The food scraps from thousands of Aussie households will be diverted away from landfill and instead turned into green energy and fertiliser, as part of a trial announced on Tuesday by the City of Sydney Council.
Under the trial, food waste from 330 houses and 53 inner-city apartment blocks in Sydney will be sent to Australia’s first ever food waste-to-energy processing facility, EarthPower, which opened in 2003.
“There has been huge demand from residents to participate in this trial and if successful, we’ll look at providing this service across the entire council area,” Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.
Participating households are simply given a small food waste ‘bin,’ along with biodegradable liners, into which they can place most types of food leftovers including fruit and vegetable scraps, meat and seafood, egg shells, bread, dairy products and even food soiled paper towels and napkins.
The waste is then placed in a larger bin and left on the kerb for collection.
Once at the EarthPower facility, the waste is subjected to anaerobic digestion technology, where, within an oxygenless chamber, microorganisms break down the biodegradable material.
The process produces biogas which is then converted into green electricity, while the solid remains are dried and granulated to produce fertiliser pellets.
“Food scraps generally make up one-third of the average red lid bin (general waste), so this trial will divert a significant amount of waste from landfill,” Moore said.
She added that while a number of sophisticated waste sorting technologies have been trialled in the past, “the most effective method is when our residents separate the waste themselves at the source.”
While many Aussie households already choose to compost their own food scraps, the process requires space which many inner city dwellings simply don’t have.
“It's a fantastic initiative, particularly for apartments like mine that can’t logistically manage a composting system,” trial participant Joel Handler said.
“Sydney residents can be proud of how much food waste they’ll be able to redirect away from general waste bins.”
At full capacity the EarthPower facility can power up to 3,600 homes in addition to creating fertilizer pellets which can be sold for use on farms and gardens.(2019-08-27 Xinhua)