The Recyclist

Worth Recycling

Worth Recycling’s Manager, George Cooper, says the company is also adept at dealing with solid wastes, collecting, recycling and re-using according to the materials involved.

Worth initially dealt in the waste oil collection sector when it started up in 1976 but has since grown to be a leader in the industrial waste market including liquid and solid waste, as well as industrial cleaning. The leading position, says George, can be defined by the number of assets – such as its treatment capability spread right across New South Wales (the company’s headquarters is in Sans Souci), as well as the largest range of vacuum and supersucker trucks in the state – approximately 60 trucks.

There are three main treatment facilities at Windsor, St Mary’s and Port Kembla. Worth’s business has a strong focus on re-use and recycling, so these are what is known as ‘integrated’ waste treatment systems that feed the waste materials through the system to recover by-products which are in turn further treated for re-use off-site. For example, Worth can recover up to 95 per cent of liquid waste, the raw liquid in the material, for re-use in the building materials industry – in fact, the company rarely discharges through its licensed discharge point. “It is the same with solid materials where in some cases we can recycle it and re-use it back into the brick making industry,” George explains. “In fact, not a lot ends up being thrown away.”

The waste oil and wastewater depot and EPA licensed treatment plant at BlueScope Steel, Port Kembla, receives and processes waste oils, sludges and wastewaters from metal making, metalworking and other heavy industries. The wastewater treatment capacity of the plant is 2.5 megalitres per week.

Several years ago, Worth highlighted in its business plan the fact that the cost of disposal of waste would continue to climb and it would be necessary to look at a range of options. To some degree, George admits, the regulatory framework increased and pushed demand for Worth’s services, although the company hardly sat back and waited for demand to rise. But there is no doubt that the combination of tighter legislation and the desirability of just about any company to enhance its environmentally friendly credentials has been a boon for waste treatment experts.

In fact, the overall waste market is not rising very much, George points out, with manufacturing in general on a downward curve and tighter controls on waste – adding to consumer and industrial awareness of the need to reduce the amount we throw away both by better packaging and more recycling initiatives. “In the general marketplace, because of increasing costs and regulations, people become smarter in how they handle waste, so volumes have not increased a lot.” But Worth’s investment in facilities, equipment and people has enabled it to garner a greater share of the market through its efficiency and expertise.

George says there is a high cost of entry to this industry these days which limits the players, particularly in regard to treatment of industrial waste streams. The modern technologies are not cheap in terms of capital but also in terms of the expertise required to run it efficiently. “We spend a lot of time training our people and trying to understand global best practice,” he shares. Thus company executives spend quite a lot of time on trips to Europe and the US to look at their rubbish and how it is handled. “That is about trying to be ahead of the game.”

In general, the Australasian market is behind Europe but more advanced than the US, driven partly by legislation and partly by market size, and the major players are continually looking at, and having to find the cash for, new ideas and developing technology. Australia is definitely catching up, says George. Europe’s market is driven by its density of population which makes the whole recycling proposition more feasible. The same density precludes the widespread use of landfills so the focus has been much more strongly on recycling for many years. The European waste market has now reached something of a plateau and Australasia’s next aim is to reach about the same level.

In particular, Worth prides itself on its relationships with its clients and partners. “We spend a lot of time upfront understanding their needs and customising solutions for them long term,” says George. The company is also a key member of the DEECW Sustainable Advantage Program, actively promoting and supporting the reuse of liquid and solid treated streams as a direct replacement to raw materials in particular industries.

“We are starting to do more work in other states, experiencing the different regulations in each administration,” George explains. “I believe there is a lot of talk now between the various states’ EPAs about standardising.” But there is a lot to go at in NSW and Worth’s experience in the field is – pardon the term – worth a lot. There are a number of transporters of waste, but not many companies can offer a full range of services in this sector. Worth’s management expertise and credibility in the marketplace “no doubt go a long way.”

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February 27, 2020, 2:52 AM AEDT


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