Australian Policies on Harnessing Energy From Waste

Published 16 August 2016

The way we understand and harness waste energies is changing every day, with environmental consciousness and technological innovation combining to make a real difference. South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria, and Western Australia have all adopted Energy From Waste policies as part of their sustainability goals. These policies oversee using waste and refuse, and harnessing energy (heating and electricity) from the gas it produces.

Waste removal in Adelaide to generate new energy


South Australia’s Waste To Energy background paper, published in 2013, outlines how the SA government is supporting both economic development and environmental management by harnessing energy from rubbish and refuse. There are several methods South Ausralia is using to encourage this, including the following.

Wood Waste to Energy

The primary energies that can be derived from wood are heat and electricity, and this is done by controlled combustion. Related refuse, such as sawdust, black liquor, and bark, can be used in generating this energy rather than being thrown away.

A case study from Europe shows 38% of domestic energy from biomass (organic materials used in energy production) coming from wood waste. Sectors such as construction and demolition, carpentry, forestry, commercial and industrial may have high amounts of wood waste that can be diverted from landfill and used to power homes or factories instead.

End of Life Plastics to Fuel

Cynar Plastics, a UK based company, has recently developed technology that can break down plastic back into hydrocarbon fuel through a process called pyrolisis. Since 2008, this company has been generating diesel fuel that can be used normally. This is an incredible achievement, as plastic waste takes up such a high percentage of landfills and is one of the primary causes of sea animal deaths. They use end of life plastics, meaning plastic waste that is no longer recyclable, or never was recyclable, such as shrink wrap, agricultural plastics, or residuals.

Based on the success of Cynar, South Australia is exploring possibilities of operating similar facilities or partnering with them to reduce the carbon footprint created by plastics in Australia. South Australia already has plastics policies, such as bottle recycling rebates and plastic shopping bag taxes.

Anaerobic Digestion

Anaerobic digestion is the process of taking organic waste (food scraps, compost, and sewage sludge) and compressing it under heat with certain bacteria. The bacteria produce biogas — a type of gas that we are able to harness into heat and electricity.

Australians throw out more than 20% of our food. By reclaiming some of the lost energy through anaerobic digestion, we can reduce the methane gas from landfills that degrade the protective ozone layer of the atmosphere. Oz Mini Bins collects green waste, which can be repurposed into biogas through anaerobic digestion.

Oz Mini Bins looks forward to seeing these directives and more implemented in Adelaide and South Australia. We can surely help you repurpose some of your waste to generate energy back to your home or industry.  Oz Mini Bins is your professional waste removal experts in Adelaide for your home, business or trade.