NSW targets zero organics in landfill by 2030

The NSW Government’s Net Zero Plan Stage One: 2020-2030 seeks to achieve net zero emissions from organic waste in landfill by 2030, with targeted actions to support councils improve services and product quality.

“Organic waste, such as food scraps and garden trimmings, makes up about 40 per cent of red-lidded kerbside bins. When sent to landfill, the decomposing material releases methane that may not be captured,” the plan reads.

“However, when this waste is managed effectively, through proper composting and recycling processes, methane emissions can be substantially reduced, soils can be regenerated to store carbon and biogas can be created to generate electricity.”

The plan outlines specific actions including supporting best-practice food and garden waste management infrastructure, and ensuring compost or other organic soils are of the highest quality for land application.

Furthermore, the state government will facilitate the development of waste-to-energy facilities in locations with strong community support, and update regulatory settings to ensure residual emissions from the organic waste industry are offset.

The NSW economy will see over $11.6 billion in private investment and 2400 new jobs as a result of the plan, according to Environment Minister Matt Kean.

“Where there are technologies that can reduce both our emissions and costs for households and businesses, we want to roll them out across the state. Where these technologies are not yet commercial, we want to invest in their development so they will be available in the decades to come,” Mr Kean said.

The plan outlines four key priorities: drive uptake of proven emissions reduction technologies, empower consumers and businesses to make sustainable choices, invest in the next wave of emissions reduction innovation and ensure the NSW Government leads by example.

Mr Kean said roughly two-thirds of the plan’s private investment will be directed at regional and rural NSW, “diversifying local economies that are doing it tough after the drought and devastating bushfire season.”

“Global markets are rapidly changing in response to climate change, with many of the world’s biggest economies and companies committed to reach net zero emissions by 2050. NSW already leads the nation with its economic and investment plans and from today, NSW will lead the nation with its Net Zero Plan,” Mr Kean said.

“Our actions are firmly grounded in science and economics, not ideology, to give our workers and businesses the best opportunity to thrive in a low-carbon world.”

The plan is financially supported by a $2 billion bilateral agreement between the Federal and NSW Government, announced in January 2020.

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Budget allocates $3.8 billion to Department of Environment

Last night’s federal budget announcement saw $3.8 billion allocated to the Department of the Environment and Energy.

From the allocation, $3.5 billion will go towards the Climate Solutions Package, while $100 million will be channelled into the Environment Restoration Fund.

Environment Minister Melissa Price said funding for the Climate Solutions Package would be used to ensure the government meets its Paris commitment, reducing emissions by 26-28 per cent by 2030.

According to Ms Price, $2.0 billion will go towards the Climate Solutions Fund, which is expected to reduce emissions by more than 100 million tonnes.

The Climate Solutions Fund will build upon the previous Emissions Reduction Fund, which saw landfill operators earn carbon credits through the conversion of methane to energy and carbon dioxide.

When organic matter in landfill waste decomposes it releases methane, which if not collected enters the atmosphere. Carbon credits therefore work to incentives investment in gas to energy initiatives.

The Environment Restoration Fund is designed to support local councils and state governments deliver projects to protect and remediate Australia’s environment.

Ms Price said the funds $100 million allocation will be used to support practical action on waste and recycling.

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Sydney ranked as Australia’s most sustainable city

Sydney has been ranked Australia’s most sustainable city in 2018, according to the Sustainable Cities Index from Arcadis.

The index ranks 100 cities on three pillars of sustainability which it defines as people, planet and profit.

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Australian cities were mostly located in the centre of the list, with Sydney and Canberra reaching 34th and 35th place. Brisbane was listed as the 44th most sustainable while Melbourne trailed behind at 56.

All of the cities on the list performed well on people focused measures, scoring high in health, education and digital enablement. Cities performed moderately well when it came to profit due to employment and ease of doing business.

However, each Australian city scored worse in the planet pillar, with greenhouse gas emissions and waste management common issues across all four cities.

London was ranked the most sustainable city, with eight of the top ten spots being European cities.

The 2018 Sustainable Cities Index emphasised the impact of how digital technologies have impacted on citizen’s experience of the city, but it found that technology is not yet able to mitigate things like traffic jams, unaffordable transport options, the absence of green space or the uncertainties caused by ageing infrastructure.

Arcadis Australian Cities Director Stephen Taylor said with no Australian city cracking the top 30, there is a need to improve the long-term sustainability, resilience and performance of our cities.

“Across our cities, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne, we’ve seen a real shift over the last few years beyond green sustainability to social sustainability. Both government and private developments are increasingly focusing on how projects can better improve communities, including financial gains and community wellness,” Mr Taylor said.

“Despite the middle of the road rankings, the nation’s strong focus on developing integrated transit systems, addressing affordability and embracing sustainability in construction are all positive signs for future improvement across the three pillars,” he said.

EPA VIC consider application for $12M waste to energy facility

Resource Resolution Pty Ltd has applied to establish a $12 million commercial food waste processing facility which has the capability of producing biogas for energy.

The proposed facility would process 30,000 tonnes of liquid food waste a year and produce 2.4 megawatts of power.

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Resource Resolution also aims to recover organic matter for use as animal feed or to generate renewable energy with an anaerobic digestion facility.

Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Victoria received the works approval for the site, planned to be located at 19 Winter Road, Girgarre.

Resource Resolution has proposed to use the Biogass Renewables AD system, which is currently used in Perth, WA. It is estimated that the bioenergy operation will process 23,382 tonnes of dairy, 3,475 tonnes of food products, 2,421 tonnes of fruit and vegetables and 722 tonnes of supermarket and grocery waste.

EPA Victoria’s assessment of the application will consider best practice technology, energy efficiency, greenhouse gas emissions and waste composition. It will also assess any potential risk to human health and the environment, including from emissions to air, noise, disposal of digestate, the waste water treatment system and operation contingencies.

An application for an amendment to the current planning permit is currently under assessment by Campaspe Shire Council.

Works approvals are required for industrial and waste management activities that have the potential for significant environmental impact.

Tasmanian EPA consider new organics processing plant

The Tasmanian Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) is considering a proposal for an organics processing facility at Mowbray in Launceston.

The Tasmanian Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) is considering a proposal for an organics processing facility at Mowbray in Launceston.

The proposal by Launceston City Council is to produce up to 15,000 tonnes of compost product a year, using Forced Aerated Floor (FAF) technology to aerate the compost piles and reduce the potential odours.

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No representations were received in relation to the permit application, and a 40-day public consultation period was open in July 2017.

The Chair of the Tasmanian EPA Board Warren Jones said that the board concluded the proposed development could be managed in an environmentally sustainable and acceptable manner, with certain conditions.

“Various environmental issues were considered by the Board in its assessment, particularly air emissions,” Mr Jones said.

“Conditions have been imposed to ensure appropriate management practices are in place during operation of the organics processing facility to reduce the risk of impact to surrounding sensitive receptors from odour emissions,” he said.

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