Organics in Awaba: Remondis and ELB Equipment

Waste Management Review speaks with Awaba Green Waste Processing Facility stakeholders about incentivising compost and the impact of high-tech equipment.

Landfill capacity concerns are a common issue for local councils, particularly so for those with steadily growing populations, such as Lake Macquarie City in the NSW Hunter Region.

In 2010, the city’s Awaba Waste Management Facility Landfill was edging towards capacity, landfilling roughly 94,000 tonnes of waste per year.

According to the NSW EPA’s Waste and Resource Recovery Needs Report 2017-21, the state has a known capacity of 31.8 million tonnes of putrescible landfill space per annum. This represents a space gap of 742,000 tonnes, based on the report’s generation figures.

With this mind, Lake Macquarie City Council decided significant infrastructure upgrades were required to prevent future landfill capacity issues and grow resource recovery in the region.

According to a council spokesperson, they found a solution in composting.

Waste Management Review explores the Awaba Green Waste Processing Facility with Lake Macquarie Council, Remondis and ELB Equipment.

In 2010, Lake Macquarie waste audits showed the contents of domestic kerbside garbage bins were roughly 50 per cent compostable organic material, namely food and garden waste.

“These findings presented an opportunity to not only tackle the rising lack of landfill space but also provide a more sustainable waste management solution for the city,” the spokesperson says.

“Timing had never been better to undertake a major resource recovery project that would extend the life of the landfill and save council substantial money in the long term.”

Following the waste audits, council undertook extensive community engagement to develop a new waste strategy. As part of the strategy, council proposed introducing a three-bin kerbside collection system in two phases.

In 2013, Lake Macquarie commenced phase one, introducing fortnightly garden organics collections.

“Introducing a third organics bin helped reduce waste to landfill by 10,700 tonnes at the end of the first year,” the spokesperson says.

Council also partnered with recycling and waste management service provider Remondis to build and operate a 44,000-tonne-per-year composting facility with help from ELB Equipment.

Over 100 contracting firms were engaged to build the facility, which also houses an education centre, where schools and community groups can experience the composting process.

The Awaba Green Waste Processing Facility opened in late July 2018.

Decomposition

According to Gunther Neumann, Remondis Lake Macquarie Organics Resource Recovery Facility Branch Manager, addressing the issue of food waste is the primary function of the Awaba facility.

“Processing green organic waste for mulch or compost is relatively straightforward. However food waste, which presents 40 per cent of Lake Macquarie’s organic material, is more of a challenge,” he says.

As food waste presents several potential risks and health concerns if not handled correctly, Remondis ensures the material is thoroughly pasteurised in a controlled environment before it is composted.

“To address this, we installed five fully automated tunnels at the site which ensure the safety and quality of the output, while also keeping noxious odours to a minimum,” Gunther says.

The facility is a unique hybrid model of in-vessel and mobile aeration flood systems, with a fully automated tunnel composting system capable of pasteurising food waste in two weeks.

Integrating these approaches means the organic material is first subjected to anaerobic digestion before the bioreactor process is switched to composting through forced aeration and material agitation.

Additionally, Awaba features an Australia-first automatic, cashless weighbridge system, giving users access to the facility with the swipe of a card. This incentivise facility use by streamlining the drop-off process, according to the spokesperson.

Hybrid model

To efficiently process the composted material, Remondis engaged long-standing equipment supplier ELB through National Sales Manager Craig Cosgrove.

“Remondis chose to work with ELB due to the company’s after-sales and service credentials,” Gunther says.

He adds that Komptech, which ELB represents in Australia, has a reputation for manufacturing star screens that provide throughput in wet, sticky organics applications.

“With an annual workload of 44,000 tonnes, it’s important for the plant to have high uptimes and consistent throughput,” Gunther says.

ELB was initially asked to supply a Komptech Multistar L3 star screen to separate organics and remove fine particle contaminants following the initial aeration process.

The Multistar L3 star screen provides high throughput across a range of food and organics applications, combined with a patented cleaning system to enhance wet material separation.

According to Craig, the Komptech Multistar separated composted material into three size fractions.

“The large oversize fraction is either returned to the process to provide structure and allow for further breakdowns, or used for daily landfill cover,” he says.

The midsize fraction is used by council on gardens and flowerbeds and sold to the general public as mulch. The fine faction is similarly used as a high-quality nutrient-rich compost for urban amenities, to help facilitate soil health and drought tolerance.

“Council and Remondis sell the compost to landscapers and avocado farmers in the area, and Hunter Valley vineyards,” Craig says.

The performance of the Komptech Multistar L3 caused Gunther to contact ELB again when the facility needed a shredder to process waste after initial decontamination but before pasteurisation.

Craig says Remondis initially tested a few equipment solutions, including a high-speed grinder.

“The high-speed grinder turned any residual plastic contaminants into confetti, making it impossible to separate out,” Craig says.

“High-speed grinders are also known to have a low resistance to contraries, and as a result, high downtime.”

After consulting with Craig, Remondis trialled a Crambo Direct dual-shaft shredder.

The shredder has two slow-running drums, with shredding tools that minimise fine particle noise and dust emissions while resisting contraries.

“The Crambo keeps our output high and consistent,” Gunther says.

“We know we can rely on ELB and Komptech to provide excellent equipment.”

Gunther adds that working with ELB on the Awaba project highlighted the importance of engaging with companies that understand the composting process and provide high-quality equipment.

“We could have the most high-tech automated composting system in Australia, but without reliable and efficient equipment to perform the secondary separation job, it wouldn’t amount to much,” he says.

Craig says ELB is proud to have their equipment employed at the Lake Macquarie facility.

“ELB is an industry partner, first and foremost, and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Remondis at the Awaba facility once again,” he says.

“After all, it is one of the most advanced of its kind in Australia.”

The future

According to Craig, the Awaba facility provides an example for other councils hoping to follow in Lake Macquarie’s composting footsteps.

“With more impetus coming from government to recycle, the Awaba facility welcomes a steady stream of visitors from other local councils to assist and educate them on set up cost, approvals and processes,” he says.

“Thanks to the technology employed at the Awaba facility, Lake Macquarie can reduce its landfill rate by as much as 30 per cent.”

While still in its early stages, Lake Macquarie’s spokesperson says Awaba’s impact has been significant.

“Council collected and processed 38,000 tonnes of food and organics material in the facilities first 12 months, with an annual average contamination rate of just over one per cent,” the spokesperson says.

“This is a 17,000-tonne, 80 per cent increase in diversion of organics over the previous year.”

In the same period, council reduced the amount of landfilled waste from its domestic waste collection service by 22,380 tonnes, highlighting the community’s engagement with the facility and wider FOGO collection system.

“Success will be measured over time by tonnages of organic waste received and processed, participation in the kerbside green waste service, low rates of contamination, balanced operating costs and numbers of community and school tours to the on-site education centre,” the spokesperson says.

“While strong rates of participation and low rates of contamination are pleasing, they are not yet perfect, and council will continue to work closely with Remondis and the community of Lake Macquarie to support ongoing improvements in services, and the overall efficiency of the facility.”

Gunther adds that in just over a year of operations, the facility has shifted diversion rates from 41 per cent to 64 per cent. If rates continue to climb, he says the facility will save council an estimated $4 million in waste management costs over 10 years.

“Remondis applauds forward-thinking local government organisations, such as Lake Macquarie City Council, for their dedication to building the vital recycling infrastructure that will create job opportunities, strengthen the Australian economy and reduce our environmental footprint,” he says.

“It’s important to Australia and the waste and recycling industry that more councils adopt source-separated food waste recycling.”

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Yume and REMONDIS working together to reduce food waste

Yume, an online business to business marketplace for the sale of surplus food, is working with water and environmental services company REMONDIS to sell excess food and reduce waste.

REMONDIS will use Yume’s marketplace to assist customers in selling their surplus products, reducing waste disposal costs and delivering better environmental outcomes.

REMONDIS General Manager for Integrated and Managed Services Nathan Radley said working with Yume allows the company to expand its services on the waste value chain.

“Yume is a great way to access the first two stages of the food waste hierarchy, avoid and reuse, before we move onto recycling, waste to energy and ultimately disposal,” Mr Radley said.

REMONDIS recently listed 13.8 tonnes of maple syrup on Yume, sourced from a customer with excess stock.

“The product was quickly snapped up on Yume, providing a significant return to the customer while saving 952,000 litres of water and preventing the release of 27,600 kilograms of CO2 into the atmosphere,” Mr Radley said.

Yume founder Katy Barfield said through connecting suppliers to buyers, the company helps reduce the 4.1 million tonnes of food waste sent to landfill in Australia each year.

“Yume has already sold over 813,000 kilograms of quality surplus food, returning $2.6 million to Australian farmers and manufacturers.

“In doing so, Yume has saved 56,112 million litres of water and prevented 1,626 tonnes of carbon dioxide from being released,” Ms Barfield said.

At the 2018 Victorian Premier’s Sustainability Awards, Yume was recognised for its efforts towards reducing waste and landfill impact — winning the Premier’s Recognition Award, the Innovative Products or Services award, and the Small and Medium Enterprises award.

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The NWRIC’s visionary policy

The National Waste and Recycling Industry Council CEO Rose Read highlights the association’s priorities in 2019 and its long-term plan for resource recovery in Australia. 

Read moreThe NWRIC’s visionary policy

REMONDIS intends to develop $400M QLD waste to energy facility

REMONDIS Australia has announced its intention to develop a $400 million waste to energy (WtE) facility at its Swanbank landfill in Queensland.

The company has advised the state government that it will make an application to develop the recovered energy through the State’s Coordinated Project process, with the project expected to begin construction in 2020.

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The proposed plant aims to generate 50 megawatts of baseload electricity for Queensland households and business by redirected 300,000 and 500,000 tonnes of waste from landfill per year. This energy would be able to power 50,000 average homes and be available every day of the year.

REMONDIS Group has operated and built WtE plants for 24 years and operates 52 facilities which recover more than 4.2 million tonnes of waste per year in Europe.

REMONDIS Australia General Manager QLD Operations and Business Development Bret Collins said the WtE proposal does not rely on additional waste streams coming to the Swanbank site – instead it will divert existing waste streams to a beneficial use.

“REMONDIS has been encouraged by recent comments from governments across Australia that WtE technology could provide some relief to the challenges facing the waste management and recycling industry,” Mr Collins said.

“There is an opportunity for Australia to benefit from REMONDIS’ global experience, and other successful European and UK facilities, and incorporate waste to energy as part of the solution to sustainable, best practice waste management.

“Adopting WtE technology will ensure that wastes with recoverable value are not sent to landfill and, instead, are put to beneficial use,” he said.

Mr Collins said that while Australians may not be familiar with WtE technology, it is used throughout Europe and considered a tried and trusted contributor to best practice waste management and energy generation.

“WtE plants are constructed to the strictest European Union environment, emission and health standards and this is the technology we would bring to Australia,” Mr Collins said.

“There are hundreds of WtE plants throughout Europe, the USA and Asia, and many are part of the fabric of suburbs and communities – there are WtE plants in Paris, London, Copenhagen, Cologne, Zurich, Vienna, Palm Beach and Singapore, just to name a few.”

Infrastructure and Planning Minister Cameron Dick welcomed the news and said it establishes Queensland as a major player in the waste‑to‑energy market.

“The introduction of our government’s waste levy provides a real incentive for projects like this, building a new industry as an alternative to landfill,” Mr Dick said.

“This project could create up to 200 jobs during construction and some 70 jobs during operations.”

Mr Dick said REMONDIS Australia is expected to submit an application to Queensland’s independent Coordinator-General to declare the project a ‘coordinated project’.

“If the Coordinator-General decides to declare this project a coordinated project it will help streamline approvals and fast-track delivery of this significant project,” he said.

“A coordinated project approach also means that all the potential impacts and benefits of the project are considered in an integrated and comprehensive manner.”

REMONDIS and Lake Macquarie open new organics processing facility

REMONDIS Australia and Lake Macquarie City Council have opened a new organics processing facility at the Awaba Waste Management Facility.

REMONDIS Australia and Lake Macquarie City Council have opened a new organics processing facility at the Awaba Waste Management Facility in late July.

It is part of the council’s new three-bin waste management system, which aims to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill by as much as one third by recycling food refuse.

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Food and green waste will be recycled at the new facility and turned into compost products for reuse on parks, grounds and sporting fields.

The facility has a unique hybrid model of ‘in-vessel’ and ‘mobile aerated floor’ systems and includes a fully automated tunnel composting system to pasteurise food waste in two weeks

With a mobile aerated floor finishing. It also includes an automatic, cashless weighbridge system that gives users access to the facility with the swipe of a card.

REMONDIS CEO Luke Agati said the company is proud to be investing in Lake Macquarie and the Australian resource recovery sector.

“REMONDIS has been composting garden waste at Awaba for Lake Macquarie City Council since 2013, and this new facility will enable us to also convert food waste into a valuable resource,” Mr Agati said.

“The facility will convert up to 44,000 tonnes per year of organic waste into compost and soil amendment products.

“REMONDIS applauds forward-thinking local government organisations such as Lake Macquarie City Council for their dedication to building the vital recycling infrastructure that will create job opportunities, strengthen the Australian economy and reduce our environmental footprint.”

Lake Macquarie Mayor Kay Fraser said the Organics Resource Recovery Facility would see the City take a leading role in recycling and waste management.

“This is a significant step in our Waste Strategy and in our efforts to encourage people to think and act more responsibly about household waste disposal,” Cr Fraser said.

“By making it easy for residents to dispose of organic waste appropriately, we will encourage them to recycle and close the food consumption loop.

“About one third of household garbage bin contents is food waste, so this will divert significant amounts of organic material from landfill, extending the life of our Awaba Waste Management Facility and saving an estimated $4 million over 10 years in waste management costs.”

The project was supported by a grant of $2 million as part of the NSW EPA’s Waste Less, Recycled More initiative, funded from the waste levy.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald said the NSW Government was pleased to assist by contributing a $1.4 million grant to the facility and $0.6m for community engagement initiatives, from the EPA’s Waste Less Recycle More initiative.

“This facility will improve the availability of organic compost for local primary producers and reduce unnecessary wastage of high quality organic material. I congratulate Lake Macquarie City Council in securing investment from a business with the calibre of REMONDIS.”

More than 100 contracting firms were engaged to build the facility, which also features an education centre where schools and community groups can see the recycling process.

Lake Macquarie Organics Resource Recovery Facility Branch Manager Gunther Neumann said REMONDIS is proud of its environmental achievements in Lake Macquarie.

“Since 2013, REMONDIS has diverted more than 100,000 tonnes of garden organics from landfill in the region, saving more than $13 million in landfill levies for residents,” Mr Neumann said.

“With the opening of the Lake Macquarie Organics Resource Recovery Facility, REMONDIS looks forward to a new chapter in organics processing that will deliver additional landfill levy savings and create new market opportunities locally, reinforcing our role as a valued member of the local community.”

Image: Lake Macquarie City Council

REMONDIS acquires Waste Trans

REMONDIS Australia has acquired liquid waste collection business Waste Trans.

Operated by AusWaste Environmental Pty Ltd, the acquisition took effect on September 8.

The acquisition significantly increases REMONDIS capability in the region, adding a fleet of 17 liquid waste collection vehicles to its Queensland operations. The move provides Waste Trans’ existing customers with access to REMONDIS’ well-established solid waste and recycling services in the region.

The transaction involves REMONDIS taking future responsibility of all client contracts and purchasing the majority of the organisation’s equipment and vehicles.

All employees have taken up positions with REMONDIS Australia including the management team, and REMONDIS will continue to operate the existing Waste Trans’ sites located at Staplyton and Tanawha.

 

 

Remondis announces new Organics Processing Facility

A new organics processing facility contracted by Remondis will be built in the town of Awaba, in Lake Macquarie, New South Wales.

The new facility, to be completed in 2018, will be located at Awaba Waste Management Facility and established in partnership with Lake Macquarie City Council.

The multi-million dollar project is supported by an organics infrastructure grant, awarded by the New South Wales Environment Protection Authority under the Waste Less Recycle More Initiative. The initiative is funded through the waste levy and is the largest waste and recycling funding program in Australia.

Mayor Kay Fraser, Lake Macquarie City Council said the project marked a groundbreaking moment for the community in managing waste and reducing food waste to landfill.

“We are proud to be partnering in this project with Remondis, which has a reputation for innovation in the waste management sector,” he said.

When complete, the facility will receive and recycle more than 40,000 tonnes of food and garden organics every year. The waste, which was once destined for landfill, will be transformed into quality compost products for market. The facility will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from household waste and create job opportunities for the local community.

“Remondis is delighted to partner with such a progressive and proactive council and to be developing the region’s recycling infrastructure for the future,” said Luke Agati, Remondis CEO.

Lake Macquarie’s residents will be the first in the Hunter to have access to a designated food and garden waste kerbside collection and processing service capable of producing high-quality compost.

National waste and recycling body to advocate for industry

Several of Australia's largest waste firms have joined for NWRIC

A new body working to create a cohesive national vision for Australia’s waste management industry, the National Waste and Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC) has officially formed, following the first meeting of its executive in Sydney on February 13.

NWRIC has received support from Australia’s largest waste management companies – and has begun operations.

The Council will be empowered to begin its work thanks to the support of its national members – Alex Fraser Group, Cleanaway, J. J. Richards and Sons, Solo Resource Recovery, Suez, Toxfree, Remondis, ResourceCo and Veolia.

“The waste and recycling industry needs a national voice to advocate for a fair, sustainable and prosperous industry for all stakeholders,” said Phil Richards, Chairman of the NWRIC’s host association Board.

“Australia’s waste management industry is an essential service, and through the NWRIC, we will be asking the Commonwealth along with State Governments to support our initiatives to take the industry forward.”

The NWRIC will serve waste management enterprises by creating industry led policy. The Council will be led by newly appointed CEO Max Spedding, and supported by Secretariat manager Alex Serpo.

The NWRIC will work in close partnership with jurisdictional affiliates. This partnership will allow the Council to represent and canvas concerns from many of Australia’s 450 small and medium sized waste management enterprises. Together, state affiliates and the national office will coordinate to create, and advocate for, cohesive national policy.

From today, the Council will commence working to create, share and build support for policy positions which will move the industry forward. Initial areas of focus include better planning, a fair market, the national harmonisation of the regulations governing the industry and effective policing of standards.

The Council welcomes media enquiries, dialogue with waste management companies seeking involvement in the NWRIC and feedback from stakeholders.

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