Woodchip mill tries to secure Melbourne’s garbage to burn

UPDATE – April 2023

The Nippon-owned Maryvale packaging mill, is still struggling to get the minimum tonnages it needs but are again showing confidence that work will commence by end of this year. They also have competitors for the garbage, and Maryvale would have higher transport costs than the Dandenong project. Especially now they are not transporting train/truck loads of Reflex paper to Melb and bringing garbage back on the ‘empty’ run.

They’re having a hard time of it! In 2019 they said it would burn 650,000 tonnes a year and construction would start in 2021.

In 2020 they said they’d build in two stages, with stage one burning 325,000 tonnes a year, while stage two “could be added in the future”.

In 2022 they said they’d start construction that year.

Now in 2023 they’re saying that they’ve secured 175,000 tonnes, but as far as we can figure, this is the 150,000 tonnes of commercial and industrial waste from Suez which they secured in 2020 and 20,000 tonnes from Maroondah Council.

So four years on, they’ve only secured one council and 4% of the municipal solid waste they originally envisaged burning.

UPDATE – October 2021

Highly toxic ash coming to a road near you?

Australian Paper, now calling itself Opal (but still 100% owned by Japan’s Nippon) is pushing ahead with their EPA ‘tick and flick’ approval to build a massive industrial garbage incinerator on its current factory grounds in the Latrobe Valley. This latest atrocity that plans to incinerate industrial and domestic garbage has been termed ‘renewable energy’. There would of course be extremely hazardous toxins released out of the smoke stacks, but it gets worse.  

Nippon plans to convince roading bodies and construction companies to use the highly toxic bottom ash to embed into road base and other structures, saving Nippon from the expensive option of hazardous material disposal.

Overseas use of such contaminated ash shows it leaches into gutters, culverts and waterways, poisoning the local environment and communities.

But Nippon/Opal is selling this plan as an “exciting new aspect of the project bottom ash recycling…”

About a quarter to a third of what is incinerated remains as highly toxic ash.
There will be thousands of tonnes to be disposed of.

“Creating Energy from Waste (new-speak for industrial garbage incinerator) Information Centre (propaganda machine) … provides a vibrant space … to learn about … make better use of residual waste (extremely concentrated toxins) … building on its sustainability credentials (having destroyed the Central Highlands Mountain Ash ecosystem over the past 90 years) … circular economy principles… (we’ll donate to your political election campaign if you subsidise our operations) by …innovative …options to recycle and reuse … The ash residues, … contain ferrous metals and non-ferrous metals (let’s not mention mercury, lead, dioxins and so on) which can be recovered and recycled (to spread widely and randomly throughout the state) … (Maryvale) will feature … recycling facility to be operated by SUEZ. A global leader in waste management (who are global spin doctors to hide the poisoning of communities and their environment as a positive), … will apply best practice …

More information on this wasted opportunity to invest in a cleaner, closed loop, genuine recycling economy can be found here and here.
A report on the problems of toxic bottom ash can be found here.

Garbage security for Nippon incinerator

There was the strong smell of a rat in early October 2020, when the govt announced they’d spend $3.5M to upgrade the rail line to Nippon’s Maryvale woodchip and paper mill in the Latrobe Valley.

Then two weeks later, by coincidence, Nippon announced it will build an industrial garbage incinerator and has secured 150,000 tonnes p.a. of Melbourne’s garbage to burn – with more in their sights.

150,000 tonnes of industrial and domestic waste will be almost impossible to separate out highly toxic or recyclable items.

This overseas company has already had $5M of our taxes for their feasibility study and a $200M public gift in February this year (see below), with very little explanation. Now Nippon says: “Government support will be sought to help fast-track project expenditure …”.

This undermines an emerging recycling industry and a move towards a circular economy. It will also shunt yet more toxic waste into the Latrobe Valley and spew more toxic gasses into the already polluted air in the region.

More details on the proposal, its history and our VCAT appeal here

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