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Maggots and robots team up in waste war

Thursday 30 September 2021
We’re enlisting unlikely allies in our efforts to halve waste, with the latest tools in our arsenal to be a combination of robots and maggots.

It might sound strange, but the system will become an important means for our business and commercial sector to process packaged commercial food waste.

A unit about the size of a shipping container will be installed at the Albury Waste Management Centre. Using the ancient organic processes of fly larvae and modern robotic technology, the unit will squash the packaging – sourced mainly from local Woolworths stores and large food generating outlets – so the packaging can be recycled.

This project will commence in November and run until June 2022.

It’s just one new resource recovery project we’ll launch, thanks to grants from the NSW Government to significantly change the processing of major waste streams.

The support from the NSW EPA Circulate Industrial Ecology Program will also enable us to improve recycling of plasterboard, soft plastics, and old solar panels.

As part of that process, we’ll be able to separate and recycle plasterboard waste at the Albury Waste Management Centre, meaning plasterboard waste can be crushed and used as a valuable agricultural and horticultural additive.

Funding will also be used to partner with the building industry to support better separation of plasterboard waste on building sites.  The project aims to recycle more than 1000 tonnes of material.

Soft plastics are also in council’s recycling sights, with grant funding to enable a collaboration between AlburyCity and Plastic Forests to reduce the amount of soft plastic waste going to landfill through the commercial and industrial waste stream.

This will be achieved by working closely with approximately 20 small to medium local businesses to separate soft plastics.  The material will be collected and transported to a local processor to be turned into 100% recycled products.

The grants program is also enabling a project to keep end-of-life solar panels out of southern NSW landfills.

The Sunset on Solar program will involve partnerships with neighbouring councils to source the panels, which will be brought to Albury for dismantling and then sent to Sydney for reprocessing.

This project aims to recycle approximately 8,000 panels during the project timeframe.

The overall cost of these projects is $477,137, with $279,000 to be provided by the funding package.