Swan Hill is a region in northern Victoria that has seen significant development over the past decade. The activities within the region, which are largely influenced by irrigation from the Murray River, produce large volumes of organic waste materials. With the potential for future growth and further expansion, Swan Hill Rural City Council has recognised the need to develop an Organics Waste Recovery Strategy to help coordinate how organic waste is managed and ensure this waste is utilised as a valuable resource for the region. Swan Hill Rural City Council engaged Rawtec to assist in the development of the Organics Waste Recovery Strategy. Rawtec undertook desktop research and consulted a range of stakeholders within the Swan Hill region to better understand the current volumes of organic waste, how it is managed, and demand for an end-use product.
It is estimated that the region generates approximately 84,000 tonnes of organic waste material per annum. There are a variety of organics streams in this mix, from fruit product waste, to hull, soil, woodchips and household organic waste. Businesses and Council manage this waste differently, including sending it to landfill, stockpiling and spreading on property, burning, burning for energy, and using it as animal feed.
Rawtec compared three alternative options for managing this organic material. This included:
- development of a regional composting facility (run commercially)
- development of an energy from waste facility (single material stream input, direct combustion, run commercially)
- development of an energy from waste facility (anaerobic digestion, run commercially).