Landfill to change to enclosed, innovative compost facility

Ipswich City Council has approved a development application from waste company Remondis for an innovative compost manufacturing facility at its Swanbank site.

The Remondis application sought to alter an existing approval for landfill operations on part of the site and instead construct an enclosed compost manufacturing facility along with associated waste processing and treatment area.

Growth, Infrastructure and Waste Committee Chair Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding said this was a positive sign that council’s strong stance on waste was having an impact on how waste operators look to do business in Ipswich.

“This change approval represents a transition from landfill to an innovative, best practice approach to processing organic material into compost. This requires a significant investment from Remondis that will produce better outcomes for residents and the environment,” Mayor Harding said.

“Council established its Waste and Circular Economy Transformation Directive in December 2020, and it was a clear signal to the waste industry that our city wants to transition away from landfill and towards resource recovery.

“We know that waste odours are a significant issue for Ipswich, and this comes from non-compliant and outdated practices. Resource recovery experts have confirmed that enclosed facilities cut odours to one-seventh of those emanating from existing practices.

“We can’t ignore the fact that we are all creating waste, but we can play a role in ensuring the way we are dealing with it is better for residents and better for the environment.”

The Growth, Infrastructure and Waste Committee heard the organic material to be processed will be delivered by collection vehicles or transfer trucks to the enclosed receival hall. Guided by a traffic control system the trucks will tip off directly into the deep bunker managed by an automated crane.

Remondis also intends to receive liquid waste streams delivered by tank trucks. A purpose-built discharge area will be located next to the building, where trucks will unload via hoses and pumps to avoid any odour emissions or leakage.

The proposed facility will use Food Organics and Garden Organics as the primary waste stream for the composting largely resulting from waste strategies and decisions of both State and SEQ local governments encouraging the separation and diversion of FOGO waste streams away from landfill.

An artist impression from a rear perspective of the innovative, enclosed compost manufacturing facility at the Remondis Swanbank site.

Mayor Harding said as part of council’s Resource Recovery Strategy, the city was moving beyond the 1,000-home FOGO trial and making it available for all residents and wanted to see best practice technology employed in this service.

“When we went out to tender recently for FOGO, we received only one response and that was for open windrow and not in-vessel composting,” Mayor Harding said.

“It is a better way forward for our environment and our city. This council is serious about recycling and resource recovery and transitioning our city away from landfill.”

Division 1 Councillor Sheila Ireland said this type of use is preferable to traditional landfill as it is about avoiding landfill, and making better use of resources, as opposed to burying items in the ground.

“The design of the facility will have fewer impacts when compared with open window composting and is better for the environment and the community than the approved landfill operations on this part of the site,” Cr Ireland said.

“It speeds up remediation of the section of land where it will be located. It is also 1.7km from the nearest homes – these are all compelling factors in approving this application.

“We need to manage the odour impacts for residents and the way forward is enclosed compost manufacturing rather than outdoor alternatives.  This is a better way of managing our waste and is a win for our community.”

Read also:

>> ’Tis the season for swooping birds

>> New cycling link to Ipswich city centre now open

>> Ipswich Budget 2023-2024: Major plans for waste and resource recovery

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