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Does Perth's food-waste currently go to Landfill?

We like to answer these questions.

"Someone has pointed out to me that "pretty much no metro council takes their waste straight to landfill", and on that basis they felt a bit annoyed at the wording of the crowdfunding campaign. I feel like I know why the Kooda model is a massive improvement on mixed-in truck collection, but I wondered if you could actually tell me (a) how much compostable waste is lost/ruined in the current e.g. City Of Vincent process, and (b) why source-separating and local processing is so much better?"

Perth Central:

The easiest answer to this in the Mindarie Regional Council's Annual Report. The cities covered by this council are:

  • City of Stirling
  • City of Joondalup
  • City of Wanneroo
  • City of Perth
  • City of Vincent
  • Town of Cambridge
  • Town of Victoria Park
(However, not all of these have their waste sent to the AART)

233,868 Tonnes of waste was produced in 2016/2017 by the population of these councils.

106.463 Tonnes was sent to the ARRT facility.

40,000 Tonnes of compost (roughly) was produced at the ARRT facility.

51,135 Tonnes of residuals were not compostable ane were then sent to landfill.

127,405 Tonnes (the balance) was sent directly to landfill.

60,000 Tonnes (50% of the balance) was compostable or organic material.

Yes, around 60,000 tonnes of Perth's organics went directly to landfill.

The MRC has or is likely to commit to 100,000 tonnes of this waste being sent for Incineration rather than landfill.

At Kooda, we believe that if 50% of this is organic matter, then it is much better to recycle the nutrients, and stabilise the carbon so it goes into the soil, and use it for GROWing something, rather than burn it, sending the CO2 into the atmosphere.

We want to increase the available capacity to process and recycle organics, and we want to do it really well.

A question we would like to ask is why is there not discussion about building another ARRT to recover more of the organics before sending it to landfill?

Greater Perth

The comment “pretty much no metro council takes their waste straight to landfill” is flat out wrong as a simple table of the destination of residual/ Mainstream Waste shows:

The composting facilities produce between 50-35% residuals. The remainder then loses 60% of its mass by moisture loss, and so only 20% of what goes in actually comes out the other end as a product. The product generates is not good quality, and is either blended with other materials or used in low grade operations. Glass is a key contaminant, but the organics are also not in a good form for soils to use.

In short, AWT is a bulk waste management solution that shouldn’t really be relied upon to produce high quality compost. Kooda is about designing a new collection system to create a product that people actually want to buy. Given the choice, we should be aiming to maximise the value of the product rather than introduce services to everybody that create a low-grade product.

This is why councils/ industry are not building further AART units! The quality of the product is not good enough for real agricultural use.

"I obviously support organics collection and processing services provided by Council, as they are better than landfill, but it’s a bit rich to criticise Kooda because the Councils have it in hand"

Adam Johnson, MRA Consulting

This leads us to the question about the final product being made from the organic waste, and this is what KOODA is really passionate about: Finding ways of processing and partnerships to create value from the waste and to genuinely "Send it somewhere GOOD"

How do we create a great Soil Product?
(why source separating is better)

This is about integrity of the composting process. Putressed (food that has gone stinky and horrible) materials change the biological process during composting that undermines the quality and effectiveness of the compost.

To produce really high quality compost, the kind of compost that actually sequesters carbon we must ensure all materials are delivered to the composter clean and fresh.

"This is why we have the adage of getting the food-waste "Out of the kitchen and into healthy composting as quickly as possible" Days matter. On demand is not just good for our customers, it is good for our product.

Putressible materials must be ensiled to halt decomposition prior to entering the composting process.

For me what you are doing is super important as I need all my materials fresh and clean, This is not an easy thing to convey as the waste industry does not understand soil.

"For me what you are doing is super important as I need all my materials fresh and clean, This is not an easy thing to convey as the waste industry does not understand soil"

Louise Edmonds, Intuit Earth

The soil industry is still developing a detailed understanding of soil, composts and how they enrich biodiversity and store carbon and we plan to be a part of that as we divert larger and larger amounts of Nutrient rich food-waste from the city and send it somewhere good!

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