New CRC initiative seeks 80 per cent reduction in construction waste

Building 4.0 CRC, a collaborative initiative that seeks to reduce waste and emissions from building projects, has received a $28 million Cooperative Research Centre grant from the Federal Government. 

Monash University, Lendlease, The University of Melbourne, Donovan Group, BlueScope, Sumitomo Forestry and CSR, along with 23 other partners, have been successful in securing the funding to establish Building 4.0 CRC – an initiative seeking to transform how buildings are designed and manufactured in Australia.

Announced by Industry, Science and Technology Minister Karen Andrews, the $28 million grant will leverage a combined $103 million from industry, government and research partners – bringing the combined research budget to $131 million over seven years.

According to a Monash University statement, the Building 4.0 CRC research initiative is focused on using digital solutions, new products and processes to transform Australia’s building industry to a tech-enabled, collaborative future.

“Some of the outcomes this initiative hopes to achieve include: an 80 per cent reduction in construction waste and a 50 per cent reduction in Co2 emissions for more sustainable buildings,” the statement reads.

Building 4.0 CRC Chair and Engineers Australia CEO Bronwyn Evans said the initiative will bring together expertise in the fields of architecture, design, planning, construction, engineering, business, information technology and law to develop industry-wide practices and protocols intended to transform the entire sector.

“It will also leverage the latest technologies, data science and artificial intelligence to enable the application of robotics and digital fabrication to optimise all phases of building delivery – including development, design, production, assembly, operation, maintenance and end-of-life,” she said.

“The Building 4.0 CRC is going to be a really important factor in making sure we have a competitive future and we are addressing those broad sector needs.”

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Demolishing waste: CJD Equipment and Repurpose It

George Hatzimanolis, Repurpose It CEO, speaks with Waste Management Review about achieving C&D recycling process efficiency through heavy duty equipment. 

As the nation’s third largest industry, construction predictably generates a significant amount of waste, representing 38 per cent of Australia’s total waste in 2017.

That said, the recycling sector has adapted quickly, with C&D recovery regularly hitting 90 per cent across major urban areas.

Repurpose It opened Australia’s first construction and demolition washing plant in March 2019, just 20 kilometres north of Melbourne’s central business district.

With a process capacity of 250 tonnes per hour, the facility accepts a variety of waste streams. These include traditional excavation waste such as rock, sand and silt and other unnatural inert materials, including concrete, grit and rail ballast.

George Hatzimanolis, Repurpose It CEO, says when dealing with material variability and tonnages of this scale, equipment reliability is crucial to achieving efficient recovery operations.

George adds that with stringent infrastructure project timelines and a steady influx of C&D carting trucks, he needs to ensure the Epping plant maintains maximum uptime.

To ensure streamlined handling and loading, George operates a range of Volvo excavators and wheel loaders. He adds that Repurpose It acquired the machines through long-term equipment partner CJD Equipment.

“We chose Volvo equipment because we feel there is an alignment between Volvo’s energy efficiency engineering values and Repurpose It’s aim to reduce our carbon footprint,” George says.

“CJD has been the preferred equipment partner of Repurpose It since the business was established, and currently offer servicing and after-sales support for the entire Volvo fleet.”

Repurpose It operates three Volvo excavators out of its facility: an EC250DL and two EC220DLs.

George says the excavators are used for general earthmoving, screen feeding, sorting and stockpiling. He adds that all three machines provide impressive fuel efficiency and operator comfort.

“Operator comfort and safety was a key factor for us, given our team is sometimes working eight hours a day in the machines,” he says.

All three excavators operate with Volvo’s modern D6 diesel engine, which reports 10 per cent extra fuel efficiency compared to competing designs.

On the loading front, Repurpose It decided on two Volvo wheel-loaders, an L110F and L220H.

“The former provides quick and easy operations, while the latter’s 32-tonne classification makes it the heavy hitter of the site,” George says.

CJD supplied both loaders with a collection of buckets, hydraulic breaks and grabs, including four-in-one hi-dump and light material buckets and fork attachments.

According to a new report from SGS Economics and Planning, Melbourne is set to overtake Sydney as Australia’s most significant economic city in 2020, largely on the back of construction. This suggests George could see an influx of material over coming years.

“Our workforce is growing as a result of the new product streams we are developing, and we’re backing that up with investment in new technology and processes,” George says.

“But it’s also important for us to maintain the efficiency of our traditional heavy machinery, which CJD facilitates through a customer-focused service strategy.”

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BINGO opens new Sydney recycling centre

BINGO Industries has opened its newest recycling centre in Mortdale, Sydney, with a license to collect 220,000 tonnes of commercial and industrial waste each year.

Located in close proximity to major transport routes the M5 Motorway and King Georges Road, BINGO CEO Daniel Tartak said the new facility provides a convenient tipping location for South West Sydney’s construction and demolition and commercial and industrial waste.

“This is an exciting milestone for our larger Sydney network redevelopment, and our Mortdale facility has been designed to play an important transfer and collections role within this network.” he said.

According to Mr Tartak, the facility has been built to comply with BINGO’s high standards of safety and environmental management, with advanced safety systems including fire protection hydrants, hose reels, sprinklers, water storage tanks, traffic barriers and CCTV inspection cameras.

100 kilowatts of roof-mounted solar panels have also been installed, which will see BINGO save roughly 2500 tonnes of carbon emissions over the life of the panels.

“The facility is a great example of what investment in recycling infrastructure can achieve, even at a smaller site. What was once an outdated waste facility is now leading the way in terms of fire protection, traffic flow efficiency and site safety,” Mr Tartak said.

“Space is at a premium at this site. To ensure we get our customers in and out as quickly as possible, we’ve installed four split weighbridges, meaning we can have trucks weighing in and out at the same time.”

Materials tipped at BINGO’s Mortdale facility will be sorted through the newly installed onsite plant. Material off-take will then be transferred to BINGO’s Eastern Creek and Patons Lane recycling plants, where it will be turned into BINGO’s ECO-product range of recycled building and landscaping products.

“With construction activity expected to increase across Sydney over the coming year, the opening of our Mortdale facility is well-timed,” Mr Tartak said.

“Sydney’s population and economic growth is fuelling an increase in waste volumes, and we need recycling infrastructure such as this to prevent waste from going into landfill.”

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The handshake agreement

Waste Management Review speaks with Gavin Shapiro, Hones Lawyers Partner, about changing regulation in the C&D sphere.

After a spate of regulatory changes, the NSW EPA published two guidance documents to help the construction and demolition industry strengthen procurement and contract processes around waste disposal.

While not legally binding, the documents serve as a compliance guide for procurement officers and construction principals, with the aim of ensuring appropriate construction and demolition (C&D) waste disposal.

General guidance points include understanding waste streams, questioning quotes that appear too low, checking council development consent and environment protection laws and having clear roles and responsibilities for operators managing waste.

Gavin Shapiro, Hones Lawyers Partner and environmental law specialist, says while the guidelines don’t hold regulatory weight, they do offer useful instruction.

“There’s sound advice in the documents, and while I don’t agree 100 per cent with everything, I think it’s a good effort from the EPA to jolt industry in a positive direction,” he says.

“That said, from my experience, the only thing that pushes parties towards compliance is legal penalties and consequences. Legislation is the big stick the EPA has to wave around to incentivise compliance.”

Gavin notes that the guidelines, Construction and Demolition Waste: A Management Toolkit and Owner’s Guide to Lawful Disposal of Construction and Demolition Waste, follow earlier revisions to C&D waste standards in NSW.

Coming into effect 15 May 2019, the EPA’s Standards for Managing Construction Waste were designed to ensure waste facilities handling C&D implement appropriate processes and procedures to minimise human health and environment risks posed by asbestos.

Under the revised standards, waste facilities dealing with C&D are required to implement a two-stage inspection process to ensure unpermitted waste does not enter the facility.

In an additional layer of legal complexity, the May 2019 standards followed another set of revisions from November 2018.

As the more substantive of the two, the 2018 amendments include restrictions on exhuming waste at current or former landfills and increased penalty notice amounts for asbestos waste offenders.

As reported in Waste Management Review, the standards were devised after multiple investigations and industry feedback, and data analysis revealed a range of ongoing issues in the C&D waste sector.

In a 2016 consultation paper, the NSW EPA noted “poor processes” pose a risk to the community and resource recovery rates.

Issues highlighted include poor inspection and screening processes that failed to remove contaminants from mixed C&D, negligent handling and unprocessed waste sent for non-compliant disposal.

The quick succession of regulatory reforms, paired with the “need” to release detailed guidance documents, highlights an issue of scale for one of Australia’s fasted growing resource recovery sectors.

STRONG RECOMMENDATIONS

Tip three of the EPA’s owner’s guide “strongly recommends waste owners enter into a written contract with the contactor that established waste transport and disposal requirements”.

Tip three goes on to suggest that owners ensure any subcontractual arrangements are in accordance with the contact. While it may seem straightforward, according to Gavin, dodgy waste contracts are a significant issue in the construction sphere.

“There’s two problems. First, construction site principals often sign one contract with the head contractor. The head contractor then subcontacts to a demolition contractor, and the demolition contractor sub-subcontracts to a waste transporter,” Gavin explains.

“It’s very uncommon for the principal to contract with a waste transporter, and realistically, I don’t anticipate that the EPA’s new guidelines will change that – it’s just not how these projects work.”

The second and potentially more challenging problem, Gavin says, is demolition contactors and waste transporters often don’t sign written contracts.   

“It’s often a handshake agreement, which is something I’ve always advised clients against,” he says.

“Pushing parties to sign written contracts and subsequently seeing clear, stringent requirements enforced would be a big positive.”

Despite efforts to encourage to written contracts, Gavin says the “handshake agreement” is an ingrained part of construction culture.

“It’s just the thing that’s always been done – there’s a feeling that if an operator needs a written contract, they don’t trust the other party,” he says.

“But with so many incidents of waste offences and high potential liability, it’s a part of the culture that needs to change.”

Under the NSW Protection of the Environment Operations Act (POEO), waste generation from C&D sites, including soil and demolition waste, must be disposed of or reused lawfully.

As such, waste owners and waste transporters may both be guilty of an offence when waste is transported to a place that cannot lawfully function as a waste facility. This is the most common form of noncompliance and subsequent prosecution in the waste industry, Gavin says.

The POEO provides a defence for waste owners if the owner can establish the offence was due to causes out of their control and that they exercised due diligence.

Gavin notes however that no-one has successfully argued that defence in NSW for 30 years. He jokes that to successfully mount that defence, an owner would have to prove someone broke into their property, took materials offsite and transported them.

“In all seriousness, a waste owner would have to demonstrate such a high level of due diligence and best practice, plus prove they had no ability to control the waste management process,” he says.

“Fulfilling both those criteria is exceedingly difficult.”

While he believes much of the guideline advice is sound, Gavin cautions against the idea that principals should develop direct contractual relationships with waste transporters. He adds that given the scale of many of the projects in question, direct contracts can introduce untenable legal liability.

Another issue, Gavin says, is that recent C&D reforms have significantly increased risk for facility operators.

“It’s a tug of war between a genuine desire to see environmental protection through heavy regulation and growing resource recovery rates,” he says.

“Finding a middle ground between the two is the million-dollar question.”

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Concentrating contaminants: CDE

CDE’s Daniel Webber explains how high-pressure filtration and decontamination can increase the resale potential of construction and demolition waste.

The NSW EPA’s new construction and demolition (C&D) waste guidelines, released April 2019, highlight environmental risk via contamination and poor recycling processes as a core concern.

Daniel Webber, CDE’s Regional Manager for Australasia, says the presence of contaminants in the C&D stream is particularly significant, given one of the material’s major resale markets is road base.

“If the material used in road base contains heavy metals or polycyclic-aromatic hydrocarbons, which are known to be carcinogenic, those materials can leach out and penetrate the water table, and once they enter the water table, they can potentially contaminate drinking water,”
Daniel says.

For CDE, an international materials wet processing design and manufacture company, eliminating contaminants in C&D waste is critical to market viability.

“One of the first things we noticed when we first began working with the C&D waste sector was that there are no completely pure C&D sites.

“They all drag contaminated soil in eventually, and when there are no clean sites, there’s no clean materials. CDE quickly learned that this was something we needed to address with our clients.”

A central challenge to addressing the issue, Daniel says, is the variability of C&D contamination regulations across jurisdictions.    

“Conflicting regulations range from waste levy rates, urban development and state planning zones, to contaminant levels and disposal requirements,” he explains.

“We need to be across all the various legislative requirements and, as such, prioritise working in partnership with our clients to achieve that.”

According to Daniel, leachate is a focal point when dealing with C&D. He adds that because of the location of most C&D plants, large tailing ponds are often unfeasible.

“C&D is not like virgin mining or quarrying, which happens in the outer suburbs or the regions. Most construction sites are in metropolitan areas,” he says.

“To minimise transportation costs and therefore maintain resource recovery practicality, a lot of resource recovery also happens in metropolitan areas, meaning operators have to be much more cognisant of the contaminant problem.”

To remove contaminants, CDE facilitates two separate processing methods, both of which can be customised to suit individual client needs. Daniel adds that contaminants include anything from unwanted material such a plaster board and heavy metals, to dangerous chemicals such as PFAS.

“To wash and process contaminated C&D material, CDE designs plants that push contaminants into a tertiary water body for filtration, or alternatively, into sludge for processing via filter press technology,” Daniel says.

“When a client chooses the filter press option, their material is passed through mesh under extremely high pressure to produce a dry filter cake, which is then discharged into a bay below the filter press enclosure.”

Daniel says the filter press method allows CDE-designed plants to salvage 90 per cent of the original feedstock material.

“If a client is running a 200-tonne-per hour plant, with feeds coming through the front end, CDE equipment can concentrate existing contaminants into 20-tonne-per-hour of feed material.

“That means 180 tonnes of material can be repurposed and put straight back into the market as clean construction material.”

Additionally, Daniel says by concentrating contaminants, operators can save on landfill charges and prevent extra investment in waste storage equipment. Effectively removing contaminants also requires high-energy scrubbing and dewatering cyclone systems.

“By introducing CDE technology, plant operators can eliminate the need for settling ponds, reduce the space required to accommodate a washing plant and maximise water recycling.”

CDE’s minimum target, Daniel says, is an 80 per cent recovery rate, designing plants to increase traditionally unusable recycled sand and aggregates for multiple resale applications.

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One million tonnes under threat: Alex Fraser

Alex Fraser has called on Kingston City Council to extend its operating permit for its glass and C&D recycling site as one million tonnes of recyclables risks going to landfill.

Alex Fraser’s Clarinda Recycling Facility plays a pivotal role in Victoria’s resource recovery network, with the capacity to recycle around 25 per cent of Melbourne’s glass and construction waste.

Situated in the Melbourne’s south-east near Clayton, the 22-hectare facility recycles up to one million tonnes of waste each year and turns it into VicRoads approved, high quality, sustainable construction materials. It is a key component of the company’s network of sites surrounding Melbourne.

Not many facilities can boast the capacity for such difficult-to-recycle waste streams, let alone the contribution Alex Fraser makes to repurposing value-added materials in infrastructure projects. The site employees 50 full-time people and has been operating since October 2009.

With Victoria’s big build placing pressure on dwindling natural resources and quarries moving further afield, the need to find a sustainable alternative has never been greater. According to PwC, the building and construction sector faces the challenge of maintaining access to supply of extractive resources.

It comes as encroachment of urban and regional development affects existing quarrying areas. Likewise, demand for extractive resources over 2015-50 is set to be almost double to supply the state’s planned new transport infrastructure, a concern alleviated through strategically placed sites like Alex Fraser’s.

Now, Alex Fraser’s site is under threat, with its permit with Kingston City Council set to expire in 2023.

THE REZONING

In 2015, Kingston’s industrial area was rezoned to be green wedge, with conditions preventing waste management operations on the land.

Since then, Alex Fraser has been actively working with the Victorian Government and its agencies to identify alternative locations.

Peter Murphy, Alex Fraser Group Managing Director, says that there is no way Alex Fraser will be able to find a suitable alternative location by 2023.

One of the key reasons is a need for Alex Fraser to be located within proximity to sources of construction and demolition waste, as well as kerbside collected glass.

“Using recycled material in infrastructure is only possible with facilities like Clarinda that are close to our cities – where waste is generated, and where major projects are underway,” Peter explains.

Alex Fraser supplies recycled construction materials to projects including the Level Crossing Removal Projects, Monash Freeway Upgrade, Thompsons Road Upgrade, and the Hallam Road Upgrade. It is also ideally located to supply the planned Suburban Rail Loop, South Eastern Roads Upgrade and Mordialloc Freeway.

Other prominent considerations are the scale of the 22-hectare site, quality road network and its extensive landscaping and screening with appropriate fencing and native foliage.

Alex Fraser’s application to Kingston City Council, lodged in September this year, seeks a 15-year extension of its operating permit.

“Unfortunately, there are no viable alternative sites, and so we’re asking Kingston City Council for more time,” Peter says.

“We need more time so we can continue to recycle until we can relocate, to avoid adding to Victoria’s recycling and resources crises.”

Peter notes that Victorians want certainty about what’s happening with their waste. A decision is expected from council this year and if Alex Fraser is denied an extension, it may have to scale back its recycling.

“If this key recycling facility is shut down in 2023, it would significantly impact on Victoria’s recycling capability, and cut the supply of construction materials urgently needed for Victoria’s big build.”

“Victoria is already in a recycling crisis – this would only make matters worse,” Mr Murphy said.

Kerbside glass is at the heart of Victoria’s recycling crisis – the state government recently supported an improvement to the Clarinda facility recycling capability. This will enable the annual recycling and distribution of 200 million bottles worth of recycled sand. The site’s closure could mean this goes to landfill instead.

PLANNING COMPLEXITIES

As Waste Management Review reported in its 2018 article, Protecting our infrastructure, urban encroachment has pushed sites such as Alex Fraser’s away from the urban sprawl.

“It’s taken years for Alex Fraser to build a network of recycling sites of suitable scale, in locations serviced by major roads, that are close enough to raw and finished product markets,” Peter said at the time.

“The unfortunate reality is that a lot of effort from hard-working people across government departments, and a suite of very good specifications, plans and policies that would support better outcomes are completely undermined by some planning decisions.”

Peter says that relocating facilities is a complex exercise and simply rezoning new land does not alleviate the problems caused when zonings on ideal existing sites are changed.

The challenge for operators has been finding suitable sites large enough to achieve economies of scale close enough to where waste is generated.

Peter says that if Alex Fraser were to shut own, a major metropolitan quarry would have to be established to extract the same volume of resources.

ISSUE IN THE SPOTLIGHT

As highlighted in Victoria’s Inquiry into Recycling and Waste Management in June 5 hearings, glass mountains have filled sheds all over Melbourne. Alex Fraser’s response to the glass-waste conundrum has been to step up production with new infrastructure at Clarinda and a state-of-the-art plant in Laverton North. Together, these projects have increased the company’s capacity to recycle up to one billion bottles a year, including the most problematic glass waste streams.

“If you came through Bayside this morning, we have got a crew out there laying asphalt that has got glass, plastics, recycled asphalt in it…being used all day, every day, in massive quantities,” Peter told the hearing in June.

“It is also jobs like LXRA, various Monash upgrades, the Western Ring Road – all the way back to the Grand Prix track actually – that have got some kind of recycled content in them. So I think in Victoria the story is pretty good. Victoria’s big build is underway.”

He reiterated that the scale of these recycling efforts and the reuse in major projects and the scale was often misunderstood by lots of people, including at Clarinda.

“If you close that facility [Clarinda], you need to find a community somewhere that wants a big quarry established… and you need to tell them that they need a quarry because you shut down a resource recovery facility.”

“The Department of Economic Development, Jobs and Transport Resources did a very good study, three years ago, on the increasing cost to these projects due to carting quarry materials further out of town, and the cost is already well ahead of the base case.”

A letter from the Department of Treasury and Finance shows efforts were made to find an alternative site by the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions (formerly DEDJTR) and Sustainability Victoria.

The department’s scoping found site options that meet current planning requirements are extremely limited, with none available in proximity to the cities where waste in generated and end markets exist.   

In this vein, Alex Fraser’s Clarinda site has also previously been recognised as part of a hub of state significance in the Statewide Waste and Resource Recovery Infrastructure Plan for Victoria.

In a May 2019 letter to the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry Into Recycling and Waste Management by the National Waste and Recycling Industry Council, of which Alex Fraser is a member, CEO Rose Read points out that Clarinda is well known for operational excellence.

According to Peter, the company has not received any complaints regarding amenity impact on the surrounding area and was recognised for its high operating and environmental standards.

Its Alex Fraser’s significant market pull that has led to an outreach of support from numerous stakeholders.

In order to mitigate the issue into the future, Rose calls for the establishment of ‘green zones’ identified and protected for waste and recycling businesses that protect these assets for the life of the infrastructure.

Matt Genever, Director Resource Recovery at Sustainability Victoria, says SV recognised the site as an important site for resource recovery in Melbourne.

“Processing one million tonnes of recycling per annum, the site serves a dual purpose, both as a hub for construction and demolition waste in the south-east and through supply of aggregate and sand into new construction activities,” Matt says.

“We are acutely aware of the shortage of quarried materials to supply the state’s significant infrastructure program and having a site of this scale located in close proximity to these major projects is essential in ensuring ongoing supply of recycled construction products and materials.”

Wayne Russell, Visy Recycling Executive General Manager says that Alex Fraser had been an important partner to Visy for more than 14 years.

“Visy’s future glass recovery and recycling efforts would be severely hampered in the absence of the service the Alex Fraser network provides,” he says.

Mark Smith, VWMA Executive Officer, wrote of his concern of the unacceptable impact the closure of Clarinda would have on the Victorian waste and recycling network.

“Closure (even temporary) would have significant impact on Victoria’s recycling capability resulting in the accumulation and stockpiling of waste material,” he wrote.

At the beginning of September, Kingston Mayor Georgina Oxley confirmed the council received an application at the beginning of September which seeks to extend operations at the Alex Fraser site in Kingston’s green wedge.

“In 2015, Kingston Council welcomed protections for Kingston’s green wedge that were introduced by the Victorian Planning Minister that would ensure existing waste operations would cease at the end of their current permits and that no new operations would be allowed,” Ms Oxley said.

“Council wrote to the Planning Minister in April 2015 calling on the government to help Alex Fraser find an alternative site to ensure its long-term success while ensuring the end of waste-related activities in the green wedge. Invest Victoria has been working with Alex Fraser to identify suitable alternative sites.

“Council strongly supports the recycling sector and has a range of successful recycling business operating outside the green wedge within its industrial zoned areas.”

A Victorian Government spokesperson said the permit decision is currently a matter for Kingston City Council.

“We recognise the important contribution Alex Fraser makes to the recycling sector but also the concerns of local residents,” the spokesperson said.

“We’ll continue to work with both the council and Alex Fraser on resolving this matter.”

This article appeared in the October 2019 issue of Waste Management Review. 

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NSW EPA releases new C&D guidelines

The NSW EPA has published two new guidance documents to help the construction and demolition industry strengthen their procurement and contract processes around waste disposal.

In NSW, waste owners and transporters may be guilty of an offence if construction and demolition waste is transported to the wrong facility or disposed of illegally.

Individuals can be fined up to $250,000, while corporations can be fined up to $1,000,000. If the offence involves asbestos waste, the fines double.

EPA Executive Director Waste Operations Carmen Dwyer said the documents, Construction and Demolition Waste: A Management Toolkit and Owner’s Guide to Lawful Disposal of Construction and Demolition Waste, will help both private and government organisations strengthen their waste processes.

“We know that most people in this industry are keen to cut out unlawful behaviour, and the toolkit and guide provide steps that businesses can take to ensure their waste material is lawfully disposed of,” Ms Dwyer said.

“The documents provide step-by-step guides to help industry bolster their contracts with waste transporters, and factor in control measures from the beginning of the procurement process through to disposal.”

Guidance includes knowing what waste streams will be generated, questioning waste management quotes that appear too low, checking council development consent and environment protection laws and having clear roles and responsibilities for everyone managing waste on the project.

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$30M Victorian stockpile clean-up begins

The first truck loads of construction and demolition waste are being removed from a waste stockpile in Lara, Geelong, after the Victorian Government took control of site management in May.

Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said the process could take several years, with the state government providing $30 million for clean-up and fire prevention measures.

“Poor site management practices by the previous operator let the recycling waste grow to dangerous levels, resulting in an unacceptable fire risk to the local community, the environment and emergency services,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

“There is absolutely no excuse for the reckless behaviour of the people who left this mess for us to deal with, and we will have no hesitation pursuing them to cover the cost of the clean-up.”

According to Ms D’Ambrosio, the site contains an estimated 320,000 cubic metres of predominantly construction and demolition waste, including materials such as timber, concrete, bricks, plaster, glass and ceramics.

“The first stage will be the processing and removal of a 27,000 cubic metre stockpile of timber, weighing an estimated 3500 tonnes,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

“The City of Greater Geelong will project manage the works on behalf of the EPA and government, including managing interim fire risk measures by maintaining 24/7 security, secure fencing and maintenance of firefighting equipment.”

Ms D’Ambrosio said the EPA is pursuing previous site occupiers, owners, company directors and any other relevant parties to recover the costs of the fire prevention measures and clean up.

“Since August 2017, the EPA has had additional powers to support Victoria’s fire services and issue remedial notices to facilities not properly managing potential fire risks,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

“These powers will be strengthened further under the new Environment Protection Act which will come into effect on 1 July 2020, to prevent situations like this in the future.”

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Alex Fraser wins Sustainable Environment Award

Alex Fraser has won the Sustainable Environment Award at the Victorian Transport Association’s 30th annual Australian Freight Industry Awards.

Alex Fraser Communications Manager Cara Spencer accepted the award on behalf of the company, at a black-tie gala dinner at Melbourne’s Crown Palladium Ballroom.

“It’s a great honour to accept the award on behalf of Alex Fraser, which is particularly special in what is a milestone year for the company – in October we celebrate 140 years of operation, making Alex Fraser one of Victoria’s longest standing companies,” Ms Spencer said.

“There’s around 360 people behind the scenes at Alex Fraser, making it happen. It’s wonderful to see their hard work, drive and innovation recognised with this award. Thank you.”

Alex Fraser was recognised for their Victoria first integrated sustainable supply hub in Laverton.

The facility houses Alex Fraser’s new Ammann High Recycled Technology asphalt plant, which is capable of producing high-quality asphalt mixes made entirely of recycled material.

The recycled material is supplied by Alex Fraser’s co-located construction and demolition plant, and onsite glass recycling facility.

Ms Spencer said the co-location of production facilities and sustainable hub design eliminates the need for cartage and significantly reduces carbon emissions and costs.

“Our sustainable supply hub in Laverton is doing some pretty amazing things. It is part of a critical network of facilities surrounding Melbourne, including sites at Clarinda and Epping, that work together to recycle up to three million tonnes of construction waste, and the equivalent of one billion bottles of glass each year – that’s enough to overflow the MCG,” Ms Spencer said.

“We take that waste material and recycle it into the high quality products Victoria so urgently needs to build greener roads and rail, reducing the carbon footprint of new infrastructure by up to 65 per cent.”

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GCM Enviro: brooklyn bound

Sunshine Groupe Operations Manager Colin Riley tells Waste Management Review how the rise in construction and demolition waste prompted their latest purchase.

With capital injections at a state and federal level, the Australian construction industry is booming.

Capital influx, paired with growing public consciousness around the impacts of waste and the reality of finite resources, has led to an increased number of construction companies seeking sustainable solutions for their construction and demolition waste (C&D).

Located within a 10-kilometre proximity of the Melbourne CBD, Sunshine Groupe’s Brooklyn recycling site has become a hub for the city’s C&D waste.

Operations Manager Colin Riley says C&D is now one of the company’s most commonly received waste streams.

“We are heavily invested in safeguarding the community and the environment through recycling, and as such need effective and accurate equipment to separate heavy impurities from the material we want to process,” Colin says.

“I’ve been working at Sunshine Groupe for over 20 years and the rise in C&D is substantial. A number of challenges come with that given the materials high variability and substantial weight.”

Colin says the scale of the Brooklyn site is what inspired the need for a new for a new piece of mobile sifting equipment.

“We already have lot of fixed processing equipment on site but are dealing with significant space and multiple stockpiles. Transporting waste around the site to access that fixed equipment was becoming unsustainable,” Colin says.

“After consulting with GCM Enviro, we decided to purchase a moveable Terra Select W80 Windsifter four months ago and its really solved that issue for us.”

The Terra Select W80 mobile windsifter separates stones from wood materials, wood from building rubble and impurities from aggregate.

“We depend on cleanly separated feedstock so recycled components can be further processed. Our situation is therefore ideally suited to separation via windsifting,” Colin says.

According to Colin, Sunshine Groupe use the Terra Select windsifter to process roughly 50,000 tonnes of material each day.

“The Terra Select outperforms all other windsifters I’ve used and has far exceeded my expectations,” Colin says.

The sifter can achieve a throughput of up to 120 cubic metres per hour and has an adjustable level of cleaning of up to 95 per cent, with an optimum feed grain size of one to four.

In addition to its own feed hopper, the mobile windsifter also has an integrated metering roller that Colin says enables fast turnaround times.

“The machine has flexible options for feeding material, which we can adjust depending on the specifics of what we are working with at the time,” Colin says.

“It can be adjusted to work either at an angle with a wheeled loader, or at an angle from an upstream screening plant. The dosing roller then evenly feeds the material from the hopper to the windsifter.”

If required, the discharge conveyor of the separator can be fitted with a magnet to remove metals from building rubble, further highlighting its application use for varied waste streams like C&D.

The machine is controlled centrally via a modern display, with all machine components readily accessible due to large maintenance hatches. Additionally, it is driven by its own high-output diesel engine, which supports total mobile function.

“It’s a mobile machine in every sense of the word and can be completely set up and functional within a short space of time for new locations or feedstock changeover. It also has road approval for off-site operations,” Colin says.

In addition to separation, the windsifting process protects other machines and plants by removing heavy debris before later processing stages.

When dealing with stone or concrete for example, sifting removes potentially harmful objects, purifies the material before crushing and leads to a longer shelf life for all machinery involved.

“GCM Enviro really pulled through for us, we told them what we needed, and they delivered on all fronts,” Colin says.

“The servicing and parts department is really on the ball – if we make a spare or extra parts order it arrives the following day.”

Colin says while he hasn’t needed to take them up on the offer yet, GCM Enviro has committed to sending service and maintenance teams downs to Melbourne if any issues arise.

“I’ve been in the industry for over two decades and have seen a lot of equipment, some that works well, some that doesn’t,” Colin says.

“The Terra Select W80 works so well because it takes a lot of different technology types and combines them, really expanding the capabilities of a relatively small machine.”

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