FIVE Western Australian councils are keen to see results of trials of an alternative waste treatment plant that includes an incinerator that generates electricity.
The plant is designed to handle 33,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste a year for the five member councils, plus waste from the City of Stirling.
Mornington Peninsula Shire councillors voted on 14 September to send all shire waste off the peninsula to landfill but to continue a commitment to alternative waste technology, which is generally understood to include incineration of some domestic waste.
The shire was forecast to send just more than 23,000 tonnes of waste to landfill in 2014, indicating that a plant the size of the one being built in Perth could deal with shire waste and take about 10,000 tonnes from an adjoining municipality.
The World Bank estimates that, globally, the volume of municipal solid waste will rise in the next decade by nearly 70 per cent to 2.2 billion tonnes annually. In Victoria the state government has for some years encouraged recycling and recovery by imposing a landfill levy on councils.
The five WA councils are members of the Western Metropolitan Regional Council group, which covers Perth suburban Claremont, Cottlesloe, Mosman Park, Peppermint Grove and Subiaco – some of Perth’s most upmarket areas.
They “aspire for a world in which waste is not a problem but an opportunity”.
The plant has been built by AnaeCo Ltd, which describes itself as “a listed Australian technology developer and designer of advanced resource recovery and recycling systems”.
It will recycle 75 per cent or more of household waste previously destined for landfill or incineration into valuable resources, AnaeCo states. This is slightly higher than the shire’s 2010 forecast of 70 per cent diversion from landfill by 2014.
The WA plant’s output includes biogas, “mature organic fertiliser”, ferrous and non-ferrous metals, plastics and glass plus nearly a megawatt of electricity from a gas-fired generator that powers the plant, with excess power fed back into the grid.
The WA government wants an end to landfills, or tips. as early as 2020, according to a Perth newspaper.
Many Perth councils are turning to Waste to Energy (W2E) plants, which either burn waste or use other technology to convert it to energy.
The AnaeCo plant is six kilometres from Perth CBD. It is owned by investment funds.
Disclosure: The writer does not own shares in AnaeCo. The company was trading at 0.002 cents per share on 30 September.