Landfill dumping of commercial and retail food waste could be eliminated by transforming it into valuable green energy and fertiliser, through an environmental initiative being proven by waste management company JJ Richards & Sons.
The company’s custom-engineered waste reception centre in the western Sydney suburb of Seven Hills processes pulped waste from its partner Pulpmaster’s collection tankers into an easily handled and valuable resource for use in agriculture, horticulture and fossil fuel replacement, and its designers say it has the potential to become a model for national use.
The plant, which handles bulk waste from sources such as supermarkets, food shops, hospitals, schools and catering facilities, uses CST Wastewater Solutions’ KDS multi-disc fine-screening and compaction technology as part of an automated process that turns the waste into a cake form that is more than 50 per cent lighter and dryer than the pulp and can be transported to users for half the cost of heavier and less hygienic output.
Waste producers using the system get monthly reports on how much they are saving on disposal costs, while simultaneously reducing their environmental impact. The material is used by farms and other agricultural enterprises as high potency fertiliser and for the production of biogas to reduce their environment footprints, while boosting their output with natural fertilisers and fossil-fuel replacement green energy.
“The system has been brilliantly received by community-minded customers who are reducing their environmental impact, as well as by users of the cleaner greener energy and fertiliser coming out of it,” says Ben Martis, JJ Richards & Sons’ Operations Manager, Liquids NSW/ACT.
“The system not only disposes of an environmental headache and cost for responsible businesses, including high landfill costs and the high cost of transporting waste to somewhere remote, secure and non-harmful, but turns the problem into an environmental asset – and a cost saver.
“Businesses love getting the reports on the environmental benefits of their waste disposal and recycling, because they can demonstrate benefits to the community, while also saving themselves substantial measurable costs.”
Martis has been deeply involved in the design and proving of the Seven Hills plant, which features twin 28-tonne filtrate receival tanks and similarly large vessels to process waste to the pH levels most ideal for recycling uses and injection into the ground as fertiliser.
The automated and highly reliable receival, processing and dispatch facility features high speed drive-in pulp receival bays and treatment tanks for the thousands of tonnes of throughput delivered by Pulpmaster tankers, which employ an environmentally friendly and cost-effective collection system that converts the mixed waste they collect into pulp slurry for further processing into organic fertiliser and biogas.
This passes from the treatment tanks through ultra-fine (1mm) screening from CST Wastewater Solutions before passing through the KDS dewatering and liquid separation process. The lighter and compacted output is automatically fed into 35t slide-out waste handling bins for loading onto JJ Richards’ onward delivery vehicles. The KDS system can be run continuously and reliably, with low energy consumption, to optimise output from the plant.
“There is a lot to like about the KDS system,” says Martis. “It has very few moving parts, high-efficiency dewatering operation, uses little energy and doesn’t break down. It is a quality system.”
CST Wastewater Solutions engineer Peter Bambridge, who worked with Martis in installing, commissioning and optimising the KDS technology at the plant, says transport and handling of non-processed mixed food waste can be a killer cost for business.
“Not only do you have the OH&S and environmental issues of handling and disposing of heavy, sloppy waste, but also just transporting such material to dumps can cost $150 a tonne for the specialised transport involved. Some of these dumps, by their very nature, have to be major distances from the urban source of the waste, so there are big costs involved. The Pulpmaster system, combined with KDS processing, is such an intelligent alternative from JJ Richards.”
Martis says the fact that the JJ Richards system has been proven in NSW, which has some of the strictest waste handling regulations in Australia, suggests that it is also eminently suitable for other areas of the country.
“This is a proven system now. We are handling huge amounts of food waste already, and the potential beyond that is far huger still. We are proud of the engineering that has gone into this system and want to see its benefits spread wider and wider.”
CST Wastewater Solutions
02 9417 3611