Recycled plastic used to resurface Melbourne streets

The City of Melbourne is using plastic previously destined for landfill to resurface five prominent city streets.

According to Lord Mayor Sally Capp, the first road to be re-surfaced with asphalt made with recycled plastic was Flinders Street, with works occurring between Exhibition Street and Spring Street in October.

“We collect 11,000 tonnes of residential recycling each year. Using a mix of plastic to resurface our streets is one way we can support the circular economy and reduce landfill,” Ms Capp said.

“The paving on these historically significant streets will look exactly the same as any other street. The difference is that using plastic in the asphalt creates demand for recycled products.”

Sections of Anderson Street in South Yarra have also been resurfaced, with further works on Alexandra Avenue to be completed this week.

Ms Capp said works will also be completed on sections of Spring Street next year, between Little Collins Street and Little Bourke Street and Flinders Street and Collins Street.

Deputy Lord Mayor Arron Wood said the paving consists of 50 per cent recycled plastics and other recyclable materials such as slag aggregates and recycled asphalt products, with the remaining made of virgin materials.

Mr Wood said the trial will allow the city to assess whether it can use more recycled materials and plastic for road resurfacing.

“The City of Melbourne uses 10,000 tonnes of asphalt annually, and we resurfaced eight kilometres of road last year. This trial will help us understand whether it’s possible to use recycled plastic in more of our major projects,” Mr Wood said.

“By using recycled plastic and other recycled materials on our roads we’re creating more sustainable infrastructure and showing there are local markets for recycled materials.”

The trial is a joint initiative from the City of Melbourne, its subsidiary Citywide, and the Citywide North Melbourne Asphalt Plant, with plastic waste sourced from metropolitan Melbourne.

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Ejecting for efficiency: Wastech Engineering

After Citywide developed an operational efficiency plan to boost productivity and payloads, It engaged Wastech Engineering for a new fleet fleet of Clearline Waste Transfer Trailers.

When the City of Melbourne announced it would fast-track the delivery of its Waste and Resource Recovery Strategy in early August, it illustrated a commitment to growing the state’s resource recovery capacity.

Similarly, the Victorian Government allocated $35 million to waste and resource recovery via the state budget in May. Both initiatives highlight a pledge to develop more efficient waste processing capabilities across the state.

Increasing productivity via efficient processes is a motivation shared by Melbourne City Council subsidiary Citywide, which recently revised its operational efficiency plan.   

Travis Martin, Citywide Commercial Waste Division Manager, says while investment in resource recovery facilities is critical, so too is streamlining operations at less glamorous but equally important waste transfer stations.

Being entrusted with the waste management of Victoria’s capital city, and the second largest in the country, highlights the scope and scale of Citywide’s operations. It similarly underscores the importance of finding the right equipment supplier.

Travis says to manage this scale, Citywide and Wastech Engineering developed a symbiotic relationship.

“Citywide and Wastech have worked together in many capacities over the years, with Wastech providing ongoing equipment maintenance and support at our transfer station and working with us in waste and recycling process innovation,” Travis says.

“In the most recent instance, we informed Wastech that we needed new waste transfer trailers to boost operations, and were directed to its Clearline range.”

Travis, who has worked in the waste industry for more than 30 years, says the Citywide Transfer Station and Resource Recovery Centre is the largest of its kind in Victoria, and one of the five largest in Australia.

“Located in West Melbourne, the centre provides waste management services to various local government and commercial clients, meaning effective transport arrangements are key,” Travis says.

“We process multiple waste streams at the facility, largely consisting of municipal waste, residential, commercial and industrial waste and multiple recycling streams such as paper, cardboard, steel and organics.”

According to Sustainability Victoria, over 12.8 million tonnes of waste was managed by the state’s waste and resource recovery system in 2017. In the same year, City of Melbourne residents generated 40,000 tonnes.

To keep up with accelerating service demands, Travis says Citywide recently developed and implemented an operational efficiency plan in order to lift productivity and payloads.

“With ever-increasing volumes of waste generated in and around Melbourne’s CBD – that needs to be processed through the Citywide transfer station – we needed to boost efficiency and invest in new operational and transport equipment,” Travis says.

“One facet of the plan was engaging Wastech for a new range of Clearline Waste Transfer Trailers, with an operational model of owner drivers and a drop and go system for productivity.”

Citywide already owned a number of Clearline trailers, but wanted to upgrade to the newer model. Travis says his previous experiences with Wastech made him confident the new trailer model would meet expectations and application requirements.

The Clearline Waste Transfer Trailer’s rolled wall body design provides durability and integral strength, which Travis says is critical to withstanding the high piercing forces present during compaction of industrial and commercial waste.

The trailer also incorporates the use of high-tensile steel plate in the body to reduce tare weight and increase payloads.

Citywide uses the Clearline trailers to transport waste from its central transfer station in West Melbourne to various landfill sites across the city.

“The Clearline’s smooth internal design, and hydraulic eject blade, safely and efficiently push the waste load out of the body at landfill,” Travis says.

“The full eject feature reduces each load by 20 minutes, equating to one extra load per shift.”

According to Travis, the Clearline trailers are fitted with Elphinstone weighing systems that provide 99 per cent weight accuracy. He adds that as the trailers are mass managed, the weighing systems can be used to full effect.

“The trailers have also reduced volumes at the transfer station, which makes the customer onsite experience quick and easy,” he says.

Wastech’s transfer trailers feature full cab controls to facilitate operator friendly conditions and heightened safety, as operators aren’t required to exit the vehicle when unloading.

“The previous Clearline Waste Transfer Trailer design was great, and worked well under harsh conditions, but the rear doors and hydraulic ejection of the new model really lifts ease of operations,” Travis says.

“As the last piece of Citywide’s operational efficiency plan, the delivery of Wastech’s trailers significantly increased our transfer station operations.”

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Melbourne opens recycling hub EOI’s

The City of Melbourne is seeking innovative technological solutions to expand its network of rubbish and recycling hubs throughout the central city.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said expanding the hub network would streamline collection services and improve public amenity.

“We know there are around 1000 individual bins stored on public property across the central city. Bins in laneways take up space and can cause odour, visual pollution and attract vermin,” Ms Capp said.

“Over the long-term, businesses would be encouraged to use the communal network of resource recovery hubs instead of using on-street bins. As the network expands over time, the number of on-street private waste bins will be reduced.”

Ms Capp said council is asking companies to submit proposals for specialised waste and recycling collection services.

“We will consider everything from mini-compactor bins to specialised vehicles and collection of source separated materials such as glass, organics, paper and cardboard,” Ms Capp said.

“We could tailor our network of hubs to the profile of key precincts around the city. For example, we could deliver more food waste and plastic recycling hubs in our hospitality precincts.”

Ms Capp said council was looking at densely populated international cities such as Milan, which has one of the highest recycling rates in Europe.

“We want to expand our network of waste and recycling hubs to transform the way waste and recycling is collected in the central city,” Ms Capp said.

“Rather than have multiple trucks circling the city, we want to create more communal hubs so businesses can take their items to a local collection point.”

Ms Capp said since 2013, the City of Melbourne has removed more than 500 bins off the streets by providing access to communal garbage compactors and recycling hubs.

Environment Portfolio Chair Cathy Oke said residents and businesses have a critical role to play in helping to reduce waste and find local solutions to the state’s recycling crisis.

“Unfortunately, tonnes of recycling is being sent to landfill, so the most important thing people can do right now is to try to avoid creating waste,” Ms Oke said.

“The City of Melbourne understands this is a state-wide issue and we will continue to examine potential short and long-term solutions such as new technologies.”

Ms Oke said council is also asking residents and businesses to adjust their behaviour to achieve long-term change.

“This means changing the products we buy to ones that have less packaging or things that can be re-used in our homes or workplaces,” Ms Oke said.

“Food waste is an area that almost anyone can cut down on by starting to compost or simply using leftovers to make a new meal instead of throwing them out.”

The City of Melbourne is specifically looking for solutions that include:

— Wi-Fi or radio frequency identification technology that can charge users for the amount of waste calculated / disposed.

— Smart, card, tap technology which can bill users via a pay-as-you-throw waste management system.

— Smart sensors and bin weights to monitor bin levels.

— GPS tracking to help truck drivers know when a bin needs emptying.

— Ability to compact a variety of waste streams for easier storage and collection.

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Melbourne backs CDS plan

The City of Melbourne has joined other Victorian councils in calling for the state government to introduce container deposit legislation into parliament.

The campaign was started by the Municipal Association of Victoria, with backing from the City of Frankston, City of Darebin and City of Port Phillip.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said a container deposit scheme (CDS) would help reduce plastic and glass sent to landfill.

“The recycling system is broken and we need to harness community and industry support to fix it,” Ms Capp said.

“We need to reward individuals and community groups who are doing the right thing when it comes to recycling. It’s time to provide an incentive for people who collect bottles and cans and give back to the community.”

Melbourne Environment Chair Cathy Oke said Victoria and Tasmania are the only Australian states yet to commit to a scheme.

The Tasmanian Government announced it would implement a CDS by 2023 in June, but legislation is yet to be enacted.

“South Australian first introduced their scheme in 1977, leading the nation on waste management. They currently offer a 10 cent deposit and refund on beverage containers,” Ms Oke said.

“Introducing a similar scheme in Victoria would help reduce litter while providing a commodity that could be used by our local industry.”

Ms Oke said the scheme could include manually operated or automated reverse vending machines, that would give credit for each item deposited.

“Victorians are looking for answers to the waste crisis, so it’s time we helped people do their bit to help create a stronger recycling sector,” Ms Oke said.

“Along with reducing litter, the scheme would ensure the beverage supplier industry takes greater responsibility for packaging, and rewards individuals, community groups, sporting clubs and charities for picking up littered beverage containers.”

Following SKM’s decision to no longer accept recyclable materials, the City of Melbourne has been forced to send 45 tonnes of recycling to landfill each day.

Ms Oke said SKM sorts 50 per cent of Victoria’s kerbside recycling – close to 300,000 tonnes a year.

“More than $500 million of landfill levy income collected by Victorian Councils is available in the state government’s Sustainability Fund and could be invested to increase capacity in the local recycling sector,” Ms Oke said.

“We need the state government to unlock the funds councils have collected from landfill levies and invest in new technologies to transform our waste and resource recovery sector.”

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Melbourne fast-tracks waste strategy

The City of Melbourne will fast-track the delivery of its Waste and Resource Recovery Strategy and bring investment in infrastructure forward.

Following SKM’s decision to no longer accept waste material, the city has been forced to send 45 tonnes of recycling to landfill each day.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the city, and its subsidiary Citywide, will run an independent feasibility study into establishing a large-scale recycling centre in Greater Melbourne.

“As a matter of urgency, our waste collection business Citywide will work with independent experts to look at the best way to create a specialised recycling facility in Victoria that will be stable and sustainable,” Ms Capp said.

“The study will consider the potential size and location for a new facility, as well as the number of municipalities it could service. It would also consider the level of recycled material required for it to be viable and potential markets for recycled materials.”

Ms Capp said the city would also investigate new ways to reduce contamination throughout the municipality.

“We want to stop recyclables going to landfill as soon as possible and deliver long-term improvements for our residents and businesses,” Ms Capp said.

“We are going to increase the number of shared waste hubs for businesses in the central city.”

Ms Capp said the city is also examining international best practices and will run an expression of interest period for technology usable in Melbourne’s inner city laneways.

“This could include using everything from mini-compactor bins, specialised vehicles and collection of source separated materials such as glass, organics, paper and cardboard,” Ms Capp said.

“Ultimately we need to work towards the model used by many European countries where recycling streams are collected and processed separately.”

According to Ms Capp, the issue cannot be tackled by individual municipalities.

“The City of Melbourne will be working with other councils, the Victorian Government and the community to achieve long-term change,” Ms Capp said.

City of Melbourne Environment Chair Cathy Oke said local residents and businesses also needed to play their part to reduce contamination in waste streams.

“Rather than send our recycling overseas, we will examine the feasibility and cost of preparing materials for manufacturing use here in Victoria,” Ms Oke said.

“We need to provide a cleaner product for our recycling industry to return to a more sustainable and stable footing.”

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Registrations launched for Waste Expo Australia

The future of waste management and resource recovery is high on the agenda at all levels of government as Australia’s largest and most comprehensive conference and exhibition, Waste Expo Australia launches registrations.

Hosting more than 120 brands and over 100 speakers across three conference stages, Waste Expo Australia will return to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on October 23 and 24.

Waste Expo Australia will offer free-to-attend conference content across the Waste and Wastewater Summits, attracting the largest gathering of waste management and resource professionals in Australia.

The Waste Summit Conference brought to you by Oceania Clean Energy Solutions will cover six targeted streams from resource recovery, waste-to-energy, collections, landfill and transfer stations, construction and demolition waste as well as commercial and industrial waste.

Key speakers will include Victoria’s Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio, Victorian EPA CEO Cathy Wilkinson and Acting Executive Director for Waste Strategy and Policy at the NSW EPA Kar Mel Tang.

Other national and state-based bodies will be represented, along with case study presentations from local governments including Campaspe Shire Council, City of Holdfast Bay, Yarra City Council and Albury City Council.

Leading off day one of the Waste Summit, a panel will discuss the pressing issues surrounding Australia’s waste-to-energy (WtE) sector.

One of the panel members, Director of Enhar Consulting Demian Natakhan, will discuss the status of landfill solar generation and propose that the final resting place for municipal waste may be the beginning of new energy generation.

“Solar farming on former landfill sites offers a way to put otherwise unproductive land to a valuable use,” Mr Natakhan suggested.

“Where landfill gas is already collected in sufficient quantities to firepower generation, solar can be added onto existing grid infrastructure. In sites with lower landfill gas volumes, new solar generation with grid upgrades can unlock significant solar generation, avoiding the competition between solar farming and productive agricultural or industrial land.”

Confronting the challenges and opportunities in wastewater treatment will also be tackled at the Wastewater Summit brought to you by EnviroConcepts.

Waste Expo Australia Event Director Cory McCarrick said the event continues to grow with more speakers and suppliers on board this year than ever before.

“We have seen an increase in the total number of exhibitors this year to 120 and around 50 of these are exhibiting for the first time at Waste Expo Australia,” Mr McCarrick said.

Key exhibitors this year include Bost Group, Cleanaway, Caterpillar, HSR Southern Cross, Tricon Equipment, Applied Machinery and Hitachi.

“Add to this list our impressive line-up of speakers, there is no other waste event in Australia that gives you access to such thought-provoking content that address the major issues facing the industry coupled with the opportunities to be immersed among the key players and products for free,” Mr McCarrick said.

Waste Expo Australia is co-location with All-Energy Australia, Energy Efficiency Expo and ISSA Cleaning and Hygiene Expo — forming a significant showcase for the waste, recycling, wastewater, renewable energy, energy efficiency and cleaning industries.

Across the two days attendees will have access to industry speakers and suppliers across waste management, wastewater treatment, energy generation, energy efficiency and cleaning and hygiene.

Registration gives you access to all four events on Wednesday 23 and Thursday 24 October 2019.

To register visit www.wasteexpoaustralia.com.au

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New recycling facility opens in Melbourne

Australian Paper Recovery’s $2.5 million paper sorting facility in Melbourne’s west will process 39,000 tonnes of recycled paper a year.

Victorian Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said the state government provided $475,000 in funding to the project, with the facility providing full grade separation of kerbside and commercial mixed paper and cardboard.

“The high quality sorted and graded paper is reprocessed locally and recycled into valuable products such as newspaper and packaging,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

“The facility has also expanded operations to accept additional materials from regional and metropolitan kerbside recycling, including plastics and metals, further increasing recycling capability here in Victoria.”

Government funding came from the $2.6 million Recycling Industry Transition Support Fund, which is designed to help Victoria’s resource recovery and reprocessing industry transition after the collapse of international export markets.

“Facilities like these are a crucial part of reducing the amount of waste that goes to landfill – it’s fantastic to see Australian Paper Recovery expand their operations to accept more materials,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

“A circular economy will not only improve Victoria’s waste and recycling systems – it will support local businesses and create local jobs here in Victoria.”

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Cleanaway opens new Melbourne depot

Cleanaway CEO Vik Bansal has officially opened the company’s new Perry Road Office and Collections Depot in Dandenong South.

The 53,000 square meter depot will house Cleanaway’s business and operational teams including the Victoria Post Collections leadership team, the commercial, industrial and municipal collections’ business, sales, administration, finance and fleet teams.

According to a Cleanaway news statement, the site features a 20-bay workshop facility designed for vehicle compliance and fleet productivity, with paved parking areas for 164 collection vehicles and the new electric vehicle fleet.

“The site is also equipped with fuelling stations with 100,000 litre capacity and automatic truck and parts washing bays,” the statement reads.

“Bringing together our administrative and operational teams from across Greater Melbourne is a key step forward to serving our customers better and making a sustainable future possible for communities across Australia.”

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Sacyr opens waste treatment plant in south-east Melbourne

International waste management company Sacyr has opened a waste treatment plant in Melbourne with the capacity to process 120,000 tonnes of organic waste per year.

A Sacyr spokesperson said the indoor composting facility will be one of the most advanced of its type in Victoria.

“The facility will be used by councils in the south eastern suburbs of Melbourne, providing service to a population of 1.2 million people to recycle green garden and food waste,” the spokesperson said.

“The resulting compost will have a great commercial value due to the aerobic tunnel fermentation process and the aerobic maturation in the warehouse, resulting in a product that complies with the most demanding standards within the industry and with the rigorous Australian quality standard AS4454.”

According to the spokesperson, the facility takes the process of composting and industrialises it.

“Instead of relying on individuals to compost their organic waste, Sacyr can compost the organic waste of eight south-east Melbourne metropolitan councils and produce up to 50,000 tonnes of quality compost per annum.” the spokesperson said.

“The facility creates several environmental benefits to the Australian waste management sector such as reducing the amount of landfill waste and reducing the emission of greenhouse gasses such as methane.”

The spokesperson said all plant warehouses will be completely sealed and have an efficient deodorisation system so not to affect neighbouring residents.

“With the start-up of the plant, more than 65,000 tons of CO2 per year will cease to be released into the atmosphere and the emissions generated by landfill waste will be reduced by 85 per cent, the equivalent of removing 13,900 cars from circulation,” the spokesperson said.

The facilities treatment process combines a mechanical system developed by German company Stadler and a biological and air treatment system designed by Dutch company Waste Treatment Technologies.

“Sacyr’s know how, acquired over more than 20 years, will be an innovation in Australia’s current waste management system,” the spokesperson said.

“This procedure stands out, among other aspects, for its ventilation spigots and leachate collection systems.”

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Illegally dumped waste costs Melbourne $10.8 million a year

Cleaning up illegally dumped material costs Melbourne $10.8 million a year, according to a Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group (MWRRG) survey.

Following the survey, MWRRG conducted research into factors that contribute to illegal dumping in the region.

MWRRG Litter and Illegal Dumping Program Coordinator Jess Hand presented the findings at Waste 2019 in Coffs Harbour early this month.

“They want to give their items a second chance at life, people justify putting items on the kerb as a form of giving or a charitable act,” Ms Hand said.

The research found proximity to a transfer station made no difference to knowledge of disposal options, participants over 50 however are more likely to use one.

“There is also a misperception among participants that all hard waste collected by councils goes to landfill,” Ms Hand said.

“We need to make sure residents know how to rehome or recycle items responsibly, using charity stores, online marketplaces or council waste disposal channels.”

In 2016-17 metropolitan councils in Victoria collected more than 100,000 tonnes of hard waste, which MWRRG indicates as material unable to be collected through kerbside collection, such as white goods, mattresses, e-waste, general household goods and furniture.

Of metropolitan Melbourne’s 31 councils, all offer a kerbside hard waste service to residents in addition to kerbside bin collections, however only 19 operate a transfer station.

Ms Hand said the findings will be used to inform the development of an illegal dumping prevention resource kit for metropolitan councils.

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