Meet the Team Working Behind Australia’s First Acetylene Cylinder Recycling Facility

Meet the Team Working Behind Australia’s First Acetylene Cylinder Recycling Facility

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.

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, our team 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 – ACRF at Stawell – to suit our robust local regulatory market and valued environment, ultimately presenting global-best practice. 

Introducing our team at the ACRF at Stawell – Leslie Penney, Lochlan Rickard, Patrick Dempsey and Jason Cass.

Leslie Penney, our Site Engineer at ACRF, has had many inspiring opportunities growing up that attracted her to a career in Engineering. She’s passionate about the environment and enjoys being part of the ACRF team.

Lochlan Rickard, our Operator at ACRF, says he has always felt a sense of guilt about his unintentional role in contributing to global warming in the past. However, working at ACRF has given him the opportunity to actively make a positive impact. Growing up in the town where ACRF is located adds an extra layer of fulfillment, as he can give back and contribute to the betterment of his hometown.

Patrick Dempsey, our Project Manager at ACRF, was keen to explore the contaminated land industry. His exposure to large-scale remediation sites as a consultant and his experience in heavy industry recycling inspired him to pursue a career in remediation and waste management

Jason Cass, our Operations Manager at ACRF, loves being challenged and learning new things. He is excited that ACRF is being set up in the town where he grew up and enjoys being part of a supportive team and an innovative project.

Left to Right: Leslie Penney,

From Left to Right – Leslie Penney, Lochlan Rickard, Patrick Dempsey and Jason Cass

Read on as they share their experiences behind the scenes of building Australia’s first Acetylene Cylinder Recycling Facility.

Tell us a bit about your experience behind working with Australia’s first Acetylene Cylinder Recycling Facility.

Team: Working at the ACRF has been an exciting, rewarding, and challenging experience. Being part of this team dedicated to addressing a complex waste has provided us with a unique opportunity to make a significant environmental impact.

Our role at the ACRF is a commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship and each of us play a crucial part in driving our mission forward, and together, we are working towards safer environments and sustainable communities.

What has been particularly rewarding about this project?

Team: This project has provided the opportunity for us to think creatively and solve complex problems, which has significantly contributed to our professional growth. Tackling these challenges has not only enhanced our critical thinking and problem-solving abilities but also expanded our knowledge in various aspects of the industry.

What are some of the challenges you faced with this project and how did you overcome them?

Team: One significant challenge was creating a repeatable process for each of the 52,323 cylinders. We had to meticulously consider the lifespan of the equipment, the time required for maintenance, and the varying sizes and unique elements of each cylinder. Developing a standardized procedure that could accommodate these variables was crucial to ensuring efficiency and consistency across the board.

Another challenging component of this process was ensuring some of the international equipment is compliant with the work safety standards here in Australia. This aspect required extensive expertise, as we had to carefully evaluate to ensure compliance. In some cases, we even had to bring in external resources. Ensuring compliance was not only a matter of adhering to regulations but also of guaranteeing the safety and well-being of our team members. This comprehensive effort underscored the importance of collaboration and attention to detail in overcoming such challenges.

What systems have you put in place for the daily operations of the facility?

Team: We have conducted numerous detailed risk assessments and continuously review our new processes at the end of each workday to better understand the practicality and efficiency of our operations.

In addition to these daily reviews, we have created a comprehensive operations manual for the facility, which serves as a crucial reference for all team members. This manual includes detailed guidelines and best practices that are essential for maintaining consistency and quality in our work.

To enhance our training programs and improve overall understanding of the onsite processes, we regularly share images and videos. These visual aids have been immensely helpful in demonstrating complex procedures and ensuring that all team members are well-equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge.

How do you plan to measure and report on the facility’s social and environmental impact?

Team: As part of our licensing requirements, we conduct regular ICN reporting and provide weekly dashboards for our client. We maintain detailed onsite records in our project folder and on paper. This thorough record-keeping not only helps us stay organised and compliant with regulations but also serves as a valuable resource for troubleshooting and continuous improvement. We have actively engaged with the local community to gather feedback and address any concerns. The feedback from the locals has been positive so far.

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Introducing Enviropacific's team at Australia’s first Acetylene Cylinder Recycling Facility - Jason Cass, Leslie Penney, Lochlan Rickard and Pat Dempsey.
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Introducing Enviropacific's team at Australia’s first Acetylene Cylinder Recycling Facility - Jason Cass, Leslie Penney, Lochlan Rickard and Pat Dempsey.