MWRRG announces shortlist for advanced waste processing facility

The Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group (MWRRG) has announced a shortlist of companies to develop an alternative to landfill in Melbourne’s south east.

In March 2020, MWRRG called for expressions of interest for solutions to provide an alternative to landfill for 16 councils.

After a competitive tendering process, three companies have been shortlisted to join the solution development stage of the procurement: Veolia Environmental Services Australia, Sacyr Environment Australia and a Pacific Partnerships and REMONDIS consortium.

According to a MWRRG statement, landfills in the south east of Melbourne are filling up and no more are planned to be built.

“Household rubbish in the 16 councils is projected to increase by 40 per cent over the next 25 years,” the statement reads.

“Veolia Environmental Services Australia, Sacyr Environment Australia and Pacific Partnerships and REMONDIS will work with the 16 councils to develop an advanced waste processing solution that delivers environmental, economic and social benefits to the community.”

MWRRG said the best outcomes will be achieved by minimising waste and reusing or recycling, with leftover material managed through advanced waste processing.

“Advanced waste processing will help the Victorian government deliver on its circular economy strategy – Recycling Victoria – a 10 year plan that will completely overhaul Victoria’s recycling sector and reduce waste going to landfill,” the statement reads.

“Advanced waste processing solutions will play a significant role in achieving the new target to divert 80 per cent of household rubbish from landfill by 2030.”

The advanced waste processing procurement will ensure facilities meet best-practice environment protection requirements and energy efficiency standards, and do not displace or inhibit innovation to reduce or recycle materials.

Additionally, the procurement will ensure the facilities reduce greenhouse gas emissions compared to the waste and energy services they displace.

“Advanced waste processing technologies have been used successfully and safely overseas for years as an alternative to landfill,” the statement reads.

“The new facilities are expected to attract investment of around $650 million and create jobs during construction and permanent operating jobs.”

It is expected the process will take close to two years to reach a final tender stage, with a 20 to 25-year contract to be awarded by 2022. Construction is expected to commence in 2023.

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Melbourne composting facility receives final EPA approval

An industrial composting facility in Melbourne’s Dandenong South has received final environmental approval from EPA Victoria.

The facility is operated by international waste management company Sacyr, with a biological and air treatment system designed by Waste Treatment Technologies.

The $65 million facility operates under a contract negotiated by the Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group (MWRRG) on behalf of eight councils.

“Through this collaborative contract, Sacyr Environment Australia receives enough kerbside material to run its facility, which has processing capacity of up to 120,000 tonnes annually,” a MWRRG statement reads.

The facility is a part of Melbourne’s food and green waste processing network, which has a target of 400,000 tonnes of capacity by 2021, as set out in the Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Implementation Plan.

The facility, operating with conditional approval from the EPA, has processed household food and green waste from Melbourne’s south east since May 2019.

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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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Clean Energy Finance Corporation supports waste industry

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation’s Henry Anning speaks to Waste Management Review about the group’s diverse portfolio of finance options for the waste industry which support carbon abatement and energy and cost efficiencies. 

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CEFC finance composting facility for Melbourne councils

Organic waste from eight Melbourne councils will be sent to a new composting facility, to be built by international waste management company Sacyr Group.

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) will commit up to $35 million towards the new composting facility.

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The $65 million South Eastern Organics Processing Facility will be the most advanced of its type in Victoria and will produce approximately 50,000 tonnes of high grade compost each year.

The compost will be made from processed household garden and food waste from council kerbside green waste collections in Melbourne’s south-east, which will then be used on local parks and gardens.

Food and green waste makes up an estimated 42 per cent of landfill for Australia’s municipal and commercial waste streams.

The Melbourne councils include Bayside, Cardinia, Casey, Frankston, Glen Eira, Greater Dandenong, Kingston and Monash.

Sacyr expects the fully-enclosed, in-vessel aerobic composting and maturation plant will be operational by mid-2019. It will aim to operate for 15 years, with a potential five-year extension.

The new facility will have an annual processing capacity of 120,000 tonnes of waste each year, the equivalent of 12,000 truckloads of waste. It is expected to abate more than 65,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions annually. This would cut the greenhouse gas emissions from landfill by 85 per cent if it were to be landfilled, which is equivalent to taking 13,900 cars off the road.

Sacyr Group has built 48 plants around the world and handles more than three million tonnes of waste each year. It currently operates in Australia through its subsidiary, Sacyr Water, which has built and operates the Binningup desalination plant.

The technology used in the plant has been developed over two decades, ensures plant storage reservoirs are completely closed, and uses efficient and reliable deodorisation systems.

Federal Government  Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg said converting waste to compost can play a part in Australia’s long-term waste solutions.

“This facility alone, which will be the most advanced of its type in Victoria, can process around 12,000 truckloads of waste per year,” Mr Frydenberg said.

“It means food and organic waste produced by south east Melbourne residents will not end up in landfill and will instead produce high-grade compost for our gardens and parks.”

CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth said the corporation is looking across the economy to identify finance opportunities to reduce Australia’s emissions.

“We’re pleased to be making our first project investment to help councils and communities tackle emissions from their organic waste,” he said.

“When organic waste such as food and green waste ends up in landfill it breaks down and produces methane. With this technology, councils can avoid those emissions by turning their organic waste into reusable compost, while also reducing our unsustainable reliance on landfill as a waste disposal option.

“We strongly endorse the principle of avoiding and reducing waste at the source. Our finance is about effectively manage the remaining waste, so that it doesn’t end up as landfill and we make a meaningful difference to our greenhouse gas emissions,” Mr Learmonth said.

CEFC Bioenergy Sector lead Henry Anning said the CEFC finance model for the Melbourne project was an industry first, providing councils with access to a project financing structure that has rarely been leveraged across local government.

“Australia’s waste sector is facing enormous challenges, because of the growing amount of waste we produce as well as increasing community concerns about the way we handle that waste. This new Melbourne facility provides us with a practical and proven way to turn organic waste into a reusable commodity at the same time as avoiding harmful emissions,” Mr Anning said.

“We expect to see more councils and communities consider innovative ways to manage all forms of waste. This innovative project finance model offers opportunities for other groups of councils considering investing in substantial waste management infrastructure to reduce landfill waste.”

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