Waste Management In Action

ResourceCo’s rapid growth in Asia

ResourceCo’s rapid growth in South-east Asia is helping the region work towards a more sustainable future. 

The current substitution rate of fossil fuels by alternative fuels is estimated at less than five per cent in South-East and West Asia, according to ResourceCo.

As a leader in resource recovery and alternative fuels, the company has over the past three years significantly expanded its processed engineered fuel (PEF) capacity in Asia to ensure non-recyclable waste streams contribute to significant reductions in coal use and subsequent carbon emissions. 

The company’s state-of-the-art PEF plant in Ipoh, Malaysia, has a 100,000-tonne-plus capacity and supplies a number of companies, including the Malaysian unit of one of the world’s largest cement manufacturer – LafargeHolcim. 

ResourceCo is now extending its network across South-East Asia. According to Pavel Cech, Managing Director ResourceCo Asia, the company has made significant inroads in transforming select non-recyclables into PEF that is used in cement kilns. 

“Over the past three years, the local waste received and processed per month at the Ipoh plant has increased to 5000 tonnes – representing a four-fold increase,” Pavel explains.

“This is very encouraging, as the companies coming to us are prioritising sustainability after implementing their own green and zero landfilling policies.”

The Malaysian Government has an objective to boost its recycling rates, in the process encouraging local businesses to step up their efforts to reduce their commercial and industrial waste.

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ResourceCo Asia has helped leading Malaysian plastic and packaging manufacturer Daibochi introduce a recycling strategy based on their recycling initiatives.

“They wanted to explore new ways to recycle previously non-recyclable industrial waste and reduce its impact on air, land and water pollution,” Pavel says.

Pavel says that ResourceCo Asia now receives more than 100 tonnes of industrial waste from Daibochi, including flexible printed consumer goods packaging such as sachets and unfinished manufacturing waste material which is turned into PEF.

“We are committed to traceability and provide companies with details on what they have sent us and tabulate estimated carbon dioxide emissions and landfill mitigation results. Additional record keeping such as videos and photos is also provided,” he says. 

The company also provides full supply chain transparency with authorities by sharing a complete mass balance information sheet. This particular measure has proved to be instrumental in sustaining a strong environmental performance. Pavel hopes that this practice will be adopted by the entire recycling sector to prevent cases of illegal dumping by recycling “cherry pickers”.

“Our stringent testing and monitoring procedures begin from the moment waste arrives at the plant to ensure any hazardous materials, e-waste or foreign objects, are not accepted in the plant. The product from beginning to end is manufactured and supplied under strict quality control and production procedures in accordance with our quality assurance systems,” he says.

“This involves hourly sampling and frequent testing of the product in our state of the art in-house laboratory.” 

ResourceCo Asia is also making headway within Malaysia’s fabric and textiles industry.

Clothing recycler Lifeline Clothing, which produces up to 15 tonnes of cleaning cloths each week, sends its textile scraps made from polyester, spandex, lycra and materials with zippers, sequins and plastic beads to the Ipoh plant.

“We blend these unwanted pieces with other materials to produce PEF,” Pavel says.

“It’s a win-win situation as no material or textiles are sent to landfill and we’re helping Lifeline Clothing’s factory achieve their goal of zero waste.”

UNIQLO is another clothing manufacturer striving to minimise its environmental impact that has turned to ResourceCo Asia to ensure clothing that is no longer wearable can be repurposed.

“The portfolio of industries we’re now helping is certainly becoming far more widespread, including Asia’s leading pharmacy chain Watsons, which is looking to responsibly dispose of worn uniforms. 

“We’re also taking plastic packaging from iconic coffee brand Old Town White Coffee, as well as working with condom and rubber glove manufacturers,” Pavel says. 

“By forming these partnerships, we are reducing the reliance on fossil fuels in the production of cement with some cement manufacturers achieving thermal substitution over 20 per cent.”

Pavel says the company is only just scratching the surface, so the opportunity is huge regarding what it can achieve to turn relevant waste streams into PEF in the Asian markets.

As well as operating a Singapore hub, ResourceCo Asia is on track to further expand in key local areas, including the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand. 

ResourceCo’s operations in Australia, including its new world’s best practice resource recovery plant at Wetherill Park in Sydney, supplies both local and Asian customers with PEF.

“It’s very much about providing a unique zero waste solution to businesses and then helping those interested in making that change,” Pavel says.

He says the biggest ongoing challenge is to achieve further cut through with businesses and authorities that are not carrying out green practices and unwilling to pay for responsible waste management services.

“Consumers are certainly now more than ever aware of the environmental impact of goods and services, with many leading brands promoting their green initiatives to boost sales and remain relevant,” he says. 

“We are very proud that all the energy as well as mineral content of the materials we take in and process are fully recovered through co-processing.”

This article was published in the February issue of Waste Management Review. You can read more about ResourceCo projects by clicking here.

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