A New Way of Treating Sydney's Waste: From Kerbside Collection to Compost

Sydney-siders, when you close the lid of your general rubbish bin and wheel it out to the kerb for collection, do you know what happens to the contents?

September 8, 2017 Sydney, Australia - Veolia Australia and New Zealand, in collaboration with the councils of Sydney, have officially launched the Mechanical and Biological Treatment (MBT) facility at Woodlawn Eco-precinct, in the town of Tarago, located 240 kilometres from Sydney, NSW.  

For the Southern Sydney Region of Councils (SSROC) and the Northern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (NSROC), the new $100 million treatment facility for household waste is turning trash into reusable treasures to benefit the Australian economy and environment.

The MBT uses resource recovery technology to extract organic content from the Council's waste streams; producing compost for on-site mine rehabilitation. The facility also has the ability to transform residual waste into clean heat for the barramundi farm and green energy for the grid.

Previously, the town of Tarago was home to the adjoining Woodlawn Mine site drilling for zinc, copper, lead, gold and silver.

Danny Conlon, Veolia’s Executive General Manager - Eastern Region, stated:

The facility will process 144,000T of waste per annum and will divert more than half of participating councils’ general waste tonnes away from landfill.

10 years of collaboration amongst a number of stakeholders, inclusive of SSROC, NSROC, State Government and community members have led us to this end-result, and this partnership will enable Veolia to make a positive impact on the NSW Government’s diversion target of 70 per cent by 2021.

This project will also save millions of dollars in waste levy charges for Sydney’s ratepayers and will additionally produce an organic compost to be reused to rehabilitate Australian mine land, ultimately allowing us to give back to the nation’s people and communities.

Veolia has also established a new transfer terminal within the SSROC region at Banksmeadow to accommodate the increase in tonnages, which is operating in conjunction with the existing Clyde transfer station. This will ensure all of the collected general waste are tipped from Council trucks and compacted into containers for transfer by rail, and not road, to Woodlawn.

Namoi Dougall, General Manager of SSROC, recognises the waste complexities we are facing as a country:

We are generating around 50 million tonnes of waste every year; that’s 2,000 kg per person, and while we can reduce our impact by reusing and recycling, we can’t avoid creating waste all together, but we can establish ways to create cost effective and environmentally sustainable alternatives to landfill.

Veolia’s contribution, knowledge and experience within the sector is inspiring to see in action. This is a positive step in the way we process waste, and I look forward to the MBTs evolution over the coming years.

Over 50 jobs have been created in Banksmeadow and Woodlawn with the development of these new facilities, contributing to the growth of jobs in both metro and regional NSW.

Organic Waste Transformed at the MBT:

  • All of the waste that arrives at the site for the MBT is transferred by rail from Sydney to Tarago
  • The use of rail is resulting in significant reduction of heavy truck movements from Sydney’s roads each year
  • Waste is combined with air and water in large rotating drums, beginning the degradation
  • Inorganic materials and metals are separated for recovery and subsequent recycling, where possible
    The organics are further refined and matured into compost that will be used in the remediation process of an old open-cut mine.
For all media enquiries contact:

Alex Loftus
The Bravery
T: +61 422 528 802
E: [email protected]

Sarah Yun
Veolia ANZ
T: +61 2 8571 0219
E: [email protected]
About Veolia Australia and New Zealand:
Veolia Australia and New Zealand (Veolia) is the region’s only environmental solutions organisation with specific capabilities across water and wastewater treatment, energy management, waste and resource recovery services, and industrial cleaning and facilities maintenance services. Veolia employs over 4000 employees and operates across more than 120 locations within the region.


About Veolia Global:
Veolia group is the global leader in optimised resource management. With over 163 000 employees worldwide, the Group designs and provides water, waste and energy management solutions that contribute to the sustainable development of communities and industries. Through its three complementary business activities, Veolia helps to develop access to resources, preserve available resources, and to replenish them.

In 2016, the Veolia group supplied 100 million people with drinking water and 61 million people with wastewater service, produced 54 million megawatt hours of energy and converted 31 million metric tons of waste into new materials and energy. Veolia Environnement (listed on Paris Euronext: VIE) recorded consolidated revenue of €24.39 billion in 2016.