Turning rubbish into $s and jobs

By diverting goods with resale value from going to its landfills, Logan City Council will not only generate healthy sales figures this financial year, but provide valuable training and work experience for two dozen long term unemployed local people.

The process is simple, all materials brought to the landfill are screened and any items with resale value are collected and cleaned for sale to the public. Further advantages of this scheme include a reduction in the amount of waste going to landfill, recycling and re-use of valuable resources and profits being returned to the community through Council making grants to various groups.

After receiving expressions of interest to run this recycling initiative, Council opted for an in-house system believing this would return the greatest benefit for the local community. Positions provided through new work opportunities and the Jobskills program have enabled participants to gain valuable work experience and accreditation, such as welding and forklift tickets, manual handling certification plus first aid qualifications. Some participants have gone on to attain full or part time employment with Council.

In a further ‘green’ initiative, Logan City Council is extracting gases from its Browns Plains landfill. In this process, harmful Greenhouse and other gases are harvested and then converted into energy. The gases are used to produce electricity which is then able to be sold to the electricity grid. In a first for Queensland, Council believes this is a necessary move given the increasing likelihood of legislation requiring Local Government to address the issue of landfill gas emissions.

As a further indication of being a leader in this field, Council is investigating the feasibility of exporting its recycling expertise and technology into the rapidly developing economies of South East Asia. Forming a consortium with Energy Development and Engineering Consultants, CMPS & F, Council has obtained a grant from AusAid and funding from the Queensland Export Development Scheme to investigate potential sites in the ASEAN region for power generation from landfill gas.

“We will be investigating how our technology and expertise can be used to solve environmental problems for our neighbours in the region,” said Steve Murray, Manager Operations and Waste Management. A report on potential business opportunities will be completed by September.

“We will be establishing a model to market in the ASEAN region,” he continued. “Council will be able to derive income from fees charged by the Consortium and there are also opportunities for providing training in this technology.

“As well as tapping into the huge growth markets in SE Asia, Council is doing its part to be proactive in sharing our skills with our near neighbours.”

For further information on any of these recycling schemes, contact Steve Murray, telephone (07) 3826 5312.