Victoria gets on with the weeding despite COVID

A small army of Victorians will clean up litter, remove weeds and help make local rivers and creeks more beautiful as part of the Victorian Government’s plan to keep Victorians working through the coronavirus pandemic.

Over 110 people will take on roles cleaning and protecting Melbourne’s suburban waterways through the Government’s $500 million Working for Victoria fund.

Victorian Minister for Water Lisa Neville said that the fund will create employment for people who have lost their jobs due to the impacts of coronavirus, while delivering valuable community services. The program has placed almost 7,000 workers since its launch in April.

More than 90 employees will remove rubbish, undertake invasive weed management and improve vegetation along the Yarra, Maribyrnong and Werribee rivers, as well as throughout the Dandenong and Bayside region.

The improvement works will be delivered in collaboration with the Yarra River Keeper Association, along with community groups and local councils along urban waterways.

A recent series of litter clean-up ‘blitz’ events along the Yarra and Maribyrnong rivers saw almost 40 tonnes of rubbish cleaned out, improving the health of the waterways and making them more enjoyable for Victorians getting out for essential exercise during coronavirus restrictions.

In addition, more than 20 new employees will work in administration roles for Melbourne Water, supporting the waterway health blitz and other important projects in the greater Melbourne catchment area.

The initiative builds on the $48 million for shovel ready water projects announced recently under the Government’s $2.7 billion Building Works program. These projects will modernise irrigation, secure water supplies through recycling and stormwater use and assist with bushfire recovery.

People looking for work and businesses searching for staff can register with Working for Victoria at vic.gov.au/workingforvictoria.

How Amsterdam is future proofing its waste management

An Automatic Waste Collection System (AWCS) is being installed in a residential area in Sluisbuurt, Amsterdam using energy efficient  technology with non-corrosive pipe networks.

MariMatic which developed the MetroTaifun technology was chosen by tender to deliver the new system to Sluisbuurt, a new neighbourhood comprising 5500 new homes and includes schools, shops and offices. In addition to the automatic waste collection system AWCS system, the area will be equipped with other kind of sustainable technologies, such as district heating from renewable energy.

Waste is collected and transported directly from the buildings through an underground pipe network by using vacuum conveying to a waste transfer terminal, eliminating noisy and polluting traditional waste trucks from the area.

Four different waste fractions are collected to separate containers located in the waste transfer terminal. The containers will then later on be picked up for further distribution to recycling centres.

The waste transfer terminal, which is part of the scope of the contract, called The Diamond, will be located in the park. The building is designed with high sustainability in mind, including solar panels, rainwater collection and even a charging point for the service cars. Part of the walls will be glass, giving the public possibility to view the pneumatic collection in action.

The public tender in Amsterdam was focused on technology, reliability, performance, quality, and a technical life cycle of 60 years.

300 mm diameter ‘composite piping’, is being used instead of the commonly used 500 mm carbon steel piping systems. Due to absence of corrosion, longer life cycle of the systems is achieved. Interruptions of possible blockages are minimized, as the waste easier fills up the pipe, giving higher vacuum force for conveying.

Development of MariMatic’s formator technology also enables the use of larger waste bags (150 litre) in 300 mm size piping while the company’s Ring-Line configuration allows change of air flow direction, to facilitate removal of possible blockages.

ACT MRF gets massive upgrade from RMF

The momentum of investment into the WARR industry continues to grow with a partnership between the Federal and ACT Governments to provide $21 million from the Recycling Modernisation Fund (RMF) to the ACT MRF. The project will improve separation and process recycling streams such as paper, glass and plastic.

Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley and ACT Minister for Recycling and Waste Reduction Chris Steel said the partnership will create a higher quality recycled product that adds value and reduces the amount of waste ending up in landfill.

The upgraded facility will have the capacity to improve the quality and marketability of 23,000 tonnes of paper and mixed cardboard, 1,800 tonnes of mixed plastics and 14,000 tonnes of glass from the ACT and five regional NSW councils annually.

The upgrades to the facility will include:

  • optical scanning equipment to identify and separate different types of plastics
  • Better screening technology to reduce contamination in paper and cardboard recycling
  • glass washing facilities to provide better quality crushed glass ‘sand’ products that can be used in a wider range of products
  • plastic washing and ‘flaking’ facilities—the flaking process breaks the washed plastic into small pieces, providing a clean product ready for local markets.

Work is expected to begin later this year with the upgrades conducted in stages and completion largely achieved in 2021–22.

More jobs

“Today’s announcement will also see the creation of around 100 direct and indirect jobs for the ACT and surrounding regions, which will deliver an economic lifeline to local economies,” Ley said.

 Steel added that Governments were stepping up to take responsibility for waste and its impact on the environment, with investment in the latest technology to generate cleaner recycling in the ACT and the Canberra Region.

“When Canberrans put material in their yellow bin they should trust that is sorted and processed locally so that It has as much value as possible for re-use and remanufacturing,” he said.

“These upgrades to our MRF will deliver better separation of recycling streams such as paper, glass and plastic, reducing contamination rates and providing better quality recycled material.”

“This is the local waste processing infrastructure that our region needs to be ready for the waste export ban, and so that we can effectively eliminate mixed plastics as a waste stream in the ACT.”