Funding for new composting technology in Melbourne suburbs

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) has announced funding of up to $38 million to support a $65 million South Eastern Organics Processing Facility, which will process household garden and food waste from council kerbside green waste collections in eight Melbourne municipalities.

The new mechanical and biological treatment plant facility is to be built by international waste management company Sacyr Group.

The proposed facility will be the most advanced of its type in Victoria and will produce approximately 50,000 tonnes of high grade compost each year.

It will mean food and green waste produced by residents in the rapidly growing Dandenong region in Melbourne’s south-east will not end up as landfill, where it would produce harmful greenhouse gas emissions such as methane. Instead the waste will produce compost for local parks and gardens.

The new facility will have an annual processing capacity of 120,000 tonnes of waste per year, the equivalent of 12,000 truckloads of waste. It is expected to abate more than 65,000 tonnes of CO₂-e emissions annually – cutting 85 per cent of the emissions the waste would have generated in landfill, the same as removing about 13,900 cars from the road each year.

Sacyr expects its fully-enclosed, in-vessel aerobic composting and maturation plant to be operational in mid-2019. It will operate for 15 years, with a potential five-year extension. The technology, developed over two decades, ensures plant storage reservoirs are completely closed, and uses efficient and reliable deodorisation systems.

Food and green waste makes up an estimated 42 per cent of landfill from Australia’s municipal and commercial and industrial waste. The new Melbourne plant will provide part of the organic waste solution for eight of the 31 councils whose waste streams are coordinated by the Victorian Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group (MWRRG).

Participating councils are charged gate fees to use the facility, with the majority of the compost produced sold back to the councils for use in community parks and gardens. The eight councils are Bayside, Cardinia, Casey, Frankston, Glen Eira, Greater Dandenong, Kingston and Monash.

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