'Bulk-up' waste facility build nears completion

1 2 Posted on March 11, 2016

By VINNIE RODI

CONSTRUCTION of Mildura Rural City Council s new bulk-up waste facility is nearing completion, with the project expected to be operational next month.'Bulk-up' Waste Facility Build Nears Completion

Council s manager of Building and Environmental Services, Matt George, said the near 500 square metre facility at the Mildura Landfill site would act as a transfer station for the region s recyclables.

This site will allow us to do a bit of sorting to take out the obvious contamination in kerbside recyclables, and then transport the rest to Melbourne, he said.

Construction of the facility officially began in July last year under local contractor Capitil Manufacturing and Development, with the project jointly funded by Council and Sustainability Victoria.

Sustainability Victoria contributed between $50,000 to $60,000 to the site Mr George said. Obviously with the waste charge on residents rates bill, part of that pays for rehabilitation of landfill, while the other part pays for the improvement of infrastructure.

The facility is expected to save Council $500,000 a year in waste costs over the next 10 years, and will be leased by a private contractor initially Cleanaway with anywhere from six to 10 staff employed to run the facility.

Most importantly for Council, the savings on this contract compared to previous years was significant enough to fund the project, Mr George said. We anticipate that those savings will essentially see the facility pay for itself in the first year.

Mr George described the facility as Council s next step in improving its kerbside recycling practices.

It s always disappointing when you know something can be recycled or recovered, but there isn t the capacity available to do so, he said.

There s nothing worse than putting recyclables in landfill, and it s fantastic that we don t do that any more.

The actual time frame for this project started in February 2014, when Council awarded the kerbside recycling and processing contract to Cleanaway.

Part of that contract involved establishing a recycling facility of sorts whether it be a processing plant or in this case a bulk-up facility in Mildura.

This facility is the result of that tendered process, and we have certainly gone with the best price for the community, and the most cost-effective option.

This facility also provides better environmental outcomes in terms of diverting more waste from landfill.

For us this facility was an absolute no-brainer, and we now have an asset for the future.

Mr George said that part of the funding arrangement with Sustainability Victoria included incorporating an educational component into the facility, with Council working closely with the Loddon Mallee Waste and Resource Recovery Group to achieve that goal.

We will also look to engage with schools once the facility is up and running, he said. The aim there would be to allow students to see the recycling process in action, and help them understand why it s important to recycle.

We also have the Mildura Eco Village site next door to this facility, and they are looking at all sorts of sustainable practices from gardening to power and water consumption, and it s logical to put waste in that same breath.

We now have something on site we can certainly incorporate into their work.

Mr George said that while kerbside recycling contamination had been an issue in the region in the past, levels had been consistently lower since Cleanaway was awarded the kerbside contract at the start of 2014.

The Melbourne market also offers us a broader range of products that can be recovered through the recycling stream, he said. Previously we had an issue with broken glass, so if broken glass was in your recycle bin it couldn t be recovered locally, and there certainly wasn t a market locally for those sort of products.

What we ve seen, and the reason behind sending our product to Melbourne, is that there is a much bigger market, and things that should be recovered are being recovered.

Recycling has been a great improvement for us, and with that our contamination rates are now somewhere between 10 and 13 percent.

Ideally we would love to be below 10 percent, but the pre-sorting phase gets us around that sort of range, so we re very happy with that.

Mr George that said while residents won t be able to access the facility due to its commercial nature, the indirect benefits to the community were numerous.

What this facility allows is for all of the recyclables that people bring to the landfill to be processed on-site saving in handling and transport costs, he said.

Personally I m very proud of this project.

It s been a long time in the making, and involves the input of many people.

It s been a good project, and it will be great to see it operating in the next few weeks.

While the facility doesn t officially have a name, Mr George confirmed Council was investigating possible options.

He also said the facility would also allow the Mildura Eco Village to potentially expand its operations in the future.

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References

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