Councils in south east seek a smarter solution for household rubbish

A foam cup in landfill will take more than 500 years to break down. The rubber sole of a shoe—up to 80 years. So why bury rubbish when the average household bin contains materials that can be put to better use.

Monash Council and 15 other councils from the south east of Melbourne have commenced the first collective tender for advanced waste processing solutions that will process household rubbish instead of sending it straight to landfill.

Advanced waste processing technologies are being used successfully and safely overseas to recover valuable materials in household residual waste or convert it into energy. These technologies can reduce the amount of household rubbish sent to landfill by at least 85 per cent and reduce our impact on the environment.

Monash Council CEO Dr Andi Diamond said the tender was the biggest joint initiative for new waste management infrastructure ever undertaken by councils in Melbourne.

“Advanced waste processing will transform how Monash manages the rubbish we collect from residents and we think it’s a really great solution for household residual waste that would normally go to landfill,” Dr Diamond said.

Population growth in the south east is driving a substantial increase in rubbish. Household rubbish in the 16 councils is projected to increase by 40% over the next 25 years. Rubbish will all go to landfill unless another solution is found.

Landfills in the south east are set to close in a few years, which means councils will have to transport rubbish across Melbourne to other landfills.

“Advanced waste processing will do more with the valuable resources that are being put in landfill and achieve better financial, environmental and social outcomes,” Dr Diamond said.

“The best outcomes will be achieved by minimising our waste, reusing and recycling as part of a total approach to managing waste.”

“With this approach the residual waste can go to advanced waste processing and that’s why we are so excited about this collective tender. Council is committed to recycling and will continue to collect and process recyclables and green waste, only rubbish will be sent to an Advanced Waste Processing facility.”

The tender has started with an Expression of Interest to identify businesses with the right experience and capability to design, build and operate a facility. It will take another two years before a preferred bid is selected.

No decisions have been made yet regarding the type or location of any facilities. This will be identified during the procurement process.

It will be five to six years before a facility is operating.

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