Taskforce study tour reveals new technology for the Coast
  • Wednesday 08 July 2009

New waste technology could be implemented on the Sunshine Coast as soon as 2012 thanks to research conducted by Council’s Regional Waste Strategy Taskforce members.

Community representatives from the Taskforce recently visited Sydney on a study tour, investigating new and emerging waste technologies the neighbouring State are implementing.

Taskforce Chair, Cr Keryn Jones said the study tour yielded some interesting information that will feed into the Taskforce recommendations, to be presented to Council at the end of this month.

“The study tour presented the Taskforce with a unique opportunity to visit three waste transfer facilities in Sydney that are implementing some amazing technologies that divert waste away from landfill and recover more resources from the waste stream,” Cr Jones said.

“For example, one facility we visited utilises a custom-built composting tunnel that breaks down and recycles organic material including food scraps and garden waste, producing a variety of different grades of compost for community, agricultural and commercial use.

“Another facility utilises a water based separation method for processing waste, whereby the plastics float, metals sink and the organic sludge in the middle is separated and recycled to create high-quality compost and soil conditioning products. This technique also provides ‘green’ energy for up to 1700 homes.”

OSCAR representative and Taskforce member, Mr Allen Jay, said the study tour revealed that the best outcomes for the Sunshine Coast would be achieved by encouraging effective ‘at source segregation’ of our waste.

“These alternative technologies rely on good pre-sort and source separation, which is why ongoing, comprehensive community education programs are essential to show people how best to separate their recyclables and organic waste from general waste,” Mr Jay said.

“A three bin system – recycling, green/organic, and general waste – is the most effective way to encourage residents, industry and business to separate their waste before it gets to landfill and will be one of our recommendations to council at the end of July.

“This represents a win-win situation for residents and council as it minimises the cost involved in processing the waste and maximises the return on resources recovered,” he said.

Cr Jones said as well as a three bin system, the Taskforce will recommend council implement a new, composting tunnel at what will become council’s Resource Recovery and sustainable industry site located at Caloundra South by 2012, with the flexibility to introduce other technologies in the future.

“The Taskforce are very keen to see a ‘garbage in, quality product out’ philosophy adopted on the Sunshine Coast and this can only be achieved by encouraging good separation of our waste and the introduction of alternative waste technologies such as the composting tunnel,” Cr Jones said.

“We now need to keep an eye on the alternative technologies out there in the market place, review their cost effectiveness and waste diversion success, and look to implement these strategies on the Sunshine Coast in the future.”

Cr Jones would like to thank the Taskforce members who travelled to Sydney in their own time in order to research the best possible outcomes for our community.

“We must not forget the community members of the Taskforce, such as Allen, are volunteers, and it is highly commendable for them to take time out of their work to assist council in researching the best waste management recommendations for the Sunshine Coast,” she said.

Once the Taskforce present its recommendations for a regional waste management strategy to council, community members will be invited to have their say.

Residents can register their interest now in upcoming feedback opportunities via Council’s website: www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au and follow the links from the home page.