Tale of two councils
Tweed Shire Council, in northern NSW, operates the Stotts Creek Resource Recovery Centre, a regional waste facility that hosts landfill, recycling and resource recovery activities.
Tweed introduced a three-bin system in 2009 to reduce waste and organic loading in landfill, with 42 per cent of total waste being recycled in 2010-11.
The green waste service under this system has been taken up by about 14,000 households, with all green waste collected through this service successfully diverted from landfill.
The council also installed a methane gas extraction system at the Stotts Creek Resource Recovery Centre in 2002. The facility generates about 3,000 megawatt hours of electricity – enough to power 400 homes.
Each year, the Stotts Creek facility captures and burns methane, which avoids around 12,900 tonnes of CO2 emissions – equivalent to taking almost 4,000 cars off Australian roads for one year.
Tweed estimates it has successfully reduced emissions below the carbon price threshold of 25,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e) as a result of these measures.
Meanwhile, Moreton Bay Regional Council, in South-East Queensland, manages about 200,000 tonnes of waste sent to its landfills each year.
The council began reducing its emissions from waste in 2010 with the installation of landfill gas management systems across its three operating landfills. The council estimates that these actions have on average reduced emissions by up to 50 per cent – a total of 78,000 tonnes of CO2-e emissions to date.
By taking these steps, both councils have successfully reduced their future liable emissions under the carbon price.
The Carbon Farming Initiative is one of the key parts of the Australian Government’s plan for a Clean Energy Future and gives landfill operators the opportunity to earn carbon credits from abatement activities. To learn more see the fact sheet Tale of two councils: How we’ve cut emissions from waste and reduced costs.