City of Cockburn, Australia launches food waste AD trial

The City of Cockburn in Western Australia has launched a three-month commercial food waste trial.

Local food retailers and restaurants are encouraged to apply to join what is the first free commercial food waste trial in the region.

It has been supported by an $18,257 (€11,000) State Government Community and Industry Engagement grant, with 20 local businesses already signed up for weekly collections by a 1.7-tonne waste truck until the beginning of November.

The trial is in partnership with Richgro, with the food waste being delivered for processing in its anaerobic digestion plant in Jandakot to help produce high-quality biofertiliser. Excess electricity via methane capture from the plant, is then fed back into the grid.

Clare Courtauld, waste education coordinator at the City of Cockburn said up to 50-60 businesses could be accepted in the temporary free trial, depending on the type of waste generated.

“Food waste is a nutrient-rich resource that if diverted from landfill, where its decomposition creates potent greenhouse gases, can be used to produce valuable biogas for electricity generation, compost, and soil conditioners,” said Courtauld.

“The trial will help the city determine the benefits of a commercial food waste collection service to reduce costs and improve resource recovery levels.

“Results will be analysed and reported to the council for a decision on future implementation if benefits of the trial can be proven.”

Richgro CEO Tim Richards said the plant’s capacity to process 137 tonnes of commercial and industrial organic waste per day, or 50,000 tonnes per year, had enabled more than 300,000 tonnes of waste to be diverted from landfill to date.

“Now that we have two 1.5 MW generators, we can generate a maximum of 57,600 KW per day, helping us to power the equivalent of 3,200 homes,” said Richards.

“By producing an average of 60,000 litres of biofertiliser per day, we are powering homes right here in the City of Cockburn as well as the Richgro site running on green energy.”

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