How is this being funded?

    This facility will be funded, built and operated by Biolektra Australia. Council has committed some funding for the initial infrastructure including site clearing, roadworks, fencing and fire and water control infrastructure.

    During the operational phase, Council will pay the contractor a fee for each tonne of household waste deposited at the facility.

    Will this cost me more?

    The annual domestic waste charge levied on all home owners/ratepayers will not change. Any future increase in waste levies will be a result of standard inflation pressures. As the running costs of this facility are managed by Biolektra and separate to Council, ratepayers will not be financially disadvantaged. 

    What impact will it have on the householder?

    There is no impact on the householder.

    Every householder will continue to receive a red lid bin and a yellow lid recycling bin.

    There is no change in the annual domestic waste management charge other than the regular annual CPI increases

    What happens with the yellow lid bin?

    The yellow lid recycling bin is here to stay. No change is required for the yellow lid recycling bin. 

    The yellow lid bin collection and sorting will remain the same. These materials will continue to be sorted and recycled at a local specialised materials recovery facility, as it is now. This process provides a cleaner recycled product than recyclables from mixed waste.

    What are the benefits to the community?

    Provide up to 200 jobs during the construction phase.

    Provide ongoing job opportunities for 34 people

    Council’s waste levy bill to the NSW Government is projected to reduce by nearly $7million ($4 million for domestic waste) per year due to the reduction in waste to landfill. This amount was collected as part of the landfill charge and will be used to assist with initial infrastructure eg site clearing, roadworks, fencing and fire and water control infrastructure.

    100% of everything the householder places into the red lid bin that can be recycled will be recycled. No other system in NSW currently achieves this.

    Projected landfill life extended from 10 years to more than 50 years

    The facility will have capacity to process material from neighbouring Councils, reducing waste to landfill across the region. This is at no cost to Shoalhaven City Council. Managing waste at home will not change.

    Why has this technology been chosen - why not just Green Bins?

    1. The additional cost to provide each household with a green bin would be approximately $150 per year. Residents on large blocks or with big gardens may find this charge reasonable. However for units or households with small gardens, or householders who already manage their kitchen and green waste through home composting, mulching etc, this additional cost is unacceptable.

    2. Green bins partially remove only one component out of a complex waste stream. So, in considering green bins, questions need to be asked, such as:

    ·  what is the purpose of the bin? 

    ·  what is the cost to provide the bin? 

    ·  what process is required to best utilise the collected waste from the bin? 

    ·  how effective is a green bin in reducing waste? 

    ·  what is the best long term sustainable way to manage all waste?

    3.  The current system of taking green waste to the recycling facilities (eg at the tip) which is then processed, produces a higher quality, pasteurised product, with less contamination (i.e. foreign materials) than green waste collected in a green bin. 

    Experience has shown the risk of contamination with other waste in the green bin is high.

    Even where a green bin is provided, many different waste types, including recyclable materials (bottles, cans etc) and green waste are still found in the accompanying red lid bin. All these recyclable materials are then a “lost resource” as they go to landfill.

    So. a green bin does not and cannot achieve the diversion from landfill that Council is tasked with achieving.

    Council’s proposed new processing of the red lid bin will capture every recyclable material, including green waste. A “biomass” is produced from the food and green waste components, which will be used as an additive for brick manufacture and cement render. Over 90% of all the waste in the red bin will be recovered.

    4.  Council offers a number of options for managing green waste in your garden: 

    ·  Free home compost bins are provided to attendees at Council’s home composting workshops 

    ·  Access to 10 Recycling and Waste transfer facilities which accept green waste for a reduced fee

    ·  Two no-charge disposal vouchers are issued to each homeowner per year which can be used in lieu of payment of the green waste fee

    ·  An on-call green waste pick up service for a small fee.  A voucher can also be used in lieu of payment of this fee

    ·  If these options are not convenient, a different size red lid bin can be provided. A selection of three different sized red lid bins, 80 litres, 120 litres and 240 litres is available, with a different price structure for each size bin.

    What happens to the products?

    The output products from the process include metals, plastics, glass, inert aggregates, cellulose, fabrics and biomass:

    o  Plastics are separated into HDPE, LDPE, PP, PET and sent for recycling. The process removes all paint, labels and caps, resulting in a less contaminated product.

    o  Fine fraction of glass and aggregate minerals will be used in cement, bricks, render or glass wool.

    o  Coarse aggregate minerals will be used as construction aggregate.

    o  Metals are sent for recycling.  The process completely removes of labels and paint.

    o  Biomass will be used in brick and render manufacture, used as a light aggregate and has potential use as a Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF).

    o  Cellulose, fabrics, other flammable materials will be used as a refuse derived fuel.

    What impact will it have on the environment?

    The waste is sterilised in this process and has minimal odour due to absence of biological activity. 

    The clean recyclable materials are separated.

    Further opportunities to increase the amount and diversity of recycling

    The unrecyclable, reject material is sent to landfill after the process is inert. Over the long term, the landfill environmental risks such as leachate, landfill gas, odour and litter, which are mostly associated with putrescible waste, will be significantly reduced.

    The projected landfill life will be extended from 10 years to more than 50 years. The ability to identify and get approvals to construct a new landfill site is an extremely complex task. No one wants a landfill in their back yard and going through the regulatory hoops can take more than a decade.

    100% of the everything the householder places into the red lid bin that can be recycled will be recycled.  No other system in NSW (or Australia) currently achieves this.

    No additional collection vehicles are required. 

    The facility will have capacity to process material from neighbouring Councils, reducing waste to landfill across the region. This is at no cost to Shoalhaven City Council.

    Where will it be located?

    The facility will be located adjacent to the West Nowra landfill on Council owned land, the location of the former Animal Shelter.

    Is Council confident of this new technology?

    Council has done a lengthy, thorough and robust investigation of the technology and is confident that any risks with being “first to market” are low.

    The process technology is simple. The upfront sterilisation process is new and innovative. The rest of the process consists of traditional sorting equipment that is used in most materials recovery facilities throughout the country.

    The benefits are good with a very high recovery rate. There is little to no odour once the material is sterilised, resulting in minimal environmental impact. 

    Householders don’t have to change their current waste management practices reducing the need for re-education.

    What is required for implementation?

    Council received a masterplan Development Consent for the West Nowra Resource Recovery Facility concept in 2016. Bioelektra are submitting a specific development application to State Planning for the actual facility design. Bioelektra will also apply to the EPA for the environmental protection licence to operate the facility. 

    Following these approvals construction of the facility will commence in 2022 with the facility expected to be fully operational in 2023.

    What is the contract period?

    The contract period is 20 years, with the potential to increase the contract for a further 5 years. Once the contract is complete Council will take on ownership of the facility. 

    How many tonnes will this plant process per year?

    The development approval for the site is for 130,000 tonnes per year, but initial design capacity is 100,000 tonnes per year.

    How much energy does this technology use and will the facility be powered by renewable energy?

    The facility requires 5MW to operate. This power will be sourced through solar (roof panels) and gas (for the autoclaves) supplemented by power from the grid as needed.

    Does Council intend to use ANY of the Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) for energy production?


    Has Council considered the negative environmental impacts of using Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) for energy production?

    Yes, hence the reason for not considering this option.

    Can any of the glass material in this system be recycled back into glass instead of lower grade uses such as aggregate?

    The glass can readily be recycled back into glass, however the additional separation process required to obtain different colours is currently not financially viable. A higher used glass commodity price in the future may make this option financially viable. One of the currently proposed uses for this material (as glass wool insulation) is a higher grade use than aggregate.

    What is the innovative sterilising process this facility will be using?

    The innovative sterilisation process is an autoclave process that differs from normal autoclaves. The main difference is that steam is not injected into the autoclave, but it rather uses the steam generated within the waste as part of the sterilisation process. As the waste morphology changes, an algorithm changes pressures and temperatures within the autoclave to ensure full sterilisation takes place.