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Crate system delivers solid recycling outcomes

Crate system delivers solid recycling outcomes

A report aired on ABC TV’s Four Corners program on Monday evening has raised a number of concerns about the waste management industry, in particular the amount of recycling actually being reprocessed into new products and how much is ending up in landfill, either legally or illegally.

Armidale Regional Council would like to reassure residents that the hard work of sorting recycling into the black recycling crates on the kerbside is achieving the desired environmental outcomes and diverting waste from landfill.

Council has for many years adopted a source separation system for kerbside recycling utilising the recycling crates where residents separate paper and cardboard from plastic, metal, and glass containers.  Council, in partnership with Armidale Recycling Services (ARS) has specially developed recycling collection trucks and a Material Recovery Facility (MRF) that keeps the two recycling streams separate, minimising glass breakage, right through to final baling of recyclate ready for sale.

Program Leader for Waste Management Dr James Turnell said Council’s recycling strategy has always been to produce well sorted and clean recyclate to maximise the income from the sale of the different products. 

“Council has continued with the black recycling crate system for good reason,” said James Turnell.

“By ensuring recycling product is sorted on the kerbside our residents are contributing to a high quality product that is in demand and has limited contaminates. Our contractor ARS has fully supported this approach to ensure that we can compete with our metro counterparts.”

Council’s MRF is designed and operated to sort recycling into individual categories like HDPE milk and PET soft drink containers which are free of contamination and ideally suited for reprocessing back into their respective products.  ARS also hand sorts glass into coloured and clear streams, which ensures our product is consistently in high demand. 

“We are very confident that our community’s glass is being reprocessed in new glass products and not stockpiled as aired on Four Corners,” said James Turnell.

“Council’s approach to recycling is unique and a process we are proud of.  We have been recognised nationally for best practice in waste management and always ensure we achieve the community’s expectations concerning what happens to their recycling.” 

On average Council’s recycling processes consistently achieves a 96 percent recyclate recovery rate, meaning that for every 100T of recycling collected 4T ends up in Council’s landfill as unsuitable for sale.  Council is confident that our recyclate is being reprocessed into new products.

Last financial year ARS sold 4105 tonnes of recyclate broken down as:

Cardboard/paper – 3009T

Glass – 780T

Plastic PET – 51T

Plastic HDPE – 43T

Plastic (mixed) – 75T

Plastic film (bag the bag) – 59T

Aluminium cans – 30T

Metal cans – 58T

Finally we would like to advise that Council has never sent waste to Queensland and has been focused on constructing a new landfill that will meet the most stringent environmental controls.

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