City shortlists circular economy solutions for post Eaglehawk landfill

With the Eaglehawk Landfill due to reach capacity and become a full-time transfer station in 2023, the City of Greater Bendigo is working to put in place circular economy solutions to manage waste and resources into the future.

City of Greater Bendigo Resource, Recovery and Education Manager Brooke Pearce said the City is committed to transitioning to a circular economy in-line with the Victorian Government’s Recycling Victoria Policy and the City’s new Climate Change and Environment Strategy 2021-2026.

“By putting circular economy solutions in place, there will be no impact on the Greater Bendigo community when the Eaglehawk Landfill reaches capacity and becomes a transfer station.  In fact, circular economy solutions are proven to be more environmentally and financially better compared to landfill,” Ms Pearce said.

“In 2020 the City called for Expressions of Interest for solutions to create a Circular Greater Bendigo and manage the City’s waste when the Eaglehawk Landfill’s last active cell is full.

“The City received over 40 submissions with 22 proceeding to co-design discussions and then a closed tender process with 11 submissions received,” Ms Pearce said.

“From these, four circular economy solutions were shortlisted for assessment and financial and environmental due diligence.  The proposed solutions were then assessed by an expert panel consisting of Greater Bendigo staff and independent advisors.  The City also received independent feedback on the tender process and specifications.

“However progressing any of these commercial arrangements will be subject to a Council resolution and Victorian and Local Government regulatory requirements.”

The proposed circular solutions include support for:

  • Establishment of a local composting site within 25km of Bendigo to process over 17,000 tonnes of food and garden organics each year to reduce emissions by 16.3 per cent in comparison to current kerbside organics disposal arrangements.
  • Establishment of a small-scale, modular energy from waste plant, using pyrolysis and gasification to convert approximately 30,000 tonnes of waste per year that was previously sent to landfill to 5,660 tonnes per year of biochar with the gas converted to electricity and exported to the grid. This will result in a 78 per cent reduction in emissions in comparison to sending the waste to landfill.
  • The processing of soft plastics into a road-based additive to be used in roads in Greater Bendigo.  The plastics will be processed by a Melbourne based manufacturer and will result in a 392 per cent reduction in emissions versus the current landfilling of soft plastics.
  • The research and development testing phase of a small-scale Bendigo based manufacturing start up to recover a small portion of plastics from the comingled recycling stream for the manufacturing of structural engineering products (to replace steel products).  This could result in a more than 40 per cent reduction in emissions versus existing recycling route for the plastic.

“The City’s waste system currently struggles to do much with end-of-life materials. However, the creation of circular economy solutions will change how we handle and value our material resources, keep them in use for as long as possible, create local jobs and support local industry.

“It’s really about shifting from a ‘take, make, waste’ society to a ‘take, make, reuse’ society, where we recover and eventually reuse all of the material resources from products that are no longer needed.

“With detailed and thorough design to meet the community’s disposal needs, and effective recovery of materials, we will be aiming to avoid waste completely and create new opportunities for local industries in Greater Bendigo.

“The creation of a circular economy will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions generated by current waste management practices, reduce valuable resources going to landfill, create jobs and investment and keep resources in the region

“The proposed solutions will be presented to Council at its meeting on Monday April 20, 2022 and further circular economy solutions will continue to be developed in 2022 for alternative waste streams, such as commercial and industrial waste, and other items traditionally sent to landfill.”

More information on the solutions can be found on the City’s website https://www.bendigo.vic.gov.au/Services/General-Waste-Recycling-and-Organics/Circular-Economy   

If residents have any questions regarding the solutions they can email  [email protected]

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