Household waste production has spiked in South Australia, with more people staying home due to COVID-19.
A new South Australian research project is aiming to encourage efficient FOGO disposal by understanding household behaviours around food waste.
The what, where, and why of Household Food Waste Behaviour project is in collaboration with the Fight Food Waste CRC, East Waste, the University of Adelaide, Green Industries SA and sub-contractor Rawtec.
Building on existing international research, the project will utilise detailed micro-waste auditing, ongoing waste disposal monitoring technology and novel household surveys from a broad cross-section of the community, to develop a comprehensive report on household food waste bin behaviour.
Fight Food Waste CRC outlined in its plan that ultimately the project aims to successfully change household food waste behaviour in the long-term to achieve the recycling of food waste into a valuable commodity as opposed to sending it to landfill.
“Whilst this project will be focussed on Adelaide, similar benefits can be expected for councils in other Australian cities,” Fight Food Waste CRC said in its project plan.
Fraser Bell, East Waste Chair said that diverting food waste from landfill represents the single biggest financial and environmental opportunity for councils.
“Food waste is a valuable commodity and we hope to improve household bin disposal behaviour,” Bell said.
“Through this new research, we will build a picture of the behaviour of our residents, including the levers that can influence positive and sustainable changes in their practices moving forward.”
Dr Steven Lapidge, Fight Food Waste CRC Chief Executive Officer, said this SA project complements the Fight Food Waste CRC’s national research efforts focused on household food waste behaviour change.
“This is a big opportunity for Australians to save money through reducing household food waste, as well as to divert as much unavoidable food waste from landfill,” he said.
“Local governments across Australia can learn from this leading research project.”
Following this research project, the City of Mount Gambier has introduced a universal FOGO service for residential properties due to recently receiving $32,954 towards the initiative via the State Government Kerbside Performance Plus (Food Organics) Incentives Program.
City of Mount Gambier residents will no longer have to pay an additional fee to subscribe to the kerbside FOGO bin service from 1 July 2020, with council endorsing a plan to absorb the cost of the service into general rates for residential properties.
To date the service has been provided by council on an ‘opt in’ basis whereby residents subscribe through an annual payment of $85.00. Under the change residents will only be required to pay an initial fee to cover the cost of the official green organics bin if they do not already have one.
The most recent kerbside bin audit conducted by council staff indicated that on average 45 per cent of household waste going to landfill is organic matter that could be diverted and recycled through composting.
With 6,853 households currently subscribed to the service and the number set to increase, it is forecast the change will represent a loss of more than $500,000 from council’s operating revenue that will be absorbed through rate revenue.
Nick Serle, City of Mount Gambier General Manager City Infrastructure, said It is much more cost effective for council to dispose of organic matter to a commercial composting operation than it is for it to end up in landfill where it decreases the life of each cell and increases the emission of harmful greenhouse gases.
“This is a large investment however we are confident the savings and environmental benefits that will result from less organic matter entering and contaminating landfill will far outweigh the initial loss of income.”
He said the technology installed on the waste trucks will enable the contents of all bins to be closely monitored.
It is anticipated that by reducing the barriers to accessing the FOGO service that residents will be able to experience first-hand how easily they can reduce their volume of general waste simply by sorting it into the appropriate stream.
Lynette Martin OAM, City of Mount Gambier Mayor, said she is confident residents will see a big reduction in their general waste each week, just by utilising the kitchen caddy system.
Waste Management Review speaks to Green Industries SA’s Vaughan Levitzke about the work that has gone into achieving the highest diversion rate out of every state and the challenges that lie ahead.
Waste consultant Kat Heinrich has won the annual Green Industries SA Women in Waste Award for her contributions to SA’s waste industry.
Ms Heinrich, a senior consultant for Rawtec, has delivered a range of projects to help with resource efficiency, disaster waste management, state waste accounting and waste infrastructure planning.
The award, established in memory of Pam Keating, includes $5000 to assist with travel, accommodation and conference costs, and mentoring from a senior woman executive in the industry.
SA Environment Minister Ian Hunter said he was delighted to present the award to Ms Heinrich.
“Kat’s new project will address the global issue of food waste by investigating best-practices in Denmark, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and the United States and using this research to drive a step change in food waste reduction and recovery in SA,” Mr Hunter said.
“Congratulations to Kat for her dedication and vision to further SA’s reputation as leader in recycling and resource recovery.”
Ms Heinrich has recently started a blog to share best practices in food waste management from cities globally.
“I am passionate about addressing food waste, which is a significant issue globally, and through this award aim to stimulate a step-wise change in SA,” she said.
“While SA leads the country in waste and resource recovery practices, food waste particularly in the household stream, remains a significant challenge and opportunity for the state.
“Addressing food waste is an important step in transitioning SA to a more circular economy through compost production or other beneficial interventions.”
She said the project will identify potential initiatives that may help SA to take this next step to reduce food waste.
The SA Government has allocated $300,000 in grant funding to recycling businesses, in a bid to strengthen the local market.
It follows the recent Chinese international waste bans, which saw a crackdown on imports of 24 different types of solid waste from Japan, USA, Australia and other source countries.
China’s National Sword Program and import restrictions have impacted the South Australian recycling industry that relied on exporting material such as scrap plastics, metals, paper, cardboard and textiles overseas.
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The Recycling Market Development Grants Programme, funded through statutory body Green Industries SA, aims to assist businesses to invest in activities that will overcome market barriers to accepting products with recycled-content.
Sustainability, Environment and Conservation Minister Ian Hunter said the grants are a timely aid to bolstering SA recycling businesses.
“Strengthening the local market and secondary re-manufacturing industry will also develop our economy and act as a buffer against the risks associated with selling into overseas commodity markets,” he said.
“Equally important is the need to improve market confidence in using recycled-material products as a viable option so eligible activities for funding include those which validate the quality and performance of local recycled materials or recycled-content products and develop new or expand existing markets for such products.”
Examples of activities that are eligible for the grant include testing product quality to improve the local market’s confidence in recycled products, and developing or expanding existing markets for them.
The South Australian Government will provide more than $2.5 million of funding to support councils to introduce and maintain household food waste recycling.
Applications are open for the Kerbside Performance (Food Waste) Incentives Programme, which helps local government implement food waste systems, support high performance and reduce the amount of waste going to landfill.
Currently 150,000 metropolitan and regional householders are recycling their kitchen scraps as part of the programme subsidised by the state government through statutory authority Green Industries SA.
The funding, through Green Industries SA, is from a $12 million program that aims to reduce food waste in South Australia.
South Australian Government Sustainability, Environment and Conservation Minister Ian Hunter said research shows that it’s easier to get into the habit of recycling if there is a simple system in place – such as a lined ventilated caddy for the kitchen – and that take-up is maximised if there is a council-wide distribution of the caddy.
“Our incentive provides up to $25 per household for South Australian councils to implement food waste recycling, the highest incentive offered nationally,” he said.
Applications for funding are open until Friday 9 February. The incentive guidelines and application form are available here.
Nominations are now open to recognise the contributions of emerging and established women leaders in the waste management and circular economy sector.
The recipient of the second annual Green Industries SA Women in Waste Award will receive up to $5000 to help toward a project inspiring innovation and practical new ideas in the sector, as well as mentoring from a senior woman executive also working in that field. The $5000 will also help assist with travel, accommodation and conference costs.
The Green Industries SA Women in Waste Award was established in memory of Pam Keating, a noted environmentalist and waste management expert who passionately believed in the importance of reducing waste and its impact on the environment.
South Australian Environment Minister Ian Hunter said the award encourages talented South Australian woman to undertake a project which will inspire innovation and practical ideas in the areas of waste management and the circular economy.
“South Australia’s reputation for leadership in the waste management and related sectors is based on the vision, persistence and passion of game changers willing to step out of their comfort zone and to advocate for our clean and green environment,” he said.
Inaugural 2016 Award winner Fiona Jenkins said it was an honour to be encouraged to pursue her research into kerbside recycling in the world’s top recycling cities.
“My project uncovered the secrets to lifting our household recycling rates from 50 per cent to up to 80 per cent, using variations on the three-bin system we have now,” she said.
“I’ll be looking back on lessons learnt from my study tour – which included Portland, Oregon and Flanders in Belgium – for the next 20 years.
The support of my employer, the City of Charles Sturt, reinforced the professional growth I would experience through this program.”
Applications close on 15 December 2017.
For more information, visit Green Industries SA.
Sixteen projects have received government grants of $2.17 million to improve the infrastructure of South Australia’s waste industry, creating more than 48 new jobs.
Priority has been given to projects which recover materials banned from landfill, such as vegetative matter collected by councils and plastic packaging.
Some of the grants will fund equipment and systems such as:
- Advanced sorting equipment/system or technology to reduce processing residuals and increase the range of materials recovered
- Equipment to remove contamination through automated systems for higher value compost and fertiliser products from organic waste processing;
- Balers and other equipment to enable compacted materials to be more efficiently transported.
The $2.17 million in grants announced includes 16 projects with a total value of $8.79 million.
The funding, offered by Green Industries SA, is from a four-year $26 million investment of waste levy funds in programmes that will increase the capacity of recycling systems and reprocessing infrastructure, the management of household hazardous waste and innovative solutions for problematic waste.
“South Australians are great recyclers and our state continues to lead the country in resource recovery and waste diversion, achieving the highest diversion rate in Australia,” Environment Minister Ian Hunter said.
Fleurieu Regional Waste Authority – $150,000 for in-vessel composting on Kangaroo IsIand
Fleurieu Regional Waste Authority – $83,500 for an autobaler on Kangaroo Island
Mid Murray Council – $47,600 for a transfer station at Bowhill
District Council of Elliston – $70,000 for a Resource Recovery Centre at Elliston
District Council of Lower Eyre Peninsula – $32,250 for a mobile baler at Cummins transfer station
District Council of Streaky Bay – $16,600 for a salvage shed at the existing Streaky Bay transfer station
Adelaide Hills Recycling – $150,000 for a ballistic separator (Strathalbyn)
Agricycling – $150,000 to improve recovery rates of agricultural plastics (Mallala)
Jeffries Group – $272,500 for an organics granulating fertiliser project (Buckland Park)
Peats Group Ltd – $150,000 for recovery of organics from packaged waste (Langhorne Creek)
Peats Group Ltd – $300,000 resource recovery facility for Upper Spencer Gulf (Port Augusta)
Polybags Pty Ltd – $145,000 for Bio Plastics manufacturing in SA (Netley)
Reclaim PV – $79,000 for a pyrolysis furnace to recycle photovoltaic panels (Dudley Park)
SA Group Enterprises – $150,000 for e-waste and mattress recycling (Underdale)
Trident Plastics – $150,000 for a plastic recycling and palletisation plant (Kilburn)
VISY Recycling – $225,000 for optimised glass recovery and recycling (Wingfield)