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Sydney Markets and EarthPower – Closing the loop on food waste


Partnering with forward thinking Sydney Markets, Veolia delivers a resource recovery solution that is reducing its environmental footprint - turning waste streams into value resources such as energy and fertilizer, and improving their operations bottom line.


THE CHALLENGE

Each day thousands of buyers such as greengrocers, supermarkets, florists, food processors, restaurants and other food service outlets, purchase fresh produce through Sydney Markets. Operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, a seamless on-site waste management solution was needed to showcase Sydney Market’s world class operations.



THE SOLUTION

Veolia implemented an on-site waste management and resource recovery solution. This includes:
  • Organic waste is transported to an anaerobic digester facility known as EarthPower where waste is turned into green energy and fertiliser
  • Designated on-site sorting area to enable more effective waste management
  • Dedicated organics collection
  • Cardboard collection from across their entire site seven days per week
  • Introduction of a polystyrene extruder

CONVERTING ORGANIC WASTE INTO ENERGY AND FERTILISER
A core component of Veolia’s solution with Sydney Markets is EarthPower. EarthPower is Australia's first food waste-to-energy facility designed and licensed to accept solid and liquid food biomass from municipal, commercial and industrial sectors in the Sydney region.

EarthPower food waste sources come from businesses involved in food manufacture or processing, food transportation, distribution and storage, wholesale and retail food distribution and sales, commercial kitchens and local government. EarthPower accepts food waste and organic liquid waste and converts it to renewable energy. The facility also produces an organic growth medium (fertilizer) as a by-product.

The process reduces greenhouse gas emissions significantly, thereby reducing the climate impacts for our major clients, including Sydney Markets. EarthPower can receive up to 45,000 tonnes of food waste per year and is able to produce enough green electricity to power over 3,600 homes.

At the heart of the EarthPower plant are two 4,600m3 anaerobic digesters, where bacteria breaks down food materials to produce a methane rich gas stream. The digester gas is recovered and used to fuel cogeneration engines, which produce green electricity. This electricity is sold into the grid for distribution to domestic, commercial and industrial clients. A by-product of the anaerobic digestion process is a nutrient rich sludge, which is dried and granulated for sale as a fertiliser into the agriculture and horticultural markets. Waste heat from the cogeneration engines is used in the fertiliser drying process and to heat the digesters.

 

THE RESULT

  • Organic waste is transported to an anaerobic digester facility where waste is turned into green energy and fertiliser
  • Polystyrene recycling on-site has resulted in 50 tonnes of polystyrene collected and recycled annually; equivalent to 500 truck loads
  • Over 1,400 tonnes of cardboard recycled each year, resulting in savings of $430K p.a. compared to landfill cost
  • General Waste collected from the site has contributed 1800 megawatt hours of renewable energy through waste processing at Veolia’s Woodlawn Bioreactor; equivalent to powering 247 homes for one year
 

KEY FIGURES

  • 50 tonnes of polystyrene recycled
  • Over 1,400 tonnes of cardboard recycled
  • 1800 megawatt hours of renewable energy