WASTE TO ENERGY
There are plans to build five different toxic waste-to-energy incinerator projects in Sydney and across regional NSW.
The proposed incinerators burn millions of tonnes of mingled construction, commercial and industrial waste including metals, brick, concrete, plasterboard, soil, aggregates, plastics, asbestos & old tyres each year.
These incinerators will pump out cancer-causing emissions such as; arsenic, cadmium, nickel, mercury, dioxin, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and Persistent Organic Pollutants - 24 hours a day 7 days a week for over 30 years.
Why Burning Waste is a Bad Idea
- Burning non-recyclable mixed plastics creates toxic waste & pollutants which persist in the air and environment for generations.
- The ultra-fine particulates released by the incinerators have been linked to respiratory symptoms, heart problems and premature death in people with heart or lung disease.
- For every 4 tonnes burnt, 1 tonne of ash is created that is so toxic only one landfill site is licenced to dispose of it.
- Waste incinerators produce more emissions than coal-fired power with approximately 1.5 tonnes of greenhouse gases per tonne of burnt waste.
You can read more from the National Toxics Network here.
The Greens’ Bill to Ban Waste to Energy
In 2020 Cate Faehrmann introduced the Green’s Prohibition of Waste to Energy Incinerators Bill 2020. The bill would have banned the development of new waste-to-energy incineration facilities in NSW and given certainty to communities who live in fear of these developments. On 11 November 2020 the bill was voted down by Labor and the Liberal-National parties.
Governments Energy from Waste Infrastructure Plan
In September 2021 the NSW Government released a draft waste-to-energy regulation and Energy from Waste Infrastructure Plan. In a media release then Deputy Premier, the Hon John Barilaro MP, stated the plan gave certainty to communities and made clear where new thermal waste to energy facilities can and cannot proceed, and then Minister for Energy and Environment the Hon Matt Kean MP stated the plan respected the concerns of local communities.
The Member for Mulgoa Tanya Davies MP stated the Government’s Energy from Waste Infrastructure Plan “ensures that large-scale Energy from Waste projects cannot be developed in Western Sydney and ensures they are banned in the Sydney basin”,
The regulation and plan supposedly banned waste to energy projects in the Greater Sydney Basin while encouraging toxic incinerators to be built in regional precincts in:
- The Parkes Activation Precinct
- The Richmond Valley Regional Jobs Precinct
- The Southern Goulburn Mulwaree Precinct
- The West Lithgow Precinct
The regulation contains exemptions that will still allow waste-to-energy incinerators to be built in Sydney if they’re replacing a dirtier fuel or if the project is declared a state significant development. In a leaked transcript of a "waste to energy Q & A" meeting between the EPA and regional councils dated 5 November 2021, the EPA Executive Director of Regulatory Policy, Initiatives and Advice, stated that “under the Infrastructure Plan, Energy from Waste within the Greater Sydney Basin can happen under the exemption pathway”.
The NSW Government has misled the community with no plans to protect Sydney or regional NSW from these toxic waste incinerators.
Incinerators Threatening our Communities
Suez Incinerator in Matraville
Suez has proposed to build a waste-to-energy incinerator at the Opal paper mill Botany Road in Matraville.
The proposal is classified as State Significant Development as it is a co-generation of heat and electricity and has a capital investment value of over $30M. This means it bypasses local approvals of Randwick Council and will be determined by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.
The proposed waste incinerator would burn 165,000 tonnes of non-recyclable rubbish such as plastics, textiles and furniture each year to help power the Opal paper mill. The stack would discharge a cocktail of toxic pollutants covering eastern Sydney.
Suez’s incinerator will operate 24 hours a day and result in a stack 60m high located less than 100 metres from the nearest resident’s homes.
Eastern Creek Incinerators
Between them, the incinerators will burn over a million tonnes of waste
In February of 2018, two petitions each with over 10,000 signatures opposing the Eastern Creek Next Generation Incinerator were tabled in the NSW parliament.
A Community Survey conducted between 2016-2022 of over 2000 local community members proved 99.5% AGAINST the incinerator going ahead.
In July 2018, the Next Generation project was ultimately scrapped by the IPC after the EPA and the Department of Planning recommended the project not go ahead. In its statement of reasons, the IPC referred to the Planning Department’s assessment report which concluded that :
“The development is likely to use material for energy recovery instead of utilising this material to achieve higher order resource recovery outcomes, which is inconsistent with the principles of the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Act 2001 and the NSW EfW Policy.“
Veolia Incinerator plant at Tarago
Veolia proposes to build a waste-to-energy incinerator at their existing Woodlawn Bioreactor landfill site in the Goulburn Mulwaree NSW council region near Tarago.
The incinerator would burn 380,000 tonnes per year of municipal, commercial, industrial, construction and demolition waste from Sydney containing plastic, metals and types operating 24 hours a day, 365 days per year for a lifespan of 30 years.
Energy Australia’s Mt Piper Energy Recovery Project in Lithgow
Energy Australia’s proposed waste incinerator would burn 200,000 tonnes of waste per year, transported by up to 100 B-double trucks along the Great Western Highway and Bells Line of Road each day.
Even worse the project is receiving 400,000 of funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency!