Innovative REMONDIS facility brings new era of recycling
REMONDIS Australia and Lake Macquarie City Council are working together to effect significant change within the recycling industry by opening a state-of-the-art organics processing facility at the Awaba Waste Management Facility.
The multimillion-dollar facility is the centrepiece of the Council’s new three-bin waste management system, which will reduce the amount of waste going into landfill by as much as one third by facilitating the recycling of food refuse.
Food and green waste will be recycled at the new facility and transformed into high-quality compost products for reuse on parks, grounds and sporting fields.
The REMONDIS Group operates the Lake Macquarie Organics Resource Recovery Facility. REMONDIS chief executive officer Luke Agati says the company is proud to be investing in Lake Macquarie and the Australian resource recovery sector.
“REMONDIS has been composting garden waste at Awaba for Lake Macquarie City Council since 2013, and this new facility will enable us to also convert food waste into a valuable resource,” Agati says. “The facility will convert up to 44,000 tonnes per year of organic waste into compost and soil amendment products.
“REMONDIS applauds forward-thinking local government organisations such as Lake Macquarie City Council for their dedication to building the vital recycling infrastructure that will create job opportunities, strengthen the Australian economy and reduce our environmental footprint.”
The high-tech facility comprises a unique hybrid model of ‘in-vessel’ and ‘mobile aerated floor’ systems and boasts a number of Australian firsts, including:
- fully automated tunnel composting system to pasteurise food waste in two weeks, coupled with mobile aerated floor finishing to complete the composting process; and
- a convenient automatic, cashless weighbridge system that will give users access to the facility with the swipe of a card, enabling fast and accurate transactions.
The Mayor of Lake Macquarie, Councillor Kay Fraser, says the Organics Resource Recovery Facility would see the City take a leading role in recycling and waste management.
“This is a significant step in our Waste Strategy and in our efforts to encourage people to think and act more responsibly about household waste disposal,” Fraser says.
“By making it easy for residents to dispose of organic waste appropriately, we will encourage them to recycle and close the food consumption loop.
“About one third of household garbage bin contents is food waste, so this will divert significant amounts of organic material from landfill, extending the life of our Awaba Waste Management Facility and saving an estimated $4 million over 10 years in waste management costs.”
Food waste in landfill is also an environmental hazard as it it produces methane, a greenhouse gas estimated to be 25 times more potent then carbon dioxide.
“The new waste service will keep this food waste out of our landfill and turn it into reusable compost for use on parks, home gardens, agriculture and sporting grounds. ”
The project was supported by a grant of $2 million for this project and Council’s associated engagement campaign from the Environmental Trust as part of the NSW EPA’s Waste Less, Recycle More initiative, funded from the waste levy.
Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald MLC, representing the Minister for Trade and Industry The Hon Niall Blair at the opening, said the NSW Government was pleased to assist by contributing a $1.4 million grant to the facility and $0.6m for community engagement initiatives, from the EPA Waste Less Recycle More initiative.
“This facility will improve the availability of organic compost for local primary producers and reduce unnecessary wastage of high quality organic material. I congratulate Lake Macquarie City Council in securing investment from a business with the calibre of REMONDIS.”
More than 100 contracting firms were engaged to build the facility, mostly from the Hunter region, with more than 300 people employed on the project throughout its one-year construction phase.
The facility features a purpose-built education centre attached to the central administration building, where school and community groups will be able to see and learn about the recycling process. The education centre will also be available for seminars, conferences and other events.
The branch manager of the Lake Macquarie Organics Resource Recovery Facility, Gunther Neumann, says REMONDIS is proud of its environmental achievements in Lake Macquarie.
“Since 2013, REMONDIS has diverted more than 100,000 tonnes of garden organics from landfill in the region, saving more than $13 million in landfill levies for residents.
“With the opening of the Lake Macquarie Organics Resource Recovery Facility, REMONDIS looks forward to a new chapter in organics processing that will deliver additional landfill levy savings and create new market opportunities locally, reinforcing our role as a valued member of the local community,” Neumann says.
Image: Opening of Awaba Waste Management Facility © Lake Macquarie City Council