Tackling city’s trash mountain
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.”