With the problem of bulky waste processing on council agendas across the country, Neil Bone of Wastech Engineering outlines a 50-tonne packing force solution.
In May, the NSW EPA called on members of the public to report illegal dumping in their communities, after the authority recorded a 34 per cent increase in illegal dumping compared to April 2019.
Illegally dumped waste costs millions of dollars in taxpayer clean up money each year – creating a significant and avoidable burden on council budgets.
While the problem of illegal dumping is largely a behavioural one – with dumped waste largely comprised of bulky material that cannot be ‘easily’ disposed of – councils across Australia are developing innovative operational solutions.
Residents of the City of Mount Gambier in South Australia now have access to a ‘call and collect’ bulky waste kerbside system, for example. And in the nation’s capital, a bulky waste collection service is slated to launch later this year.
That said, even when residents do the right thing and book hard and bulky waste collections, councils and waste and resource recovery operators still face the challenge of how to process the problematic waste stream.
According to Wastech Engineering Managing Director Neil Bone, providing the Australian market with bulky waste processing solutions is the driver behind Wastech’s new partnership with Danish manufacture Shark Container AS.
“We build standard and non-standard waste compactors here, but bulky items have always been an issue,” Bone says.
“When we saw Shark Container’s compactors over in Europe, we jumped on it straight away.”
The patented Shark Compactor, with a 50-tonne packaging force, is designed for compacting and transporting large waste products that are too bulky to be handled by traditional compactors.
Wastech purchased the machine in September 2019, as the company saw a need for it in the Australian market.
“The Shark Compactor is as tough and sturdy as the name suggests,” Bone says.
“Wood-framed furniture and hard plastics are no match for the compactor. Neither are softer, difficult to manipulate materials such as insulation bats and large pieces of cardboard.”
For wood-framed furniture, the Shark offers a payload of 6-7 tonnes, Bone says, while for hard plastic containers and large cardboard boxes, the payload ranges from 5-6 tonnes.
He adds that for insulation bats, the payload rises to 7-9 tonnes.
The Shark Compactor is ideal for use in pop-up transfer stations, with electric or diesel-powered options available.
“No civil works or saw tooth loading docks are required, as users can hand load from ground level,” Bone explains.
He adds that an interlocked safety cage, surrounding the compaction area, allows safe loading of bulky items.
“It can be used to process washing machines and other large household items, plastic drums and various other difficult to handle materials,” Bone says.
Large bulky waste is loaded into a five cubic metre bucket that lowers down from the front of the unit.
When full, the operator starts the compaction cycle which raises the hopper up vertically into the mouth of the Shark.
A 180-degree rotational blade then compacts the waste out of the hopper and into the container.
Once compacted, the hopper is lowered back down ready for the next load.
“We’ve never seen anything like it around the world,” Bone says.
“When we saw it, it was quite unique, and certainty filled a problem in Australia.”
Bone explains that the machine is suited to a variety of businesses – from companies that have large volumes of bulky waste, to councils that run hard waste drop-off points.
“We also see it helping in rural areas that could use it as a pop-up transfer station,” he says.
“Traditionally, compactors in a transfer station are bolted to the ground, whereas with the Shark, you just put it on the ground – you don’t even need concrete.”
The front of the machine folds down so that the user can easily load all waste into the compactor.
Bone explains that this makes it easy for the user to lift the bulky materials in the compactor in a safe and accessible manner.
“Wastech’s consultants work closely with clients to ensure they are getting the best out of their Shark Compactor – taking into consideration site, space, and what waste types the machine will process,” he adds.
Wastech offers the Shark Compactor as a fully maintained rental unit, with technicians available to conduct maintenance checks on the machines to ensure they are running to their full potential.
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