A highlight of our day today was a visit to the core waste management infrastructure in Ballarat so that we could get the context for the work we are doing for the Council. There were three sites of importance that we wanted to visit : a Transfer Station where waste is delivered by citizens to be sorted into different components, the recycling depot where recycling is collected prior to its transportation to a Material Recycling Facility or MRF (pronounced “merf” for those in the know) and to the landfill which is known in Australia as a “dump” or “tip”.
Luckily it was a beautiful, if somewhat chilly, day for this adventure. We had the benefit of the expertise of Lauren and Trevor from Council to help us learn more about these important sites.
Stop 1 : The Transfer Station
The transfer station allows Ballarat Citizens to dispose of the hard, green waste, recycling and rubbish in a convenient location and in a way that maximises the value from this waste. Green waste is mulched and provided to citizens for their gardens. There is even an opportunity to buy second hand goods that someone else has discarded.
Stop 2 : Recycling Centre
We had the opportunity to inspect the facility for collecting and aggregating all of the recycling materials on the outskirts of the city.
STOP 3 : The TIP
This visit has been something the team has been looking forward since the first week in Ballarat. The sheer size and scale of the landfill was impressive and allowed us to fully appreciate the volume of waste currently in the landfill and the challenges faced by the city in developing new approaches to manage waste for Ballarat. This site is not open to the public so we were very lucky to have the opportunity for a short tour.
To get a good feel for the sheer size of this site, check out the landmover in the first photo. Then try to spot it on the middle right of the second.
We had the opportunity to see a waste to energy plant already producing electricity from the gas produced from the landfill and adding it back to the grid.
Armed with this greater appreciation on the waste challenges and landfill – it was back to work this afternoon as we are working hard on our recommendations and presentation to the Council later this week.
For more information on the transfer station : http://www.ballarat.vic.gov.au/ps/waste/transfer-station.aspx
Smythsdale Landfill : http://www.ballarat.vic.gov.au/ps/waste/landfill.aspx