Six NSW councils have received funding to develop recycling facilities for problem household waste such as oils, paints and gas bottles.
Planning and Environment Department Circular Economy Executive Director Sanjay Sridher said $1.125 million would go towards developing the new community recycling centres and permanent drop-off facilities.
“Community recycling centres are designed to capture those tricky items that can’t go in the bin – things like motor oils, car batteries, even old fluoro lightbulbs,” Mr Sridher said.
“These kinds of items have materials in them that can’t be processed through our kerbside systems, but through community recycling centres, most of these problem wastes can be reused or recycled.”
Awarded local government areas include Blue Mountains City Council, Camden Council, Parkes Shire Council, City of Parramatta Council, City of Ryde Council and Wollondilly Shire Council.
According to Mr Sridher, more than 7.5 million kilograms of problem waste has been collected since the program began, including four million kilograms of paint, one million kilogram of gas cylinders and 247,000 kilograms of batteries.
To date, over 100 community recycling centres have been funded in NSW and 92 are currently in operation.
The Federal Government has announced the key findings of Australia’s National Food Waste Baseline report.
Last year, the Federal Government appointed a steering committee to support the implementation of the National Food Waste Strategy, which has a goal to halve the nation’s food waste by 2030.
The Food Waste Steering Committee provided guidance and advice to Food Innovation Australia Limited (FIAL) as it developed plan in 2018 that clearly sets out the actions to be taken to reduce Australia’s food waste over the short, medium and long term.
A National Food Waste Baseline was developed in order to measure and monitor progress towards the food waste reduction goal.
In a statement, Environment Minister Melissa Price said that findings from the National Food Waste Baseline report will be used to develop measurable baselines, food waste datasets and targeted strategies to meet the target.
The National Food Waste Baseline report shows Australia generated 7.3 million tonnes of food waste across the food supply and consumption chain in 2016-17, the equivalent of 298 kilograms per person.
The report, commissioned by the Federal Government, shows that while Australia recycled 1.2 million tonnes of total food waste and recovered 2.9 million tonnes through alternative uses, it still disposed of 3.2 million tonnes over the period.
Consulting with industry organisations, the report found 2.5 million tonnes (34 per cent) of food waste was generated by households, 2.3 million tonnes (31 per cent) by primary production and agricultural pursuits and 1.8 million tonnes (25 per cent) by the manufacturing sector.
Sugarcane fibre (bagasse) was excluded from the baseline as the report identifies it as already well utilised, with mill-generated bagasse primarily combusted to generate on-site power.
Ms Price said targeted research and the implementation of the National Food Waste Strategy by Food Innovation Australia will strengthen the rigour of the governments food waste datasets and its capacity to further reduce food waste.
Findings were released by the Fight Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre in Adelaide with a full report to be published on the Federal Government website in the coming weeks.
Veolia has signed a $450 million 25-year operations and maintenance service agreement on a large-scale waste to energy facility in Kwinana, WA, capable of producing 36 megawatts of electricity – enough to power 50,000 homes.
The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) will commit up to $90 million towards towards the $688 million and will be able to process 400,000 tonnes of household, commercial and industrial residual waste per year.
Operations and maintenance of the facility will commence in 2021. Veolia operates 61 thermal waste to energy facilities around the world.
Macquarie Capital and Phoenix Energy Australia are co-developing the Kwinana plant, with co-investment by the Dutch Infrastructure Fund (DIF). Infrastructure company Acciona has been appointed to design and construct the facility. The project has been approved by the WA Environmental Protection Authority.
It is expected to produce cost-competitive base load power by processing household waste from local councils and contribute to grid stability in WA’s South West Interconnected System.
Technology that has been previously used in Europe will be implemented in the plant, which is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 400,000 tonnes per year – the equivalent of taking 85,000 cars off the road.
The plant will use the Keppel Seghers grate technology, which has seen use in more than 100 waste to energy plants across 18 countries. Metals recovered in the process are then able to be recycled, with the facility producing an ash byproduct that is commonly used as road base or for construction.
CEFC’s funding is part of a $400 million debt syndicate that includes SMBC, Investec, Siemens, IFM Investors and Metrics Credit Partners. The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is contributing a further $23 million in grant funding.
Veolia Australia and New Zealand Managing Director and CEO Danny Conlon said the project is an exciting development for Veolia in Australia.
“Adding to Veolia’s existing infrastructure in NSW and QLD, where we generate enough electricity to power 35,000 homes per year from waste, the Kwinana Project is another example where we will extract value from waste materials, delivering a clean energy source,” Mr Conlon said.
At a time when Australian businesses and households are seeing energy shortages and rising costs, Veolia is proud to be working with innovative partners to help deliver new, environmentally sustainable energy from waste”.
ARENA CEO Darren Miller said the project provides a renewable energy solution for reducing waste going to landfill.
“The use of combustion grate technology is well established in Europe and North America but has not yet been deployed in Australia,” Mr Miller said.
“More than 23 million tonnes of municipal solid waste is produced annually in Australia and this project could help to divert non-recyclable waste from landfill and recover energy in the process.”
CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth said the landmark project was the CEFC’s largest investment in WA to date.
“Creating energy from waste is an exciting and practical way to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill, while also delivering cleaner low carbon electricity,” Mr Learmonth said.
“The average red lid wheelie bin contains enough waste to produce up to 14 per cent of a household’s weekly power needs. This investment is about harnessing that energy potential, while safely diverting waste from landfill.
“We are pleased to be working alongside Phoenix Energy Australia, Macquarie Capital and DIF in bringing this state-of-the art technology to Australia. We congratulate the Western Australian government and the participating councils in embracing this 21st century approach to waste management,” he said.
Macquarie Capital Executive Director Chris Voyce said the Kwinana plant is expected to employ around 800 workers, including apprentices, during its three-year construction phase, and some 60 operations staff on an ongoing basis.
“Macquarie Capital is pleased to be contributing to the supply of sustainable and secure renewable power to Australia’s overall energy mix,” Mr Voyce said.
“As an adviser to, investor in and developer of renewable energy projects around the world, we see waste-to-energy as an effective example of adaptive reuse: reducing the pressures on landfill by diverting it toward the generation of clean energy,” he said.
CEFC Energy from Waste lead Henry Anning said the CEFC is pleased to play a role in demonstrating the business case for large-scale waste to energy investments in Australia in the future.
“Australians produce almost three tonnes of waste per person per year. While the priority is always a strong focus on recycling and organic waste management, there is still a considerable amount of household waste from red-lidded bins ending up as landfill, where it produces a large amount of emissions,” Mr Anning said.
“Energy from waste investments such as the Kwinana plant are about creating new clean energy opportunities for Australia, while offering councils and households a practical and innovative way to manage waste. Just as importantly, they can significantly cut methane emissions produced by landfill.”
With the addition of the Kwinana facility, the CEFC has now made six large scale investments to reduce waste-related emissions.