Latest News, News, Waste & Resource Recovery, Western Australia

How food scraps will power 3,200 WA homes

Local food retailers and restaurants in the WA City of Cockburn are encouraged to apply to join the first free commercial food waste trial in Western Australia.

The Council has launched the three-month commercial food waste trial to determine sustainability and environmental benefits for possible future adoption as a permanent service.

It has been underwritten by a $18,257 State Government Community and Industry Engagement grant, with 20 local businesses already signed up for weekly collections by a City of Cockburn 1.7 tonne waste truck until the beginning of November.

Partnership to produce biofertiliser

The trial is a partnership with Richgro, with the food waste being delivered for processing in its anaerobic digestion plant in Jandakot to help produce high-quality biofertiliser. Excess electricity via methane capture from the plant, is then fed back into the grid.

According to City of Cockburn Waste Education Coordinator Clare Courtauld, up to 50-60 business could be accepted in the temporary free trial, depending on the waste type generated.

“Food waste is a nutrient-rich resource that if diverted from landfill, where its decomposition creates potent greenhouse gases, can be used to produce valuable biogas for electricity generation, compost and soil conditioners.

“The trial will help the City determine the benefits of a commercial food waste collection service to reduce costs and improve resource recovery levels. Results will be analysed and reported to Council for a decision on future implementation if benefits of the trial can be proven,” she added.

Twenty businesses signed up

About 20 local businesses have joined in the trial so far, including Hamilton Hill based community food centre Second Harvest.

Richgro CEO Tim Richards said the plant’s capacity to process 137 tonnes of commercial and industrial organic waste per day, or 50,000 tonnes per year, had enabled more than 300,000 tonnes of waste to be diverted from landfill to date.

“Now that we have two 1.5MW generators, we can generate a maximum of 57,600KW per day, helping us to power the equivalent of 3,200 homes,” Richards said.

“By producing an average 60,000 litres of biofertiliser per day, we are powering homes right here in the City of Cockburn as well as the Richgro site running on green energy.”

Cockburn food waste-producing businesses that want to apply for the trial are provided with training, 120 or 240 litre food waste bins and compostable bin liners.

The City’s waste team will monitor the trial and any contamination, to ensure delivery of a clean product to Richgro.

To find out more about this trial or to apply, visit the City’s website. Applications will be assessed within five days.