Let’s face it, we’re never going to avoid creating waste, but we can find ways to keep more and more waste out of landfill and actually use it to create something better. That’s exactly what Veolia, in collaboration with a number of Sydney councils, is doing at our Woodlawn Eco-precinct, a flagship site located 250km southwest of Sydney.
The purpose-built A$100m Mechanical and Biological Treatment facility (MBT) uses innovative technology to separate organics from mixed household waste and produce compost that’s then used to rehabilitate the old mine on which the facility was built on. Methane, produced from the decomposing waste, is captured by the landfill bioreactor and produces renewable energy to power up to 10,000 homes.
The site also includes a working agriculture (sheep and cattle) farm, a fish farm and a 50MW wind farm for year-round energy generation. The fish farm is heated by the waste heat produced from the energy generation process for fish farming, incorporating hydroponics in the filtrations system to remove excess nutrients. On the working farm, we’re using nutrient and grazing rotation to improve meat and wool productivity, while reducing impacts on the soil.
In addition to the environmental benefits, the MBT has also created additional jobs in the local community - so it’s having a positive social impact as well.
How Sydney is moving towards zero waste
As of 1 July 2017, a number of Sydney councils have been sending their residents’ red bin waste to our new MBT facility.
Bringing world class technology to Australia, we’re making sure that Sydney is at the forefront of the drive towards reducing waste to landfill.
How does the MBT work?
Mechanical and Biological Treatment (MBT) system is a type of waste process that combines biological treatment and sorting of waste to extract the organic content (food, paper, etc) and metals from a mixed municipal (household) waste.
We’re constantly striving to maintain the highest possible standards in sustainability, and the MBT means we are one step closer to zero waste and rehabilitating damaged Australian land.
Previously an open cut mine which produced zinc, lead and copper ore, the Woodlawn site was environmentally impacted by over 20 years of mining activities. By applying compost to contaminated areas, we’re transforming what was once unusable land into a healthy agricultural site.
What happens to Sydney’s waste at the MBT?
The waste is picked up from residents’ houses, and transported by rail and road from Sydney to the Woodlawn MBT facility. Once there, red bin waste is combined with air and water in large rotating bio-drums to start degradation, and the metals are separated for recycling. After this, the organic material is converted into compost, while the remaining waste is delivered to the bioreactor and used to create energy to power over 10,000 homes.
See the interactive infographic at http://game.integratedbydesign.veolia.com.au/woodlawn/
We’re helping many Sydney councils achieve their waste diversion targets. The compost we produce at the MBT facility will meet both Australian and NSW EPA Standards and will be used for progressive remediation of the mine site, as well as forestry and agriculture.
To power the MBT itself, Veolia is developing a solar farm adjacent to the Woodlawn facility to supply the bulk of its electricity and to provide a local, sustainable energy solution in the future.
In addition, the Woodlawn Eco-precinct has an ongoing collaboration with the local community around Tarago. This includes the Veolia Mulwaree Trust, which provides funding for charitable purposes and supports community projects to benefit communities in surrounding areas.
Want to send less waste to landfill?
Talk to your local council to see if they are already involved with Veolia’s Woodlawn MBT project. They can provide you with useful information and tips to ensure you are putting the right waste in the right bin.
As additional councils come on board, more and more red bin waste will be diverted from landfill, which is a huge step towards a world where no waste is wasted.