More Sydney trash to be dumped in Queensland - SMH
09 December 2012
Drivers heading north on the Pacific Highway will be jostling a rising number of B-double trucks following a decision by the Queensland government earlier this year to remove a levy on waste going to landfill. by Brian Robins
As a result, an increasing number of trucks are taking Sydney's trash up the Pacific Highway to dump it across the northern border, with the waste industry estimating 1,000 tonnes of waste a week, or around 25 B-doubles, is now on the highway.
Queensland's Liberal National Party undertook to remove the levy if it won its state elections in March, with the election promise implemented on July 1, when the levy was removed. At the same time, the waste levy in NSW rose a further 10 per cent to $95.20 a tonne.
The NSW levy rises by $10 a year, plus the rise in the consumer price index.
"When the NSW levy was around $70 a tonne, there was no talk of shipping waste to Queensland, but that changed when the levy topped $80 a tonne," one senior industry figure said. "Now that the levy has topped $95 a tonne, trucks are on the road.
"The top end of town is now talking of establishing transfer stations to send waste north."
Geoff Gerard, business development manager at waste processor Sita Australia, said: "Queensland is now the dumping ground for NSW waste."
As a result, his company has deferred plans to invest $90 million on new facilities at its Lucas Heights site, on Sydney's south, with others in the industry such as Veolia also expected to shelf new spending on processing plants.
"We can't now afford to invest in NSW," Sita's Mr Gerard said. "The waste levy was brought in to redirect waste away from landfill. But now, infrastructure and employment will move elsewhere."
"Material should be treated, processed and recycled as close to the source as possible," Mr Tony Cade, marketing and sales director with Veolia Environmental Services said. The Queensland move "works against recycling".
"We are considering significant investment. The shift of volume to Queensland places a question mark over its viability."
Not only general waste is being put on the road, but a rising volume of contaminated waste is also being shipped north, including an estimated 3,000 tonnes of waste from Barangaroo, the redevelopment site on the western side of Sydney's central business district.
"The Queensland government's move has had the perverse effect of it receiving contaminated waste from NSW," the Total Environment Centre's Jeff Angel said of the changing dynamics.
Overall, the volume of waste being recycled has been increasing, although it has failed to keep pace with the increase in overall waste volumes, he said.
The NSW government began a review of the waste levy at the beginning of the year following pressure from both local councils and some recyclers, although the outcome will not be known until next year.
"The Government has been looking closely at this specific issue of waste going over the border to Queensland and is working with the EPA on potential solutions," a spokesman for the NSW environment minister Ms Robyn Parker said.
"We anticipate making an announcement in the New Year which will aim to resolve it."
It is facing the loss of as much as $20 million in waste levies foregone due to the move to truck waste north, according to some estimates.
NSW waste still being dumped in Queensland - Herald Sun
09 December 2012
THE NSW government says it has plans to reduce the problem of NSW businesses trucking thousands of tonnes of rubbish to Queensland to avoid a waste levy.
But an announcement isn't due until the new year.
Waste Contractors and Recyclers Association of NSW executive director Tony Khoury says about 2000 tonnes of waste a month is being trucked across the border to avoid a levy of up to $95.20 a tonne.
He says the problem has worsened since the NSW government lifted the levy in July to try to make recycling more attractive, at the same time that Queensland scrapped its waste levy of $35 per tonne.
"Around four to five trucks are leaving (NSW) every couple of days," Mr Khoury told AAP on Sunday.
Each truck carried an average of 40 tonnes, he said.
There were even reports of landfill operators trucking waste from their own sites, as they were able to claim back the levy for material that goes out the door, he said.
Mr Khoury said the levy needed to be coupled with more controls and incentives to keep waste in the state.
A spokesman for Environment Minister Robyn Parker said the government was aware of the problem an announcement was planned in the new year.
He said consultancy firm KPMG had overseen a review into the NSW levy.
"The government is now considering KPMG's final report outlining recommendations on the operation of the waste levy, which will provide the government with a strong evidence base to bring forward a new waste and recycling agenda that delivers economic, employment and environmental benefits for local communities and provides greater incentives to invest in new innovative recycling infrastructure in NSW," he said in a statement. AAP
NSW 'losing $100m' as businesses dump waste in Qld - ABC News
09 December 2012
A new levy is estimated to cost NSW $100 million a year as 2,000 rubbish trucks a month carry Sydney's waste north to be dumped over the border in Queensland.
The transfers began in July when the NSW Government increased its dumping levy by $10 to $95 per tonne, making it cheaper for companies to drive rubbish up north.
The levy is intended to encourage recycling, and is used to raise money for the state's infrastructure.
But the director of Dial-a-Dump Industries, Ian Malouf, says the levy is too expensive and costing the state millions of dollars in lost revenue.
"It's a tax at the end of the day so the states missing out on tax which is going to cost us roads and infrastructure," he said.
"I think it's going to cost us in the order of [$100 million] in the first 12 months. If it's let go around, I think it will escalate to around $200 million.
"We're burning it up the highway. It is a carbon contradiction - we're burning it up in fuel."
The NSW Government says it is working the Environment Protection Authority and the Queensland Government to try and resolve the issue.
"We've been reviewing the waste levies and we'll have an announcement early in the new year which will make it competitive and certainly make going to Queensland not an attractive option," said NSW Environment Minister Robyn Parker.
Despite the reports, Queensland's Environment Minister Andrew Powell says he has not seen evidence that 2,000 trucks a month are travelling from Sydney to dump waste in the Sunshine State.
Mr Powell says it is not illegal, but he wants a closer inspection of Queensland's waste industry data to determine if there has been a spike in interstate transfers.
"If I see the data demonstrating what we're hearing then we may take action," he said.
"But might I add we are sitting down with waster generators and sitting down with the waste industry and we're developing a new waste strategy for this state.
"If this becomes the issue that people are saying it is we'll make sure we include that in our strategy."
The Australian Council of Recycling spokesman Grant Musgrave says the state governments need a uniform levy.
"The community supports recycling and it's time all governments supported recycling," he said.
50 Bright Stars - Qweekend Magazine
08 December 2012
34, ENTREPRENEUR &
Sometimes, if the weight of work and tough decisions is getting him down, Simon Kalinowski will log on to the website of the Hello Sunday Morning movement he helped create and find inspiration. The HSM ethos is about curbing reliance on alcohol, skipping the booze for a week, a month or, as HSM recommends, three months.
After struggling at school, Kalinowski had no idea what to do with his life. A begging letter to northern NSW's Southern Cross University saw him accepted into a business course. While doing a marketing assignment, he was noticed by the owner of a pharmaceutical distribution business who decided it could "use my energy".
Kalinowski threw himself into the full-time job and full-time study - and got burned out. After four years, "I cottoned on to the fact that I could really do something with my life."
At 22, he moved to Brisbane and bought a franchise with an ice-cream company but also became involved in the National Youth Roundtable, a federal government initiative aimed at tapping into the views of young people. Itchy feet led him to look for a business to which he could add value. A business broker suggested a company then called Weighmaster, which provided software that captured the weight of loads at places such as local government tips. Kalinowski changed the business model and the name (to Mandalay Technologies), employed new technical staff who developed the software to the point where it now captures one-third of Australia's waste statistics on a daily basis.
As Mandalay continued to improve, Kalinowski wanted to give back to the community, and a chat with a friend, Chris Raine, now CEO of HSM, led to him helping set up the project. By now, Kalinowski had become a social drinker and didn't want alcohol to gain control.
"Every person should commit themselves to assisting and developing their community, " Kalinowski says. "I think it's a responsibility, not an option. "
Where even the earth is melting -SMH
28 November 2012
THE world is on the cusp of a "tipping point" into dangerous climate change, according to new data gathered by scientists measuring methane leaking from the Arctic permafrost and a report presented to the United Nations on Tuesday.
"The permafrost carbon feedback is irreversible on human time scales," says the report, Policy Implications of Warming Permafrost. "Overall, these observations indicate that large-scale thawing of permafrost may already have started."
While countries the size of Australia tally up their greenhouse emissions in hundreds of millions of tonnes, the Arctic's stores are measured in tens of billions.
Human-induced emissions now appear to have warmed the Arctic enough to unlock this vast carbon bank, with stark implications for international efforts to hold global warming to a safe level. Ancient forests locked under ice tens of thousands of years ago are beginning to melt and rot, releasing vast amounts of greenhouse gases into the air.
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The report estimates the greenhouse gases leaking from the thawing Arctic will eventually add more to emissions than last year's combined carbon output of the US and Europe - a statistic which means present global plans to hold climate change to an average 2degree temperature rise this century are now likely to be much more difficult.
Until very recently permafrost was thought to have been melting too slowly to make a meaningful difference to temperatures this century, so it was left out of the Kyoto Protocol, and ignored by many climate change models.
"Permafrost emissions could ultimately account for up to 39 per cent of total emissions," said the report's lead author, Kevin Schaefer, of the University of Colorado, who presented it at climate negotiations in Doha, Qatar. "This must be factored in to treaty negotiations expected to replace the Kyoto Protocol."
What isn't known is the precise rate and scale of the melt, and that is being tackled in a remarkable NASA experiment that hardly anyone has heard of, but which could prove to be one of the most crucial pieces of scientific field work undertaken this century.
The findings, for now, are still under wraps. "But I think 'tantalising' is probably the right word," said Charles Miller, the principal investigator in NASA's Carbon in Arctic Reservoirs Vulnerability Experiment, or CARVE.
His office is a rugged little Sherpa passenger aircraft, stripped of seating and packed with electronics and sensors. Each day, the plane criss-crosses the ice fields, forests and tundra of Alaska, skimming along at low altitude, hugging the contours of the ground.
"I've seen the annual migration of the caribou - thousands of animals in a single line stretching for 10kilometres along a ridge, led by a bull with giant antlers," Professor Miller said. "There are grizzly bears in the forests, and moose wallowing in lakes - it's just incredibly beautiful up here."
But it isn't the scenery that brought them to Alaska. What the scientists are searching for is invisible to the human eye - the haze of methane and CO2 that hovers low over the landscape in summer as the permafrost melts.
"We fly like a rollercoaster, in a flight line that touches the 'boundary layer' [a layer where the air from the ground mingles with higher altitudes] and then we fly down, and come straight back up. We keep doing that repeatedly," Professor Miller said.
The plane dips in and out of the methane plumes, sucking up data that hints at the extent and speed of the permafrost melt.
"We're finding very, very interesting changes, particularly in terms of methane concentrations," he said. "When scientists say 'interesting', it usually means 'not what we expected'. We're seeing biological activity in various places in Alaska that's much more active than I would have expected, and also much more variable from place to place ... There are changes as much as 10 to 12 parts per million for CO2 - so that's telling us that the local biology is doing something like five or six years worth of change in the space of a few hundred metres."
Methane is not present in the frozen soil, but is instead created as the earth thaws and organic matter is consumed by tiny organisms.
"If the Arctic becomes warmer and drier, we will see it released as carbon dioxide, but if it is warmer and wetter it will be released as methane."
The findings of the first year of the experiment are so complex that Professor Miller and his team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory are still trying to work out exactly what they have found. The results are being kept secret, which is standard practice while the numbers are crunched and the work is submitted to a peer-review process.
"What we can say is that methane is significantly elevated in places - about 2000 parts per billion, against a normal background of about 1850 parts per billion," he said. "It's interesting because the models are predicting one thing and what we are observing is something fairly different."
The rate of melt was "deeply concerning", said Andy Pitman, the director of Australia's Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science, an adviser to the Climate Commission, and a lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's reports.
"It had been assumed that on the timescale of the 21st century, that the effects of methane release would be relatively small compared to other effects - that's why it has been largely left out of the climate models," Professor Pitman said.
"I think it's fair to say that until recently climate scientists underrated the rate at which permafrost melt could release methane. I think we've been shown to be over-conservative. It's happening faster than we had thought ... This is not good news."
The report presented to the UN said a tipping point could still be averted if the world moved to cut emissions from fossil fuels fast.
"The target climate for the climate change treaty is not out of date," Professor Schaefer told Fairfax Media. "However, negotiation of anthropogenic emissions targets to meet the 2 degree warming target must account for emissions from thawing permafrost. Otherwise, we risk overshooting the target climate."
The report pointed out that permafrost carbon feedback had not been included in the Fourth IPCC report, the most recent update from the UN's climate body, published in 2007.
"Participating modelling teams have completed their climate projections in support of the Fifth Assessment Report, but these projections do not include the permafrost carbon feedback," the report said. "Consequently, the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, due for release in stages between September 2013 and October 2014, will not include the potential effects of the permafrost carbon feedback on global climate."
The cost of this omission could be high if measured in financial terms, according to Pep Canadell, a CSIRO scientist and executive director of the Global Carbon Project, which tallies how much CO2 humans can release before the climate can be expected to warm to dangerous levels.
"If you were to take the price of a tonne of carbon to be $23 like Australia does, you are looking at an extra cost of about $35 billion for the permafrost," Dr Canadell said. "That's on top of the hundreds of billions we already know it will cost to slow emissions to reach a 2degree level. It's a significant problem in the carbon budget."
The evidence that major change is already happening is trickling in not just from the NASA measurements, but from ground-based tests.
"There is compelling evidence, not just that permafrost will thaw, but that it is already rapidly thawing," said Ben Abbott, a researcher at the Institute of Arctic Biology at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.
"Borehole measurements, where temperature readings are taken at multiple depths within the soil, show more than 2 degree soil warming in some areas of Alaska. While that may not sound like much, a lot of permafrost is at or just below freezing. The difference between minus 1degree and 1degree is the difference between a fresh frozen meal and a rotten mess."
In a piece in the journal Nature, Mr Abbott and fellow researcher Edward Schuur from the University of Florida summarised recent findings from experts in the field.
About 1700 billion tonnes of organic carbon is held in frozen northern soils, they said - about four times more than all the carbon emitted by human activity in modern times and twice as much as is present in the atmosphere now. The impact of thawing soil on the speed of climate change will be similar to the total rate of logging in all forests around the world, they calculated.
"Our collective estimate is that carbon will be released more quickly than models suggest, and at levels that are cause for serious concern," they wrote. "We calculate that permafrost thaw will release the same order of magnitude of carbon as deforestation if current rates of deforestation continue."
Like Professor Miller, Mr Abbott's job involves long expeditions into the Alaskan tundra.
"I think it's easy for people to feel that the Arctic is just a far away place that will never have any direct effect on their life," he said. "[But] the last time a majority of permafrost carbon was thawed and lost to the atmosphere, temperatures increased by 6degrees. That's a different world. Too often climate change is depicted as a story of drowning polar bears and third world countries. Human-caused climate change has the potential to change our way of life. Mix in the potent feedbacks from the permafrost system and it becomes clear that we need to act now."
App turns renovator's trash into treasure - Herald Sun
19 November 2012
NOTHING brings more joy to the hearts of home renovators than finding a bargain, and even better finding it at their fingertips.
Thanks to a builder with a conscience a new app has been created to make that happen. buildBits is an app that converts one renovator's trash, into another renovator's treasure.
Sydney builder Neil Turrell has been in the building game 17 years, and during that time has thrown everything from whole kitchens to front doors into a skips, destined to be landfill.
"It really bothered me,'' said Neil. "It costs so much money to do, and it just adds to landfill.''
Only months ago, after tossing yet another kitchen into a skip Neil had a sleepless night trying to think of a way to stop the waste. By morning he and his wife Leisa had come up with the idea of the buildBits app.
Neil then contacted a former client who had great IT skills, and next approached several corporations for seed money and was deluged with offers from well known brands such as Century 21, Monier and HIA.
"The reaction has been fantastic, from everyone,'' said Neil.
A self-confessed non-IT person Neil wanted to keep the actual transaction between sellers and buyers ultra simple, designing the app to work without involving fees.
"I'm paranoid about PayPal and all that, '' he said.
Now renovators or tradies registered with buildBits can just snap a picture of whatever they want to sell with their phones, and in less than five minutes their excess product is for sale online.
"It's better for everyone. If you have 300 excess bricks on a job, it'll cost the home owner a packet to put them in a skip, so even if they just give the bricks away for nothing, they're still in front,'' said Neil.
The app is available to iPhone or android users or dowload directly from the buildBits website.
Gosford Council runs workshops as part of National Recycling Week - Express Advocate
08 November 2012
Gosford residents are being urged to think outside the box when it comes to recycling.
Gosford Council will run free workshops and events next week as part of National Recycling Week.
Highlights include two guided Op Shop Hop bus and walking tours around op shops in Gosford and Woy Woy with Central Coast fashion stylist Laura Washington.
There will also be a Cooking with Leftovers workshop at Kincumber Neighbourhood Centre on Monday at 11.30am, and a bus tour of the council's waste-management depots in Woy Woy and Somersby on Tuesday from 9am until 2pm.
Anyone having a garage sale is encouraged to register with the Second Hand Saturday campaign to be held on November 17.
There will also be a chicken workshop on Friday at 12.30pm at Erina Fair.
The council's senior waste officer Sanchaya Parajuli said that National Recycling Week was a great opportunity to learn about the many easy and innovative ways to recycle.
Details:4325 8266 or email email@example.com
Recycling overtakes land-filling in England - Resource
08 November 2012
Official figures released today (8 November) by the Department for the Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (Defra), show that for the first time since records began, English local authorities recycled, composted or reused more than they landfilled. by Annie Reece
From the year April 2011 to March 2012, around 10.7 million tonnes of household waste was recycled, composted or reused, against the 9.6 million tonnes of waste that was landfilled. This has been partly attributed to the rise in authorities choosing to incinerate residual waste.
The figures go on to outline that in 2011/12, 43 per cent of household waste was recycled, the highest ever recycling rate recorded for England. However, the year saw the lowest year-on-year increase in a decade, with 2011/12 rates increasing by 1.5 per cent on the year before.
Defra says that this could indicate that authorities 'have by now exploited the easiest targets in terms of recycling, and are increasingly facing challenges in influencing behaviour change and identifying new areas and efficiencies in the waste services they provide'.
Waste generation was also continuing a positive trend, with 22.9 million tonnes of household waste (431kg of waste per person) generated last year, continuing the downward trend since 2007/8.
Defra's Minister for Resources, Lord de Mauley said: "Across the country, people are cutting the amount of waste going to landfill by recycling more. They are not only protecting the environment, but fuelling a growing industry that reuses the things they throw away.
"More still needs to be done and we continue to push towards our aim of a zero waste economy, with businesses, councils and householders all doing their bit."
Though these figures demonstrate a positive step towards improving recycling in England, the numbers are still markedly behind Wales, whose soon-to-be-released statistics are expected to show municipal waste recycling rates as being over 50 per cent.
According to the data submitted by local authorities, The Vale of White Horse District Council had the highest recycling rate of 68.7 per cent for the year April 2011 to March 2012. These figures were almost matched by those reported by neighbouring South Oxfordshire District Council, which saw a 67.9 per cent rate. This rise has been attributed to the fact that the council rolled out its new recycling service in October 2010, after seeing a recycling rate of just over 36 per cent.
Rochford District Council, which topped the league last year, came in third, with 67.4 per cent of waste recycled.
For the top two councils, shifting collection of residual waste to alternate weekly collections has proved key to the success, augmented by a comprehensive recycling service capturing a wide range of materials. Both have also recently started a kerbside collection of batteries and have seen waste electrical banks for small items such as kettles and toasters installed in the main towns across both districts.
Matt Prosser, Strategic Director for both councils, said that they introduced the new service as a response to residents wanting to recycle more. He commented: "Above all, we kept [the service] simple so that residents could recycle as much as possible in the easiest possible way."
Ashford Borough Council in Kent came out bottom of the league, with a recycling rate of 14 per cent, just up from Lewisham's rate of 17.2 per cent.
Runnymede Borough Council in Surrey was the most improved council in 2011/12, seeing its rates increase from 29 per cent in 2010/11 to 47 per cent in 2011/12.
A full run down of the league table figures, along with a league table based on residual arisings per capita, will be published in the Jan/Feb issue of Resource.
Read the final figures for England's local authority recycling rates.
WA bid to stop illegal asbestos dumping by removing landfill levy - Herald Sun
07 November 2012
ILLEGAL dumping of asbestos in Perth should stop after a landfill levy for the dangerous material is dropped, the West Australian government says. By AAP
The exemption will apply as of January to asbestos sheeting bound in black plastic, but soil contaminated with asbestos will still be subject to the levy.
Environment Minister Bill Marmion said today the measure was intended to deter illegal dumping.
Despite increased fines, people had continued to dump asbestos sheeting in bushland and other sites out of the public eye, he said. The Waste Authority had advised that the landfill levy could be acting as a disincentive for people to dispose of asbestos waste properly, he said.
''This is good news for small business and families, reducing costs and protecting the health of communities and the environment,'' Mr Marmion said.
Reimagining Waste: What We Build on Former Landfills - Earth911.com
01 November 2012
In 2010, 250 million tons of trash were created in the United States and 85 million tons were recycled, according to the EPA. That means 165 million tons of trash had to go somewhere, and much of it went to landfills. On an average day, the country's largest landfills can receive up to 9,000 tons of waste, each. Although many of these landfills cover large areas, they do have limited lifespans. So what happens when a landfill reaches the end of its operational life? Earth911 has compiled a list of landfills that have been repurposed for new uses, and believe it or not many of them take sustainability and eco-consciousness into consideration.
The Transformation of Freshkills Park From Landfill to Landscape
15 October 2012
It's like an old saying goes: One man's trash is another man's multi-million acre park.
In 2001,Freshkillswas the biggest dump in the world. Hundreds of seagulls circled the detritus of 8 million lives. Slowly decomposing piles of garbage were pushed around by slow-moving bulldozers to make room for more of the same.
Looking toward Manhattan from Freshkills Park on Staten Island (image: Jimmy Stamp)
The 2,200 acre -that's three times the size of Central Park- landfill on Staten Island, New York was established in 1948 byRobert Moses, the self-proclaimed "master builder" of New York City, responsible for much of the city's controversial infrastructure and urban development policies during the mid-20th century. The landfill, which was only one in a series of New York landfills opened by Moses, was intended to be a temporary solution to New York's growing need for waste disposal. The dumping would also serve the secondary purpose of preparing the soft marshland for construction - Moses envisioned a massive residential development on the site. That didn't happen. Instead, Freshkills became the city'sonlylandfill and, at it's peak in 1986, the once fertile landscape was receiving more than 29,000 tons of trash per day.
Early photo of Freshkills landfill (image: Chester Higgins via wikimedia commons)
Fast forward to 2012. Freshkills is the biggest park in New York City. Dozens of birds circle the waving grasses, spreading seeds across the hillside. Slowly drifting kites hang in the air above mothers pushing strollers along dirt paths and kayakers paddling through blue waters. It is an amazing synthesis of natural and engineered beauty. During my recent tour of the former landfill it was impossible to imagine that I was walking over 150 million tons of solid waste.
The nearly miraculous transformation is due largely to the efforts of New York City Department of Sanitation and the Department of Parks and Recreation, as well as many other individuals and organizations. It is an absolutely massive feat of design and engineering that is still 30 years from completion. To guide this development, the DPR have a master plan from a multidisciplinary team of expertsled by landscape architect James Corner ofField Operations, who was selected to take on the development during an international design competition organized by the City of New York in 2001.
Corner, perhaps best known for his work on the ManhattanHigh Line, is also responsible for Phase One of Freshkills's development, which focuses on making the park accessible to the public and installing smaller community parks for the neighborhoods adjacent to Freshkills. Schmul Park, a playground that will serve as a gateway to the North Park, recentlycelebrated its ribbon cutting, and new sports fields should be opened before the end of the year.
The current Freshkills master plan, prepared by landscape architecture firm Field Operations (image: New York Department of Parks and Recreation)
Corner's plan identifiesfive main areas in Freshkills, each with distinct offerings, designed and programmed to maximizespecific site opportunities and constraints. Planned features include nature preserves, animal habitats, a seed plot, walking and bike paths, picnic areas, comfort stations, event staging areas, and every other amenity you could possibly ask for in a public park.While James Corner may have planned the park, the landscape itself is being "designed" by the birds, squirrels, bees, trees, and breezes that have returned to populate the new landscape since 2001. These volunteers, including 84 species of birds, are helping to hasten the restoration of the wetlands landscape by dropping and planting seeds, pollinating flowers, and just generally doing what comes naturally.A 2007 survey also identified muskrats, rabbits, cats, mice, raccoons and even white-tailed deer, which are believed to have migrated from New Jersey.
Freshkills today (image: Jimmy Stamp)
But how did the Freshkills landfill become Freshkills landscape? How do you safely cover a garbage dump? My first thought was that they would just pore concrete over the entire thing and call it day. I apparently know nothing about landfills. And probably not that much about concrete. The reality is a lot more complex. An elaborate and somewhat experimental six-layer capping system covers the entire landfill. But if you're like me -and again, I know nothing about landfills- you may be wondering if the mounds of trash will shrink as they decompose until the entire hillside becomes a grassy plain (or, as I speculated, subterranean concrete caverns).
The answer is no. In fact, the garbage has already compressed as much as it ever will and any future change will be nominal. But to ensure this stability, before the capping was done, the trash heaps were covered with compressed soil and graded into the terraced hills seen today. While the resulting beautiful rolling hills offer incredible views all the way to Manhattan, it's also kind of disgusting to think 29,000 tons of garbage that will just be there forever. Good job humans. But I digress. The complex multi-phase capping process is perhaps best described with a simple image.
diagram of Freshkills landfill capping (image: New York Department of Parks and Recreation)
You may be wondering about the plumbing in the above image. The landfill may be stabilized, but it still produces two primary byproducts: methane gas and leachate, a fetid tea brewed by rainwater and garbage. During the renewal of Freshkills, the excess of methane gas has been put to good use by the Department of Sanitation, who harvest the gas from the site to sell toNational Gridenergy company, earning the city $12 million in annual revenue. The only sign that this site was a former landfill are the methane pumps that periodically emerge from the surface of the ground like some mysterious technological folly. The leachate, however, is more of a problem. Although Moses did have the foresight to locate the landfill in an area with a clay soil that largely prevents any seepage into nearby bodies of water, there is always the risk that some leachate will escape. The new park addresses this risk with the landfill caps, which greatly reduces the amount of leachate produced, but also with pipes and water treatments facilities installed to purify any runoff until it is cleaner than the nearbyArthur Kill. To ensure their system works, 238 groundwater monitoring wells were installed to track water quality.
As the DPR continues the development of Freshkills, they're dedicated to using state-of-the-art land reclamation techniques, safety monitoring equipment, and alternative energy resources to ensure that the new landscape is safe and sustainable.
Asbestos dumped at landfill site - The Mercury
12 October 2012
A COUNCIL contractor has been caught dumping asbestos-filled waste at a clean fill site in Orielton and setting it on fire.
Sorell Council general manager Bill Costin yesterday confirmed council staff, the Environmental Protection Agency and Workplace Standards had investigated the incident, which happened on Monday.
He said a contractor had removed a demolished hall, which contained asbestos, from a site in Sorrel where council is preparing to build its new chambers.
The contractor dumped the debris at a landfill in Orielton. The Council had granted the contractor permission to use the site in Brinktop Rd for clean fill.
Mr Costin said council would not ban the contractor from using the site.
"We'll issue a warning letter in the first instance, and we will probably increase monitoring of this site while that's in force," he said. Mr Costin said the council had removed all asbestos debris.
It was small comfort for Tom Connelly, who rents a house on the clean fill site and lives there with his partner Sally Atkinson and their three children. He sought legal advice about ending their lease, over health concerns.
Mr Connelly said they had lost faith in the Sorell Council's ability to monitor the site.
"The council has had reports not from me of them dumping tyres and refrigerators and paint cans out there," he said.
"On Monday, they demolished a Girl Guide hut and dumped it here, set it on fire and walked away. When we came home there was an unattended fire burning.
"We had no warning that this was going to happen, no notice from the real estate or anyone."
Locals have expressed anger at the incident and say it casts doubt on the council's ability to properly operate Tasmania's first contaminated waste cell at its Copping landfill site.
"How can we expect they will properly monitor and adequately manage the toxic waste landfill that is being built at Copping?" resident Darren McKay said.
But council dismissed the concerns. "All of the proper controls, all of the proper engineering is there," Mr Costin said.
Landfill firms in a hole as climate levy bites - The Australian
08 October 2012
By Sarah Martin
THOUSANDS of tonnes of waste are being diverted from large and efficient landfill sites because of the Gillard government's carbon tax, which is leading to more harmful emissions entering the atmosphere.
Carbon slug worries big landfill operators - ABC Online
08 October 2012
Posted Mon Oct 8, 2012 10:28am AEDT
Large landfill operators say carbon tax is costing them business and they want changes to the emissions threshold.
Landfills that generate more than 25,000 tonnes of carbon emissions annually must pay.
Those operators say they are losing clients to smaller operators which do have to pay the carbon price, resulting in some waste from Adelaide being sent to regional areas.
Joe Borelli of Integrated Waste Services said he had asked the Federal Government to lower the threshold so all landfill operators were treated the same.
"We've written to [Parliamentary Secretary] Mark Dreyfus' office, we've given evidence supporting and they're saying 'No problems, we'll see all about this when the review happens in 2015'. I just don't think that's good enough. 2015's too far away," he said.
Councils call for waste levy - ABC Online
07 October 2012
Tasmania's Local Government Association is pushing for the introduction of a waste levy to help pay for the collection of hazardous materials.
Until recently, households could take toxic materials like cleaning products to temporary collection sites on certain days of the year.
But the volume of materials collected - 74 tonnes over the past three years - has led to the Hazardous Waste Program being abandoned.
Allen Garcia from the Local Government Association of Tasmania said a levy would help fund programs like this.
"What would happen is that you would effectively have a levy on every tonne of waste that goes through the landfill," he said.
"It could be public landfill that's run by councils or private landfill run by companies. That would consolidated into a pool."
The Environment Protection Authority originally floated the proposal.
Updated Sun Oct 7, 2012 12:20pm AEDT
Lekker! A carbon tax in South Africa without the politics - Crikey.com.au
03 October 2012
By Erwin Jackson
South Africa's path to a carbon tax has been smoother than Australia's. The Climate Institute's Erwin Jackson chats with South African energy expert Harald Winkler to find out more.
Debate on climate change and carbon pricing in Australia has focused on what other wealthy nations are doing-but don't forget South Africa. The developing country, which has per capita income (and per capita greenhouse gas emissions) about one-third of Australia's, is due to start its economy-wide carbon tax in July.
Harald Winkler from Cape Town University's Energy Research Centre (Winkler is a contributor to South Africa's climate plan) explains the scheme ...
What has taken South Africa to the point of introducing a carbon tax?
International discussions around the role of developing nations in addressing climate change were key. In 2006, the South African cabinet mandated work on the Long-Term Mitigation Scenarios (LTMS), which asked "what if South Africa had to take on international commitments (on emissions)?" and brought together government, business and NGOs to build evidence to answer this question. Many options to reduce emissions where discussed, but a carbon tax was central.
This process highlighted that the economic impact of the carbon tax on GDP would be minor if revenues were recycled appropriately. Impacts of energy price rises on the poor could be offset by returning carbon tax revenues to them.
Treasury built on the LTMS's interest in a carbon tax. Also, there is a dawning realisation in South Africa that collective global action is important to us, as we are very vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. There is an appreciation that our actions on climate change are not a burden, but are fundamentally in South Africa's own national interest. If we don't act, we will struggle to convince others like Australia and the US to do so.
When does the carbon tax start, and how much will it be?
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan announced a carbon tax would be implemented next financial year (2013-2014). A budget review said a "carbon tax will contribute to the global response to mitigate climate change". The plan is to implement the tax at a fairly low level, and then define an increasing price path over time. It is a cautious approach, typical of Treasuries. But this is finally an announcement that a carbon tax will be implemented, which is a major step for a developing country.
The effective level of the tax is not entirely clear, with detailed design still under discussion. However, the headline number is RAND 120 a tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent, which equates to $A14. Another way to think about this is that in "international dollars" (which factor in purchasing parity, based on estimates from the World Bank), the price is about PPP$24 a tonne.
There are also thresholds that exempt some energy-intensive and trade-exposed sectors, and this will decrease the effective tax rate. Then again, the carbon tax increases by 10% per year, from 2013-2019, and exemptions will cease from 2020.
"... the carbon tax has not been a major political issue in South Africa."
Australia's carbon price has various exemptions for emission intensive trade exposed industries (in some cases the effective exception rate is more than 100%). What approach has South Africa taken, and what products and services does the carbon tax cover?
Details are still emerging. The carbon tax has been framed as economy-wide and covers all sectors, but with declining exemptions that effectively lower the rate for several industries. Indicatively, in the first year of the tax, the electricity sector is exempt for 60% of the cost and this exception declines at 10% per year. This is basically the same for other sectors like oil refining, iron and steel, aluminium, agriculture, and coal mining (the exemptions are to cease from 2020).
What other policies is South Africa implementing on climate change and renewable energy?
In advance of the 2011 UN climate summit in Durban, South Africa, the cabinet signed off on the formal climate policy (or white paper). This includes references to the carbon tax, but also sets the national emission targets, sets out that sector carbon targets (or budgets) need to be defined, and starts to put in place the measures needed to measure, report and verify emissions.
The electricity sector in South Africa accounts for nearly half of the country's emissions. The draft 2010-2030 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) for the electricity sector differs from previous IRPs in moving from least-cost as the only criterion to one where carbon reductions are a central element. This is highly significant, and the IRP sees substantial amounts of renewable and nuclear capacity being included in South Africa's previously coal-dominated energy mix.
South Africa is investing heavily in renewable energy. This is seeing a huge scale-up from tens of megawatts (MW) to the government procuring 3725MW of renewable energy in five different rounds. The second round is under way now.
What kind of emissions reductions is South Africa expecting from its carbon laws?
South Africa's commitment to act, formally submitted to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, is to reduce its emissions by 34% below business-as-usual levels by 2020, and by 42% by 2025. This will enable emissions to "peak, plateau and decline". (I should point out that South Africa will genuinely need financial assistance to achieve this.)
Personally, I think this is highly significant. As an energy researcher, I know that it will be challenging for South Africa to turn around an economy based on coal and minerals. Whether it is enough to encourage others to act and restrain global temperature rises to two degrees Celsius (the UN's goal) is another matter.
What has been the nature of political support and opposition to South Africa's carbon price?
The African National Congress has a significant majority in government, and the carbon tax has not been a major political issue in South Africa. There has been the usual debate between NGOs (for) and parts of industry (against) the carbon tax, but one should note that the more foresighted industrial leaders support the proposal, and engage on issues like design of the tax (including recycling of revenues) not outright opposition.
EPA green power leadership award recognises landfill gas project - Biomass Magazine
25 September 2012
By Erin Voegele
The U.S. EPA has presented its 12th annual Green Power Leadership Awards to 24 Green Power Partners and three suppliers for their achievements in advancing the nation's renewable electricity market. Coca-Cola Refreshments USA Inc. was recognized under the on-site generation category for its biogas project, a 6.5 MW combined-heat-and-power (CHP) system located in Atlanta.
According to the EPA, the system began operating in April, and is the fifth-largest system of its kind in the U.S. Fueled by landfill gas, the CHP system supplies electricity, steam and chilled water to Coca-Cola's Atlanta Beverage Plant. Information provided by the EPA notes that the system includes a vacuum-collection system that captures methane from the Hickory Ridge landfill. The CHP plant generates approximately 48 million kWh of electricity annually.
EPA also recognized two power suppliers under the category of Green Power Supplier of the Year. Colorado-based Renewable Choice Energy is a renewable energy and carbon measurements, management and offset firm. The company supplies "Clean Source" renewable energy credits (RECs) from a portfolio of projects that includes biomass facilities, as well as a variety of other renewable energy projects. Atlanta-based Sterling Plant was also recognized for its REC business.
Our 2012 Green Power Leadership Award winners have not only demonstrated commendable civic leadership in their efforts to use renewable energy sources, they've also helped to reduce our carbon footprint and cut back on pollution-all while supporting America's growing renewable energy industry," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "Thanks to their commitment-and the commitment of all of our Green Power Partners-our country is one step closer to a cleaner, more sustainable energy future."
A full list of awardees can be downloaded from the EPA websitehttp://www.epa.gov/greenpower/awards/winners.htm#rene
The facility that supplies power, steam and chilled water to Coca-Cola is one of the largest landfill gas-to-energy systems in the country.
DERM Phase I Extended
26 January 2011
Update: DERM Phase I period has been extended to February 28th! You now have another 4 weeks to get your applications in, however, at this stage - Phase II has not been extended so it also ends on Feb 28th. Contact Mandalay for assistance with your application now (07) 3010 7900 and ask for Paul or Rebecca.
Flood Crisis - We got our feet wet but we were lucky! How can we help you?
17 January 2011
Mandalay Technologies expresses its sympathies and warm wishes to all those effected by the recent flooding events in Queensland and Victoria.
We are pleased to report that whilst South Brisbane was inundated, our Head Office at Hope Street was spared by the barest of margins.We elected to close for a few days to allow our staff time to ensure the safety of their families and friends. Our hearts go out to those that were less fortunate and especially our clients that have faced considerable challenges to their operations during this disaster.
In this time of crisis we stand side by side with all our customers, ready to assist and support wherever we can to alleviate hardship and operational difficulty and help to get your business back up and running to its full potential, as quickly as possible.
We have already assisted many of our customers in their hour of need and are pleased to report that our systems have stood up to these testing circumstances extremely well.
Our office is now back to full functionality.If we can be of any assistance, please contact one of our helpful support team members on (07) 3010 7900
Mandalay approved under DERM Local Buy for both Software and Weighbridges
17 December 2010
In our ongoing efforts to make things easier for you, the customer, we are now able to offer full Hardware provision. This week, we were confirmed as one of only a few companies - who have been approved to provide Weighbridges and Software Solutions for Qld Councils through Local Buy. There is a lot of obligation on waste operators to be prepared for July 1 implementation - its our job to make that task a little bit simpler for you, reduce your risk and deliver outcomes for you.
Talk to your Account Manager or call the office on (07) 3010 7900 for more details.
Whitsunday Regional Council Goes LIVE with Mandalay
01 December 2010
Mandalay Technologies Pty Ltd (Mandalay) is pleased to announce that the Whitsundays quarry located at Foxdale has gone live after an on-site training process that involved both account management and support teams.
The process involved Mandalay taking extracts of current data, determining business procedures, implementing new procedures into the Mandalay platform and setting up the system for the client to use.A full user review to ensure satisfaction and sign off on the successful setup of the new data systems and the production of the correct report procedures, was undertaken before Go Live.
A period of onsite training followed, both in classroom and in a site environment with the users.Further training of administration staff in finance and operations on the reporting that was required was conducted.
Mandalay account manager, Rebecca Mueller, was in attendance for the entire process, in an issues management capacity.This presented an ideal opportunity to further develop relationships with the various stakeholders from the council to ensure that any operational issues that might arise in the future may be quickly and effectively attended to by way of a detailed understanding of the customer and its operation.
The client Project Manager was extremely pleased with the process andwith Mandalays overall ownership of the project.Mandalay was commended on its ability to liaise with the various stakeholders from the council making the Council staffs life a lot easier.
Fulton Hogan - Ex PRS Pilot Sites Go Live
01 December 2010
Mandalay goes Live on the initial ex Pioneer Road Services sites after a compressed analysis and user acceptance process.
After a very short period of user testing and acceptance testing (over 4 weeks) and providing interfacing to their existing batching systems, Mandalay has achieved rollout to two Queensland sites before going ahead with the remaining sites.
There is a degree of complexity to the operational support of these sites, particularly as both operate in an out of hours timeframe and support is required out of normal business hours.
The IT Project Manager of Fulton Hogan, Peter Lambert, was extremely pleased with Mandalays work and its support throughout the initial phase.Mr Lambert had full access to IT development, support and production resources throughout the project and has acknowledged that he felt very confident with the remaining rollout.
A key part of the project is the simplification of training procedures and user procedures for users and a lot of work has been done to build personalized sheets for users to identify and step through their usual working procedures.
The remaining sites are scheduled for an early 2011 rollout.
Whitsunday Regional Council selects Mandalay
26 November 2010
Mandalay Technologies Pty Ltd (Mandalay) is pleased to announce that the Whitsundays Regional Council has approved installation of the Mandalay CS product at their quarry operation located at Foxdale.
After an engagement extending over twelve months, which necessitated Mandalay working with Operations, IT and Finance Teams concurrently, Mandalay was able to successfully demonstrate the viability of its product to a stakeholder group.
The Council made the decision to proceed with the Mandalay installation on the basis of the unique product features, the streamlining of its systems and marked communications enhancements.
A significant number of favourable client references for the Mandalay product and the quality of the service and support that was provided to existing customers, also engendered confidence that Mandalay was the right technology and service partner for their future needs.
Mandalay looks forward to a successful project with the Whitsunday Regional Council and an ongoing working relationship.
Whitsunday Regional Council
Fulton Hogan approves Mandalay to be rolled out to all acquired Pioneer Road Service's Operations
29 October 2010
Mandalay Technologies Pty Ltd (Mandalay) is pleased to announce that Fulton Hogan has made the decision to go ahead with the roll out of the Mandalay solution across their recently acquired Pioneer Road Services (PRS) asphalt sites. This will extend the number of sites using Mandalay within the Fulton Hogan Group to over 80.
Fulton Hogan acquired PRS in 2009 and after a short consolidation process, management have elected to go ahead with the integration of their operational systems.
Mandalay products have been selected to be rolled out across all of their existing and former PRS sites.In so doing, Mandalay has taken full ownership over the extensive installation procedure, including building and managing interfaces to a number of different batching systems and upgrading the hardware on those sites to a uniform and consistent standard.
Mandalay has to cater for a number of changes in the operational interface to meet both the business requirements of Fulton Hogan in the consolidated enterprise.It must do this while minimizing changes, and making the most efficient use of the interface to ensure minimal interruption to the user experience.
Users have been familiar with their existing processes for up to 10 years, so there is a high degree of change management that is required in order to achieve a successful outcome, in this instance.
Mandalay has been selected for its ability to roll out a number of sites, in a short timeframe, across multiple states (previously we have had up to 4 sites going live at the one time).Mandalays enterprise ability was identified as being a key reason in being able to roll out a large number of sites in a short time.
see www.fultonhogan.com.au for more details on their business.
Mackay Regional Council gives the go ahead to Mandalay Small Site Solution
30 September 2010
Mandalay Technologies Pty Ltd (Mandalay) is delighted to announce that Mackay Regional Council has given the green light to a roll out of the Mandalay CS platform across their smaller transfer station sites, in their council area.
Mandalay has worked successfully with and supported the Mackay Regional Council for over four years. Mackay have faced the commercial challenge of being able to capture the data of their transfer stations that operate in the smaller areas, often for a limited amount of time.Some of these transfer stations are part time staffed or not staffed at all.
After a review process, Mandalay were selected to go ahead with a trial, initially of 3 different devices, across a number of their sites, to ascertain which would be effective, before a roll out across the seven remaining transfer stations within the Mackay regional council.
In preparation for the upcoming levy introduction into Queensland, Mackay deemed it was really essential to have the highest quality data, accuracy and realtimeness of that data, so they could make good decisions about where they need to resource and what sort of operational considerations they need to make.
This course of action stands the Mackay Regional Council in a strong position, well prepared to handle the introduction of the levy on 1 July, 2011
Mackay Regional Council
JJ Richards & Son's goes LIVE with Mandalay
02 August 2010
Mandalay Technologies Pty Ltd (Mandalay) is pleased to announce that after successful on site and remote training, they have now gone live on J.J. Richards and Sons Yatala site.
The feedback received from the client, who is Australias largest privately owned waste management company, was that the training and support provided by Mandalay was excellent and that consequently there is a lot of confidence from J.J. Richards and Sons weighbridge users.
The Yatala site manager has confirmed that the client is extremely pleased with the roll out process and Mandalays ability to work with both operational people and the IT team to achieve a successful result that met their timeframes and service expectations.
J.J. Richards and Sons are looking forward to developing further operational efficiencies by utilizing the modules that the Mandalay system offers
JJ Richards & Son's Waste Yatala selects Mandalay
28 May 2010
Mandalay Technologies Pty Ltd (Mandalay) is pleased to announce that J.J. Richards and Sons Pty Ltd, Australias largest privately owned waste management company, has selected Mandalay to roll out CS3 Software to its existing site at Yatala.
J.J. Richards and Sons selected Mandalay for this important project on the basis of proximity of service, the ease of use of Mandalays products by its operators and the support relationship that was offered by Mandalay.
Mandalay has proceeded towards installation and looks forward to going live with this project and an ongoing working partnership with J.J. Richards and Sons.
About J.J. Richards and Sons
J.J. Richards & Sons Pty Ltd is a proudly Australian owned and operated family business with over 75 years experience in the waste management industry.The Company has grown to be Australias largest privately owned waste management company through its philosophy of safety, reliability and excellence in customer service.
Mandalay meets with DECCW re reporting requirements for NSW.
13 February 2010
Representatives from Mandalay Technologies met with the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (DECCW) last Wednesday 10th February to discuss their data capture and reporting requirements for NSW waste facilities.
DECCW is trying to achieve compliant data formats for all waste facilities within the New South Wales areas with the aim of creating a streamlined reporting standard that all councils will have to conform to.
Many New South Wales councils are becoming nervous in the face of these changes as requirements may be difficult to achieve on the small budgets that a lot of the councils have to work with.
In response to the requirements set out by DECCW in the recent meeting Mandalay Technologies has developed a "DECCW Reporting Module" which will allow waste managers to quickly and easily produce compliant reports. A prototype project has been developed and will be available within the coming weeks, and will have the capability to attach to software systems other than Mandalay.
An opportunity exists for councils affected by these DECCW reporting requirements to participate in a trial of the module. For more information please contact Jim O'Keefe on firstname.lastname@example.org or on (07) 3010 7900.
Mandalay's waste management blog featured in Waste Management World online
12 February 2010
The blog is designed to connect people in waste management around Australia and to provide a forum where people can share knowledge and practice, discuss ideas, and debate and comment upon issues affecting the industry.
The full text of the article can be found here: http://www.waste-management-world.com/index.html
Enhancements completed for CS Energy power station
01 February 2010
Mandalay Technologies has successfully installed a series of enhancements to its MTCS software that were developed in partnership with CS Energy for their Swanbank Power Station. The software has been used at CS Energy's Swanbank Power Station for twelve months, and these developments reflect how a detailed knowledge of operations can result in an even greater level of operational effectiveness.
Swanbank Power Station is based just outside Brisbane and supplies enough power for about 1 million homes. The enhancements will make it even easier for the system's users to capture information about the delivery of coal to the site.
Mandalay system successfully installed in Ballina Shire Council
12 January 2010
Mandalay's MTCS waste management software solution was recently installed at Ballina Shire Council's waste management operations.
Ballina Shire is part of the Northern Rivers region of NSW, an area of great beauty and environmental sensitivity. It is becoming increasingly popular as a destination for city-dwellers to find a 'tree change'.
Mandalay's system was installed in order to provide Ballina with accurate and timely waste and recycling data for internal and EPA reporting and levy calculations. The system was adapted to provide specialised reports required by the EPA in the area.
Mandalay Technologies looks forward to a successful working partnership with Ballina Shire.
Mandalay and SITA partnership continues with SAWT facility
18 December 2009
Mandalay Technologies and SITA Environmental Solutions have continued to build on their partnership with the installation of Mandalay Technologies' MTCS data capture system at SITA's new Alternative Waste Treatment Facility (SAWT).
The SAWT facility has been constructed on the old landfill site on Elizabeth Street at Kemps Creek in western Sydney. The facility has the capacity to process 134,000 tonnes of waste annually, with an estimated 78% of this to be diverted from landfill.
The facility had a set of requirements different to many other waste management sites, and Mandalay has worked closely with SITA to ensure that the system seamlessly integrates with their operational and businesses processes.
Mandalay's system is installed in all SITA sites Australia wide.
Mandalay welcomes City of Stirling as a customer
11 December 2009
Mandalay Technologies recently completed the installation of its MTCS data capture and waste management software system at the City of Stirling's waste facility.
Located in the northern suburbs of Perth in WA, the City of Stirling has a population of just under 200,000 people, making it the largest local government area by population in Western Australia.
The City of Stirling has a community goal to become "the world's most sustainable city" by 2031.
Mandalay's system was installed in order to provide the City of Stirling with accurate and timely waste and recycling data for internal and EPA reporting, levy calculations and to assist in strategic planning decisions to reach their sustainability goals.
Mandalay Technologies looks forward to working with the City of Stirling to optimise their waste management operations.
Mandalay's 2009 User Group a resounding success
30 November 2009
Mandalay Technologies' annual user group was held on 26 and 27 of November in Brisbane.
Users from a range of Australian councils attended the 2 day workshop to discuss current and future system functionality and to share ideas and knowledge.
The user group provides a forum for customers to give feedback to Mandalay about its software and service, ensuring that Mandalay keeps its 'finger on the pulse' of its customers' requirements and evolves its data capture system to meet those needs accordingly.
The user group also allowed attendees to learn about the ways people had adapted the system to their specific business processes, picking up tips, tricks and exploring the benefits of the system.
"I have always liked the program but talking with other users has helped - I will now go back and streamline some of our set ups" said one customer.
A range of themes were workshopped, including data capture practice, impending legislation changes and the effect on waste management, and future development plans. Operational issues such as the use of vouchers and Dallas tags, waste classification and tracking methods, EPA reporting requirements, and the impact of CPRS and NGERs were also hotly debated.
Mandalay has identified a gap in the waste management industry - namely the lack of an accessible forum for people in the industry to talk to each other. The user group provided customers with face to face time with the Mandalay team and the opportunity to talk with others about working in waste.
"Being able to talk to other Mandalay users in the area of waste was hugely valuable" said one delegate.
Mandalay plans to hold a series of user group workshops next year around the country to ensure all customers can benefit from this experience.
Councils praised for chemical recycling
20 November 2009
The Board of AgStewardship Australia has praised local government's contribution and support of the drumMUSTER and ChemClear programs in enabling more than 18,000 tonnes of agvet chemical container waste and over 175,000 kg/lt of unwanted or expired hazardous chemicals to be safely diverted from landfill.
"The partnership with local government has been a cornerstone to the success achieved by agribusiness stewardship programs. Without the support and commitment of rural and remote councils the in-roads achieved in managing hazardous waste from primary producers would not have been possible," the Chairman of AgStewardship Australia Limited (AgSAL), Mr Lauchlan McIntosh said after the October Board meeting of the company.
As a signatory to the Industry Waste Reduction Scheme through the auspices of ALGA, local government has participated in the drumMUSTER and ChemClear programs since 1999. Its role has included establishing collection points, promoting the program, organising collections, providing staff to inspect containers and supplying data on the drums collected.
drumMUSTER has supported councils through funding compound construction, inspection labour costs and advertising. Participating councils have also undertaken to use crop production and animal health products in returnable or recyclable containers, or use drumMUSTER participating chemical manufacturers. Over 400 councils participate in the drumMUSTER and ChemClear programs. More information from Karen Gomez at 02 6283 8120.
Article courtesy of Australian Local Government Association (ALGA).
Rising sea levels to impact the waste sector
19 November 2009
Sea level rise is one of the most frightening aspects of global climate change, and last week's Federal Government report on the topic has highlighted there could potentially be a major impact on coastal waste facilities. Hundreds of low-lying landfills may need to be relocated to prepare for the effects of global warming, an exercise that could possibly cost many millions of dollars.
The Climate Change Risks to Australia's Coast: A First Pass National Assessment report prepared by the Department of Climate Change modeled the impact of sea levels rising 900-1,100mm by 2100.
It suggests "at least 41 waste disposal facilities are located within 200m of the coastline" and potentially at risk from the rising oceans. The director consultancy Mike Ritchie and Associates, which was acknowledged for its contribution to the report, points out this figure is only a subset of the 400-600 licensed, operational landfills in Australia.
The DCC report notes there are "possibly several thousand small tips" located in coastal areas. In a preliminary exercise looking at aerial photographs along the Queensland coast, Mike Ritchie identified as many as 200 possible waste sites.
"Many town dumps were located in places that were undesirable or not suitable for community needs, were cheap to procure or required filling," notes the report. "As a result many old dumps are sited in or adjoining flood prone and low-lying lands. Areas abutting mangroves and salt marshes were, for decades, preferred places for the local tip."
"Most state and local governments now prevent the construction of new landfills within 100m of a watercourse. However, there is a large legacy of many tips' and dumps' long closed, but located in areas vulnerable to the future impacts of climate change and sea-level rise."
It is not only abandoned regional facilities that are of concern. There are a number of large facilities, including landfills in Cairns and Brisbane, located in low-lying areas that may be vulnerable to sea level rise and the associated impact of storm surges and erosion.
"Existing clay capping and vegetative cover is unlikely to be able to withstand the erosive power of waves acting directly on the fill batters of a landfill face, especially driven by the power of a tropical cyclone," notes the report.
"Permanent inundation of the base of the landfill could also create significant leachate problems."
The Cairns landfill, for example, is in the finnal stages of its life and is located adjoining low-lying mangroves. The report says "a significant rupture of the landfill cap or walls could see hundreds or thousands of tonnes of materials released back into the environment".
"It is difficult to specify the types of materials disposed into landfills or the quantity that may be released back into the environment by progressive climate change related erosion. It is known, however, that most landfills contain quantities of oil, demolition waste, asbestos, pesticides, plastic and heavy metals fixed into the soil/waste matrix.
"If this were released back to the environment it would constitute a significant environmental hazard."
While it may be possible to prepare the most vulnerable large landfills for a changing climate, the report concedes it "is unclear how many small dumps may exist, for which on site protection may not be cost effective, but may still cause pollution".
"The waste from these tips will need to be removed and relocated to inland landfills or recycled. The cost of relocation would range from thousands of dollars, to many millions depending upon the size of the landfill."
Article from Inside Waste Weekly.
Berriedale houses to be crushed, recycled
16 November 2009
A public housing estate north of Hobart is to be recycled, in a bid to reduce landfill.
Concrete and bricks from the Berriedale Estate will be crushed and used in the foundations of 28 new public housing units on the same site.
The Glenorchy Waste Management Centre's Joe Duncan says other salvaged materials will be sold or recycled, instead of going into landfill.
"Material that won't be directly re-used back in the project will be sent away for recycling, for further processing and recycling, usually for export markets," said Mr Duncan.
"For example the steel gets turned into new steel and it saves on energy and resources from extracting those raw minerals from the ground."
Mr Duncan says the project is a first for Tasmania.
"I've seen an awful lot of it in the mainland, it's picking up quicker and quicker in a lot of the main centres, and I really just wanted to take Glenorchy and put them in front in Tasmania so we could be leading the way for other councils."
The new units will be built using environmentally sustainable designs; four will be for residents with disabilities.
Article courtesy of ABC News.
Honeymoon ends for Garrett's National Waste Policy
12 November 2009
There are some relationships simply doomed to fail, and there was certainly an eerie feeling last week when everyone seemed so darn happy with the Perth meeting of Australia's environment ministers. A more natural balance has now been restored as various groups look through the National Waste Policy in more detail and find the flaws. If you ask the recycling industry's peak voice, there's plenty to find.
CEO of the Australian Council of Recyclers, Rod Welford, said the National Waste Policy trumpeted by the Federal Government contained little innovation and a "snail's-pace timetable". He said it will leave Australia's recycling effort lagging well behind the rest of the world.
"This is a major disappointment for the Australian recycling industry," said Welford, who has previously held the position of environment minister for the Queensland government.
"The [Federal] Government has not yet listened and the policy has all indications of an outdated waste' focussed approach that will do little to boost recycling in Australia or build the industry.
"The 2021 time span for the e-waste strategy' for TV's and computers is well behind world's best practice and will see many thousands of these hazardous products dumped into landfills in the next few years as consumers replace analogue sets with digital.
"I can understand that some might welcome this on the basis that anything is better than nothing,' but no-one should be fooled by the poor overall outcome of this new policy.
"After so much talk for so long, there is no solution to the mountain of tyres left unrecovered or recycled and no impetus for action on other critical issues such as gas bottles and fluorescent lights.
"It's not just about supporting our $12 billion recycling industry, potentially one of Australia's biggest industries, but creating significant social and economic benefits for our country. There is potential for thousands of new green' jobs along with the environmental benefits."
He claims the government still has a "1990s view" of recycling as merely a waste management issue, rather than a major issue for national economic efficiency.
"Australia needs a new national culture where efficient resource use and recycling deliver a dramatic reduction in the 20 million tonnes of valuable resources thrown away into landfills every year.
"Australia needs a forward-thinking approach which focuses on front-end resource efficiency and recycling of materials, not just half-hearted measures to divert waste from landfill."
Article courtesy of Environmental Management News.
Environment ministers form historic agreement for National Waste Policy
06 November 2009
Australia's environment ministers have agreed to a national policy on waste and resource management. The historic agreement took place in Perth at the biannual meeting of the Environment Protection and Heritage Council (EPHC). The National Waste Policy sets the agenda for waste and resource recovery in Australia over the next 10 years, with an overall theme of "less waste and more resources."
According to the EHPC's communique:
"Ministers agreed to a landmark product stewardship framework and announced that televisions and computers would be the first products to be covered by this legislative framework. Under the National Waste Policy the tyre industry is also developing a scheme to increase recycling in Australia of used tyres.
The National Waste Policy was developed based on the body of evidence obtained from a nine month public consultation process together with comprehensive research and analytical work from independent experts. Public consultation included the release of a consultation paper in April 2009 and a draft national waste policy framework in July 2008. 210 submissions were received from industry, community, local government, and other stakeholders; over 420 people participated in discussions around Australia, 499 people/organisations subscribed to the e-news service used as part of the process.
The aims of the National Waste Policy are to:
* avoid the generation of waste; reduce the amount of waste (including hazardous waste) for disposal; manage waste as a resource and ensure that waste treatment, disposal, recovery and reuse is undertaken in a safe, scientific and environmentally sound manner; and
* contribute to the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, energy conservation and production, water efficiency and the productivity of the land.
Waste and resource recovery are matters of community concern - as evidenced by the choice modelling undertaken by Council - and many governments have been pursuing a range of innovative strategies and approaches to manage waste. Many industries also have taken the initiative in promoting whole-of-life-cycle planning for their products. Through the National Waste Policy Ministers seek to enhance, build on and complement these policies and actions at all levels of government and the community.
The National Waste Policy sets directions in six key areas: taking responsibility, improving the market, pursuing sustainability, reducing hazard and risk, tailoring solutions, and providing the evidence. The policy identifies 16 priority strategies that would benefit from a national or coordinated approach.
Read more about this story at Inside Waste Weekly Magazine, the waste management industry's weekly magazine.
National plan needed for e-waste
05 November 2009
When it comes to recycling, Australians are excellent with their household rubbish but seriously dragging the chain when it comes to disposing of computers and mobile phones.
A leading environmental group is pushing for a national recycling plan and it says old televisions and computers, known as e-waste, are the fasting growing problem.
It is almost two decades since the government devised a national policy on recycling.
Green groups want today's meeting of state and federal environment ministers to address the country's mountainous waste once again.
E-waste is increasing by 17 per cent each year and Piers Verstegen, from the Boomerang Alliance, says Australians are not recycling enough.
"We know that in Australia we have a serious waste problem. We've got a problem with electronic waste, we've got a problem with tyres and we've certainly got a problem with bottles and cans," he said.
"When recycling is one of the best ways to reduce carbon emissions and to increase investment and clean jobs in Australia, we need the Federal Government and the states to be taking leadership and taking action in respect of these waste issues."
A number of environmental groups formed the Boomerang Alliance. They want a national recycling scheme so all states and territories can follow it.
While the manufacturers of various goods such as televisions and computers support recycling, the Total Environment Centre's Jeff Angel says many states do not do it.
"Some states don't recycle very much, such as West Australia and Queensland," he said.
"States such as New South Wales have become static and in fact we don't believe will achieve their targets. And the case of Victoria, only in the last year they reported they went backwards on recycling.
"So we have a new round of challenges. We have new types of products like e-waste and batteries, burgeoning numbers of beverage containers, that we really have to start a new recycling push on."
Environmental groups say a national policy is needed to incorporate a container deposit scheme, offering consumers refunds on beverage cans and bottles. South Australia currently recycles more than 80 per cent of its cans and bottles.
Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett says today's meeting in Perth will discuss all options.
"I think we've got an obligation to look at the growing piles of e-waste," he said.
"It's really accelerating at a very rapid rate. I believe that we've got the opportunity to do something constructive and positive here which hasn't been done before.
But we're going to have to have a really thorough and what I expect to be pretty engaged discussion about that when we sit down in Perth."
Article courtesty of ABC News.
Victorian landfill levy tipped to jump
03 November 2009
Victoria is poised to ramp up landfill levies, with figures of $30-45/tonne doing the rounds and an official announcement tipped within a fortnight. The speculation has sparked a flurry of last minute lobbying as various groups attempt to ensure Victoria's market instrument is sharper than the blunt NSW tool. The big question, however, is if any increase will actually get past John Brumby's Cabinet in the current economic environment.Industry scuttlebutt has for several months suggested a levy of $30-50 was being considered, and a range of possible announcement dates were floated. There is now an industry buzz, however, that mainstream media coverage in the Australian Financial Review last week has escalated pressure for an official response.
EPA Victoria did not confirm any details when questioned by Inside Waste.
Victoria's levies currently stand at $9 for municipal waste and $15 for non-municipal, and have not changed for at least 18 months. With little doubt they are set for a large increase very soon, industry is now scrambling to try and ensure whatever is put in place is better targeted than the hefty $58.80/tonne NSW landfill levy, which has been widely criticised as too blunt.
Industry sources widely agree the numbers now being discussed in Victoria are $30 and $45 per tonne, although no one is quite certain whether these are separate figures for municipal and non-municipal waste, or a range being considered for a single levy.
The local government sector will be pushing hard for full hypothecation of any levy it pays back into waste programs, and has support on this from environmental groups including Environment Victoria. They are concerned about the government getting addicted to extra cash - at least $117 million a year at $30/t - and becoming less keen to reduce waste to landfill in the future.
Another flurry of last minute lobbying surrounds the question of rebates for recyclers. While a high landfill level will theoretically see recyclers gain an advantage as more material is diverted toward them, operators commonly find 20-30% of what they process cannot be recycled and must be sent back to landfill - meaning their operating costs climb as levies increase.
After years of hand wringing on this issue, recyclers have finally found some common ground, backing an idea that landfill levies be rebated back to them at a level based on how efficiently they divert material from landfill. A facility achieving a higher recycling rate would pay a lower levy on their residual wastes.
While recyclers and environment groups might be on the same page calling for rebates, however, other voices - especially from the landfill camp - have pointed out the system would be an administrative nightmare and highly vulnerable to gaming. For example, dodgy recyclers could potentially make a windfall running some waste through their facilities to take advantage of the lower levy.
While there is still some industry argy-bargy over fine details of how levies should be applied, the clear message from all camps is there needs to be some certainty restored to the Victorian market; after months of speculation and expectation of significant changes, investment decisions are still on hold as industry players wait to find out just what the playing field will look like.
Inside Waste understands the hold up is at cabinet level and in large part due to tension between Environment Minister Gavin Jennings - who is keen to forge ahead to improve waste diversion rates - and Premier John Brumby, who remains concerned about introducing a new "tax".
It wouldn't be the first time Brumby backed economic conservatism over environmental reform. As the state's Treasurer he refused to sign off on the $20 million injection to help the Western Metropolitan Regional Waste Management Group get an alternative waste treatment facility underway in 2004.
Article courtesy of Environmental Management News.
'Track Trash' project to raise awareness of enviro impact of rubbish
15 October 2009
Waste management software on a micro scale?
A team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the USA has recently begun a project called Trash Track, which aims to provoke people to think more about what they throw away.
The project is based on the premise that if people knew exactly where their rubbish was going, and how much energy it took to 'make it disappear' from their garbage bins, it might make them think twice about buying heavily packaged or 'disposable' goods such as bottled water and disposable razors.
Dr David Moy, in a post in Mandalay's waste management blog A Good Sense of Waste, talks about the importance of education around consumption, stating that "it is my view that the global focus on carbon as the cause of climate change is largely misplaced. The focus should be on the cause - namely the rapidly increasing global consumption of materials, goods and services".
Trash Track relies on the development of special electronic tags that will track different types of waste on their journey through the disposal systems of New York and Seattle. The project will monitor the patterns and costs of urban disposal and create awareness of the impact of trash on our environment - revealing the last journey of our everyday objects.
Read more about MIT's project on their website.
Former Waste Management Coordinator joins Mandalay team
16 September 2009
Mandalay is pleased to announce the appointment of Olivia Robertson to the Mandalay team.
Prior to joining the Mandalay team, Olivia was the Waste Management Coordinator for Scenic Rim Regional Council and Beaudesert Shire Council. Olivia has 10 years experience in Victoria and Queensland local government in Waste, Public Health, Environmental Compliance and Pollution Prevention.
Prior to her work in waste, Olivia was part of the Disaster Management Reponse and Recovery team in Waste, Public Health and Compliance for the Queensland Government, rolling out the public health response to Cyclone Larry. Olivia's areas of interest lie in landfill management, CPRS, environmental compliance, cleaner production and eco-efficiency. She is currently completing a Masters in Environmental Engineering.
Olivia joins the Mandalay team as Product Manager - Waste Management, bringing her extensive knowledge of local government waste operations and waste management challenges to her role.
Size no barrier when it comes to performance as Bundaberg Regional Council takes out award
07 September 2009
Bundaberg Regional Council has won 'Runner Up' (joint) in the 2009 National Landfill Excellence Awards at the recent WMAA conference in Hobart.
The award, established by WMAA in 2007, showcases the best landfills around the nation in order to better inform the industry and general public, and to give credit to exceptional landfill sites.
Bundaberg Regional Council received the award because of "the extended design and approval process of their Cedars Road Landfill", which resulted in a technologically advanced and environmentally conscious site, exceeding EPA standards.
Judging was based on criteria which ranged from liner design to resource recovery. Entries were judged by three respected independent experts: Prof David Moy of TechSearch; John Cook of John B Cook and Associates, and Trevor Hockley of TJH Management Services.
It was Bundaberg's extended community consultation,pre-construction, that contributed to the their winning the award, as well as their innovative solutions to odour, noise and dust issues, such as implementing mesh over leachate ponds to address wildelife concerns, and maintaining a a small tipping face.
James Stanfield, Manager of Waste and Recycling, Health and Environmental Services, said: "it's very exciting to be the first council-owned and operated facility to win such an award. We're a comparatively small facility but we're operating to the same environmental standards as the big city facilities. It's proof that size and location are no barrier to operating properly - you just need imagination, hard work and good leadership."
Mandalay is proud to be working with Bundaberg Regional Council, providing waste management software and services to help them deliver best practice waste management operations.
SITA named waste company of 2009
01 September 2009
SITA Environmental Solutions has won the inaugural 2009 Frost & Sullivan Asia Pacific Industrial Technologies Award for Waste Management Company of the Year, following months of research that measured growth in revenues, market share, and leadership in new technologies.
SITA was recognised for demonstrating a long-term commitment to enhancing waste management services in the region, notably through the application of its SAWT Advanced Resource Recovery technology to divert waste from landfill and reduce carbon emissions.
The annual Frost & Sullivan awards were announced at a gala dinner in Singapore. The judging panel of leading industry analysts in the inaugural waste category highlighted the fact SITA is active in community environmental programs, and its customer base is growing stronger every year.
"We are honoured to accept this prestigious award, which recognises the success of our company's strategy to invest in innovative and sustainable advanced resource recovery solutions," said MD Eric Gernath.
"It sends a clear message that SITA's projects and practices are the new benchmark in the Asia-Pacific region for recycling and waste management.
"We will continue to invest in new technologies and services to deliver long-term environmental, economic and social benefits for our customers and communities," he said.
Over the past year the company has commissioned two of Australia's larger resource recovery facilities, including the $50 million SAWT advanced mechanical biological treatment (MBT) composting facility in Sydney that will divert 68% of municipal solid waste and 94% of source-separated organics from landfill.
In Western Australia SITA recently commissioned its BioVision Advanced MBT composting facility, an $80 million investment that services seven metropolitan councils in the Mindarie Regional Council area, including the City of Perth. The facility retrieves and processes up to 70% of waste as recovered materials back into the economy, with the organic products redistributed for the local horticultural and agricultural markets.
SITA Australia chairman Philippe Maillard said, "it is very satisfying to be working in a group dedicated to improving the sustainability of human activities across the globe".
"SITA successfully competed against some of Asia Pacific's leading waste management companies and this award recognises the sum of all parts of SITA's business, and reflects our expertise in delivering the lifecycle of waste management solutions.
"It is also testament to our success in building outstanding relationships with our customers and our commitment to a broader environmental strategy," he said.
Article courtesy of Inside Waste Weekly.
Mandalay is proud to work with SITA's statewide and national operations to provide data capture and waste management software and solutions and partner with them as they continue to lead the way in best practice operations.
Upgrade safety, urges trucking guru
18 August 2009
The release of new figures on the number of fatal truck crashes in Australia suggest companies that operate heavy rigid trucks must urgently upgrade their safety procedures, said chairman of the Australian Trucking Association Trevor Martyn. The number of fatal accidents is on the rise, especially in the 60-80km/h speed zones around urban and semi-urban areas - which is where waste trucks are most active.
Figures released by the Federal Infrastructure Department show there were 90 fatal crashes and 95 fatalities involving heavy rigid trucks in 2008, compared to 78 fatal crashes and 83 fatalities in 2007 - that is a 15% increase in the number of deaths.
Queensland and Western Australia recorded the highest increases in the number of fatal crashes involving heavy rigid trucks. In Queensland, these crashes more than doubled from 10 in 2007 to 21 in 2008; in Western Australia, they increased from 10 in 2007 to 17 in 2008.
The growing fatality list in this class of truck comes despite a fall in the number of fatal accidents in the articulated truck category - in this class there were 130 fatal crashes and 150 fatalities in 2008, compared to 145 fatal crashes and 177 fatalities in 2007.
Pointing out that even one fatal crash is too many, Martyn said the increasing death toll for heavy rigid vehicles is totally unacceptable.
"Every company that uses heavy rigid trucks needs to take a long, hard look at their safety systems. If they don't have safety systems, they need to put them in place - fast."
He said companies particularly need to have:
- procedures to make sure their drivers are fit for duty when they start work;
- systems to train their staff and drivers properly, with regular safety reminders;
- systems to guarantee their trucks are maintained safely; and
- realistic run schedules so drivers are not under pressure to speed or run risks in order to meet their timetables.
"You don't have to be a big company to put measures like these in place. As part of the ATA's commitment to safety, we run our TruckSafe program so every company can meet these objectives," he said.
Companies who join the program have to meet strict safety standards, and are audited regularly. Martyn claims independent statistics show companies in the TruckSafe program are about twice as safe as non-accredited companies.
He also urged governments to take action to reduce the number of truck crashes, including under the next version of the National Road Safety Strategy, due to take effect from 2011.
"More than 70% of the heavy rigid truck crashes in 2008 were multiple vehicle accidents. A substantial number would have been in urban areas," he said.
"As part of building a safer transport system, governments need to build urban roads that allow trucks and cars to drive safely together, with well-planned intersections, right turn lanes long enough for trucks, and reduced speed limits in areas where many trucks turn across the traffic.
"There also needs to be better education for motorists, because trucks handle very differently to their cars. It's essential that motorists do not attempt to cut in front of a truck, or attempt to overtake one when it's turning."
Article from Inside Waste Weekly
Landfill Economics 103
18 August 2009
The nine-hole Ridge Golf Course has opened on the site of the old Lucas Heights landfill in Sydney's Sutherland Shire Council, part of an $83 million sporting complex funded by the NSW Government and operator of the former landfill, WSN Environmental Solutions. WSN CEO Ken Kanofski said the project shows a landfill's economic life can be viewed in terms of three cycles - quarrying, filling, and post-closure reuse.
NSW Deputy Premier and Environment Minister Carmel Tebbutt was on hand for the grand opening last Friday, along with the Member for Menai, Alison Megarrity.
"The new golf course is the latest 'jewel in the crown' of The Ridge Sports Complex, providing yet another recreational opportunity for our community to enjoy. It is a high-quality asset that all local residents can be proud of," said Megarrity.
"I want to thank all of those who have been involved in this project since it was originally proposed more than a decade ago."
The old Lucas Heights I landfill was operated by WSN (formerly Waste Service NSW), between 1976 and 1987. The golf course was part of an agreement in 1996 between the NSW Government, WSN and Sutherland Council, which involved extensive community consultation, especially with the many sporting groups in the area.
Kanofski told Inside Waste that while many of WSN's sites have pre-existing commitments to be rehabilitated for community use at the end of their useful lives, other landfill operators could find their old sites do have a commercial value once they are suitably stabilised - especially if they plan their facilities and their closure well.
Transpacific Industries, which is forced to disclose more information than most landfill operators due to its public listing on the ASX, has repeatedly talked up the potential value of its land assets once old landfills have been rehabilitated. However, the economics of closing, rehabilitating and reusing a waste site are uncertain to say the least, and financial analysts have repeatedly questioned TPI about some of the figures it uses.
In a general sense, however, Kanofski agrees that, "quite often there is good use that [old landfills] can be put to".
While building on a landfill itself is highly problematic and will often not be an economically viable option, the real value of a well rehabilitated site could be in redeveloping the surrounding buffer zones and using the old landfill itself as "open space" in the form of a sporting field or nature park. The size of the buffer zone varies from landfill to landfill, but in many cases could represent a significant tract of land.
In terms of the landfill itself, putrescible sites require ongoing control systems for gas and leachate - the Ridge site includes a gas generation facility able to power 16,000 homes - but Kanofski points out "that doesn't mean you can't use the site for some purposes - it just means you have to have ongoing [management] integrated into that use...[and] they can quite happily coexist".
So can a well planned site actually generate value for the operator, or will ongoing management costs cancel out any potential economic returns? Kanofski said this will vary from site to site, but there is certainly potential for a return. He talks about a landfill site "having potentially three economic lives".
It starts life as a quarry, with valuable material extracted from the earth to make a hole. The site then has a life as a landfill, where operators charge to fill the hole back up with the surrounding community's waste. The "after life" stage can include some sort of development on the site.
In terms of planning to get the greatest "after life" value from a site, Kanofski recommends any operator setting up a new site should consider some key engineering design features: "high standard gas and leachate infrastructure right from the word go, good quality lining so you don't have migration issues... [and] good compaction and space utilisation so you have less movement in the landfill and less subsidence afterwards".
There is obviously a shorter economic dead-zone between closing the gates to new waste and being able to reuse the site if operators take waste that doesn't take 30-50 years to break down. With a current push on by some resource recovery advocates to follow Europe and ban unstablised organics from landfill disposal, the "after life" economics of a shorter remediation period could be a key attraction to building advanced waste treatment facilities.
WSN is following a similar model at its Jack's Gully Ecolibrium site, where waste will be run through its ArrowBio AWT and only the stabilised residual will end up in landfill after all the resources have been recovered.
Interestingly, the official press release from the NSW Government about the golf course opening includes a line that the Lucas Heights site, "will further enhance its sustainability credentials, with WSN planning to build a new alternative waste treatment (AWT) plant that will divert waste from landfill".
As reported by Inside Waste in May, Sydney's St George Region of Councils have called for expression of interest to build an AWT in the region, and the Lucas Heights site is tipped as a front runner.
While WSN has reportedly already lodged a development application to build an AWT at the site, it does not have the St George contract in the bag just yet - the council grouping received five EOIs before its closing date, and is currently working through a competitive tendering process. Timing on the final outcome is unclear.
Article from Inside Waste Weekly.