Staff Writer

Keeping up with the current

Keeping up with the current

The EV’s market penetration may be a little bit behind – back in 2010, industry experts said some 10%-20% of the market would have turned electric by now but in reality, this is closer to 1% – but Manco Environmental is ready for the inevitable evolution, launching its 100% electric Tom Cat 8, EV10, 8m3 rear loading compactor.

The first units were deployed in September and Manco sales manager Ryan Black told Inside Waste that while the evolution of electric trucks will take some time given the sheer mass that needs to be dealt with, battery and control technology have come a long way to the point where they are now sufficient to allow a reasonable daily workload on one charge for waste trucks ranging in the five-tonne to 12-tonne medium gross vehicle mass (GVM) range. Read more

SENG conference: changing climate, changing engineers

SENG conference: changing climate, changing engineers

The conference’s first keynote speaker, manager climate monitoring Australian Bureau of Meteorology Dr Karl Braganza, set the scene with his state of the climate address. He highlighted Australia’s inadequate investment in mitigating and adapting to heat, fires, storms and floods, particularly as extreme weather events are likely to continue to increase in frequency and severity with continuing patterns of climate change.

“We have to move our paradigm, we can’t be in a reactive space much longer,” said Braganza.  Read more

Engaging 'free riders' on APCO's to-do list

Engaging ‘free riders’ on APCO’s to-do list

Discussions around the National Environment Protection (Used Packaging Materials) Measure’s (NEPM) reporting and enforcement requirements identified the impact of ‘free riders’ – those not paying an adequate share – as a key issue which needs addressing.

APCO CEO Brooke Donnelly told Inside Waste this will require developing “a co-ordinated approach to identify and engage those liable parties who are not currently meeting their obligations under the NEPM”. Such an approach is expected to be agreed to in early 2018. Read more

Fuji Xerox APAC leading the way for sustainable tech businesses

Fuji Xerox APAC leading the way for sustainable tech businesses

The award marks the company’s second consecutive win in the same category, strengthening its sustainability scorecard and aligning itself closer to the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The achievement highlights the company’s high standards in its full product life-cycle management across its 11 operating companies in the region – Australia, China (including Hong Kong and Taiwan), Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand – to achieve zero landfill, zero pollution and zero illegal disposal. Read more

China's 'National Sword' strikes recycling blow?

China’s ‘National Sword’ strikes recycling blow?

For Australia, a reasonable proportion of the recovered paper and plastic (ABS estimated 40% and 50% respectively in 2011) is exported. China is our main export market for recovered materials with ABS stats showing 76% of paper and 88% of plastic exported goes directly or via Hong Kong to China.

Australia is undergoing a renaissance of recycling as a backdrop to China’s policy, with consumer awareness and expectations on the rise (courtesy of Four Corners and War on Waste). Governments are also part of this drive to seek higher diversion rates. Read more

Catch Basin Insert improves water quality by 80%

Catch Basin Insert improves water quality by 80%

Urban Stormwater Technologies (UST) will be exhibiting its at-source stormwater filtration device, the Catch Basin Insert (CBI), at the Boomerang Alliance’s Beyond Plastic Pollution: Pathways to Cleaner Oceans conference in Sydney at the end of the month.

UST director Craig Rothleitner told Inside Waste the CBI offers a simple but complete disruption to the waste streams that are being dumped in the world’s waterways via stormwater drainge systems.

“I have literally been in thousands and thousands and thousands of drains, and it’s really quite horrific what’s going on. Globally, stormwater is seen as a contaminated water waste and is taken to wetland, lakes, rivers and ocean outfalls as quickly and efficiently as possible with no regard for water quality,” Rothleitner said.

“For every 20 drains being serviced [by us] 10 times a year, we are averaging somewhere between 1.2 and 1.5 tonnes of waste per year. If you put that into context for say Perth, I think there’s somewhere around 100,000 drains emptying into the Swan River. That’s a lot of tonnage of waste. And it’s a lot of tonnage of waste that is recontaminating because it’s still breaking down. We need to stop it getting into the water in the first place.”

Before starting his company Rothleitner spent 10 years working in the dredging industry which he said gave him unique insight into the problems facing our waterways.

“When we went and deepened harbours, the first couple of metres of mud that we always pulled up was this black rotten vegetation – [the same black rotten vegetation] that I’m seeing at the bottom of drains. It’s a cycle that has been going since stormwater systems have been installed,” he said.

“The vegetation breaks down into nutrients. Governments are blaming farmers around the world [for nutrient pollution related to agricultural run-off], but from what we’ve seen, it’s got nothing to do with the farmers. Yes, they are adding something to waterways, but the majority is coming out of stormwater. It is incredible.”

UST’s Catch Basin Insert comes in a range of standard sizes to fit side entry pits, grate drains and round or semi-round drains, but can also be customised to suit any drain. A patent-pending filtration material lines the computer-made basket and support frame which is constructed from 316 marine grade stainless steel.

Mechanical filtration captures the bulk of the waste; anything from vegetation to cigarette butts, plastics to human hair, sand to sediment, “you name it, it’ll collect it,” Rothleitner said. But a further filtration process occurs utilising the very waste that has been captured.

“When the waste enters the drain, the CBI material slows the water down just a little bit. What that’s doing is turning dissolved particulates, into undissolved particulates. It’s already scientifically known that sediment between 63 micron and 300 micron, acts like a natural absorbent ball that absorbs nutrients, hydrocarbons and heavy metals. Our device is not only capturing the bulk of the waste, removing 95% of it at the opening, but the waste that it’s capturing is then further filtering the water on the way through.”

According to Rothleitner, unofficial trials conducted by Singapore’s Public Utilities Board showed the CBI improved drain’s outgoing water quality by 80%. In Australia, Perth’s Hillarys Boat Harbour is one site that has been using CBIs for six years.

“[Hillarys Boat Harbour] has big impermeable carparks full of cars everyday – 2700 bays – so every time it rained up there, the marina was like a big oil slick. We found if we put our device in, and then put another tray underneath it with a product called Mycalex, we’re actually polishing the water of hydrocarbons and heavy metals at the same time. So in the six years we’ve been there they’ve never once had an oil slick in the marina,” Rothleitner said.

In addition to showcasing the CBI, Rothleitner will also be exhibiting his recently developed plastics removal device, which uses conveyor technology to remove plastic from the ocean. UST is also currently working on trials using the same CBI material as a sediment control device for the farming industry.

You can catch Craig Rothleitner speaking about his waterway management technology at 3.25p.m. on day two of the Boomerang Alliance’s inaugural Beyond Plastic Pollution: Pathways to Cleaner Oceans conference held in Sydney’s Darling Harbour from October 30 to November 1.


Sydney's Inner West Council achieves record divestment from fossil fuels

Sydney’s Inner West Council achieves record divestment from fossil fuels

That claim is made in regards to “clean, green investments”. The council has strongly pursued divestment from fossil fuel investments; a strategy which draws from campus culture (universities were famously early adopters of divestment policies) and shareholder activism (retail investors challenging the Adani mine are a recent high-profile example).

It may appear to some a contentious policy for government at any level to take, given that divestment is often seen as a bottom-up approach to sustainability; and particularly given that local governments in NSW are already tightly regulated in the forms of investment available to them. But others have argued that divested funds allow serious investors to speak from a competitive advantage; and that they return better financial results, with a stronger risk profile. Read more

Tempus Energy and Origin to trial flexible energy demand in SA

Tempus Energy and Origin to trial flexible energy demand in SA

The partnership was set up through the California Clean Energy Fund’s (CalCEF) Free Electrons initiative, which is a global energy start-up accelerator program that connects the world’s most promising start-ups with leading utility companies to co-create the future of energy and innovative customer solutions.

Tempus Energy’s technology uses artificial intelligence and smart algorithms to control and optimise when these flexible assets use energy, reducing costs, aligning with abundant renewables and increasing grid stability. This cutting edge technology helps overcome the intermittency challenges of renewables and turns it into a more effective, reliable and financially valuable energy source.  Read more

TIC Mattress Recycling putting waste to bed

TIC Mattress Recycling putting waste to bed

With those volumes, you’d expect serious efforts towards tackling the problem. But recycling mattress is no easy matter. It’s traditionally been done manually, a procedure that’s labour-intensive and can expose workers to toxic dust and cutting hazards.

So it’s no surprise that their plant featuring state-of-the-art, automated processing machinery has garnered TIC Mattress Recycling a nomination for the Victorian Premier’s Sustainability Awards. The TIC Group has been providing inventory, supply chain and logistics solutions for more than two decades, but a mattress recycling initiative is fresh territory for them – and it’s pretty groundbreaking stuff for Australia, too. Read more

Inside Waste (Oct): Taking down the barriers

Inside Waste (Oct): Taking down the barriers

The scheme has undergone a few changes, from new co-regulatory arrangements coming on board as others left, to target changes in 2014 to solve some of the early teething problems, to implementation of the Australian Standard 5377. However, over the last two years, the scheme has not met its targets and as the federal Department of Environment embarks on its review of the Product Stewardship Act 2011, which established the NTCRS, key industry players have come forward with changes they’d like to see made to the scheme. Read more