Posted on 20. Oct, 2010 in Greening Victoria

Environment and Climate Change Minister Gavin Jennings today officially switched on state-of-the-art recycling machines at Sims Aluminium that will cut by 95 per cent the amount of hazardous waste going to landfill from aluminium recycling.

Visiting Sims Aluminium secondary plant in Laverton North, Mr Jennings said the two new “dross” presses would benefit the environment by preventing hazardous salt and aluminium oxide waste going to landfill.

The Brumby Labor Government provided funding of $773,000 through the HazWaste Fund to help purchase the machines, which cost $1.97 million.

“Our Government understands the importance of protecting our environment and these machines, which dramatically reduce hazard waste going to landfill, are an innovative approach to reducing our impact on the landscape,” Mr Jennings said.

“These dross presses are an impressive example of what the HazWaste Fund can achieve. It is a key element of our strategy to eliminate hazardous waste from landfill by 2020.”

Traditionally salt is used in the scrap aluminium smelting process in order to maximise aluminium recovery. At present this waste cannot be used and has generally gone straight to landfill.

General Manager Australian Manufacturing Division, Sims Group Australia Holdings Limited, Doug McLean said the dross presses remove the need to use salt in the smelting process.

“This means the leftover fines will no longer be contaminated with salt and can be subsequently recycled. This funding has allowed us to become the only known secondary aluminium smelter in the world to operate a ‘salt free’ process utilising dross press technology,” Mr McLean said.

“We’ve tailored the equipment to suit our specific needs and as a result can guarantee diversion of 1800 tonnes of salt, and eventually an additional 12,000 tonnes of aluminium fines, from going to landfill per annum.”

Mr Jennings said the HazWaste Fund, which is administered by the Environment Protection Authority, supports investment in three key areas – infrastructure and implementation; research and development and demonstration projects; and, knowledge and capacity-building.

“In the two years the HazWaste Fund has been operating, $18.3 million of a total of $30 million has been allocated to almost 60 different projects,” he said.

Member for Altona Jill Hennessy said the new presses were a valuable asset and would be good for the environment around Laverton.

“The Brumby Labor Government understands it is vital that we work in partnership with industry in initiatives such as this to achieve sustainable environmental outcomes for future generations of Victorians,” Ms Hennessy said.

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