Tuesday night’s ABC 4 Corners program has the community rightfully asking questions about what happens to their kerbside recycling.
Eurobodalla Council’s Director of Planning and Sustainability Lindsay Usher says residents can be reassured that the recyclable materials they put in their yellow-lid bin are processed locally at a recycling facility in Moruya.
“Last year the facility processed 4,700 tonnes of material from yellow-lid bins,” Mr Usher said. “Only nine per cent of that material ends up in landfill and this is due to contamination, such as nappies, or production loss, where part of the recycling process creates a small amount of waste.
“The recyclable material is sorted then baled, and the commodities are shipped to various companies for reprocessing in Australia and overseas within weeks of being received. The exception is glass, which is crushed at the recycling facility and made into glass sand for use on local construction projects.”
Mr Usher explained that Council contracts the kerbside collection and recycling process to Suez, who own and operate the materials recycling facility in Moruya.
“Suez decides where the baled materials go after processing in Moruya. It depends on the commodity value and is their commercial decision. However, Council’s contract specifies which products are to be accepted and also stipulates that Suez reports the amount of material received, the amount of material sent away for reprocessing and the amount of contamination and production loss that goes to landfill.
“Council has a good working relationship with Suez and we discuss commodity value and market forces that affect the reprocessing of materials and ultimately the price for collection.
“We’re proud that all the glass from our kerbside collection is crushed at the Moruya facility and turned into glass sand for use on local construction projects. They produce around 2,000 tonnes each year and we’re working with Suez to create a local market, including targets on Council’s own works to ensure we are closing the loop in the most cost effective way.”
Mr Usher said the community’s concerns about the program’s revelations were understandable, but they should feel reassured that here in Eurobodalla, their recycling efforts are absolutely worthwhile.
“Eurobodalla residents are great recyclers and we urge everyone to keep up the good work,” he said.
In addition to kerbside recycling processed at the Moruya facility, Council also contracts companies to recycle products received at its waste management sites in Surf Beach, Moruya and Brou. All mattresses are recycled by Soft Landing, a social enterprise recycling company. Electronic waste like televisions and computers are collected by TechCollect and MRI and reprocessed. Polystyrene is processed locally into ingots and transported to Sydney for reprocessing into hard plastic items like picture frames. Motor and cooking oils are reprocessed by Wasteaway and Cleanaway into biodiesel and other fuels. A group called Energi collects and obtains the valuable materials from vehicle batteries. Steel and other metals are currently collected by One Steel for re-use. Garden organics waste is shredded, tested, and given away to residents, businesses and used on Council works. Good pieces of timber waste are sold through the buy-back centres and the rest is shredded and used as mulch on landfill, while concrete and bricks are crushed and used onsite.
Above: All glass collected in Eurobodalla’s kerbside recycling is crushed and made into glass sand at the Moruya recycling facility for use on local construction projects.
Above: a video produced by Eurobodalla Council explaining what happens to materials at the Moruya recycling facility, starring recycling queen Mabel Cansort. A shorter one-minute video explaining what happens to materials at the Moruya recycling facility can be found on Council's Facebook page