State quashes $9m waste scheme

Great Southern Herald - - News - Michael Traill

The Great South­ern Re­gional Waste Group’s hopes of bring­ing a world-first py­rol­y­sis waste dis­posal plant to the re­gion have been quashed.

The group, made up of the Shires of Nar­ro­gin, Wa­gin, Wil­liams, Pin­gelly, Wick­epin and Cuballing had hoped the pro­posed py­rol­y­sis plant would con­vert roughly 10,000 tonnes of lo­cal house­hold waste into sell­able bio-prod­uct.

The tech­nol­ogy, cur­rently be­ing de­vel­oped by Pro­fes­sor Chun-Zhu Li at Curtin Univer­sity, would see house­hold waste con­verted into bio-fuel and bio-char­coal via a 300C to 400C heat­ing process.

At an es­ti­mated price tag of $9 mil­lion, both State and Fed­eral fund­ing was cru­cial to make the pro­posed py­rol­y­sis plant a re­al­ity — the Great South­ern Re­gional Waste Group hoped to split the sum $3 mil­lion each way be­tween Can­berra, Perth and them­selves.

State En­vi­ron­ment Minister Stephen Daw­son would not com­mit $3 mil­lion of State Gov­ern­ment fund­ing re­quested dur­ing a meet­ing with Shire of Wa­gin chief ex­ec­u­tive Peter Web­ster.

Mr Daw­son did not re­spond to The Ob­server’s ques­tions re­lat­ing to fund­ing of the plant di­rectly.

“The McGowan Gov­ern­ment is cur­rently re­view­ing the waste strat­egy, which will set out a blue­print for the way waste is­sues are man­aged in this State,” he told The Ob­server in a state­ment.

Mr Daw­son also added that “there is a place for waste to en­ergy in man­ag­ing resid­ual waste, but not at the ex­pense of rea­son­able ef­forts to avoid and reuse.”

In­stead the State Gov­ern­ment was fo­cus­ing on its “bet­ter bins sys­tem” in the fight against house­hold waste, which in­cludes all lo­cal coun­cils in the State adopt­ing a three-bin sys­tem by 2025.

Mr Web­ster said that he was dis­ap­pointed by the out­come of the meet­ing, but also men­tioned that rais­ing $3 mil­lion within the six Shires would’ve been a chal­lenge in it­self.

“(We’ll) con­tinue to mon­i­tor the progress of the tech­nol­ogy, at the same time we think that it has got a lot of value,” he said.

“We’re go­ing to ap­proach the State Gov­ern­ment again to get them to con­sider this as a vi­able way of deal­ing with land­fill and re­cy­cling.”

Pic­ture: Dale Ste­wart

Pro­fes­sor Chun-Zhu Li ex­plain­ing the tech­nol­ogy.

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