The MarketPlace Leichhardt waste journey

John Ainsley shares MarketPlace Leichhardt’s waste journey.

The journey into waste management systems and waste streams is a place where not many people want to venture, but at MarketPlace Leichhardt, we took on the challenge of the waste journey and the results were better than we could have imagined.

To understand how to manage the multiple waste streams a retail centre can produce, we need to understand the systems that are available, and not just in Australia.

We need to look globally to understand how other countries are managing their waste streams. When I first began this journey, I looked to Singapore on how an island nation manages waste and the data was astounding.

How does an island nation manage their waste? They build an island from the waste and then develop a recycling plant on the island.

I needed to look further than just recycling. I began to follow the World Economic Forum on LinkedIn and came across a story about how Korea has recycled 95 per cent of its food waste and this is where I came up with an idea for MarketPlace.

The first stage of the process was to reduce our landfill diversion rate from 31.5 tonne per month. The best way to do this is remove food waste from landfill/general waste, we installed two Pulp Master systems.

We initially installed two Pulp Masters to reduce the food waste and recycle the waste into green energy and organic fertiliser, in the 8 months of recycling food waste we have seen remarkable results as shown in the table below:

  Food Organics recycled (kg’s) Cumulative Potential Green Energy (kJ) Potential Homes powered for a month CO2 reduction (kg’s) Greenhouse gas savings Co2 equivalent (kg’s) Plastic bag diversion
May-19 0 0 0 0 0 0
Jun-19 4,212 4,212 36,025,236 15 8,936 12,727 703
Jul-19 5,894 10,106 50,411,382 21 12,505 17,809 984
Aug-19 8,460 18,566 72,358,380 30 17,949 25,563 1,413
Sep-19 11,465 30,031 98,060,145 41 24,324 34,643 1,915
Oct-19 9,604 39,635 82,143,012 34 20,360 29,004 1,603
Nov-19 9,280 48,915 79,371,840 33 19,674 28,026 1,549
Dec-19 11,710 60,625 100,155,630 42 24,825 35,364 1,954
Jan-20 13,691 74,316 117,099,123 49 29,025 41,347 2,285

The next step in our journey was to find a waste system that would help reduce our landfill diversion rate even further.

We came across a Melbourne-based engineering company which designs and manufactures waste equipment

We were looking for a system that could weigh a tenant’s waste each time they disposed of it. In a first for any retail centre in Australia, we had two unique weight-based waste systems installed.

Each tenant weighs their waste when they dispose of it and the systems provides a monthly report on the overall weight of the general waste and charges the tenants for waste disposal at the standard tonnage rate, this is then removed from their outgoings.

The Smart Weigh system encourages tenants to separate their waste stream, which means less waste is going into landfill.

We had anticipated a 20 per cent reduction in the landfill diversion rate. In our first month we achieved a 45 per cent reduction. We are now seeing landfill diversion rates in the low to mid 70s.

In eight months, the team at MarketPlace, along with the tenants, has managed to reduce the volume of waste going to landfill from 31.5 tonne to an average of 8 tonne.

This is an incredible result and the journey through waste management has opened our eyes to options and systems from around the globe.

Our results may be small in comparison to other global organisations, but it is a step in the right direction and step we all need to take if we are to make a difference.

John Ainsley is operations manager for JLL at MarketPlace Leichhardt

This article first appeared the March/April issue of INCLEAN magazine 

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