Carbon tax: Veolia up for ‘millions’

MORE INFORMATION: Veolia Environmental Services managing director Doug Dean says he doesn’t have a major problem with the carbon price, just the way it was implemented. The company is increasing gate prices.Follow @LouThrower
Nanjing Night Net

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A WASTE company has hiked dumping fees for the Woodlawn Bioreactor on the back of the carbon price.

But the $11.80 increase for ridding a tonne of mixed putrescible, commercial and industrial rubbish pales in comparison to the State’s waste levy, says Veolia Environmental Services managing director, Doug Dean.

He won’t quote exact figures but says Veolia is up for “tens of millions of dollars” in carbon price payments across its operations.

Landfills that collect methane gas, like Woodlawn, do qualify for offsets under the legislation. The methane is used to generate electricity for the grid.

Mr Dean told the Post a very complicated formula applied to methane collection but in the main “it was more a penalty than an offset.”

A tonne of putrescibles rubbish generates 1.2 tonnes of methane. But he believed the carbon price would not have a big impact at Woodlawn.

“We’re collecting a lot of methane because the bioreactor was built for that. It’s probably one of the best in Australia,” he said.

The company has four generators doing the job and plans to ramp this up to 20 in the next 10 years. Mr Dean said Veolia was always looking to reduce carbon emissions by ensuring the facility was properly maintained.

“In conjunction with the landfill tax (state waste levy) the carbon tax is encouraging us to do other things and recycle better,” Mr Dean said.

This includes plans for an alternative waste technology facility, extracting organics and turning them into compost.

The company hopes to have the system up and running soon. Mr Dean said Veolia’s increased gate price for dumping equated to 30 cents extra for an average household. This was “almost insignificant” compared to the state’s waste levy which was $94 a tonne from this month.

“Personally, I don’t have a problem with the carbon tax but it could have been implemented in an easier fashion for everyone,” Mr Dean said.

“Not a lot of councils are up to speed with it at the moment and some federal government departments are not helping with the level of information.”

Companies won’t pay the tax for 12 months.

Veolia is promising its customers if the legislation is repealed it will refund the money to customers.

The company believed it was all well and good for big landfills to foot the bill, but there was no incentive for the many council tips falling under the 25,000 tonne greenhouse gas emission trigger to become more efficient.

“You have these small landfills up and down the coast, all with the potential to leak. It’s not the way to go,” he said.

“This is encouraging councils not to change. It’s not the financial aspect that’s worrying me, it’s the environmental.”

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