Resource Recovery Project

What is the Resource Recovery Project?

As our population grows, so too does the amount of waste we produce.

Local councils have introduced recycling bins, greenwaste recycling and a range of waste education programs to encourage residents to reduce waste to landfill.

Resource recovery seeks to complement these existing waste management solutions by dealing with the waste left over in rubbish bins and vergeside after residents have reduced, re-used and recycled their waste.

There are two facets to EMRC's Resource Recovery Project: the Resource Recovery Facility and the Resource Recovery Park.

Resource recovery facilities

Resource recovery facilities are designed to treat and recover materials and/or energy from waste through thermal, chemical and/or biological means.

They have the potential to divert between 70-90% of waste (by volume) from landfill and provide a solution where we can turn waste into valuable products such as compost or energy.

Useful products from a resource recovery facility are:

  • Compost/soil conditioner and fertiliser
  • Electricity and heat
  • Biogas and synthesis gas fuel
  • Recyclables (plastics, metals)

Resource recovery parks

Resource recovery parks are designed to receive, store, process, repair and dismantle society's discarded materials, with the goal of selling them either for reuse in industry, or directly back to the public.

Feedstock for a resource recovery park can be household bulk waste (appliances, furniture, etc); commercial waste; demolition/renovation waste; greenwaste and timber.

Useful products from resource recovery parks are:

  • Recyclables
  • Repaired or refurbished goods for resale
  • Building materials/hardware/household goods
  • Compost/mulch/ground timber fines
  • Recycled concrete

The Resource Recovery Project is aimed at having a fully operational resource recovery solution in place by approximately 2016. This will involve a resource recovery facility and/or a resource recovery park.

The diagram below illustrates EMRC's vision for an integrated waste solution in Perth's Eastern Region:

Integrated Waste Management Chart

Current status of resource recovery in Western Australia

Resource recovery is not a new concept in Western Australia. Three metropolitan Regional Councils have been utilising resource recovery facilities for some years to produce compost from household waste.

In Perth's northern suburbs, Mindarie Regional Council sends household waste to a facility, built, owned and operated by BioVision 2020. Waste is composted using an aerobic process (involves the breakdown of organic material in the presence of oxygen).

In Perth's southern suburbs, Southern Metropolitan Regional Council owns and operates a Waste Composting facility which produces compost using an aerobic process.

In Perth's western suburbs, the Western Metropolitan Regional Council has been delivering its household waste to the DiCom Facility in Shenton Park where a patented, hybrid biological process converts the organic content of waste into marketquality compost and biogas.

The City of Stirling were the first local government to attempt resource recovery with their single bin system of waste collection feeding a waste sorting facility in Malaga which separated recyclables for sale and the organic fraction for an on-farm composting system. This has since closed down.

The main change in resource recovery in recent years has been the emergence of waste to energy technologies and their acceptance by the WA Government. An international study conducted by the Waste Authority and the EPA has found Waste to Energy plants can be introduced in Western Australia in an environmentally acceptable manner. Waste to energy technology is the thermal treatment of waste with energy recovery.

Relevant documents include:

Waste to Energy Position Statement (2013), produced by the Waste Authority

Waste to Energy Summary Report (2013)

Since the release of the Waste to Energy Position Statement, the Minister for Environment has approved three waste to energy plants in Western Australia to operate in Kwinana, east Rockingham and Port Hedland.