A large part of the consideration for the location of a landfill is the transport of this waste from where it is created to the landfill itself. Transporting waste vast distances is both uneconomic and environmentally irresponsible due to the financial cost and the carbon impact. Waste Management's proposed site location has been identified as it is far enough away from neighbours to manage impacts as much as possible, yet close enough to Auckland to reduce the transport impacts.
Waste Management’s current facility at Redvale is a $200 million investment in clean-tech sustainable waste management. Redvale Landfill and Energy Park has no open mounds. The waste material is contained in the landfill and naturally produces methane gas. This gas is captured by a network of hybrid wells inside the landfill, and is used to generate enough electricity to power 12,000 homes in Auckland. By the end of the year, this will increase to 14,000 homes. That makes Waste Management the largest renewable energy producer in Auckland.
This gas capture technology has the added benefit of capturing more than 95% of the methane gas, stopping it from entering the atmosphere.
Redvale sets the industry standard in the use of environmentally sustainable practices. We’ve won major environmental awards and attracted interest from engineers and practitioners all over the world.
Like Australia and the US, landfills have been the preferred method for waste disposal in New Zealand.
Incineration is a chosen method of disposal used in parts of Europe, due to a number of factors. This includes the larger, denser populations in Europe, who generate the large volumes of waste in concentrated towns and cities that are required to continuously feed an incinerator.
The incinerators are generally built close to the towns and cities creating the waste. These same towns and cities are reliant on the electricity generated from the incinerator.
In New Zealand, we don't have these large, densely populated cities and towns. We also have plenty of sustainable electricity generation through geothermal and hydroelectricity.
Incinerators also still have a waste stream (ash), which is generally taken to landfill.
Finally, one of the negatives of waste incineration is the continuous long-term need for more waste to keep the incinerator plant working. This goes against the aspirations we have here in New Zealand for zero waste.
However, should local and central government indicate a desire for waste-to-energy solutions, Waste Management will support this goal.
In recent years, Waste Management has been engaged in discussions and investigations regarding Waste to Energy plants in New Zealand. Please read more about it here