WA group seeks landfill alternatives

Tuesday, 16 July, 2019

WA group seeks landfill alternatives

As the nation continues to recognise waste management as an essential provision by local councils, waste processing innovations are emerging and developing rapidly. In planning waste management strategies and infrastructure, it is critical that local governments and relevant stakeholders consult industry to identify opportunities for adoption and regional rollout.

Western Australia’s South West Regional Waste Group (SWRWG) has called on the commercial waste management sector to submit proposals on waste management strategies and technologies that will divert the region’s waste from landfill. In addition to reducing the volume of waste sent to landfill, the group aims to explore technologies that could turn waste into valuable resources.

Securing feedback from the private sector on how companies can optimise current and future waste market conditions is an important step to inform future decision-making. Local governments are striving to align their waste management approaches with the state government, moving towards a circular economy where waste generated from one business becomes a resource for another business.

Submissions from the commercial waste sector will identify operational and commercial arrangements and will allow the SWRWG to gather technical/technological information associated with market conditions, revenue/cost recovery models and the allocation of risk. The project also aims to define a proposed project’s size, capacity and scope, with provision of technical requirements, financial models and potentially a preliminary contract structure. It is hoped that this stage will identify the economies of scale and how best to leverage these for the benefit of regional waste management practices.

In addition to sounding out the waste industry, the SWRWG will review regional waste management practices. This will involve comparing current waste and resource recovery issues against new technologies or management techniques. The capacity of waste management infrastructure will be assessed against demand, and strategies for ongoing waste stream processing will be addressed.

An alternative to landfill

The Kwinana Waste to Energy Project is one example of a landfill-free initiative, currently in progress, that will thermally treat waste to generate about 36 MW of baseload power for export to the grid each year. The ARENA-backed project will use moving grate technology to process approximately 400,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste, commercial and industrial waste and/or pre-sorted construction and demolition waste per annum, converting recovered energy into steam to produce electricity.

The thermal waste-to-energy facility is expected to divert approximately 25% of Perth’s post-recycling rubbish from landfill sites. In addition, the plant will recover and recycle metals, and re-use the remaining ash residue as construction materials.

Solutions such as this are what the group is striving for.

Project information memorandum

SWRWG has drafted a project information memorandum (PIM) to assist prospective technology and service providers. The group hopes that responses to the PIM will:

  • identify suitable landfill-diverting waste management technologies that can deployed on a regional scale in the South West of Western Australia;
  • explain the technical and operational aspects of each of these technologies so that SWRWG can form a layman’s understanding of the technology in question;
  • investigate and advise SWRWG on the proposed technology’s commercial, environmental and social viability, sustainability, practicality and cost-effectiveness;
  • investigate and advise SWRWG on options for legal/ownership structures and/or business models and/or commercial arrangements between SWRWG (or its individual members) and an operator or supplier for implementing the recommended solution.

A review of the current waste processing and management market, as well as the PIM, is available here.

Industry suggestions should be put together as a written submission and emailed to Altwaste@busselton.wa.gov.au for the attention of Nick Edwards.

Submissions are open until 30 November 2019.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/ponsulak

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