$10 million for future waste management

Tuesday, 12 August, 2008

Victoria’s waste management system is destined for a high-tech makeover through a $10 million initiative as part of the Brumby government’s 2008 Innovation Statement, according to Environment and Climate Change Minister Gavin Jennings.

The Victorian Advanced Resource Recovery Initiative (VARRI) will explore the use of new waste recovery technology to process Melbourne’s waste into clean energy and product such as compost.

“This will help ensure Melbourne meets its target of recovering 65% of municipal waste by 2014. We want to cut the amount of organic waste going to landfill, cut greenhouse emissions from landfill methane and create new products for sale,” Jennings said.

“Sending valuable resources such as food and organic waste to landfill is a lost opportunity for the environment and the economy. In landfill, wastes decompose and produce methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide."

The first phase of VARRI will involve working with the Metropolitan Waste Management Group, local government and the waste industry to explore options for new technology to recover valuable resources and cut waste going to landfill.

The VARRI process will look for the best technologies and the most effective way to introduce them. The business case will kick-start establishment of alternative waste facilities for metropolitan Melbourne and the aim is for construction of two facilities to start by 2010.

The VARRI announcement follows the release of the draft Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Strategic Plan.

“The Brumby government recognises the need to adopt a holistic approach in dealing with waste. New waste technology has a big part to play if we are to meet the targets set down in Victoria’s Towards Zero Waste strategy,” Jennings said.

“Submissions to the draft plan call for cooperation between local government and the waste industry to find the best model for establishing the new technology and facilities."

Metropolitan Waste Management Group chair Dick Gross said the announcement to undertake VARRI was an exciting development that will see a new approach to waste management.

“While Victorians are busy finding ways to cut their carbon emissions, many people don’t realise the link between waste and greenhouse gas. Implementing new technology to recycle organic waste won’t only reduce the need for new landfill, it will also help Victoria reduce its greenhouse emissions,” Gross said.


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