Two-hundred million bottles: Alex Fraser

A new glass additive bin at Alex Fraser’s Clarinda Recycling Facility is boosting its reprocessing capability by 40,000 tonnes a year and has the capacity to double that production annually.

Late last year, Alex Fraser was among 13 recipients of the Victorian Government’s $4.67 million Resource Recovery Infrastructure Grants program.

It used the $336,500 grant towards the construction of the new glass and brick additive bins at its Clarinda Recycling Facility, where they are used to blend recycled glass sand and brick into a new, sustainable roadbase product.

This single piece of recycling infrastructure is markedly increasing the distribution of recycled glass and brick into road and rail projects throughout Melbourne’s south eastern suburbs.

Delivering on end-market demand is a central focus for Alex Fraser, with Clarinda currently processing hundreds of thousands of tonnes of recycled products for use on road construction and maintenance projects across Victoria.

Peter Murphy, Alex Fraser Managing Director, says the facility is currently reducing the landfilling and stockpiling of problematic glass by 40,000 tonnes per year – the equivalent of 200 million bottles.

He adds that with the new additive bins in full production mode, Alex Fraser has the capacity to double this annual production.

“By reprocessing this priority waste into high quality sand, we’re able to supply rail and road projects with a range of high-spec, sustainable materials that cut costs, cartage and carbon emissions, and reduce the strain on natural resources,” he says.

“We’re pleased to be working with the Victorian Government to overcome one of the state’s biggest recycling challenges.”

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

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

Recently, the Southern Program Alliance opted to utilise almost 200,000 tonnes of tonnes of Alex Fraser’s recycled materials on the Mentone and Cheltenham Level Crossing Removal Upgrade (LXRA).

The project, expected to be completed in early 2021, is set to save 170,000 tonnes of material from landfill and will reduce the strain on natural resources by 185,000 tonnes.

With the additive bin now in full operation at the Clarinda Recycling Facility, Alex Fraser is increasing its handling of priority recovered materials – like glass fines and brick – to around 800 tonnes per week.

“Glass is a high-volume waste stream, so it is imperative its recycling facilities are well located close to the point of generation and close to its end-markets,” Peter says.

He adds that as inner-metropolitan quarries deplete, natural sand is being trucked up to 100 kilometres, driving up costs, traffic congestion and emissions.

The additive bin will not only help with Melbourne’s glass waste problem, but provide an inner city supply solution that reduces these impacts.

“We are not only reprocessing waste materials, but ensuring that the material is recycled into a valuable resource that is needed and contributes toward Victoria’s growing circular economy,” Peter says.

Alex Fraser’s Clarinda facility has the capacity to recycle a million tonnes of C&D waste each year. Peter explains that the reprocessed material typically goes out to road and rail projects as recycled aggregates, road base or asphalt.

“With the new additive bins, we are able to blend recycled glass sand and brick into a product that meets Vicroads specifications for most road bases which are being used in huge quantities on municipal works and Big Build projects throughout the south east,” he says.

You can read the full article in the July edition of Waste Management Review.

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Fed Govt delays glass waste export ban

COAG’s export ban on unprocessed glass has been delayed due to restrictions related to COVID-19, and will now commence 1 January 2021.

According to Environment Minister Sussan Ley, COVID-19 restrictions made it “impossible” for parliament to pass legislation in time for the original 1 July 2020 deadline.

“We will introduce new legislation later this year to implement the waste export ban, giving interested stakeholders an opportunity to review the draft legislation,” she said.

The schedule for implementing the export ban on waste plastic, paper and tyres remains unchanged.

As part of the national response to the COAG export ban, the Federal Government is asking industry and state and territory governments to work together to bring forward project proposals that deliver a national solution for mixed-paper recycling in Australia.

“Australia has a once in a generation opportunity to improve waste management and recycling through national leadership and by funding infrastructure investments and encouraging new technologies,” Ms Ley said.

Assistant Waste Reduction and Environmental Management Minister Trevor Evans said Australia exports approximately 375,000 tonnes of mixed wastepaper and cardboard each year, but the ban will see a shift to recycling these materials domestically by 2024.

“The Federal Government is particularly interested in paper-recycling facility proposals that adopt new innovations for recovered paper and generate new jobs in rural and regional Australia,” he said.

Applications to the Federal Government are due 31 July, with a decision on successful projects expected at the end of August.

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Leading the recycling revolution: Moyne Shire Council

A year after state-wide disruptions to Victoria’s recycling industry, a small municipality in the state’s south west has quietly taken matters into its own hands, Annette Cannon, Moyne Shire Council Waste Education Officer explains. 

Moyne Shire Council was among the first in Australia to introduce a four-bin waste collection system as part of a long-term solution to the recycling crisis.

Weeks before the Victorian Government announced plans to roll out a state-wide, four-bin system from 2021, Moyne Shire had already taken delivery of its first glass recycling collection.

The council took the bold decision to introduce a fourth bin for glass in September 2019, at a time when just a handful of municipalities were considering the idea.

Just 16 weeks later, the first kerbside glass recycling collection took place across Moyne Shire in early February 2020.

Moyne Shire Mayor Daniel Meade said glass accounted for about 40 per cent of recyclables in Council’s kerbside collections.

“China’s 2018 ban on importing a range of recyclable materials sent our waste management industry into a tailspin,” he said.

“Like a lot of other councils, we were forced to send all recyclables into landfill from about July 2019. Our council and our community decided we just couldn’t sit by and allow that to continue to happen.”

Aside from the serious environmental implications, Mr Meade said the cost of sending recyclable materials to landfill could not be sustained.

Moyne Shire, which takes in coastal Port Fairy and extends inland to the townships of Macarthur, Hawkesdale and back to the Great Ocean Road at Peterborough, has a track record for leadership in waste management.

It has provided a food and organic waste collection service since 2009, many years ahead of other municipalities. This includes provision of a benchtop caddy for food waste.

A NEW REGIME

Under Moyne Shire’s new four-bin regime, glass is collected monthly, recycling and FOGO fortnightly and landfill collected weekly.

In the first month over 40 tonnes of glass was collected with a less than five per-cent contamination rate. This is equivalent to more than 195,000 glass bottles.

Moyne Shire’s initial plan was to conduct a trial within the township of Koroit. However, with mounting concern over the re-routing of recyclables into landfill, council moved quickly to implement a more universal solution.

The formal council decision in September 2019 to implement a Shire-wide, four-bin collection service triggered a frenetic round of contract negotiations with new recycling suppliers.

Under the revised contract, recyclables are now processed by Australian Paper Recovery at Truganina, near Melbourne. Australian Paper Recovery can process recyclables that are not contaminated by glass.

Glass is processed locally for use as a substitute for sand in road construction. The contents of green FOGO bins are still composted for use as mulch across the Shire, while contents of red-lidded bins are directed to landfill.

BETTER4MOYNE

Community engagement and education proved to be key to the program’s early success.

A change in processor has meant that only certain plastics can be placed into the yellow recycling bin. Polyethylene terephthalate (marked with the recycling symbol 1) and high density polyethylene (recycling symbol 2) are both permissible. All other plastics must now be placed into the red bin destined for landfill.

A branded campaign, Better4Moyne, was developed to comprehensively engage with and educate the community about this and all other aspects of council’s new waste management regime.

Activities included regional media articles, frequent website and social media updates, letters to all residents, FAQ sheets, posters displayed in public spaces and displays of the new, purple-lidded bins in high traffic public spaces, including outside local supermarkets.

Council also created displays at regional community events, and officers spoke directly with numerous business and community groups.

A new Kerbside Waste Management Collection Guide was published detailing how to use the four-bin system. Together with a collection calendar, a hard copy of the guide was delivered to all residents with their new, purple-lidded bins.

WIN/WIN SOLUTION FOR DELIVERY LOGISTICS

The logistics of delivering 6000 new glass recycling bins across Moyne Shire’s 5500 square kilometres in time for the first collection was council’s next challenge.

The solution proved to be an innovative ‘win/win’ solution for both council and community.

Eight community groups were engaged to work with council to simultaneously hand deliver the new purple-lidded bins to each household.

These included the Koroit Cricket Club, MacArthur Men’s Shed, Woorndoo Mortlake Football Netball Club, Woorndoo Cricket Club, Nirranda Football Netball Club, Panmure Football Netball Club, Grassmere Primary School Parent and Friends and Port Fairy Football Netball Club.

Those groups received $5 for each bin delivered, creating a new fundraising stream for the groups.

MONITORING OUR SUCCESS

A rigorous inspection regime is an important facet of Moyne Shire’s new waste management program.

Kerbside inspections provide intelligence about recycling behaviour and contamination levels, while also presenting opportunity for more community education.

Where glass or recycling bins are found to be contaminated by incorrect items, a ‘bin reject’ sticker with a hand-written explanation to the householder is placed on the bin. The contents may or may not be collected, depending on the type of contamination.

Inspections during the first glass recycling collection showed relatively low levels of contamination. The primary concern was lids not being removed from glass bottles and jars.

External consultants will be engaged in the near future to conduct detailed kerbside audits. The results will help to evaluation the success of the new, four-bin system and will also inform ongoing community education messaging.

A LONG-TERM SOLUTION

The Victorian Parliamentary Enquiry into Recycling and Waste Management, tabled in November 2019, noted in part that one of the key ways to reduce contamination was by reducing glass in co-mingled recycling bins.

It called for greater source separation as a key measure for the long-term sustainability of Victoria’s waste management system.

Mr Meade said that as an early adopter of glass separation in Victoria and, indeed, the nation, Moyne Shire Council was playing an important leadership role.

“We hope other municipalities can learn from our experiences here at Moyne and ultimately follow suit,” he said.

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Expanding kerbside in Macedon

Shane Walden, Macedon Ranges Shire Council Director of assets and operations, explains the process that led to council’s 2020 introduction of kerbside glass and organics collections.

Q. What are some of the challenges surrounding collection and recycling in the Macedon Ranges?

A. Macedon Ranges Shire Council has experienced the same challenges faced by many Victorian councils during the current recycling crisis. The reduced capacity for processing of commingled recycling and fluctuating commodities markets have made it difficult to find a long-term, sustainable solution for managing the shire’s kerbside recycling material. Community sentiment towards recycling has been low, which has made it particularly challenging to keep bin contamination down, particularly in the recycling stream. It is more important than ever to continue to educate the community and reinforce the message that, with their help, we can continue to recycle.

Q. How is council going to manage the expansion of its kerbside organics collection to include food organics?

A. Council will be implementing the FOGO service in several stages. The first stage involves expanding the existing garden waste service to include food organics. The service will start in February 2020, and cover the major townships of Gisborne, Kyneton, Romsey, Riddells Creek, Macedon, Woodend and Lancefield.

In January 2020, FOGO bins, kitchen caddies, compostable liners and information packs were delivered to all shire residents receiving the service. The second stage will see the remaining townships of Malmsbury, Tylden, Monegeeta, Bullengarook and Darraweit Guim receive the FOGO service in 2021. The third stage will see the introduction the service to the remaining areas of the shire by 2025.

Q. How will food organics collection improve resource recovery in the shire?

A. Audits of residents’ kerbside bins were conducted and found that almost one third of the content of the general waste bins was food waste. This highlighted a significant improvement opportunity and helped to build a strong case for a full food organics collection service. The new FOGO service will divert more than 2300 tonnes of food waste and 3000 tonnes of garden waste from landfill. Food and garden waste will be composted for use in agriculture and local parks and gardens.

Q. Council is also introducing a separate, glass-only bin collection service: why did you choose to endorse this?

A. Following the 2018 recycling crisis, council began to investigate possible solutions to improve the value and ongoing stability of its commingled recycling service. A major opportunity highlighted by council was the potential separation of glass from the commingled recycling.

The closure of SKM’s recycling facilities in 2019 put further pressure on council to take action to ensure the long-term sustainability of its recycling service. Discussions were held with council’s collection contractor Four Seasons Waste and recycling company Australian Paper Recovery (APR), which operates a glassless materials recovery facility in Truganina, Melbourne. APR’s materials recovery process separates commingled recycling into separate materials streams for reprocessing locally in Victoria; however, they do not accept glass.

A glass collection trial was also undertaken in the town of Lancefield between August 2019 and January 2020 to assess the viability of a separate, glass-only collection service. Council staff audited both the recycling and glass-only material at regular intervals throughout the trial to assess the uptake of the glass-only bin and to track the progress of the trial. The audit results showed that the provision of a kerbside glass service in Lancefield saw 98.8 per cent of glass diverted from the commingled recycling bin into the glass-only bin. Consequently, the glass content of the commingled recycling bins reduced from more than 30 per cent down to approximately one per cent by weight over the six-month trial. Council conducted an options analysis and impact assessment informed by the successful findings from the trial and market capability analysis, and the decision was confirmed to introduce a shire-wide glass-only collection service.

Q. How will glass kerbside collections be rolled out?

A. Glass-only bins (purple lid) were delivered to shire residents in January 2020, concurrently with FOGO bin deliveries. There will be a collection every four weeks from February 2020.

A continued communication and education campaign has been a key part of the rollout, to ensure the community is aware of the service changes and understands the reasons for the changes. The reaction of the community to the glass-only and FOGO services has been largely positive, with many residents pleased that council is taking positive steps to address the recycling issues we are currently facing.

This article was published in the March edition of Waste Management Review. 

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Warrnambool begins kerbside glass collection trial

A kerbside glass collection trial has begun in Warrnambool with 3400 properties.

According to a council statment, the four-bin system means households will have their glass and recycling bins picked up from the first week of February, with rubbish and FOGO bins collected the following week.

“Glass collected will be crushed and re-used in road construction,” the statement reads.

Warrnambool Mayor Tony Herbert said the move to a four-bin kerbside system had the potential to reduce the Municipal Waste Charge for each property by roughly $10 annually.

“It’s expensive to separate these items and when glass breaks and embeds in paper or cardboard, it means that these materials – which are otherwise recyclable – can end up in landfill,” Mr Herbert said.

“As well as obviously being a poor environmental outcome, sending material to landfill is expensive because of the Victorian Government’s landfill levy.”

Mr Herbert said responses to a public survey in 2019 helped council reach its decision.

“The most popular survey response was the introduction of kerbside glass collection, alongside a larger rubbish bin that is collected fortnightly,” he said.

“This means that there are the same number of ‘bin lifts’ and truck movements but with an improved recycling outcome.”

The kerbside glass collection will be supplemented with bottle banks at Bunnings, the Dennington Shopping Centre and Norfolk Plaza. These will accept all household glass.

“The bottle banks allow anyone who isn’t currently part of the kerbside glass collection trial to begin separating their glass straight away,” Mr Herbert said.

“The new four-bin system and the bottle banks are a trial. We will use this effort to gather information about how people use the service and how it might be improved.”

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Macedon Ranges to roll out seperate kerbside glass collections

Macedon Ranges Shire Council in Victoria is rolling out seperate kerbside glass collections, following a successful 2019 trial.

According to a council statment, the decision comes after Macedon Ranges was one of 33 Victorian councils affected by the closure of recycling processor SKM Recycling.

“A new recycling processor has been identified, but only if glass is removed from the household recycling bins,” the statement reads.

In a 2019 statement, Acting Assets and Operations Director Anne-Louise Lindner said residents needed to work with council to find alternatives to landfill.

“We really hope the community will come on board and help us to remove glass from [general] recycling bins,” Ms Lindner said.

“Shards and small pieces of glass can become embedded in paper and cardboard in recycling bins, and contaminate the other recyclables.”

Macedon’s new 140 litre glass-only bins will be collected every four weeks and have purple lids.

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VIC EPA increases occupation of glass recycling facility

The Victoria EPA has increased its occupation of a glass recycling facility in Coolaroo, after stepping in to remove stockpile hotspots in October.

The action comes after a spot fire demonstrated that an industrial waste stockpile was not being appropriately managed to protect community and environment.

According to an EPA statement, recent stockpile monitoring has detected an increase in temperatures across areas that remain a concern to the EPA.

Since 25 October, the EPA has removed over 1100 truckloads of waste from the site, representing 10 per cent of the contaminated waste where hotspots are occurring.

“Works to remove hotspots and contaminated glass will continue for some months, with an estimated volume of 50,000 cubic metres of waste to remove,” the statement reads.

EPA Taskforce Manager Danny Childs said the EPA would continue to use all regulatory powers available to ensure hotspots are removed from the site as soon as possible.

“EPA will continue to undertake this work to reduce the risk to local communities and the environment,” Mr Childs said.

A regulatory oversight group consisting of EPA, MFB, WorkSafe and Hume City Council will continue a coordinated, multi-agency approach to drive compliance across the site.

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