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waste management

The ‘resource revolution’ can be seen as a new era in waste management by improving the recovery rate

© seen/Dollar Photo Club

of resources from waste, particularly in Australia.

Australia, from our network of Advanced

There is always scope to do more with our

Resource Recovery Technology (ARRT)

technologies, and SUEZ environnement is

facilities through to our de-packaging facil-

investing in the research behind the innova-

ity. We will continue to leverage our global

tion. For example, last year in France we

expertise to provide smart and reliable

opened PLAST’lab, an innovative laboratory

solutions to the local market.

dedicated to recycling plastic; and in Bel-

What are the unique challenges or road-

gium, ‘High 5’, a glass recycling plant that

blocks that may hold back the resource

is capable of separating mixed coloured

revolution in Australia?

glass. As a company in Europe, we hope to

There have been unique challenges for

double the production of recycled plastics

resource recovery as a result of the dis-

in the next five years and the opportunity

parity in waste policy across Australia. For

for us to leverage our global expertise to

example, the waste levy, which is a key

provide the best local solutions for the

driver for waste avoidance and resource

Australian market.

recovery, varies significantly across the

What types of material commonly found

country. This unfortunately triggers behav-

in the waste stream are proving to be

iours as we have seen with waste being

the most challenging to recover and how

transported from Victoria and New South

can this be overcome? — For example,

Wales to Queensland. Although progress

could the answer be waste avoidance of

has been made in New South Wales, the

certain types of materials and how could

interstate transportation of waste is still an

this be achieved?

issue and concern. The long-term impact of

The issue is not material specific, rather how

such policy differences will be detrimental

materials are found in the waste stream eg,

to the establishment of resource recovery

how they are presented for recovery. Cross-

solutions and subsequently the resource

contamination and mixing waste streams are

revolution in Australia.

major factors limiting resource recovery and

Another significant challenge has been

possible re-use. For example, there are a

the disappearance of Australia’s manu-

lot of plastics (bottles, films, bags) in re-

facturing industry as it has reduced the

sidual domestic waste received at our ARRT

outlets for secondary products and re-

facilities. These materials are very difficult

cycled materials. It’s difficult to propose

to recycle. Firstly, their recovery requires a

and establish new processing solutions

lot of processing (equipment, handling and

without the certainty of long-term customer

staff), adding significant expense.

relationships and offtake agreements. This

Secondly, when recovered their quality is

has also been driven by the bottom line

a major issue for the downstream potential

for most customers when landfilling is the

offtakers due to the cross-contamination, in

cheapest option for waste disposal and

particular with organic matters. The best

does not require the customers to change

solution to facilitate resource recovery and

their operations.

improve the quality of recyclables while

Most know that aluminium, paper, PET

overcoming cross-contamination is source

plastics and glass, for example, can be

separation. With e-waste including equip-

recycled, but is there scope to improve

ment, appliances and whitegoods, the issue

the efficiency of these processes in order

is around the difficulty to deconstruct and

to achieve optimum recovery rates of

separate the materials used in the product

these materials? If so, how and what is

to produce good-quality secondary raw

currently under development?


This issue is sponsored by — Schneider Electric — 9

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Sustainability Matters Aug/Sep 2015  

Sustainability Matters is a bi-monthly magazine showcasing the latest products, technology and sustainable solutions for industry, governmen...

Sustainability Matters Aug/Sep 2015  

Sustainability Matters is a bi-monthly magazine showcasing the latest products, technology and sustainable solutions for industry, governmen...