Waste not, want not

By Jackson Russell

Mitchell Shire Council will look into funding opportunities to develop a feasibility study exploring investment in a waste-to-energy facility in Mitchell Shire.

The feasibility study comes from a notice of motion by deputy mayor David Atkinson, unanimously approved at last Monday night’s council meeting.

Cr Atkinson referenced Yarra Valley Water’s waste-to-energy facility in Wollert as inspiration for the motion.

“Sending [food waste] to landfill, Australians are generating methane equivalent to approximately 6.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide,” he said.

“An estimated one-third of food produced in the world goes to waste and 1.3 billion tonnes of fruit and vegetables, meat, dairy and seafood are thrown away.

“The contaminants of food waste emissions are almost equivalent, 87 per cent, to global road transport emissions.

“In Europe, unprocessed organic waste is banned from landfill and must be reprocessed into valuable products such as energy. Let’s be ready so we can follow that.”

Cr Atkinson added the project could create jobs in the shire and increase the lifespan of its Hilldene landfill.

“If feasible, this would increase that life span by reducing the amount of waste going to that site and reduce emissions assisting to meet council’s target,” he said.

“Council wants to respond to climate change, use green energy and wants to have a more sustainable environment.”

South ward councillor Rob Eldridge said it was a great opportunity for council to be proactive.

“It says we’re open for business and we’re looking into these innovative ways of treating waste and getting energy,” he said.

“I think as we go forward in the next six, 12 or 18 months, this will become a really hot issue.”