Tack­ling city’s trash moun­tain

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - BETTINA WAR­BUR­TON

THOU­SANDS of tonnes of re­cy­clable waste is be­ing sent to Townsville dumps – sim­ply be­cause peo­ple are not putting their rub­bish into the right bins.

A mas­sive 823 tonnes of ma­te­rial put in re­cy­cling bins in Townsville has ended up in the dump dur­ing the past fi­nan­cial year.

The to­tal amount of re­cy­cled ma­te­rial col­lected dur­ing the past year was 12,720 tonnes, which was an in­crease on the pre­vi­ous fi­nan­cial year to­tal of 12,591.

The lat­est re­cy­cling statis­tics come as a new state- of- the- art Ma­te­rial Re­cov­ery Fa­cil­ity opened in Townsville.

The Townsville re­cy­cling fa­cil­ity is be­ing op­er­ated by the Re. Group, which is an Aus­tralian com­pany that spe­cialises in re­cy­cling and the re­cov­ery of re­sources from waste.

Re. Group busi­ness devel­op­ment man­ager Garth Lamb said con­tam­i­na­tion of re­cy­cled ma­te­ri­als was a se­ri­ous is­sue.

“We all need to be vig­i­lant about what we put in the bins as there are peo­ple who don’t un­der­stand the dif­fer­ence be­tween the waste bins and the re­cy­cling bin,” he said. “My mes­sage to re­cy­clers is ‘ if in doubt, leave it out’.”

Mr Lamb said a high level of con­tam­i­nated ma­te­rial at the re­cy­cling fa­cil­ity had flow- on ef­fects.

“There is al­ways go­ing to be a few mis­takes made but we don’t want to see the level of con­tam­i­na­tion that we have been see­ing,” he said.

“It has two is­sues, it in­creases the cost of re­cy­cling for the whole com­mu­nity and it im­pacts the qual­ity of the prod­ucts that we can re­cover.”

Townsville Water and Waste Com­mit­tee chair­man Cr Paul Ja­cob said the new fa­cil­ity would help in­crease Townsville’s re­cy­cling rates, and pro­vide longterm cer­tainty for re­cy­cling ser­vices in North Queens­land.

“Hav­ing a new hi- tech Ma­te­rial Re­cov­ery Cen­tre in the city will in­crease the city’s ca­pac­ity to process re­cy­clables at a higher stan­dard, with­out hav­ing to trans­port it out of the re­gion,” Cr Ja­cob said. “From the re­cy­cling bins that Townsville res­i­dents roll out to the kerb­side, each week the new fa­cil­ity is ex­pected to re­cover around 175,000kg of pa­per, 100,000kg of glass, 13,000kg of plas­tics, 3000kg of steel, and 2500kg of alu­minium.”

Cr Ja­cob said the coun­cil would of­fer a larger re­cy­cling bin to res­i­dents who wanted to in­crease their re­cy­cling con­tri­bu­tion. “For a cost of $ 25 res­i­dents can ob­tain a 360 litre bin, which is a third big­ger than the cur­rent 240 litre re­cy­cling bin,” he said.

Re. Group man­ag­ing di­rec­tor David Singh said the re­cy­cling fa­cil­ity, which pro­cesses 15 tonnes of re­cy­clables an hour, in­cor­po­rated some of the most re­cent sort­ing tech­nolo­gies, such as dif­fer­ent types of discs screens to sort card­board, news­pa­per and mixed pa­pers. “There is also a glass pro­cess­ing cir­cuit that uses Krys­te­line im­plo­sion tech­nol­ogy to turn bot­tles into sand,” he said. “This ‘ glass sand’ can re­place beach sand in projects such as road con­struc­tion and con­cret­ing works, as well as be­ing used in sand­blast­ing and pool fil­tra­tion mar­kets.”

BIN IT RIGHT: Townsville coun­cil­lor Paul Ja­cobs at the state- of- the- art re­cy­cling fa­cil­ity in Ing­ham Rd. Pic­ture: ZAK SIM­MONDS

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