Recycling, service and water company REMONDIS Australia is aiming to run completely off of renewable sources by 2025 – and has commenced a major roll-out of solar across its Australian sites to this end.
In a bid to double its renewable energy generation capacity by the end of this year, the company has already rolled out solar infrastructure across sites in Queensland and New South Wales.
Solar systems will also be fitted this year at the company’s facilities at Rocklea and Northgate in Queensland, Dandenong South in Victoria, Wingfield in South Australia and Henderson in Western Australia.
REMONDIS engaged EnergyLink Services to conduct a feasibility study for solar installations across all sites in Australia, which recommended a staged delivery approach. The solar photovoltaic systems are being installed by Atlas Renewables.
Last month, the company released its first sustainability report documenting its environmental, social and governance achievements and targets within the waste sector.
Targets for 2022 include increasing total installed renewable energy capacity to more than three megawatts, with the aim to source all electricity from renewable sources by 2025.
The company will also measure and report on Scope 1, 2 and 3 greenhouse gas emissions, consistent with the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act, from 2022.
Amir Tadros, REMONDIS Australia national technical manager said that the solar initiative was key to achieving the company’s sustainability targets in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
“Given that we’re a major industrial operator with sites all around Australia, shifting towards solar electricity use is a no brainer. Reducing our reliance on grid supplied energy is good for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and it’s good for us, too,” he said.
“As a major industrial operator within Australia, it is important to target reductions in the full scope of REMONDIS’ greenhouse gas emissions to help reduce not only our own environmental impacts, but also those of the customers we serve.”
Landfill gas collection
To achieve its renewable energy targets the company also plans to expand its Emissions Reduction Fund Project at its Swanbank Landfill in South East Queensland, a facility that captures gas from landfill operations to generate electricity.
The project involves collecting and combusting methane gas created by decomposing biodegradable organic matter, and using it to generate electricity.
Alongside joint venture partner LMS Energy, the company wants to upgrade the existing landfill gas collection system (comprising new well collection and flaring infrastructure) to capture and flare gas generated at the landfill from legacy and non-legacy waste, a spokesperson told The Fifth Estate.
The company is also looking at implementing this at Springmount Waste Management Facility in Far North Queensland.
“We take a lead on green practices when it comes to managing waste, and we also achieve our sustainability goals through in-house measures.” Mr Tadros said.
Energy-from-waste still on the table
In February, REMONDIS withdrew a Coordinated Project application to build a $400 million Energy-from-Waste plant at its Swanbank Resource Recovery Precinct after being advised by the Queensland state government that the project pathway was unsuitable.
Residents in the region feared that the incinerator would discourage recycling and cause environmental impacts including unpleasant odours in the surrounding area. Since 2018, almost 12,000 smell, fire, dust and noise complaints have been lodged by Ipswich residents about waste industries in the region, on a hotline run by Queensland’s Department of Environment and Science.
But the company remains committed to investigating options for energy-from-waste technology in Queensland.
“Energy recovery technology (also known as Energy from Waste or Waste to Energy) is a safe and effective means of managing waste in major cities across the world. There is no doubt Australia has been left behind on the waste management front because it has failed to embrace this technology,” a spokesperson told The Fifth Estate.
“The rest of the world knows that when you embrace Energy from Waste technology you all but do away with the dark-age practice of landfill and its potential environmental impacts including land disturbance, odour, methane and leachate discharge,” chief executive Bjoern Becker said in a statement.
“We will keep working with the Queensland government with a view to introducing energy from waste technology to the state in line with government policy. The benefits can’t be ignored, and Australia is long overdue to embrace this proven technology.”