Tasmanian Topturn: CEA

As Dulverton Waste Management embarks on a three-stage facility upgrade, Project Manager Matthew Layton details stage one: the purchase of a Komptech Topturn.

In February this year, Kentish Council in north-west Tasmania approved a Development Permit Application from Dulverton Waste Management.

The permit allows the company to upgrade its existing compost facility and provide best practice leachate and odour control.

Development plans include the construction of an industrial compost cover and associated mechanical equipment to better manage aeration and moisture of existing compost windrow operations.

According to Matthew Layton, Dulverton Waste Management Project Manager, the improvements will control the effect of rain on organic input material, which includes council green waste and industry input stock from across Tasmania.

“We get 1000 millimetres of rain a year down here, which is very different to a lot of facilities on the mainland,” he says.

Dulverton, which in addition to its organics facility operates an award-winning landfill, collectively processes upwards of 100,000 tonnes of material annually – with 40 per cent processed through an open windrow composting system.

“We’re a regional facility, so unlike many mainland composters, we need to accept everything in our region,” Layton says.

“That includes product residues from food manufacturing and green and municipal waste.”

He explains that the industrial compost cover is just one development in a three-stage facility upgrade plan.

Stage one, he adds, was the purchase of a specialised windrow turner with irrigation, which began operating on Dulverton’s existing open-air compost piles in January.

The Komptech Topturn X63 compost turner, purchased through Australian distributor CEA, has a throughput of up to 4500 cubic meters per hour.

The combination of a large drum with thrower blades and powerful drive ensures the turner leaves a well-mixed windrow in its wake.

Before acquiring the Topturn, Layton says Dulverton used a traditional excavator to turn its compost piles.

With a view of consolidating cost and making its processes as efficient as possible, Dulverton went to market to look for a suitable turner to replace its excavators.

“In the lead up to our facility expansion, we wanted to ensure our operations were more cost effective and efficient,” he says.

“There are a number of turners on the market that could achieve that, but we went with the Topturn primarily because of the service support in regional Tasmania.

“There was also the added benefit of a commonality of parts, especially with the engine.”

The Topturn’s engine meets all relevant emissions standards, with a new cooling system keeping the system running under heavy loads and high outside temperatures.

Komptech’s X63 features a large-dimensioned turning drum for high throughput and complete mixing, with easy maintenance access via ladders and platforms integrated into the body.

Furthermore, CEA offer the turner either wheeled or tracked, with engine power converted efficiently into forward movement.

Since operating the Topturn, Layton says Dulverton has seen a dramatic increase in turning efficiency.

“We’ve seen changes in our processes for the operators working with the machine, but also the biology of the compost,” he explains.

“Not only is the Topturn process faster, but it also creates a better composting environment by introducing air right throughout each compost windrow.

“We are achieving exceptional material shrinkage rates.”

The Topturn purchase, Layton says, was Dulverton’s first commercial dealing with CEA.

“They’ve been really good from a client support perspective, particularly in terms of information sharing and guiding us along the track to where we needed to be,” he adds.

“They also offer significant after sales assistance, which really supports the way we’re trying to modernise our facility.”

A key feature of Dulverton’s Komptech Topturn is the ability to add a lateral displacement device at a later stage, Layton says. He adds that in the future, this will give operators the ability to turn and move more compost at once.

When coupled with the turner, CEA’s lateral displacement device minimises transport distance and improves viability and monitoring. By collapsing two windrows, the decomposition shrinkage is smoothed out, making full use of the space.

“We expect this equipment will continue to deliver environmental benefits by providing full aeration and moisture-balance of the compost to assist the natural decomposition process,” Layton says.

“The windrow turner will continue to be used throughout our upgrade program.”

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Caterpillar mulching

Janelle Horne of Q Mulching details the green waste company’s 17-year relationship with Caterpillar and Hastings Deering.

With organics to landfill diversion a central target of waste and resource recovery strategies nationwide, instilling children with a passion for recycling is now more important than ever.

This is the central focus of Q Mulching’s Marvin the Worm program, which, in line with Australian curriculums for science and geography, seeks to spread positive source separation behaviours to students along Queensland’s Fraser Coast.

With an interactive trailer reminiscent of Healthy Harold and a workbook written by Q Mulching’s Rheanon Kerslake, the program travels to schools to teach children about the benefits of recycling and compost.

“When Q Mulching first began its composting process, we had some issues with contamination in the material we were receiving, which inspired me to develop the program to coincide with Fraser Coast Regional Council’s messaging around source separation,” Rheanon says.

“By using this book and program, we’re helping to lay a foundation. Teaching the importance of recycling to younger generations means they can realise what they are doing now, and then follow that into adulthood and teach their children.”

The Marvin the Worm education program builds on Q Mulching’s management of green waste processing for the entire Fraser Coast local government area.

Highlighting the company’s innovative spirit, Janelle Horne, Q Mulching Owner and Administrative Manager, says prior to Q Mulching, green waste processing was few and far between in the region.

Operating two major composting sites in addition to six smaller waste transfer stations, residents bring their green waste to Q Mulching free of charge through Fraser Coast Regional Council.

“We grind the material once a fortnight at our major sites, before composting the product to the Australian Standards 4454,” Janelle says.

Q Mulching is processing around 60 to 70,000 cubic metres of green waste material at a time at one of their facilities, with 40,000 cubic metres at the other.

To effectively manage that level of material, she says Q Mulching operate a range of Caterpillar equipment. Janelle highlights Caterpillar’s Next Gen 23T Excavator as a critical component of material management at Q Mulching’s facilities.

Built for heavy-duty performance, Caterpillar’s Next Gen 23T Excavator brings increased speed, efficiency and high productivity to high-production applications.

With up to 15 per cent less fuel consumption than comparable models, Caterpillar’s Next Gen Excavator functions in line with Q Mulching’s commitment to sustainable processing and resource recovery.

That said, while the quality of Caterpillar’s equipment is essential, Janelle emphasises Caterpillar dealer Hastings Deering’s commitment to service. She adds that as seven days a week operation, reliability is critical for Q Mulching.

“We’ve used other manufacturers in the past, and unfortunately, the reliability isn’t always there, whether that’s break downs, downtime or the availability of extra parts,” Janelle says.

“The great thing about Caterpillar and Hastings Deering is that when we need a part, and we’ve ordered it by 2pm, it will usually arrive the following day.

“Not many other companies can offer that level of service. Plus, when we purchase a new Caterpillar machine, we are confident that the machine will last its term.”

Working together for more than 17 years, Janelle says Q Mulching and Hastings Deering have developed an effective and symbiotic relationship.

“When Hastings Deering has new staff, they bring them to our site and introduce them to the team. This means that when we have to order new parts or have any kind of problem, we know exactly who to contact and the faces behind the phone call,” she says.

In addition to service reliability and the quality of their machinery offerings, Janelle says Hastings Deering are always ready to point Q Mulching in the right direction when new equipment becomes available.

“Hastings Deering works to look after their current customers, as opposed to always looking out for new customers.”

Rheanon feels similarly, highlighting the Caterpillar teams’ individual approach.

“I find them very personable, of course they’re still salespeople at the end of the day, but they’re very genuine. They actually want to come in and help our operations, as opposed to just providing machinery,” she says.

This is a sentiment mirrored by Stuart Manton, Hastings Deering’s Territory Manager, who says the value of Caterpillar lies not just with their equipment, but their commitment to functioning as solutions providers.

“People know that when they purchase a piece of Caterpillar equipment, they’re purchasing a machine that is engineered to the highest standards. However, we don’t believe in resting on our laurels,” he says.

“Our approach goes above and beyond providing a piece of equipment. We believe in developing relationships with our clients and working with them to create the best outcomes, both economically and environmentally.”    

As Caterpillar’s presence in the waste and resource recovery sector grows, Stuart hopes to continue working with environmentally aligned customers.

“We at Hastings Deering and Caterpillar are continually innovating in the waste and resource recovery space, be that new approaches to landfill compaction, or providing solutions for composting facilities such as Q Mulching,” he says.

“The waste sector is growing, and team Caterpillar is well positioned to grow alongside it.”

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A new era for organics in NSW: DPIE

Through the Net Zero Emissions Plan and upcoming 20-year waste strategy, the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment is planning for the next phase of organics recovery in NSW.

The NSW Government’s recently released Net Zero Emissions Plan signalled a paradigm shift in state emissions policy.

With a plan to hit net zero by 2050 and 35 per cent reductions on 2005 by 2030, the NSW and Federal Governments will invest almost $10 billion over 10 years to reduce emissions in the state.

For the organics recycling sector, the headline target is net zero emissions from organics waste by 2030.

As organics waste comprises around 40 per cent of the red-lidded kerbside bin, the next steps for statewide recovery will focus on lifting recovery rates.

This is being explored through consultation on the NSW 20 Year Waste Strategy, looking at regulatory settings, infrastructure needs, end uses and renewable energy.

Amanda Kane, Manager Organics at the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE), heralds it as an exciting step forward for organics recovery in NSW.

“The plan aligns waste with a major climate action program for the first time, while also recognising that there are multiple benefits for organics recovery,” Amanda says.

She says the net zero emissions organics target links in well with the National Food Waste Strategy target to halve food waste by 2030, supported by the National Waste Strategy Action Plan.

Action points to meet net zero emissions will align with the 20-Year Waste Strategy, which closed for consultation on 8 May. The Cleaning Up Our Act Issues Paper, which was a key part of the consultation, canvassed options for the management of organics in the future.

This may include mandating source separation at a generator level and standardising household and business collections – supported by critical infrastructure and concepts such as joint procurement.

In the meantime, the NSW Government is providing $24 million in funding to support local councils and the alternative waste industry.

Last year DPIE awarded almost $3 million to FOGO collection projects, with services now planned or up and running in 50 local government areas.

The funding package, which opened in mid-May, aims to help affected councils and the industry to implement or improve kerbside organics waste collections, purchase new equipment and upgrade facilities.

It includes $5 million in Local Council Transition grants to support councils impacted by Mixed Waste Organics Outputs (MWOO) regulatory changes with a range of project options, including strategic planning, options assessment, community engagement, rolling out new organics collection services or improving their existing organics services.

Amanda says with the bulk of funding for Waste Less, Recycle More coming to a close, a new round of collection grants will help to continue to support councils upgrading to food and garden organics (FOGO) collection in NSW.

On the commercial side, organics infrastructure funding for onsite systems was awarded last year to major institutions such as AMP Capital Investors, the City of Sydney, David Jones Food Hall and Taronga Zoo.

“Our goal has always been to increase processing capacity to match the increased supply where it’s needed, and we will continue to need to do that as we work towards the Net Zero Emissions goal,” Amanda says.

The infrastructure investment in the last round of Organics Infrastructure grants funding included $6.5 million for infrastructure announced last December – helping to build organics capacity in metropolitan Sydney.

One recipient was Australian Native Landscapes, which received $2.9 million to expand the capacity of its Badgerys Creek facility to process 45,000 tonnes more food waste into compost each year.

BetterGROW was also the recipient of a $1.5 million grant towards a 30,000 tonne per annum organics resource recovery facility at Wetherill Park.

Late last year, DPIE also awarded almost $3 million to five more collection projects, with FOGO services planned or up and running in 50 local government areas in NSW.

The funding boost aims to support local government while the 20-Year Waste Strategy remains in development. DPIE, with the EPA, will continue to undertake research into organics to improve investor confidence in collection and processing.

As part of this, a series of new datasets have been released that will inform the next steps for resource recovery and organics diversion.

This comprises an analysis of the performance of food and garden organics collections in NSW.

DPIE engaged consultants Rawtec to independently review and analyse kerbside red and green lid bin audits undertaken by councils across NSW.

Released in April 2020, the Analysis of NSW Kerbside Green Lid Bin Audit Data Report audited 38 areas/councils to understand the performance of kerbside residual waste and organics services.

Performance was measured at an individual household level by audited area/council and according to the bin size/frequency of collection.

Across all audited councils, the average proportion of available food and garden organics diverted from landfill was 85 per cent.

On average 44 per cent of available food waste was diverted from landfill, though this varied across the areas from five to 78 per cent. Garden organics rated higher in diversion rates, with 98 per cent of available garden organics diverted.

Contamination news was highly positive, with only a 2.2 per cent contamination rate by weight in the FOGO bin.

The research concluded that FOGO services were performing well in organics diversion. However, there are opportunities to improve diversion rates through food waste education.

It showed that reducing access to landfill disposal options through smaller residual waste bins and user selected services led to higher food waste diversion.

The best configuration was a small 120/140 litre residual waste bin, collected fortnightly and a large 240-litre FOGO bin collected weekly.

Amanda says the new report reaffirms that most people are doing the right thing and targeted education would improve results.

As part of ongoing education, DPIE has launched the FOGO Education Deep Dive – a project involving 24 FOGO council educators from around NSW.

The project will explore household behaviour in the kitchen and kerbside and test various interventions to further reduce contamination and increase recovery.

“Everything is aligning to recognise the value of organics as a waste stream and the opportunities for recovery, valorisation and beneficiation,” Amanda says.

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Net zero diversion: Wastech Engineering

Jeff Goodwin of Wastech Engineering speaks with Waste Management Review about bolstering organics recovery with highly efficient equipment.

In its recently released Net Zero Plan Stage One: 2020-2030, the NSW Government outlines its plan to achieve net zero emissions from organic waste to landfill by 2030.

“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 follows similar initiatives in Victoria. With the state’s Recycling Victoria strategy targeting a 50 per cent reduction in organic material sent to landfill by 2030, with an interim target of 20 per cent by 2025.

Jeff Goodwin, Wastech Engineering’s National Product Manager Projects, is enthused by the announcements, highlighting Wastech’s long standing commitment to sustainable organics processing.

Food waste is a significant issue in Australia, Jeff explains, noting that a recent Rabobank Food Waste Report revealed that Australians wasted $10.1 billion in food waste in 2019.

“It’s heartening to see governments across the country committing to food waste reduction initiatives, which is something we at Wastech have been passionate about for a long time,” he says.

“Now is the time for waste companies and food waste generators to heed the call and start investing in efficient and high capacity food waste processing solutions.”

With a 99 per cent recovery rate for both dry and liquid products, Jeff says Wastech’s ATRITOR Turbo Separator is one such solution.

Available exclusively through Wastech, the Turbo Separator range comprises four models, making it suitable for a wide range of de-packaging applications including separating organics from food waste packaging and paper from gypsum.

“The Turbo Separator combines centrifugal forces, self-generated airflow and mechanical processes to remove organic material from packaging – allowing the recovered material to be recycled,” Jeff says.

“The machine can recover anything from bread loafs in plastic wrap, beans in tins cans, milk in cartons and even pet food in plastic pouches. The only material it can’t process is glass, given its sharding effect.”

Several Turbo Separator installations have been purchased recently by recycling companies across Australia, Jeff says.

“When people are eating at a food court it’s common to throw everything into one bin, creating a mix of food and packaging waste that has been traditionally difficult to recover,” he says.

“Using the Turbo Separator however, operators can take a garbage bag containing food waste and packaging, tie up the garbage bag and run it through the machine.

“This allows shopping centres, which produce high levels of food waste, to recover that material and divert it from the general disposal stream.”

However, these bags often contain contamination such as glass bottles, so Jeff says it’s prudent to consider an inspection station prior to the Turbo Separator to remove unwanted materials first.

He adds that as a rule of thumb, for every kilogram of food waste, 10 per cent is packaging.

“When you remove packaging from the organic material, you’re able to recover 90 per cent of each kilogram of food waste, which then saves that material from entering landfill.”

The Turbo Separator includes a variable-speed shaft fitted with paddles, which rotates above a number of screens. The shaft, Jeff says, typically runs between 100 and 1000 rotations per minute, generating air flow as well as centrifugal and mechanical forces.

“Packaged material is fed by an infeed conveyor into the separation chamber, where rotating paddles open up the packaging,” he says.

“The force of the paddles then creates a squeezing effect, which separates packaging from its contents and allows the packaging to retain its integrity.”

This, Jeff says, is an added benefit, with the Turbo Separator’s squeezing as opposed to shredding process producing organic material free of shredded packaging residue.

Depending on material type, the recovered organics can be used for animal feed, nutrient-rich compost or anaerobic digestion.

Jeff explains that the separator is also well suited to product destruction, such as water or soda from half drunken bottles. It can also be used at a commercial level to recover beverages that are past their sell by date or have been damaged or incorrectly packaged.

“For operators dealing with wet material, Wastech can fit the Turbo Separator with a pump that removes liquids from the recovered organic throughput,” he says.

The design of the machine is extremely flexible, for instance, if an operator is only dealing with dry material, the pump isn’t required. Or, if they are working in a confined space, the separator can be re-configured into a different arrangement.”

According to Jeff, Wastech is ready to assist as Australia continues the fight against food waste.

“Wastech has been working in this space for years and we’re in it for the long haul. We believe a future free from food waste is possible and are excited to work with waste companies and food generators to achieve it,” he says.

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