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ACT government to upgrade infrastructure services at landfill sites to reduce greenhouse gas

The ACT government has appointed LGI Limited to help reduce the amount of greenhouse gas from landfill.

Announced in late September, the company will deliver gas infrastructure services to capture an estimated 34,900 megawatt hours each year.

Minister for Recycling and Waste Reduction, Chris Steel, said that would be enough to power 5,370 homes.

“Methane gas is generated when organic waste in landfill decomposes.

“If properly managed, gas can be extracted and used to generate electricity, significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions at the same time,” Steel said.

The ACT government has been capturing methane emission at its landfill since 1997, but the 15-year contract with LGI Limited will result in infrastructure upgrades at Mugga Lane landfill.

Steel said that will include at least four power generators at Mugga Lane, each with the capacity of producing 1.06 megawatts of energy per hour.

LGI Limited will also install an enclosed flare at the old West Belconnen landfill to manage the safe destruction of gas onsite, as the volumes are not enough to provide a commercially viable quantity for sale.

Steel said that in the longer term the ACT government is examining ways to reduce organic waste, as more than 140,000 tonnes is going to landfill each year.

“Around one-third of material in ACT household rubbish bins is food and garden waste.

“The ACT government is planning for a food organics collection service to divert this waste from landfill and instead turn it into valuable organic compost products,” Steel said.

Councils across the country have been making changes to reduce the amount of food waste in their jurisdictions.

Lake Macquarie City Council implemented a Food Organics and Garden Organics (FOGO) service, which has been successfully running for more than a year.

The council reduced the amount of waste landfilled from its domestic waste collection service by 22,380 tonnes – a 26 per cent decrease compared to the year before.

The city’s per capita waste to landfill fell to 309kg per person in 2018/19 – a decrease of 111kg per person compared to 2017/18 before the FOGO service commenced.

The Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group (MWRRG) released a guide in 2018, to provide guidance to local government on incorporating food into garden waste collection.

MWRRG stated it is considered the most cost effective option for councils and residents to deal with organic waste.

In 2016-17, councils in metropolitan Melbourne sent an estimated 878,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste to landfill. Food was estimated to make up more than 36 per cent of landfilled garbage, and garden organics a further eight per cent.

The guide published by MWRRG is relevant to other states too as it suggests components for designing, introducing and maintaining a FOGO service.