On a global scale, environmental sustainability is a key focus for organisations, businesses and industry alike. At Veolia, our aspiration is to contribute to environmental sustainability through every aspect of our business.
Broadly speaking, sustainability encompasses economic and social development and environmental protection. In our everyday lives, it’s about making smarter choices, whether it’s saving energy or being water-wise.
So how do we create a sustainable economy?
Corporate environmental sustainability needs to be integrated at all levels. From government policy, to the way we design our cities, through to community programs and initiatives – it’s all about having the right strategy in place.
Towards a sustainable future – that’s our goal.
Environmental sustainability at Woodlawn
Every year, around 144,000 tonnes of Sydney’s household waste is loaded onto railway wagons and sent off in the direction of Canberra.
Its destination is Veolia’s Woodlawn Eco-precinct near Goulburn – a former copper, lead and zinc mine that is now one of Australia’s premier green energy facilities, and a world-leading example of environmental sustainability in action.
Councils from Sydney’s southern and northern regions are involved in the project, which diverts a proportion of their residents’ household waste from landfill.
As well as greatly reducing the amount of waste these councils had previously been sending to landfill, it assures communities that their waste is being collected and managed in the most advanced, environmentally friendly way.
What happens at Woodlawn?
Composting and mine rehabilitation
When it reaches Woodlawn, the waste goes into the Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT) facility. This process maximises the recovery of the organic content of household waste, which we then use to create a compost to rehabilitate the mine site.
Green energy production
After converting the organic material into compost, we deliver the remaining waste to the Woodlawn bioreactor. The bioreactor enables us to maximise the recovery of landfill gas, such as methane. This goes to our onsite BioEnergy facility, where it’s converted into green electricity – to ultimately power over 30,000 homes.
Other environmentally sustainable activities
Veolia has also developed a number of sustainable and innovative elements at Woodlawn such as aquaculture, horticulture, and a wind farm. These accomplishments are examples of how we continue to innovate and invest in environmentally sustainable activities, which not only complement one another, but which also make good business, environmental and social sense.
Woodlawn is unique in Australia in using rail to transport waste. Not only is this more energy efficient, using rail means 31,000 fewer truck trips per year.
It’s good for residents
The MBT project is a sustainable solution for residents that is committing to high diversion rates and progressive rehabilitation of the Woodlawn mine site.
It’s good for councils
For councils, the project presents a long-term, cost-effective waste management solution that is not simply a collection contract.
It also helps them deliver on both local and federal environmental objectives for waste management. The long-term contract between councils and Veolia will keep tens of thousands of tonnes of waste away from landfill each year. Combined with their other recycling collection programs, the participating councils will meet the State Government target of 70% reduction in waste diversion from landfill by 2021-22.
Veolia: proud to be a leader in environmental sustainability
The Woodlawn project is one more way that Veolia is proving its leadership in environmental sustainability and innovation. Our achievements across sustainability, innovation and community have been formally recognised by bodies such as the Australian Business Awards, Environment and Department of Public Works Sustainability Awards, Engineers Australia Awards, and the WMAA National Landfill Excellence Awards.