RELATED: Worrying strain on city’s landfill
A waste-to-energy facility is being considered by the City of Greater Bendigo as part of its internal waste review, but it may need to partner with neighbouring councils or the private sector to kick start a costly project.
Given the growing strain on landfills across Victoria, Bendigo was looking into “resource recovery”, and more sustainable long-term alternatives, according to the City of Greater Bendigo Director Presentation and Assets, Craig Lloyd
“I don't think there is many local councils planning on building any more landfills,” Mr Lloyd said.
Mr Lloyd said partnering with neighbouring councils, like Mount Alexander Shire, and private business would help spread the substantial start up costs.
Mount Alexander Shire councillors recently passed a motion to not build any more landfills at its Castlemaine site and mayor Sharon Telford was “absolutely” open to the idea of collaborating.
“We’ve got to look at how we are dealing with our waste – it’s not efficient at the moment”, said Cr Telford, adding that 88 per cent of the shire’s greenhouse gas emissions came from landfill.
Hepburn Shire Council, in conjunction with the Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance, is trialling a waste-to-energy system that creates fuel from waste.
A business plan has been prepared to expand the trial to 70 waste-to-energy, micro-power stations to power community buildings across six regional shires, including the City of Ballarat, at a cost of $33 million.
The micro power stations would be the equivalent of a six megawatt power plant, diverting over 43,000 tonnes of organic waste from landfill, according to CVGA executive officer Sonny Neale.
A number of smaller waste-to-energy projects were underway locally, according to Mr Lloyd said.
Eaglehawk landfill captures methane from underground and turns it into electricity, while Biomix, a private company in Stanhope that currently recycles Greater Bendigo’s organic waste, is building a facility to reuse the gases emitted from the composting process.
Australia’s first waste-to-energy plant was built in 2014, and more recently a $500 million facility has been earmarked for Western Sydney.
Aside from council-operated landfill, the Eaglehawk Recycle shop recycles household waste, including mattresses and white goods.
Last year the non-for-profit organisation diverted over 9000 tonnes of household items destined for landfill through its recycling, according to shop manager Peter Buck.
The City of Greater Bendigo currently has no plans to introduce a hard rubbish collection service, despite a councillor recently suggesting it was time the city “had a conversation” about the possibility of introducing it.
The city’s waste review is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.