive and will guarantee long service life.

“When a drive is set up correctly and still failing, it likely points to something else incorrect in the system, belts act as a safety fuse in the system” he says.

“In that case, our engineering service can work on the machine to identify incorrect maintenance practices and drives or detect issues with other components that are affecting the belt life.”

Mark adds that by upgrading their belt drives, facility operators can reduce energy consumption, pulley sizes and hub loads through a lower quantity of belts required.

Additionally, he explains that belt drive construction and design can influence overall lifespan, power transmission and efficiency.

“The longevity of belt drives equates to less downtime, greater motor efficiency and reduced maintenance costs. Carlisle belt efficiency can be as high as 98 per cent,” he says.

“BSC recognises the positive impact its specialised products and services can, and do, have on helping customers become more sustainable across economic and environmental objectives.”

With the functionality of Carlisle belts specifically designed for the harsh environments of resource recovery, Mark says BSC is perfectly situated to assist capacity upgrades in the growing packaging recycling sector.

“BSC has extensive experience working with numerous companies in the packaging industry across Australia,” Mark says.

“That experience enables us to understand the special needs of those businesses and product processes, including energy conservation, high sustained speeds, continuous production, heavy leads and wet and dusty environments.”

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Lessons from the EU: Eggersmann and Skala

Duncan Bowett, Eggersmann UK Managing Director, speaks with Waste Management Review about the growing Australian resource recovery market and a local partnership with Skala.

While the European Union did not escape China’s National Sword restrictions in 2018, harmonised waste regulation facilitated a swift regional response. Higher population density was another factor, with greater material output working to incentivise private investment.

According to Duncan Bowett, Eggersmann UK Managing Director, the regulated EU system, and associated technology outlays, is better equipped at separating waste than its Australian counterpart. This, he says, inevitably leads to a higher-quality recycling product.

“The UK presently falls under EU legislation, so we have to follow the European directive on recycling and waste, whereas in Australia, it’s very much a state by state system in terms of what material is collected, sorting, processes and levies.”

Duncan suggests the disjointed nature of Australia’s resource recovery system, in conjunction with the country’s relatively small population, works to disincentivise private investment in higher grade processing technology.

He adds that given the rate of Australian construction and infrastructure building, this creates a significant level of missed economic and environmental opportunity.

“Australia’s big build movement is in full swing, and when you’re knocking down buildings and building new infrastructure, you’re using a lot of aggregates,” Duncan says.

“We went through a similar growth period in the UK 20 years ago and used landfill tax increases to capitalise on resource recovery potential.”

That forward thinking, Duncan says, has fostered a healthy resource recovery environment, where projects such as Eggersmann’s 2019 UK Clyde Valley turnkey facility are viable.

The Clyde Valley Residual Waste Project, which commenced operations in December 2019, involved five local authorities.

Designed to improve recycling and residual waste treatment to complement existing recycling and composting activities, the project was awarded to waste management company Viridor.

Following this, Eggersmann was tasked with plant design, build and installation.

As a result of the facility, Duncan says 90 per cent of the partner council’s waste is diverted from landfill and used to produce refuse-derived fuel.

The facility features a twin-line system with waste material delivered to an in-feed hall, where it is stored before its fed into the system. Each line, Duncan says, operates at approximately 36 tonnes an hour to produce the required 190,000 tonnes per annum throughput.

Further implemented technology includes two static high-torque, slow-speed shredders, which reduce the maximum waste size down to less than 300 millimetres.

The material, Duncan says, is then delivered via twin conveyors into two trommel screens that force separations at 80, 200 and 300 millimetres.

“Following the trommel process, the material is passed through a conveyor, with overband magnets and eddy current separators used to remove any ferrous and non-ferrous metals,” Duncan says.

“Post metal recovery, Eggersmann designed an optical sorting system that positively ejects all dense plastic material.”

The complexity of the Clyde Valley facility design is made possible by the nature of EU waste policy harmonisation and resulting private industry certainty, Duncan says.

“Waste companies, and any business working in the private sector, have to remain economically stable, and as result, will find loopholes and clever ways to extract more profitability,” he adds.

“There will always be a waste footprint, but harmonised regulation is the way forward. It has to be.”

Despite Australia’s current lack of centralised waste regulation, Duncan is positive that through industry advocacy and growing public awareness, the sector will grow in a manner that encourages private and public investment.

“Resource recovery can be difficult and it can be expensive, but there is a lot of innovation happening, and at this point, many new processes are becoming possible,” he says.

“Australia is already making strides in the way it deals with FOGO, energy and biogas. I definitely see the market changing over the next few years.”

To capitalise on future growth, Eggersmann developed a partnership with local bulk material handling and recycling equipment supplier Skala 18 months ago.

“Eggersmann has grown substantially through acquisitions, and because of that we have a wide network of partners around the world, which is how we started working with Skala,” Duncan says.

Skala, which in addition to equipment supply, designs and builds small plants and distributes Eggersmann equipment throughout Australia. Duncan adds that they also oversee Eggersmann’s fixed plant and static equipment operations.

In the case of small plants Skala takes the lead, however, when dealing with larger projects, Skala functions as Eggersmann’s Australian representative. Duncan says this takes the form of installation, maintenance and ongoing spare parts support.

“Time differences are a problem in the globalised market. If I’m in Australia having problems with my plant at half past noon for instance, calling someone in the UK who’s asleep is not going to help me,” he says.

“If you don’t have local support you have a very small window of action, which is not fair on the client.”

Through a combination of Eggersmann’s significant resources and Skala’s depth of Australian market knowledge, Duncan says they are able to provide a fully turnkey service.

“We’ve been really impressed with what Skala brings to the table in terms of local knowledge and support,” he says.

“Waste and recycling is certainly the topic on everyone’s lips at the moment, so it’s important Eggersmann can turn to Skala and help grow the sector.”

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An indestructible lubricant purpose-built for recycling operations

Gulf Western Oil (GWO) has been supplying lubricant solutions to recycling plants for over 30 years, and as such have been able to develop purpose-built products for various applications within the sector.

A major emphasis of the solutions GWO provides for recycling plants has been on reducing the downtime of machinery by creating longer lasting, higher load bearing products. The intention is to enable the services Australia’s recycling plants are now expected to provide, protecting machinery life at the plants, as well as saving clients their money over the course of the year.

The Gulf Western Biodraulic range is a series of hydraulic fluids designed to operate best under high operating temperatures and extended service applications, according to GWO’s Queensland State Manager, Christopher Bright.

The fluids are intended to replace anti-wear, mineral oil-based hydraulic fluids used in hazardous and environmentally sensitive hydraulic applications, offering high performance levels. They enhance the overall hydraulic system operation due to the inherent high level of thermal stability and resistance to oxidation.

The range provides superior oxidation resistance, allowing longer service life, and a high natural viscosity index that ensures “stay in grade viscosity” due to increased resistance to shear down in high-stress applications.

The range also has fire resistant properties, which means if a combustible situation occurs and there is a hydraulic leak, the chance of potential damage to machinery is reduced.

“Imagine a car being crushed, there’s fuel in the line constantly triggering small flames. If you have a line blow on a hydraulic system, a flame could ultimately cause a fire,” explains Bright.

Top Dog Indestructible, is a heavy-duty diesel engine oil containing what Bright describes as “an indestructible additive technology designed to protect high-powered, turbo-charged heavy-duty diesel engines.”

The unique formulation contains performance enhancing and superior wear protection technology that exceeds the requirements of the current lubricant specifications. This allows improved efficiencies, while reducing downtimes within their mixed fleets.

Bright explains that Top Dog Indestructible was designed specifically to alleviate downtime for machinery. “It has the capabilities to last significantly longer so you’re not needing to stop the machine to change the oil so much,” he says.

“It allows for the kind of longevity that saves you from having to change the oil out every 250 hours like standard market offerings,” Inenco Group’s National Product Manager for Lubricants, Steve Keown comments.

“GWO’s longer lasting hydraulic fluids really reduce machinery downtime which, it cannot be emphasised enough, is crucial in this industry.”

In fact, GWO have a specific product within the range, which is designed to last 6000 hours of hydraulic fluid life and, like Top Dog Indestructible, is three times longer than standard offerings on the market in its range.

The product range, Superdraulic Indestructible, is the first of its kind within the Australian market to offer a 6,000-hour oil life. Formulated with full synthetic base oil technology, the latest ultra-sheer stable viscosity modifiers and enhanced levels of anti-wear and antioxidants, Superdraulic Indestructible offers protection for hydraulic systems operating in severe conditions.

Superdraulic Hi Temp is another range of premium grade, high viscosity index, anti-wear hydraulic oils. The range has been formulated specifically for use in hydraulic power or control systems, either mobile or stationary, which are subject to temperature extremes, or are particularly sensitive to changes in temperature.

Due to the superior wear and corrosion protection of the range, it will improve the equipment life of plant machinery. Fluid life is also longer than standard, due to enhanced chemical and thermal stability.

Another feature of the range which Bright says makes recycling plant operators happy is the excellent filterability of the range even when contaminated, thereby preventing filter blockages. This eliminates the need for filter replacement costs and down time.

One of the most important features of GWO products for recycling plants is that they are environmentally sound.

“If you’ve got a machine that blows a hydraulic hose and the oil ends up on the ground, well if its GWO’s biodegradable hydraulic fluid, you don’t end up contaminating that area,” says Bright.

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Tackling the food revolution: Loop Organics

Loop Organics is working with the end-to-end users of organics, delivering high-value crops and supporting NSW farmers during the recent drought.

While there is no universal definition of drought, NSW is experiencing one of its most severe droughts on record, with extreme low rainfall affecting farmers over the past six to nine months.

As governments around the world deal with climate change and its impact on multiple sectors, one solution being proposed to support the agricultural sector is sustainable intensification. In a nutshell, sustainable intensification sees better optimisation of resources while using fewer inputs and producing greater yields.

This paradigm shift is already being driven by multiple organisations across Australia, including Loop Organics. The company has managed to get high crop yields using organics wastes from food manufacturing where the majority of the state is in drought, and in turn supply fodder to NSW farmers experiencing drought.

Loop Organics has donated bales of oaten hay grown in the winter of 2019 to farmers in the Northern Tablelands and Lower Hunter Valley area, closing the loop between food processors and primary producers and creating healthier soils that can support ongoing agricultural production.

With a combined experience of more than 60 years, the team at Loop Organics have a wealth of experience in a broad range of organics management areas. The company has presided over some of the largest liquid organics and biosolids reuse programs in Australia. Its services comprise composting, wastewater lagoon desludging and dewatering, collection, transport and land application of both liquid and solid organics.

Loop’s staff has provided consulting and contracting services to water authorities and councils since 1994. The company operates large-scale biosolids management and reuse programs for a number of east coast water authorities and food processors.

In the Sydney Basin, Loop Organics receives waste from milk producers, chicken abattoirs, yoghurt culture manufacturers and a range of other sites. Loop Organics works on farms on the outskirts of Sydney. In some cases, the farms have been left for a long period of time without any intensive farming.

Tim Wilson, of Loop Organics, says Loop operate on five farms in the Sydney Basin, close to 1000 hectares of land.

He says that a history of soil compaction is eliminated through deep ripping and delivery of moisture, organic matter and nutrients directly to the root zone. This process mechanically breaks up compacted soil layers and uses strong tynes to loosen hard layers of soil.

“We’ve been able to retain a lot more soil moisture in the dry period so we’re getting high yielding crops where the majority of the state is in drought,” Tim says.

“We’re not using any chemical fertiliser, we’re using a by-product from food generation so it’s sustainable. We’re just returning what’s been taken from the soil, putting it back and getting a high value product out of it.”

Lisa Rawlinson, Loop Organics Director, says that the winter crops are typically oats and in the summer, crops such as sudangrass, millet or sorghum are grown. Importantly, moisture and high value nutrients are returned to the soil at a suitable application rate to produce high value crops which Loop can supply to farmers during periods of drought.

“The production we’re achieving is almost akin to those from irrigation areas and that’s principally because the liquids we’re delivering into the subsoil are being retained, so the crops can withstand the low rainfall drought conditions we’ve been experiencing over recent years,”
Lisa says.

Loop Organics’ Hunter Valley composting facility, located at Ravensworth, is situated within a market with a large demand for organic products and along B-double transport routes. The facility can process up to 55,000 tonnes per year of garden organics and biosolids to create specialised soil amendment products for agriculture and mine rehabilitation purposes.

Matthew Brown, Loop Organics Regional Manager, Hunter Valley, says the company is now looking to grow its Hunter Valley site and is open to new sources of clean material.

“We are hunting for clean, commercial-scale quantity material,” Matthew says.

“At the moment we’ve got the ability to bring green waste in and we’ll look at producing a high-quality compost, targeting farmers and mine rehabilitation.”

He says that Loop Organics is keen to support councils with green waste and food organics services.

“We already have a good relationship with local government, but it’s also thinking about how we can help them in other areas that they have to manage.”

“The compost facility is designed to take materials not just in the Hunter, but also out of Sydney and part of the broader Loop Organics business.

The focus for the future is also for Loop Organics to gain approval to receive, process, decontaminate and compost food organics in the Hunter.

He says the company is looking to the future to ensure it can meet its customer’s needs in three to five and even 10 years’ time.

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Team up with maintenance experts to improve the performance of industrial pumps

Replacing a piece of equipment such as an industrial water pump can be a costly and time-consuming exercise. Avoiding the upfront cost and associated downtime, whether through predictive or regular maintenance, can enable extended product lifetimes.

BSC provides a full suite of services for industrial pumps that includes repair and refurbishment, asset care, site installation, commissions, and condition-based monitoring and assessments.

These services are conducted in a manner that directly suits the end users and starts with and understanding of the issues or faults that the pump is experiencing.

“If we’re assessing the condition of the equipment while it’s in an operation, and we’re doing some level of predictive maintenance, then we would be looking for indications that there are flow issues in the pump, from the data that we’re analysing,” says BSC Engineering Manager, Ryan Kendrigan.

“From there we would see if there is wear inside the actual pump housing and if we need to schedule a shutdown to either exchange or repair that pump to get it back to optimal working condition.”

“Once they’ve pulled the pump out then by visual inspection after the pump is disassembled, we can either provide the products for the customer to repair the pump themselves, or we have facilities to repair that ourselves depending on what’s fit for purpose.”

Working with the customer to find the solution that fits, BSC have the capabilities for whatever requirements may arise, according to Kendrigan.

“We have done 24-hour jobs where we’ve ripped the pump out ourselves, had it repaired and then back into service. For swimming pools, we’ve been able to pull the pump out at 7pm and have it back in and running at 5.30am when the filter system starts up again.”

Within this process, whatever the customer’s maintenance program is, BSC draw upon their range of products to find a solution. These include the industry-renowned sealants, protectants and coatings from LOCTITE backed by the world’s leading adhesive company Henkel. BSC Product Manager, Michael Rowe, describes how these fit in.

“There may be a requirement to repair some damage where whatever fluid that has been passing through a pump has either scoured or damaged part of the metal area in there. LOCTITE have a material that will help rebuild and repair a pump back to specification. So, instead of replacing the pump with a brand-new unit, they can do a repair that also reduces the overall cost of maintenance.”

During the operation of a pump, the constant movement of water, slurry, or other liquid wears down the internal parts. The metal or material will erode, needing to be repaired to ensure efficient functioning. As Rowe highlights, LOCTITE products are designed to overcome this reality.

“LOCTITE ceramic coatings such as LOCTITE PC 7227 Brushable Ceramic and LOCTITE PC 7255 Sprayable Ceramic can be applied over the original damaged surface area. Then they use a rebuild product, LOCTITE EA 3478 Superior Metal to build back the actual material of the pump and then they’ll apply another coat of the ceramic over the top of it again – this will bring it back to a nice smooth surface. It will also allow the medium to pass cleanly over those surfaces without building up,” said Rowe.

Henkel Key Account Manager, Neil Board states, “what distinguishes Henkel’s LOCTITE products when compared to other, similar products on the market, is that they are available in different colours, LOCTITE PC 7255 sprayable ceramic is available in Grey or Green, LOCTITE PC 7227 Brushable ceramic is grey and LOCTITE PC 7228 Brushable ceramic is White, the later also being AS/NZS 4020-2002 potable water approved.”

“Those colour differentiation’s allows you to see whether there has been wear,” said Board. “You’ll apply one colour first and then a second coating of a different colour over the top, so that on a visual inspection you can see what’s happening.”

Deciding on the right LOCTITE product to apply is part of the expertise of Kendrigan and other BSC engineers, who decide which solution fits the user’s need best.

“Depending on the overall wear of the pump, the repair work can use a couple of different products,” said Board. “That’s where the BSC engineering team will assess what’s required.”

Importantly, the BSC engineering team don’t just provide access to the products required but forge a partnership with customers to get the job done right.

“We work with our customers to supply them with the right components, and potentially give them the training and advice they will need to make their programs as efficient as possible,” Kendrigan says.

Kendrigan adds: “It’s not a case of supplying a product to a customer and forgetting about them, it’s about how can we make their lives easier and better by the services and solutions that we provide to them.”

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Giving back to the land: Enrich360

Brisbane Airport has installed an enrich360 dehydrator at its Skygate Precinct, enabling it to reach its landfill diversion targets and move towards a circular economy.

Last year’s announcement of the waste levy in Queensland created a new business case for Brisbane Airport.

With the levy stimulating additional demand for resource recovery solutions, Brisbane Airport began to look at diverting some of its most prominent waste streams.

Having previously conducted audits into its incoming tonnages, the airport knew food waste was its second biggest input after glass. Moreover, the airport has a target to divert 80 per cent of its total waste from landfill by 2030, with food waste emerging as the low hanging fruit.

Andrew Masci, Environment & Sustainability Adviser, says the airport decided to investigate and identify a suitable food waste service. He says that this was its first foray into non-standard commingled recycled, with the airport also participating in the QLD Government Container Refund Scheme.

In a six-month investigation process, enrich360 emerged as the most suitable choice, with its food dehydrator arriving in February this year and timing well with the levy’s 1 July start date.

Launched in late 2017, enrich360’s program uses a dehydrator to condense food waste into recycled water and biomass that can be utilised as fertiliser or as part of compost. The model is established on a closed loop system where restaurants and food service businesses across the country convert their food waste into rich organic fertiliser to give back to farmers and grow better, more nutritious produce.

The benefits lead to more resources being recovered while replenishing globally scarce nutrients and improving Australia’s low food waste recovery rate. The process works to reduce the volume of food waste by up to 93 per cent and create a sterile and pathogen-free material. In a closed loop reverse logistics process, logistics partner In2food picks up the materials during their usual drop-off route and delivers them to farms.

Brisbane Airport’s Skygate Precinct was chosen as the ideal location for a trial of the dehydrator as it was not too busy and included a range of food outlets in the area.

Enrich360’s suitability centred on Brisbane Airport’s desire to ensure its food waste would always find a home, ensuring it did not go to landfill when the airport didn’t have an end-to-end solution.

“Brisbane Airport is transitioning to a circular economy and that is why enrich360 grabbed our attention. There were different dehydrators in the market, but none offered the full service,” Andrew says.

“It took three months to kick off with a few teething issues, but now we are getting amazing results.”

The results speak for themselves, with enrich360 diverting 5500 kilograms of food waste since commencing its trial in February.

Andrew says that around 11 retailers have so far participated in the program. He say the dehydrator is able to detect whether it is overfilled and unfilled. Depending on moisture content, it takes roughly 10 to 12 hours to produce the biomass.

He says that participating retailers will soon be able to take part in a certification scheme that will allow them to showcase their involvement in the program to their customers. The scheme requires partners to demonstrate compliance to the organisation’s program to be granted an enrich360 certification mark.

As an added benefit, Andrew says that Brisbane Airport is also testing whether single-use compostable items could break down in the machine and support the maturation process.

“What I like about the machine is it takes a lot of different varieties of food waste, including chicken bones. There is very little it can’t handle,” Andrew says.

To ensure the system is commercially viable for operators, enrich360 provides purchase, rent and rent-to-own options – enabling businesses to dehydrate food waste on site and have it collected for farms or off-site composting.

The airport is now looking to expand its programs to the main terminals: a challenging, but ambitious next step.

Dean Turner, enrich360 CEO, says with issues of climate change sweeping through the headlines, the system has never been more timely. He says enrich360 is now getting buy-in from a range of businesses, including retail, restaurants, food outlets and universities.

“One of the interesting things in talking to our other global partners who sell this equipment is it was developed eight years ago, and what we’re feeling is it was eight years to early. Now is the time when people are ready for this technology,” Dean says.

“Certainly we found visitors at the Waste Expo were visiting our stand in droves. Almost everyone wanted to talk about their situation, from manufacturing plant operators right through to large-scale primary producers.”

He adds that primary producers, for example, tend to have massive volumes with high water content and the dehydrator can create a water source and dry output slow-release fertiliser.

“When you dehydrate the food waste, you get a green standard recycled water that can be used for all sorts of end uses, including irrigation.”

Dean says the company is now setting its sights on moving into hospitals and the aged care sector.

“An aged care facility can use the water and fertiliser each day across their grounds, creating a circular economy within their own premises,” he says.

In future, he hopes demand for the outputs will be so high that it creates a commodity that end users are prepared to purchase from the generator.

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The mechanical stomach: iugis

Tas Papas, iugis Enterprise Sales Director, speaks with Waste Management Review about working with Veolia to promote on-site recycling and the aerobic digestion process.

While waste occurs throughout the food supply chain, roughly two-thirds of Australia’s food waste is generated in consumer-facing businesses or in the home.

To minimise its contribution to the overall footprint, the City of Melbourne, one of the most populous juristications in the state, installed an ORCA aerobic digestion system at its Degraves Street Precinct in 2017.

Diverting more than 60 tonnes of waste in its first year, the machine uses natural microorganisms to convert food into wastewater, which is then sent directly into the sewer system.

According to Tas Papas, iugis Enterprise Sales Director, iugis introduced ORCA technology to Australia two years ago, after a six-year run in Canada and the United States.

Tas says iugis, an internationally managed service technology company, is committed to changing the way businesses deal with their food waste. He adds that as part of this commitment, iugis has developed a collaborative partnership with Australian waste management provider Veolia.

“We saw Veolia as a business that continues to look for waste technologies beyond landfill, and in the last 12 months, they have been offering our ORCA food waste digester as one of their organics solutions,” Tas says.

“Veolia suggest the ORCA to customers looking for an economically viable way to divert food waste, and while the national partnership is still in its infancy, the future looks very promising.”

The ORCA aerobic digestion process uses natural microbes, which are automatically sprayed into the unit, oxygen and naturally occurring heat to digest food waste down to a liquid.

Tas says once the material reaches liquid form, the ORCA passes it through an in-built filter and discharges it from the unit.

“One of the great advantages of the ORCA, which we refer to as the mechanical stomach, is that the metabolisation and digestion rate is accelerated by continuous feeding,” Tas explains.

“Operators don’t have to wait until the end of a cycle as material can be fed into the machine 24 hours a day – it loves a continuous feed.”

Accoring to a 2019 Blue Environment Report prepared for Veolia, the ORCA produces a 100 per cent diversion from landfill rate. This rate, Tas says, enables iugis to register under the Emissions Reduction Fund.

Through reduction credits, the Emissions Reduction Fund aims to incentivise individuals and organisations to adopt new practices and technologies to reduce emissions. These credits, Tas says, add a layer of economic incentive to ORCA installation.

Another economic benefit, Tas says, is that compared to standard dehydration systems, the ORCA uses minimal energy.

“To dehydrate food, a significant amount of heat needs to be added, which typically comes from a pump that requires three-phase power,” he says.

“The ORCA on the other hand, only uses single phase power, so a standard 10-amp power point is all that’s required. Operationally, it’s very cheap to run.”

In addition to landfill diversion and less energy use, Tas says the ORCA allows businesses to reduce emissions through a reduced reliance on kerbside waste collection.

“Recycling at the source also means businesses can assist in getting waste trucks off the road, which is a key focus for us.”

Tas says processing 25 tonnes of food waste in the ORCA is the equivalent to reducing the emissions of a diesel truck travelling 21,000 kilometres. He adds that recycling waste at the source also eliminates extra costs associated with bin collection.   

To further minimise the strain of financial output, Tas says iugis put all machines to market as a managed service.

“Investing in new technology can be prohibitive to smaller buisnesses, so we allow users to pay a monthly fee as part of a fully managed service,” he says.

“iugis manages all the consumables including the microorganisms, and offers ongoing preventative maintenance.”

He adds iugis offers a range of ORCAs to suit all size and tonnage needs.

“Our new baby ORCA, which can process 120 kilos of food waste each day, is the perfect solution for smaller businesses such as restaurants, cafés and pubs,” Tas says.

For larger businesses such as hotels and shopping centres, Tas says iugis offers digesters capable of processing up to a tonne of food waste each day.

“The more exposure on-site recycling solutions get, the wider the uptake will be,” he says.

“iugis, which is Latin for perpetuity, is continuously looking to develop technology that increases digestion rates and inspires more on-site recycling.”

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The importance of engineering expertise in wastewater treatment

Wastewater treatment plants carry out a vital function for urban and regional areas of Australia, removing contaminants from water and sewage before it is reused of discharged into the environment.

Effective treatment relies on robust, sturdy equipment and machinery that can operate reliably in biochemically extreme conditions over long periods of time.

However, parts and components will at times need replacement to maintain the smooth operations that guide wastewater through the primary, secondary, and tertiary treatment processes. As sudden failure of components or machinery can lead to significant environment risk, it is necessary for regular monitoring and servicing of wastewater treatment equipment.

This is where Inenco Group’s engineering services team comes in. Wayne D’Souza, National Accounts Manager at Inenco Group, explained that while many original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) for most part only supply products to wastewater treatment, Inenco and its companies BSC and CBC have the expertise to both provide high-quality products and experienced engineering support.

“The wastewater sector, due to the potential for environmental harm, is very averse to risk. And we understand that and that is something we cater for. Wastewater treatment plants not only require reliable components, but they also require high-quality engineering support. What they aren’t getting from the OEMs is the latter. We offer both.”

D’Souza explained that the rapidly-evolving nature of technology has meant that products, and the installation and maintenance processes required for products, have changed, sometimes dramatically.

“Components and products often last a lot longer now. We’ve identified a number of what we call ‘problem-solver’ products, which we put in front of the customer and explain what applications they can be used for and what the benefits are. Further, we can demonstrate that we have the engineering support to not only install the products, provide monitoring and maintenance, but also provide specialist training for the operator’s maintenance team,” said D’Souza.

“We can also invite in our suppliers to provide training and knowledge on their particular products. We have a longstanding relationship with suppliers such as Schaeffler and Gates, for instance, where they come out onto a wastewater site and supervise installations.”

Close relationships with suppliers and in-house product expertise at Inenco’s BSC and CBC branches also enable product recommendations that are suited to particular wastewater operations.

“In the wastewater treatment space, one treatment plant may have totally different processes to another, so some of our problem-solver products might be relevant to one site but not to another. We hone-in on what the customer needs,” D’Souza explained.

For the Inenco’s wastewater teams, determining what works for a particular treatment plant often starts with carrying out site surveys, mapping out the equipment and machinery that the customer is using, and identifying applications which have the potential to cause problems.

“We can determine whether there are better products that can replace existing ones. And we can suggest what products they should use for those applications,” said D’Souza. “That’s what distinguishes us. What sets us apart from our competition is that we offer an extensive range of quality products, which is supported by our engineering expertise.”

BSC and CBC have extensive branch coverage across Australia. BSC, in particular, has a strong presence in regional areas. This means that wastewater treatment plants run by local governments in these areas can have reliable access to the company’s engineering services.

“We were called in by a major wastewater utility company to look at some thermography work, which led into product supply – a large order. The customer felt confident that we could not only provide quality service, but also provide the right products to improve operations. We don’t just supply product for the sake of it. If we have something more suitable, we will make those recommendations. That comes with having in-house expertise,” said D’Souza.

Inenco’s engineers will periodically carry out scheduled condition monitoring services for critical pieces of equipment, which D’Souza said served as a critical safety check for customers.

“This is usually on customers’ critical pieces of equipment. It is ongoing and it is relatively inexpensive to do, especially if you consider the cost of a catastrophic failure that occurs because condition monitoring hasn’t been carried out,” he explained.

Wastewater treatment is a 24/7, 365-days-a-year operation. With potentially huge environmental impacts if something goes wrong, it is critical that engineering support is reliable and easily accessible when it is needed.

“We run a 24/7 operation to back up what we supply,” said D’Souza.

“Our customers need to be able to know they can ring us up at 3am in the morning and get us to come out and look at a broken motor or gearbox. We always have someone on call. When you’re working in such a critical space, its essential that we can give the customer that confidence.”

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Pharmaceuticals in the water

Waste Management Review speaks with Ace Waste about a waste definition loophole that’s seeing upwards of 525,000 kilograms of pharmaceutical waste landfilled in Victoria each year.

Following a two-year testing period of Melbourne water streams, a 2018 study, published in Nature Communications, found traces of 69 different drugs in observed insects and spiders.

According to the study, a platypus living in a stream on Melbourne’s fringes could receive more than a half human dose of anti-depressants each day.

The study did not specifically address how the drugs ended up in Melbourne’s waterways. That said, the research team suggested that they likely entered via the sewer system.

Similar studies have been conducted into the result of household flushing of pharmaceuticals, such as a 2017 Environmental Pollution report that found pharmaceuticals in surface water in Antarctica. Investigations into the phenomenon from the context of hospitals, however, yield little results.

While pharmaceuticals entering the environment via hospitals hasn’t sparked significant publicly accessible research, Ace Waste’s directors believe it’s a significant issue.    

Under Australian federal law, all pharmaceutical waste must be incinerated to ensure it is disposed of in the safest way possible. Clinical waste however, which includes any material resulting from medical, nursing, dental or otherwise health related activity, can legally be either incinerated or treated before landfill.

While on the surface the distinction seems apt, a half-full vial of codeine poses more environmental and human health harm than a disposable medical glove, the standard makeup of clinical waste complicates the situation.

Managing Director John Homewood says Ace Waste has been working in this industry for 31 years and as part of its central business practice, conducts regular waste audits.

“We’ve found that on average, 15 per cent of clinical waste is pharmaceutical, including physical drugs and chemical residue.”

For example, Executive Director Alex Homewood says when a patient is injected with morphine or other scheduled drugs, residual liquid remains inside the sharp or syringe.

“That sharp then goes into a sharps container, but the residual morphine remains present,” he says.

“Residual pharmaceutical additives also remain in infusion bags and IV lines, which can hold in excess of 100 millilitres.”

Currently, no public hospital in Victoria incinerates its waste according to Alex, meaning all clinical and related waste in the state is treated and landfilled.

“It has simply been that way for many years, and whether Melbourne health facilities have done audits to satisfy themselves I do not know, but what I do know is that our audits show 15 per cent of clinical waste contains pharmaceutical residue, if not pharmaceuticals,” he says.

“That fact implies that all Victorian hospitals are inadvertently breaking the law.”

In contrast, Alex says all public hospitals in South East Queensland use incineration to process clinical waste.

“All hospitals from Wide Bay right down to the border insist on high-temperature incineration because they recognise the problem of pharmaceutical waste residues,” Alex says.

While the Victorian EPA is responsible for regulating the storage, transport, treatment and disposal of clinical and related wastes in Victoria under the Environment Protection Regulations 2009, its Clinical and Related Waste Operational Guidance resource highlights generator responsibility.

Generator responsibility, broadly, refers to the concept that a producer of waste is responsible for its accurate definition and subsequent disposal.

According to the EPA guidance paper, generators must take all necessary precautions to minimise potential hazards, and ensure they manage clinical and related wastes safely and legally.

While the EPA guidance resource was published in 2009, at the time of writing, it is the only related resource available on the EPA Victoria website.

“I can’t speak to internal processes and whether or not individual hospitals are aware of the problem, but when hospitals are branding pharmaceutical waste clinical and related, and therefore sending it to treatment and landfill, that’s a breach of the law and a basic responsibility to protect human health and the environment,” John says.

While the knowledge of individual hospitals isn’t clear, John and Alex say they have informed the Victorian Health Department (VicHealth).

“The Health Department is aware, and they need to start taking serious steps to address the problem,” John says.

In an average year, 3.5 million kilos of clinical waste is produced in Melbourne Metro, using Ace Waste audits, that equates to 525,000 kilograms of mistreated waste. John says expanding that figure to Victoria at large highlights a real problem of scale.

“If Victorian hospitals don’t change the way they operate in this space, the health risks are huge, but it’s not that complex, there are very clear avenues available to address it,” he says.

John adds that rectifying the issue will not require huge investments in new waste infrastructure, because the capacity already exists. When you include Ace Waste, there are two companies currently capable of incinerating Victoria’s clinical waste, he says.

“If the state’s hospitals don’t implement strict procedures to separate clinical and pharmaceutical waste at the source, which given the fact medical professionals operate in stressful and often life-threatening situations, would be borderline impossible, VicHealth needs to begin enforcing incineration,” he says.

“Treating and landfilling residual pharmaceuticals is not only contributing to our current environmental problems, but actively making them worse.”

At the time of writing, VicHealth had not responded to Waste Management Review’s request for comment.

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

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