Waste not; want not – 200T of organic materials reclaimed every week

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Updated: January 17, 2014

Bunbury-Harvey Regional Council in WA is using a JCB 436 HT Wheel Loader to process more than 200 tonnes of organic waste per week as part of a new initiative diverting compostable waste away from landfill.

The project, launched in the City of Bunbury and recently extended to include the Shire of Capel, involves collecting compostable residential and commercial waste and turning into useable compost fertiliser.

The JCB loader is used to place new loads onto the compost windrows and turn the loads every fortnight. The loader is at work full time in the operation.

Bunbury-Harvey Regional Council CEO Tony Battersby said the project was launched six months ago with the rollout of 140L and 240L Organic Recyclables bins to ratepayers. Before the project, up to 60 per cent of the material sent to landfill was made up of compostable material.

“Our latest audit found 15.8% food waste in bins and just 5.63% garden waste, so that is a dramatic improvement,” Tony said. “So far we’ve improved our overall landfill diversion rate to 66 per cent – that means 66 per cent of waste that would otherwise have gone to landfill is now being recycled.”

Under Western Australia’s new Waste Strategy policy, launched in March 2012, major regional centres are committed to recovering 30 per cent of solid waste by 2015, and 50 per cent by 2020, so this initiative is already achieving excellent results.

“We’ve collected over 5,500 tonnes of compostable waste over the six months since the project started,” Tony said.

The waste is processed into fertiliser at a facility in Dardanup, WA which includes a composting pad and leachate pond.

Tony says the JCB wheel loader was selected because of the brand reputation and the value for money it represented.

The JCB 436 HT Wheel Loader runs on a 132kW Cummins Engine and has an operating weight of 15 tonnes.

JCB Bunbury General Manager Rod Ellard said the wheel loader was the ideal choice for the demanding environment at Dardanup. “It’s productive, efficient, easy to maintain and extremely durable,” he said. “It’s also very comfortable and has leading edge safety features which are essential when it’s hard at work all day, every day.

“A transmission dump feature gives maximum hydraulic performance and limits vehicle speed when loading, while load-sensing hydraulics only use power on demand for maximum efficiency.”

With more councils expected to sign up to the organic waste program over the next year, Tony said the facility was likely to require a second wheel loader in the next 12-24 months.