Creating greener solutions

Creating greener solutions

A ‘game-changing’ waste facility is a step closer for Victoria’s west as the state strives to embrace ambitious targets to reduce the volume of waste diverted to landfill.

Wyndham City Council has given the green light to progress plans for a state-of-the-art alternative waste processing facility in Werribee.

The concept plan for the site will create a detailed roadmap for the introduction of waste baling and a pre-sort and organics processing facility.

The landmark decision is designed to support Victoria’s target to achieve an 80 per cent diversion of waste from landfill by 2030.

Wyndham City’s landfill is one of only four waste disposal sites servicing metropolitan Melbourne. The plan is for the Werribee operation to provide the state with an alternative to relying solely on landfill as a waste disposal solution.

Wyndham Mayor, Councillor Adele Hegedich, says: “This is a game-changer for Wyndham and Victoria.”

“The community’s expectations around landfill and waste treatment have changed and more environmentally sustainable solutions are required.

“In the past, rubbish bins would be wheeled out to the kerbside each week and people wouldn’t give it a second thought, but things have changed. There is now a greater focus on what happens to the waste once it is collected – as a society we have an obligation to look for greener solutions.”

Stephen Thorpe, Wyndham City Director, City Operations says the plan will transform Wyndham’s Refuse Disposal Facility (RDF) from a traditional open tip face landfill operation to a Resource Recovery Operation with only true residual waste going to landfill after baling.

The facility was outlined in the council’s Refuse Disposal Facility strategic plan adopted in mid-2019 and follows a study tour to the United Kingdom and Europe in mid-2018 which involved visits to various alternate waste facilities.

“Council formed the view that the RDF should transition to a bale landfill operation with all waste being received in an enclosed facility to minimise or eliminate the amenity impacts commonly associated with traditional landfill operations such as litter, noise, odour and dust,” Thorpe says. He adds that the plan will involve “significant new infrastructure” being developed at the RDF.

The design process is under way and council is midway through an expression of interest process.

Council hopes stage one, an enclosed facility with resource recovery, will be operational by July 2023. Stage two, organics processing, is slated for a July 2024 start, with the ultimate goal of achieving a full circular economy through waste to energy.

Councillor Hegedich noted, however, that the initial baling and resource recovery would provide immediate benefits.

“Baling waste and sorting materials in an indoor, custom-built facility will reduce litter, noise and odour whilst providing immediate environmental benefits,” she says.

“The state government has set ambitious targets to reduce the amount of waste diverted to landfill as we can’t keep just filling up holes in the ground. Without looking at a more innovative approach to waste treatment, the state will hit crisis point in the not-too-distant future.

“The state has mandated we move away from a comingled collection service to a four-waste system, which could be achieved by a four-bin collection service. We know that this doesn’t meet the varied needs of households. Introducing a four-bin collection service would be extremely costly for councils, therefore separation of organics and food at the landfill would be a more cost-effective solution.”