Reduced waste to landfill

Jason Bake has found avenues for on-farm waste, reducing the amount that goes to landfill.

Parmalat project inspires immediate changes on NSW farms

Coffs Harbour couple, Jason and Michele Bake, don't dawdle when they see an opportunity to re-evaluate their farm management and investigate new ideas to improve their business - Bangalara Dairies, milking 400-420 cows.

One of two farms participating in the NSW based Parmalat On-Farm Sustainability Project, the couple undertook the DairySAT via webinar.

Dairy Australia’s Marguerite White and Parmalat field officer, Andrew Taylor, took part in the webinar and the development of the couple’s DairySAT Action Plan has spearheaded some immediate management changes.

The Bake family farm is in a prime tourism precinct of NSW and Jason is aware they are under the watchful eye of passers-by.

“It has always been difficult to manage our waste because we thought there was little option other than Council refuse. The DairySAT motivated me to investigate further."

Jason and manager Carleen Smith started by contacting the local council waste centre to utilise the Drum Muster Program.

They were able to dispose of 5L - 110L triple rinsed dairy and agricultural drums, as well as any old oil drums, free of charge.

Most importantly, Jason used this opportunity to seek out a contact for other waste on the farm. Via a chain of four phone calls, Jason reached a company which was willing to have a look at his waste.

The couple drove to a recycling depot only 14km from the farm, armed with a dozen or so examples of materials which didn’t have a home. The company ‘bloke’ agreed to take all remaining waste items, free of charge, as long as they were sorted into four categories on farm.

These waste products are now stored in clearly marked 1 tonne fertiliser bags, each located close to the point where the waste is generated.

“Before we began the implementation process into the workplace I gave each staff member a copy of the DairySAT module pertaining to waste management, asked them to read it and comment on how we could make it work,” Jason said.

“From there we had a full staff meeting over lunch to unveil our current system. This has been an approach taken by everyone here to clean-up and find out what can be done to recycle waste material that is commonly left to pile up around the farm or burnt.”

Jason’s critical success factors:

  • Have all bags clearly marked with explanatory notes close by to state what goes where

  • Have bags close to where the waste is generated

  • Change bags before they fill to avoid waste being stacked "pretty close"

  • Ensure at the drop-off point it is clearly explained what is in each bag to avoid charge

Plastic recycling good for environment and the bottom line

Bega Cheese has forged an alliance with small Melbourne recycling company Polymer Holdings to recycle plastic waste produced by its manufacturing facility at Strathmerton, Victoria.

Disposal of the diverse range of plastic waste generated at the Strathmerton facility has provided a challenge for Bega Cheese for several years.

However, the new alliance means no plastic waste produced at the Strathmerton site will go to landfill, which is good for Bega Cheese’s bottom line and the environment.

Polymer Holdings, based in Melbourne, has been in business for 20 years. It employs six people and is looking to expand as more innovative ways to reuse the plastic waste streams they collect continue to be developed.

Polymer Holding sources and recycles many types of plastics from manufacturers of a varied range of products, as well as automotive suppliers of bumper bars and dashboards.

Primarily they separate, clean and chip the wastes they get to make a base material. This plastic raw material is sold to other manufacturing businesses that produce a range of products including plastic pallets, film sheets, stadium seats, plastic-wood decking and outdoor furniture.

All reclaimed product is used locally in Australia, and Bega Cheese is proud to be part of the creation of more Australian jobs. Expansion plans will centre on their investigations into recycling PET consumer plastics in Australia.

This will also benefit Bega Cheese, as the new grinder that will handle PET products will handle many of the waste films generated at the Strathmerton facility.

Bega Cheese is looking forward to developing a long-term partnership with Polymer Holdings that will enable it to manage plastic waste in an environmentally sound way now and into the future.