Why Coles' plastic bag backflip leaves us worse off than before

Why Coles’ plastic bag backflip leaves us worse off than before

This unprecedented move is in response to strong backlash by customers who are struggling to switch to reusable bags.

Read more: Why plastic bag bans triggered such a huge reaction

We know that offering free lightweight plastic bags causes excessive plastic use. We also know that banning lightweight bags can increase the use of heavier plastic bags (such as bin liners). Coles’ decision brings out the worst of both worlds: giving out heavier plastic bags for free. Read more

Incinerators for waste disposal

Incinerators for waste disposal

Incinerators work by combusting waste thus creating an exothermic reaction between the waste and oxygen from the air. The end products of combustion are molecularly stable despite the fuel source (waste in this instance) differing in element such as gas, wood, coal, liquid petrol, municipal solid waste, medical waste, or hazardous waste).

Well-designed incinerators have a flame zone that is hot enough to break down organic and inorganic molecules in order for reactions to occur between volatile compounds of the waste and the oxygen and nitrogen present in the air. Two predominant reactions occur during combustion which are between carbon and oxygen which produced carbon dioxide, and between hydrogen and oxygen which produced water in the form of vapour. Read more

Odour control for wastewater

Odour control for wastewater

From what once used to be an afterthought, the control of odours has now become a necessary primary consideration at a facility design phase.

The issue with wastewater isn’t only present in the immediate instance of unpleasant odours or bacterial exposure, it spreads further to surrounding areas that may include residential areas.

In an area which has a higher temperature, malodorous emissions are typically worse with other factors to be taken into consideration such as wind velocity and direction. Naturally, summertime is often the peak of odour complaints.

Luckily for industries, the controlling of unwanted odours at facilities is achievable with a variety of technologies to choose from. There are two main technologies that focus on different aspects of odour control – vapour phase and liquid phase.

Vapour phase technologies focus on the source of the odour issue such as a wet well or headwork. A ventilation system is installed at the source to help maintain a negative pressure to prevent any leakage of malodorous emissions from any vents, access hatches, etc. The vapour phase technology is most effective at preventing unwanted emissions from a specific source of issue.

The most flexible and reliable vapour phase technology, when it comes to odour control for wastewater, is wet air scrubbing. Wet air scrubbing has proven to be highly effective when treating water soluble contaminants, hydrogen sulphide, organic odours, as well as aiding in the removal of ammonia.

Chemical usage is necessary in this design due to the requirement of treating contaminants such as hydrogen sulphide with sodium hydroxide, as well as other malodorous compounds with sodium hypochlorite.

In order to reduce the chemical usage, a wet air scrubbing unit can be designed to perform as a multi-stage scrubbing system, which eliminates the need for sodium hypochlorite in the process to remove hydrogen sulphide.

Biofiltration has become a popular technology for odour control in wastewater due to the advantages of low installation, operation, and maintenance cost. It is effective in treating a variety of biodegradable and water-soluble contaminants.

Contaminants pass through the organic biofilter medium and are absorbed and degraded by the microorganisms populating the media.

Although biofilters have proven to be highly effective in the removal of sulphur-based odour compounds the likes of hydrogen sulphide, organic sulphide and mercaptans, they are considered to be ineffective in the removal of nitrogen-based compounds like ammonia and amines.

A carbon adsorption system works by way of an air stream passing over a carbon adsorbent bed. The simplicity of the technology works due to malodorous compounds being naturally attracted to the carbon adsorbent, which then adsorbs and degrades the contaminants.

One of the highest attractions to utilising a carbon adsorption system is the absence of any chemical supply to the technology. Similar to how biofilters work, carbon adsorption systems are effective in removing sulphide-based compounds but not so effective in removing nitrogen-based compounds.

Due to the discrepancies of effectiveness of each odour control technology, it is crucial to analyses and examine an industrial setting to understand the contaminants needed to be removed before implementing any such system.

Liquid phase technologies focus on the flow rate of wastewater and/or the total mass of contaminants present. This technology involves treating the wastewater stream to control unwanted odours being emitted from that stream.

Liquid phase treatments are mostly found in wastewater collection sites and not in wastewater treatment plants.

Due to the wastewater source being treated as opposed to the wastewater being treated alone, liquid phase technologies pride themselves in odour control as well as corrosion control.

The latter control naturally happens as a result of the removal of hydrogen sulphide which acts as a nuisance for corroding pipes and other structures dealing with water.

Richard Tonkin, general manager at Bulbeck Enviro, has been in his position with the company since 2014.

Bulbeck Enviro helps customers navigate the environmental compliance maze, through various products and services in water treatment, marine oil spill; odour control; medical waste and portable incinerators; hydrocarbon and chemical spill prevention, containment and clean-up.

EfW - a sustainable solution?

EfW – a sustainable solution?

In the October issue of Inside Waste, Lee Bell from the National Toxics Network Australia, argued that EfW or waste incineration plants emit high levels of toxins. Questions have also been raised about the potential for EfW to cannibalise recycling, despite proponents insisting that only residual waste destined for landfill will be processed. So, amid the chatter, who’s right and who’s wrong?

In NSW, an inquiry into EfW technologies was established in April with the next hearing scheduled in November. Many, including EfW technology solutions supplier Hitachi Zosen Innova Australia’s managing director Dr Marc Stammbach, have made submissions to Parliament. Read more

Four methods of waste treatment to consider

Four methods of waste treatment to consider

These figures highlight a larger problem as it represents a significant increase in the per capita waste generation rates, which is almost triple of the amount each individual is currently generating. Not just that, these numbers are enough reason to start looking for more environmentally friendly ways of managing and treating waste. In fact, the end goal must be to find effective measures to curb the sheer amount of waste generated! Take a look at some of the most effective waste treatment methods: Read more

AI: evil or avatar?

Achieving sustainability across the board

With each passing year, it becomes more apparent that businesses know that they have an increasing responsibility to their customers. This responsibility is not merely from a product or service offering, but also in their practices and license to operate. This is evident with more than 90% of the world’s 250 largest companies publishing their corporate responsibility reports, as shown by a recent KPMG report. In tandem, this has become more important to consumers, where most have adopted what is now coined as values-driven shopping. Organisations need to work with various stakeholders in government, industry and the general public to contribute positively to society. Read more