Proposal to expand Summerhill Waste Management Centre to accept food scraps sooner rather than later

A report will be tabled at the next Newcastle Council meeting, looking at expanding the Summerhill Waste Management Centre to accept food scraps.

Council originally planned to have the service operational in a further four years time, but this new proposal would see it fast-tracked and save around 24,000 tonnes of waste from ending up in landfill.

The proposal would see the facility expand to be able to accept 50,000 tonnes per annum at the initial construction stage and be able to process both garden and food organics from its first year of operation.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the facility would deliver a more sustainable approach to organic waste and resource recovery in line with community expectations.

“Delivering this facility is in line with the objectives in our adopted Climate Action Plan and our draft Sustainable Waste Strategy, and meets the expectations of our community, who are supportive of measures to divert waste from landfill,” Lord Mayor Nelmes said.

“This facility would allow processing of more than double the organic waste that we currently receive, and importantly, it enables us to process and transform that waste into compost for reuse instead of sending it all to landfill.”

City of Newcastle currently receives around 23,000 tonnes of garden organic waste at Summerhill each year, which is then transported more than 90km to Ravensworth for further processing, however food and organic waste generation has significant seasonal peaks which the facility must cater to.

The proposed facility at Summerhill will instead allow onsite processing of up to 50,000 tonnes of food and garden organic waste every year in a completely enclosed facility designed to contain any associated noise or odour.

The facility was previously designed with a staged approach, beginning with a capacity of 32,600 tonnes to process green waste only, with an additional upgrade needed before it could cater for food waste and population growth in its fourth year of operation.

Subject to the expanded capacity being approved by the Council, a development application for the facility will be lodged in April. Two additional development applications are also being submitted for site preparation and relocation of the existing materials processing operations, and bulk earthworks to ready the site for the new facility.

The development application for the organics facility is expected to go on public exhibition in mid-2022.