Innovative hub for advanced recycling proposed for Fyshwick

CRS has proposed the comprehensive solution to significantly increase recycling, reduce landfill and produce renewable energy to power Canberra homes. The project includes the construction of a freight rail terminal to take trucks off roads.

The $200 million factory will process Canberra’s waste streams – particularly unprocessed municipal solid waste and commercial industrial waste currently going to Mugga Lane landfill – to divert more than 90% of the waste that is currently going to landfill, significantly increasing ACT’s recycling, while also generating electricity from waste.

The waste-to-energy plant would be a joint venture with electricity retailer ActewAGL and would seek a feed-in tariff from the government for the electricity produced.

According to the project director Ewen McKenzie, the government’s recognised the landfill issue in Canberra and has been working hard over the last 10 years to try and identify alternative solutions to their landfill problems.

“We saw an opportunity to take the European experience and looking at other ways to handle our waste streams,” McKenzie said.

“There’s a lot of landfill diversion initiatives going on in Europe that have been successful for some time, so we are taking up a proven model from Europe and applying it to the ACT circumstance.

“We’ve identified a big site in Fishwick that we want to connect to the rail system to allow us to move recyclables, because currently there aren’t a lot of reprocessing plants in Canberra.

“Connection to the rail system is very difficult in Canberra and there really isn’t one at the moment for container handling, so we are looking at incorporating that in the proposal.”

The concept is a response to the ACT government’s call for innovative and sustainable proposals on how best to improve recycling and reduce landfill in the ACT, as the Mugga Lane tip has limited space available in future.

CRS has put a scoping document to the government and is now preparing an environmental impact assessment, including a health impact study, which McKenzie hopes to have released for public comment within a couple of months.

The project would divert trucks carrying rubbish to Mugga Lane to Fyshwick instead, where they would enter via Ipswich Stree, dump their loads indoors, with negative pressure to minimise smell, and leave via the back of Lithgow Street.

Rubbish would be sorted to extract recyclables, before being used to fuel the waste-to-energy plant.

Mugga Lane currently accepts about 300,000 tonnes of rubbish a year, and McKenzie said 90% of that could be diverted to Fyshwick. Of the 270,000 tonnes a year that comes in, he expected about 20% would be recyclable, leaving more than 200,000 tonnes to be burned for energy.

It would produce up to 30MW a year, sufficient to power 28,000 homes and is being touted as a green solution that would put Canberra at the forefront of waste management.

Four percent of the amount going into the plant would be left as residue and returned to landfill. Read more