Council provides in-principle support for circular economy solutions

At its meeting on Wednesday April 20, the Greater Bendigo City Council provided in principle support for the City to pursue two circular economy solutions for alternative management of two of the City’s waste streams.

The two proposed solutions presented to Council were:

  • Establishment of a privately-owned local composting site within 25km of Bendigo to process over 17,000 tonnes of food and garden organics each year and 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 char 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.

Greater Bendigo Mayor Cr Andrea Metcalf said in order to move forward Council has asked staff to prepare draft long-term contracts for two companies to process and recover these wasted material streams for the City.

“Once the draft contracts are prepared, they will be considered by Council at a future meeting for final approval,” Cr Metcalf said.

“Greater Bendigo 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.

“Circular economy solutions are proven to be more environmentally sustainable and financially beneficial compared to landfill and with the Eaglehawk Landfill due to reach capacity and become a full-time transfer station in 2023, the City is working to put in place circular economy solutions to manage waste and resources into the future and develop new economic opportunities for the region.

“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. 

“The City will continue to look for circular economy opportunities for other waste streams such as commercial, industrial, timber, construction, demolition and textile waste and other items traditionally sent to landfill. 

“A master plan for the Eaglehawk Landfill site to transition to a transfer station is currently underway and the City is investigating opportunities for the development of a Circular Greater Bendigo Business Hub to provide multiple circular economy business opportunities.

“The City has also entered into a partnership for the collection and processing of soft plastics.” 

The City called for Expressions of Interest in 2020 for solutions to create a Circular Greater Bendigo and recover and recirculate the City’s wasted materials when the Eaglehawk Landfill’s last active cell is full.

Over 40 submissions were received with 22 proceeding to co-design discussions and then a closed tender process with 11 submissions received.  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.

City of Greater Bendigo Resource Management and Education Manager Brooke Pearce said the City’s waste system currently struggles to do much with end-of-life materials.

“Introducing 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,” Ms Pearce said.

“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 reduce greenhouse gas emissions generated by current consumption and waste management practices, reduce valuable resources going to landfill, create jobs and investment and keep resources in the region.”

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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