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Why you can’t have a third bin but you will get a new dump

By johnboy - 16 December 2011 26

Simon Corbell is explaining his plans for waste disposal which do not include a green waste bin, but do include new Material Recovery Facilities, which we think is what normal people call a tip.

“The ACT Government has identified three key measures in the new ACT Waste Strategy 2011-2025 to divert over 120,000 tonnes of waste per year from the ACT’s existing landfill sites,” Mr Corbell said.

These three measures are:

1) The construction of a Residual Waste Materials Recovery Facility (Residual Waste MRF) which can sort and collect organic waste such as food scraps from the existing smaller green household rubbish collection service. This is expected to recover around 53,000 tonnes of waste per year by 2021.

2) The construction of a Mixed Commercial Waste Material Recovery Facility (Commercial MRF) which will sort and collect glass , plastics and paper from the office, retail, hotel and hospitality sectors. This is expected to recycle up to 70,000 tonnes of waste per year by 2014.

3) Further actions to enable the development of energy-from-waste facilities to produce renewable “bioenergy” through the conversion of woodwaste , dirty paper, fabrics and other materials. Up to 20% of existing waste to landfill could be beneficially used through use of these technologies.

But as for a third bin, Simon is resolute his plan is better:

“This analysis highlights that a third bin service for either food waste or garden waste would cost significantly more to operate and cost more per tonne of GHG abated than the Residual MRF. To deliver the most efficient option to collect organic waste from household, the residual MRF option has been chosen” Mr Corbell said.

UPDATE: The Greens’ are not convinced Simon’s done his sums right:

ACT Greens TAMS Spokesperson, Caroline Le Couteur MLA, says that the Government has ignored the potential benefits of source separation of organic waste.

“With the release of the new Waste Strategy, the concern now is that the Government is not prioritising source separation which leads to higher quality products and better environmental outcomes,” Ms Le Couteur said.

“It seems that the Government is set on investing in a dirty MRF, a clean MRF and a waste-to energy plant for wood waste products.

“The consultancy report states that the quality of end-products which would come from a dirty MRF are expected to be much lower than what could be achieved through the current composting process, and certainly much lower quality than source separation.

“We are also concerned about the way that the costings for a third bin have been assessed. The potential reduced costs of landfill waste collection does not appear to be part of the calculations.

What’s Your opinion?


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26 Responses to
Why you can’t have a third bin but you will get a new dump
GardeningGirl 3:00 pm 16 Dec 11

pajs said :

The key point is that the Material Recovery Facility (or MRF) they are proposing for household waste will take the current contents of the green lid bin (contaminants and all) and then try and process it to pull out recyclable materials, send some stuff to energy recovery (potentially) and try to produce a decent quality compost, mulch or soil conditioner out of the organic fraction.

There’s a long and not especially starry history of these ‘Alternative Waste Treatment’ or AWT plants in Australia. It is a cheap way to make a big impact on landfill disposal rates and volumes, but the contamination load always makes it hard to produce decent compost. I’ll be very surprised if Corkhills, ANL or any of the other recycled organics players are going to have that much of a market for composts and mulches likely to be of a significantly-lower quality than the current product coming out of the source-separated garden organics drop-off and trash-pack arrangements. Those will continue, but I’m not sure who’ll be prepared to buy the compost produced by the AWT plant here, especially if it contains visible plastics, glass fines and risks of metals or chemicals contamination.

+1

cross said :

As a side note does anyone know if styrene foam is recyclable?

It is technically recyclable but if you aren’t a commercial premises good luck trying to negotiate that particular path! Between the out-of-date links on the government website, the request for payment even if I delivered the material to them and the public servant who told me that he’d never heard of the No Waste program therefore it must be a federal one, I gave up, twice. Out of curiosity I checked the latest.

Found this.
http://www.tams.act.gov.au/live/recycling-waste/faqs

Which led to another out-of-date link but wasn’t too hard to find the home page and get back on track.
http://www.epsa.org.au/about-us/repsa-collection-centres/australian-capital-territory

And here’s the new local collection centre.
http://www.transpacific.com.au/content/recycling-solutions.aspx

Btw they might want to get their website designer to fix their website so it doesn’t read “…takes pride in being able to recycle or reuse almost any material, including: aluminium, asbestos, batteries….”

schmeah 2:32 pm 16 Dec 11

chewy14 said :

schmeah said :

.. you seem to be basing your assessment around your situation. What about the massess who live in aparatments who have no plots to establish a compost bing .. so instead they put their waste into the normal bin where it ends up at the tip.

Firstly, the masses who live in apartments aren’t actually that massive and secondly have you ever thought about getting your neighbours in the apartments together and setting up a compost bin outside?
Nah, scratch that it’s far too simple, it must be the government’s fault and responsibility.

Better take me outside and shoot me .. just another rioter with a suggestion/opinion getting shot down by the riot act hierarchy. And I do compost, only I don’t live in an apartment so sadly, I don’t profess to know how evidently easy it would be to get the neighbours to agree to a system and share responsibility with looking after it and dispersing it once mature.

Out of curiosity, how many people do you think live in apartments/townhouses in Braddon?

allyroger 2:30 pm 16 Dec 11

chewy14 said :

allyroger said :

MrPC said :

Green Waste needs to be composted on site, not collected by an army of drivers in a fleet of polluting trucks.

Yeah the current system works quite well, i drive from the far south to Kingston, borrow the in laws pickup truck, drive home, pick up waste, drive truck to dump, drive truck back to Kingston, drive my car home. No need for improvements

Yes,
because your personal circumstances are exactly what the government should base all their policies on.
FFS people, compost your own food wastes at home, ditto for green waste or hire a ute/gardener once in a blue moon if you have too big a load to take car of.

Well judging by the long line at mugga lane every weekend, its not just me. Since the end of the so called drought, trees and vegetation grows quite quickly when it rains all the time. We are required to keep this maintained on our property so FFS get a reality check – its simply not feasible to compost all that green waste. I understand that doesn’t fit into your hippy philosophy but all we want is high class services to go along with the high cost taxes.

chewy14 1:45 pm 16 Dec 11

schmeah said :

.. you seem to be basing your assessment around your situation. What about the massess who live in aparatments who have no plots to establish a compost bing .. so instead they put their waste into the normal bin where it ends up at the tip.

Firstly, the masses who live in apartments aren’t actually that massive and secondly have you ever thought about getting your neighbours in the apartments together and setting up a compost bin outside?
Nah, scratch that it’s far too simple, it must be the government’s fault and responsibility.

pajs 1:35 pm 16 Dec 11

“new Material Recovery Facilities, which we think is what normal people call a tip”

Ah, no. Think more like a recycling facility that recieves and sorts stuff, sending some of it off to recycling and some of it off to a landfill. Not a dump.

The key point is that the Material Recovery Facility (or MRF) they are proposing for household waste will take the current contents of the green lid bin (contaminants and all) and then try and process it to pull out recyclable materials, send some stuff to energy recovery (potentially) and try to produce a decent quality compost, mulch or soil conditioner out of the organic fraction.

There’s a long and not especially starry history of these ‘Alternative Waste Treatment’ or AWT plants in Australia. It is a cheap way to make a big impact on landfill disposal rates and volumes, but the contamination load always makes it hard to produce decent compost. I’ll be very surprised if Corkhills, ANL or any of the other recycled organics players are going to have that much of a market for composts and mulches likely to be of a significantly-lower quality than the current product coming out of the source-separated garden organics drop-off and trash-pack arrangements. Those will continue, but I’m not sure who’ll be prepared to buy the compost produced by the AWT plant here, especially if it contains visible plastics, glass fines and risks of metals or chemicals contamination.

That said, the commercial & industrial MRF part of the announcement is good and if they can sort out some sensible waste-to-energy using waste timber pallets etc (like what happens in Adelaide), then good luck to them.

I’d still have preferred the ACT Government to bite the bullet, jack rates up a bit, supply a third bin for both green and food waste, and reduce the frequency of landfill bin pickup to once a fortnight. Would have taken some courage, but has worked well in other parts of the world.

schmeah 12:01 pm 16 Dec 11

MrPC said :

Green Waste needs to be composted on site, not collected by an army of drivers in a fleet of polluting trucks. We have a 50% plot ratio in the ACT last I checked, so don’t tell me there’s nowhere to put the compost bin.

.. you seem to be basing your assessment around your situation. What about the massess who live in aparatments who have no plots to establish a compost bing .. so instead they put their waste into the normal bin where it ends up at the tip.

My work place has organic waste bins that get collected every week .. don’t see how collecting this waste is more polluting than consumers throwing their scraps into a plastic bage because they have no other option.

Seriously, one of the simplest green measures the government could have slowly rolled out, possibly by targeting inner-city apartments first rejected .. No wonder the ALP didn’t pre-select Mike Hettinger in Molonglo, someone who actually had ideas ..

chewy14 11:48 am 16 Dec 11

allyroger said :

MrPC said :

Green Waste needs to be composted on site, not collected by an army of drivers in a fleet of polluting trucks.

Yeah the current system works quite well, i drive from the far south to Kingston, borrow the in laws pickup truck, drive home, pick up waste, drive truck to dump, drive truck back to Kingston, drive my car home. No need for improvements

Yes,
because your personal circumstances are exactly what the government should base all their policies on.
FFS people, compost your own food wastes at home, ditto for green waste or hire a ute/gardener once in a blue moon if you have too big a load to take car of.

allyroger 11:24 am 16 Dec 11

MrPC said :

Green Waste needs to be composted on site, not collected by an army of drivers in a fleet of polluting trucks.

Yeah the current system works quite well, i drive from the far south to Kingston, borrow the in laws pickup truck, drive home, pick up waste, drive truck to dump, drive truck back to Kingston, drive my car home. No need for improvements

fgzk 10:41 am 16 Dec 11

You could collect your green waste and give it to your local veg gardener or chook keeper. You might even get a return of vegetables and eggs. Alternatively there are green waste enclosures at the community gardens. Those with a garden can have their own compost pile. The possums always like a free feed and the birds will have a peck.

Community solutions.

Felix the Cat 10:29 am 16 Dec 11

Simon Corbell is probably right from an economic point of view. Workout the costs of providing ~350,000 bins, a bunch of dedicated trucks and drivers (plus on-costs such as maintenance, wages etc) to cruise around and pickup this green waste. The bins would probably be half full of dirty nappies and other contaminants, so would require sorting anyway.

Mysteryman 10:25 am 16 Dec 11

So we can just chuck the green waste in the normal bin then? Great. Works for me.

cross 10:22 am 16 Dec 11

I think they should reverse the current pickup schedule of bins to recycle bin weekly and garbage bin fortnightly, I don’t know what it’s like in other households but we fill our recycle bin in about 3 or 4 days and only half fill the garbage as a consequence a lot of recyclable material ends up in the garbage bin.
It may also make some people think a bit more about what is recyclable.
As a side note does anyone know if styrene foam is recyclable?

tortfeaser 10:07 am 16 Dec 11

This whole discussion is entirely ridiculous without some consideration of improved amenity to ratepayers. Every measure Corbell goes on about ignores the benefits to a household of having regular green waste collection. Why is it that ACT residents are left to truck their green waste and hard rubbish to the tip when other LGAs get a green waste bin and regular kerbside bulky items waste collection? WGAF about diverting organic waste from landfill if it doesn’t provide any benefit at all to the paying punter? I’m lucky to have a trailer (although its almost a necessity in Canberra), and can afford the ludicrous tip fees. Others aren’t as fortunate.

dpm 10:00 am 16 Dec 11

I hope they already have (or have planned!) an official ‘construction waste’ dump, on non-useable land! That would at least stop the issue of finding an asbestos and hazardous chemicals dump site every time they start work on a new suburb! Hahaha!

MrPC 9:21 am 16 Dec 11

Green Waste needs to be composted on site, not collected by an army of drivers in a fleet of polluting trucks. We have a 50% plot ratio in the ACT last I checked, so don’t tell me there’s nowhere to put the compost bin.

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