Compost in the capital

There is probably scarcely a company in all of Australia that knows more about composting than Corkhill Bros. After all, they’ve been processing green waste in the capital city of Canberra for over 35 years.

October 15, 2020

Corkhill Bros looks back on a long history. Founded in 1954, the company was recently officially confirmed as one of the Australian Capital Territory’s oldest surviving business. It also has a long tradition in processing green waste. Since 1984 Corkhill Bros has been running a public green organic drop off facility, which enjoyed steadily growing popularity before its intake jumped in April 2017. The surge in material was due to the introduction of separate green organics kerbside collection in the ACT. The ACT Government contracted with Corkhill Bros for collection and processing.

Taking recycling seriously
After a three-year rollout period, today every household has separate waste collection. As a result, Phil Corkhill says the family-run business now deals with an average 350,000 tonnes of green waste per annum. Corkhill Bros is committed to a circular economy waste management and resource recovery approach – all organic waste processed at the facility is turned into high quality compost. 

Dependable assistance
To manage the volume and meet the company’s own quality standards, Corkhill Bros depends on high-end machinery from Komptech and on the great service from Australian distributor ELB Equipment. “When dealing with the amount of material we get you can’t afford equipment breakdowns,” Phil says. “We manage and process all of Canberra’s green waste, so everything has to be efficient and downtime needs to be minimal. ELB calls us at least once a month to check in on the machines and their maintenance needs, and to inquire about my plans so they find the best time to do maintenance,” he says. “I consider them more of a partner than a supplier.”

Efficiency above all
At the Mugga Lane Resource Management Centre near Canberra, Corkhill Bros currently operates a Topturn X55 compost turner, a Multistar L3 star screen and four Nemus 2700 drum screens.

The compost turner is a big help. Since purchasing the Topturn in 2017, Phil says he has noticed a rise in material quality. “The big drum gives thorough mixing during the rotting process. The compost is cured better and the entire workflow is more efficient.”

The Multistar L3 and Nemus machines are used for daily screening and mixing. Phil says both screens give consistent, stoppage-free operation. “Other drum and flatbed screens often suffered significant blockages, cleaning was a big effort, and the whole process was inefficient,” he says. “The star screen is in a different class – its reliable cleaning system means I can run even damp organics in all weather conditions.”
Phil sees the strengths of the Nemus drum screens in its precision final screening and good mixing function for making compost-based substrates. “Throughput is very high, and many details are much improved over the predecessor model.”

While Corkhill Bros deal with multiple manufactures and suppliers, Phil says “ELB’s commitment to service, including high spare parts availability and proactive maintenance, is a standout in the industry. I always have the feeling that as customer, I’m really at the centre of their focus. We deal with multiple manufacturers and suppliers, and I’d like to think some of them could aspire to the ELB model.”