April Update

We haven’t got an update out for some time but things have been busy behind the scenes. Here is some of what we’ve been up to recently.

Forming the Co-operative

We are in the later stages of forming and registering the co-operative and right now are looking for nominations for our board of directors. So far we have 5 nominations and are particularly keen to hear from people with financial, accounting or legal expertise. Good boards work well when there is diversity of views and experience and a strong commitment to governance and ethical decision making. If you feel you have skills to offer in our project in technology, governance, finance or community engagement, please nominate today. Contact us with your details and a paragraph about your experience and what you can offer the board. You should be prepared to attend the monthly meetings and be actively committed and involved in the project. Nominations close at the next meeting on 8th June.

Join us at the Winter Magic Festival

We will be walking in the parade at the Winter Magic Festival on Saturday 22 June this year. Volunteer or just find out more here.

Technology Update: Pyrolysis in Australia

We have been pursuing pyrolysis of municipal solid waste as our primary project for some months now. Our reasons for pursuing this technology are many: good timing given that Blue Mountains City Council is currently reviewing their waste management; the NSW waste levy and the carbon price also make the technology economical.

Pyrolysis promises to reduce landfill, sequester carbon, generate electricity and improve soils. In the ACT they plan to process all of the current residential, commercial and industrial waste streams, as well as all sewage sludge, through a set of advanced technologies including pyrolysis, to massively reduce landfill, improve resource recovery, and generate renewable and non-renewable electricity. We plan to continue our dialogue with Blue Mountains City Council on this issue in the hope that we can become a leading council for this type of advanced waste treatment and energy generation.

Draft NSW Energy from Waste Policy

The NSW Government has released its draft Energy from Waste policy statement. The policy directly impacts on BMRenew’s proposed pyrolysis project because it places requirements on councils to implement a 3 bin system prior to considering alternative waste treatment of remaining municipal waste. While the policy requires that avoidance, re-use & recycling incl. composting are implemented before considering how to deal with remaining waste, the statement seems to ignore the multiple benefits of pyrolysis when compared with composting.

It is difficult to completely eliminate contamination of organic material (e.g. by plastics) in order to produce high quality compost. Much of the organic material currently composted at the Kemps Creek waste treatment facility ends up as low quality material used in mine rehabilitation.

If this material was pyrolysed instead, to produce energy plus biochar, the resultant solid carbon material could be added to agricultural soils or backyard gardens as biochar. Biochar improves soil structure, increases water holding capacity and permanently sequesters carbon which could otherwise end up in the atmosphere, contributing to global warming.

Presentation at Waste Not Film Screening

Sue Morrison gave an update on the project at the screening of the Waste Not film on 3 May.