Our team is building Australia’s first Acetylene Cylinder Recycling Facility (ACRF) in Stawell, Victoria to manage the disposal of acetylene cylinders remediated from an illegal disposal site.
Background – Acetylene
Acetylene is the hottest and most efficient of all fuel gases and so is widely used in several industries. This fuel gas is available to consumers in welded steel cylinders that contain a porous internal mass with liquid acetone. Historically, this porous mass has been manufactured with asbestos. Acetylene cylinders have a typical “shelf life” of 10-30 years before requiring disposal.
However, in Australia, there is no lawful disposal option for this hazardous and intractable waste stream. The lack of local disposal pathways poses both a significant environmental risk, bearing in mind the presence of residual Acetone and asbestos within each cylinder.
Understanding the significant risk that this waste poses to the environment and communities, Enviropacific commenced an in-depth scientific review to determine the most sustainable disposal pathway appropriate for the Australian market. Following an extensive consultation with industry, we developed an innovative bespoke pathway to suit our robust local regulatory market and valued environment, ultimately presenting global-best practice.
Jared Roberts, our Regional Manager, explains, “Our solution avoids the potential long term environmental impact associated with disposal of cylinders to landfill, beneficially recovering the valuable steel and acetone from the waste with full consideration of the Victorian Government circular economy policies.”
Having developed a robust and sustainable solution for recycling of the acetylene cylinder, our team was awarded a contract by EPA to manage the end-of-life disposal of more than 50,000 acetylene cylinders remediated from an illegal disposal site in Kaniva Lemon Springs, Victoria.
Enviropacific’s Facility is currently undergoing construction, with the market support evident as we have endorsement from Australia’s largest producer of waste cylinders – BOC Limited.
Damien Basset, our Manager Resource Recovery, explains, “The treatment process we have engineered, focusses on recovering residual acetone from cylinders allowing them to be cut to facilitate removal of the asbestos matrix. Recovered acetone will be recycled, recovered steel will be cleared for asbestos allowing recycling, whilst the asbestos matrix will be disposed to licensed landfill. As a result, all materials recovered during the treatment process, other than the regulated asbestos waste, will be returned to the market, creating a circular pathway for the recyclable materials.”
Enviropacific is working on a range of other orphan waste treatment and circular economy recycling processes, matching global technology with Australian waste challenges. Our role is to continue to create opportunities for new technology to be applied to wastes, which creates safer environments and sustainable communities and ultimately new opportunities for material re-use into the future.