Recycling reduces waste to landfill which saves you money, reduces energy, water & greenhouse gas emissions, while helping you lead a more sustainable lifestyle.
What can I recycle?
There are many ways you can recycle:
FACT: In 2008, households recycled around 23% of their waste and this is possible to be increased to 65 % by 2020. (excerpt from Queensland Waste Reforms update, Waste Reforms Communication [firstname.lastname@example.org] 29/06/2011)
What happens to your recyclable waste
Co-mingled recycling bin waste must be sorted at a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) to separate the recyclable waste items into:
- Paper (office, newspaper, magazines)
- Liquid paperboard (milk, juice cartons)
- Aluminium cans, trays & foil
- Steel cans & lids
- Glass bottles & jars
- Plastic containers & bottles (no polystyrene, plastic wrap or wrappers).
View Materials Recovery Facility poster [PDF 1MB] for the different kinds of sorting processes, including:
A various number of metal shafts with rubber disc's that rotate at different speeds, to carry lighter material like paper to different conveyor belts. The other material that falls through the discs goes through to the Trommag.
A large cylinder with 25mm sized holes to sort the glass fines from the larger items; such as plastic, glass (full bottles and anything bigger than 25mm), aluminium and steel. Glass fines are broken glass pieces that are too small to be collected and recycled, therefore are disposed into landfill.
The larger items go through the trommag, which is magnetized by the large magnets that drive it. The trommag then releases the steel once the magnets release away from the trommag. The remaining larger items go through to the air classifier.
- Air classifier
All the material from the Trommag then goes through the air classifier. The air classifier creates air turbulence to raise the lighter items up and onto a conveyor belt, then the heavier material such as glass falls on to the glass sort conveyor.
- Plastic Perforator
As the plastic goes through the air classifier it falls onto the plastic perforator, which pierces the plastic bottles to remove any liquid and air out.
Lasers read the type of plastic container (PETE 1, HDPE 2 or mixed plastics 3-7) and use air jets to push them into separate cages for baling.
- Eddy current
As the aluminium and plastics go across the conveyor, the aluminium falls on to the eddy current. The aluminium is then propelled by the very strong internal magnets into the holding silo.
- Conveyor belts
Most of the recycling materials are hand sorted by the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) staff, an intense and very fast process.
The last process involves the baling and stockpiling of all materials.
- Non-recyclable household items or contamination
Items that are not accepted in the household recycling wheelie bin, whether they are in good condition or not, are collected at the MRF and then taken to a landfill for disposal.
These items are not sorted through the household recycling bin process and if they can be re-used or recycled they need to be donated or delivered to Council's waste management facilities where these items are accepted, see recycling at waste facilities.
No plastic bags in the recycling bin
Two very important reasons why Council advises NO plastic bags:
- The Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) needs all recyclable waste items to be loose, so the items can be sorted into their specific waste type for baling up to transport for reprocessing.
Recyclable items that are placed in a plastic bag or stuffed inside boxes or other items are NOT recycled at the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF). Staff are required under Workplace, Health & Safety guidelines to avoid separating items. The contained and bagged items are sent to landfill.
- Plastic bags, soft plastic wraps and wrappers are NOT recyclable in most Council waste recycling systems but plastic shopping bags can be dropped off at most major supermarkets.
Did you know? Only 3% of Australia's plastic bags are currently being recycled, despite recycling facilities being available at major supermarkets, see recycling drop-off locations.
Remove lids & rinse containers
Help by removing lids and rinsing your recyclable containers in your washing up water = a cleaner and nicer place for the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) staff to do their job. All items unable to be sorted, or that have been contaminated by food and liquid, are disposed into landfill.
Recycling at council events
Council has been working in partnership with the Department of Environmental Resource Management to ensure recycling facilities are now available at major council events, see all upcoming events.
How much event waste was recycled last year? Approximately:
- 33m3 of recyclables were recycled
- 2m3 of the recyclables that were contaminated with food or liquid was disposed to landfill
- 79m3 of general waste was disposed to landfill
- 9m3 of recyclables that were disposed of in general waste bins was disposed to landfill.
This program has saved more recyclable items from being buried in landfill, since the implementation of the new Turbo bin lids, signage and other promotions.
- General waste 70%, but 8% was recyclable items
- Recyclables 30%, but 2% was contaminated with food and liquid (went to landfill).
Council thanks the community for attending Council's events and placing recyclables in the correct recycling bin.
With your help we can be more sustainable at local events, if we use the right bin every time something is thrown away.