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Each year, Australians produce more than 500,000 tonnes of grease trap waste. Fats, food-grade oils, water, and food waste produced by retail and industrial customers are required by law to be captured and separated in grease traps to prevent this waste from blocking the city’s sewage system.
As part of Cleanaway’s liquid and hazardous waste solutions, our vacuum trucks remove the contents of grease traps to be transported to our grease treatment plants. Our patented grease water innovation then treats and separates grease trap waste all at one site, without the need to send offsite to composters as sludge for further processing.
In 2012, Cleanaway’s Thomastown Grease Trap Treatment plant in Victoria was not equipped to treat, separate and recover grease waste components, and the 40 million litres of waste collected each year had to be done offsite.
Plant Manager Steve Danielidis and then-Group Manager for Research and Innovation, Dr Peter Isdale, developed a more efficient treatment process, and a device to increase the plant’s onsite capability.
By combining specific pressure, temperature and filtration methods, the Thomastown team customised a device to separate the four layers in the feedstock – fats, oils, grease, solids, and water, leaving clean water, low-grade tallow product and dry solids.
In 2013, a patent for this new process and mechanical device was granted to Cleanaway and has since been adopted in other Cleanaway treatment plants at Padstow in New South Wales and Yatala in Queensland. As a result, our plants reported an increase in sludge processing capacity of up to 200%, and a reduction in offsite waste disposal of about 80%.
To further close the resource recovery loop by recycling grease to create new products, the remaining waste is sold as low-grade tallow product, which is used in making soap and animal feed or sent to a composting plant to be turned into healthy organic compost for farms.