The City of Sydney’s Interim Waste Strategy outlines the steps the City is taking to meet its target for diverting 66 per cent of domestic waste from landfill by 2014. It also sets out the other issues, trends, potential targets and goals the City of Sydney is considering in order to provide sustainable waste and recycling services through to 2030.
A Final Waste Strategy will be drafted after two important studies are completed – the Advanced Waste Collection Master Plan and the Advanced Waste Treatment Master Plan.
You can view the Interim Waste Strategy here.
Integrating green infrastructure into our waste strategy
The City of Sydney has delivered the NSW Government’s Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery target of 66 per cent diversion of domestic waste away from landfill by 2014, according to the latest figures from waste contractors.
This Interim Waste Strategy goes beyond the 2014 target and looks at ways the City can redesign its waste management systems to achieve the vision set out in Sustainable Sydney 2030. This includes integrating green infrastructure technologies to meet our target for converting waste to energy to contribute a 3 per cent reduction in the City’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
The City’s main aim is to provide the systems, infrastructure and support to activate all levels of the waste hierarchy to ensure everyone in the City can manage their waste sustainably.
The waste master plans
Advanced waste collection
The City’s waste used to be collected by horse and buggy. While the modern truck fleets are more efficient, the method is much the same: a container is placed at the kerbside and a rubbish truck comes to take it away. To reduce the noise, smells and traffic congestion associated with the current process, the City of Sydney is now considering new systems via an automated waste collection.
Automated waste collection is particularly suited to high-density developments, and is already established in cities across Europe and Asia. For residents, the system looks like the usual apartment building garbage chute (with a separate chute for recycling). The big difference is that the chutes are fully sealed and instead of emptying into open bins in the basement, a vacuum system sucks the waste through an underground tube to a central collection point.
When the big containers at the collection point are full, they are loaded onto vehicles in an enclosed area. This system minimises disturbance to residents. The automated system means there is no need to collect individual bins from buildings or (potentially) from street litter bins along the vacuum tube routes. This greatly reduces the need for trucks to transport the waste and recycling. The system would be available 24 hours a day, helping the late night economy and improving rubbish control during large events like New Years.
Advanced waste treatment
A major step toward managing waste more sustainably will be finding the best technology to recover resources from garbage disposed of by households after they have recycled all they can. The City of Sydney recognises the potential for advanced waste treatment technology to reduce the need for landfill, but also to recover energy from garbage in the form of a fuel gas and use it to help power the city. Recovering energy from waste will be a final step, taken only after all possible avoidance, reuse and recycling has been done.
The Advanced Waste Treatment Master Plan will set out the technical requirements for the city’s waste treatment, the aims and objectives to be met by such a plant, and the environmental benefits. Over 90% of the City of Sydney’s non-recyclable waste sent for treatment can be turned into gas to provide renewable energy. The Master Plan will identify which technologies are suitable for the City, how these technologies have performed elsewhere, and how they meet the most stringent of environmental emissions standards.
The Advanced Waste Treatment Master Plan is planned to go on public display at the end of 2013 and the Advanced Waste Collection Master Plan is scheduled for 2014. Both master plans will include a public exhibition period where interested parties will be able to provide their feedback.