Ship garbage recycling pilot wraps up at Port of Brisbane
A pilot project to investigate the feasibility of recycling garbage from international ships has wrapped up at the Port of Brisbane. The Brisbane pilot was conducted by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), in partnership with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (Agriculture) and Port of Brisbane Pty Ltd (PBPL).
AMSA’s Manager of Environment Standards Matt Johnston says that it is important to provide options for ships to dispose of recyclables and garbage in Australian ports whilst continuing to ensure Australian industries, native wildlife, human health and the environment are protected.
Ships’ crews currently separate recyclable garbage on board, but have limited opportunity to offload these materials at Australian ports for recycling. At the moment, any garbage that is separated on board is combined when offloaded in Australian ports and has to be incinerated, autoclaved (high temperature-pressure treatment) or deep-buried to meet Australia’s biosecurity requirements. While these treatments address any biosecurity risk, the opportunity for recycling is lost and creates a disincentive for ships to discharge garbage in Australian ports.
Ships were able to participate in the pilot program as part of their routine operations on arrival at port. The recyclables accepted during the pilot were glass, aluminium and steel cans and hard plastic containers. These materials were inspected by Agriculture’s biosecurity officers on board the ship and released from biosecurity control provided they were free from biosecurity risks, such as animal or plant material.
Clean recyclables inspected and released by biosecurity officers could then be disposed of free-of-charge during the pilot project.
Assistant Secretary of Compliance Controls at the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, Dean Merrilees, said the program was a great joint initiative that would ensure biosecurity risks associated with international ships continue to be managed, while also improving recycling arrangements.
The Port of Brisbane was one of two initial sites for the pilot to operate, with the port of Hay Point completing trials earlier this month.
Now that the pilot program is complete, AMSA will look at the lessons learned and identify what opportunities and obstacles exist for recycling of ships garbage in Australian ports.