RED carpet and velvet rope. Waiters offering au d’ouvres and then table service at lunch for men and women dressed smartly for business. And all in a room illuminated by six chandeliers.
It could have been at a function centre on Sydney Harbour, or maybe somewhere in Hunter wine country.
But it was at the tip. The Awaba Waste Management Facility, to be precise.
The function was staged to mark the official opening of Lake Macquarie’s state-of-the-art organics processing facility.
The Lake Macquarie Organics Resource Recovery Facility was constructed by Remondis - a German water, waste and environmental management company - for more than $10 million under a contract with the council.
The facility is where food scraps and garden cuttings collected from residential bins will be processed and transformed into high-grade compost products.
It’s a first for the Hunter. And it’s a big deal for Lake Macquarie – financially and environmentally.
Mayor Kay Fraser said the facility was a “significant step in the war against waste” and a “centrepiece of the council’s new greener three-bin waste management system”.
“It will allow our residents to dispose of all their food waste in their green bin, and have it brought here, along with garden waste, to be recycled into high-quality compost products,” Cr Fraser said.
“These products will in turn be available for re-use on parks, gardens and sports fields around the city and further afield.”
The change was expected to reduce the amount of waste going into landfill cells at the tip by up to one third, Cr Fraser said.
“That is a staggering amount of waste that will be redirected and recycled,” she said.
Remondis’s chief executive officer Luke Agati said that amounted to 40,000 tonnes of organic waste per annum.
“Remondis has been composting garden waste at Awaba for Lake Macquarie City Council since 2013, and this new facility will enable us to also convert food waste into a valuable resource,” Mr Agati said.
“Since 2013, Remondis has diverted more than 100,000 tonnes of garden organics from landfill in the region, saving more than $13 million in landfill levies for residents.”
Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter, Scot MacDonald, said the facility had been supported by $2 million in funding from the state government through the NSW EPA’s ‘Waste Less, Recycle More’ initiative, funded from the waste levy.
The council’s new three-bin system comes into play from July 30.
How the facility works
The facility comprises a hybrid model of “in-vessel” and “mobile aerated floor” systems.
It features a number of Australian firsts including an automated tunnel composting system to pasteurise food waste in two weeks, coupled with mobile aerated floor finishing to complete the composting process.
The facility has an automatic cashless weighbridge system that will give users access to the facility with the swipe of a card, enabling fast and accurate transactions.