Are landfills a thing of the past? Repurpose It believes so! – Report by Ed Higginson.
Repurpose It is a resource recovery business based in Melbourne, which holds the fundamental belief that landfills are a thing of the past and that all waste can be converted into valuable resources.
As a startup business that has been in operation for just six months, the director and founder, Anthony van Schaik, thinks that everything currently going into landfills around Australia can, and should be, processed and reused. With the backing of some strong investment from members of the waste management industry, it seems that many believe that Repurpose It will make this vision a reality.
With a 150-acre clean fill site in Northern Melbourne near to Somerton, Repurpose It is busy creating a major recycling precinct to handle all types of waste. This includes green and organic waste, construction and demolition waste, commercial and industrial waste, municipal solid waste and solid inert waste.
By sourcing the best equipment and techniques from around the world, Anthony believes the company will be ahead of the industry.
“We are investing heavily in washing, screening and recycling technology from Europe, which is around 10 years ahead of the industry here. Once we are set up, this 150-acre site will house a recycling precinct, an industrial precinct and complementary businesses such as landscaping and construction material supplies plus more,” said Anthony.
“An example of this is a road-sweeping cleaning plant that we’ve sourced from Ireland. The plant will wash all of the material that a road sweeper picks up, and then separate the components so we can reuse the organics, clean sand, rock, grit, glass and hydro carbons”.
Anthony also plans to add robotics for recycling and picking of waste.
“We’ve been looking at Denmark, Sweden, Ireland, the UK, Canada and North America to learn the best techniques, as these countries seem to be the leaders in the world for recycling,” said Anthony.
“We realised that walking floor trailers provided the best solution for the movement the various materials to and from our site and we subsequently approached Thinwall Trailers Australia, the importers and manufacturers of Titan THINWALL Trailers from Canada,” added Anthony.
Titan THINWALL Trailers is a specialist manufacturer of all-aluminium bulk haulage trailers for the Waste, Forestry, Agriculture and Civil Construction industries in North America and the United Kingdom. Two years ago this Canadian company expanded into the Australian market, working with Barry Fennell of Fennell Forestry, Mount Gambier who, together with Doug Thorne of Mount Gambier, formed Thinwall Trailers Australia, the exclusive agents within Australia for Titan Trailers of Canada.
Trailers are manufactured utilising Titan’s patented THINWALL product and “strength through innovation” mindset to build strong, yet lightweight trailers for demanding applications in single, B-double and Roadtrain configurations.
All trailers are designed from the ground up for the intended task, with input from the customers, and manufactured with aircraft grade aluminium. The Australian product range is imported and assembled by Thinwall Trailers Australia of Mount Gambier and includes fast unloading walking floors, hopper and platform tipping units.
“We have a product range that includes 45ft and 48ft woodchip walking floor trailers utilising the KEITH WALKING FLOOR system and these can offer a discharge rate of 4-6 minutes,” said Doug Thorne.
“Our range of walking floor trailers for heavy duty applications utilises the KEITH nine-slat walking floor system with a hydraulic rear door and waterproof hydraulic flip roof/tarp system. This trailer is designed to handle aggressive loading techniques to maximise density within the trailer,’ Doug added.
The trailer that was built and supplied to Repurpose It is a 14.63 m long tri-axle trailer set at 4.3 m overall height to give a volume capacity of 97.5 m3, making it ideal for waste transport. Due to the Thinwall Trailer patented designs and use of aluminium, the trailer tares at just 11,094 kg, which is impressive considering the solid roofs and rear doors, both fitted with hydraulics.
The axles come from Hendrickson with AAT250 INTRAAX air suspension fitted with WABCO’s 4S2M EBS and ABS braking systems together with roll stability control and utilising drum brakes and fitted with Bridgestone tyres. Disc brakes are available optionally. JOST supplied the landing legs as AX141.G1.17, and all the lights are LED from Truck-Lite, in the unmistakable American round style.
The Thinwall Trailer body is constructed from aluminium patented Thinwall horizontal tongue-in-groove joints that allows 100 per cent machine welding inside and out for end-to-end strength, and also a full aluminium chassis. To add to the look, the trailer is also fitted with full aluminium mudguards.
For the walking floor unloading floor mechanism, Thinwall Trailers Australia uses the KEITH V-FLOOR, with nine-slat Galosh RUNNING FLOOR II drive unit.
As one of the premier global manufacturers of walking floor trailers, KEITH Manufacturing Company has supplied over 60,000 units to date, with the company holding over 250 patents, supporting and supplying its products on a global basis.
Optional extras in the trailer build specification for Repurpose It included the hydraulic flip-roof that forms a watertight seal when closed, plus an over-slung hydraulic back door with self-locking mechanism. These features enable the driver to load and unload the trailer without having to get out of the truck, a great safety feature considering some of the locations that the units have to access. The trailers for Repurpose It also come with push blocks and tow shackles on the rear just in case the truck gets bogged on the landfill sites.
To operate the trailer for Repurpose It, Anthony has partnered with his brother Doug, and Doug’s son Brayden, the operators of Healy Road Transport.
Brayden has been operating the Titan THINWALL trailer since it arrived in the country, using a 2007 Kenworth T404, and his experience with it has been good so far.
“The trailer has been great, it tows really well and has stood up to some tough conditions where we go. The hydraulic back door and butterfly lid are great too, as we don’t need to get out to start loading or unloading on the waste sites,” said Brayden.
On the day that PowerTorque joined them in North Melbourne on their new site, Brayden was bringing in waste organic material to stockpile. With a simple push of a button, the flip roof opened, then the rear door hinged up, all within a couple of minutes. Then the floor quietly started to work its magic and the product was quickly pushed out of the rear.
“Now we just have to let the product push the unit forward as it unloads,” Brayden explained.
“It only takes around 4-6 minutes, or a little longer if we need to clean the floor, but we don’t need to worry if the product is coming back to the site for processing.
“The trailers can also be optioned with a KEITH Sweep System to clean the floor of the trailer as it unloads, reducing payload cross-contamination. The automated system eliminates the need for brooms or manual tarps so the operator never needs to enter the trailer, providing a safer working environment. Specific sweep systems are based on the floor profile and the material unloaded.
“Once the process is finished and the truck is ready to roll again, it is clear why walking floors and bottom dump trailers are becoming more popular than tippers.
“We have heard of tipping trailers where the rear pivot pin has snapped causing the body to shear off when it was half in the air as a result of the stresses caused by tipping on uneven sites. Walking floor systems are a lot safer on landfills,” said Brayden.
With a plan to achieve processing of up to 2000 tonnes a day once the site is fully operational, Anthony is keen to look at more trailers.
“We have been very happy with our first Thinwall Trailer and are currently looking at adding another, with more to follow as we get going,” he added.