Waste as a resource

New beginnings for waste material

Ever wanted to know what becomes of your recycling and why recycling right is important, here's more information on what happens to recyclables and why council only accepts certain types of recyclable materials.

Recycling (Yellow-lid bin)

Recycling reprocesses disposable materials into use-able products. Currently, some industries, like packaging, use 30% to 50% recycled material. Common household items which incorporate recycled materials include newspaper, paper towels, aluminium containers, plastic, glass, carpets and flooring. Where possible, residents are encouraged to purchase items manufactured with recycled products.

Recycling offers obvious benefits, such as the reduction of litter, production and energy costs, greenhouse gases and the amount of toxic material entering the environment. At the same time, recycling has costs, such as its collection, transportation, separation, decontamination, storage, processing and marketing. There may also be worker health risks.

Randwick City Council is committed to the environmental benefits of recycling and runs a Recycling Centre for resident drop-offs. However, the collection, storage and disposal of recycling costs more than if such materials were taken directly to landfill. For this reason, householders should, where possible, avoid the creation of waste.

Processing recyclables

Each type of recyclable material requires different processing. For example, there are over 40 different types of plastic and many are not recyclable. For this reason, residents must check to ensure the recycling symbol, including numbers 1-7, appears on plastics that they place in their recycling bin; otherwise, plastic should be placed in the garbage bin.

Different types of plastic are processed separately. Generally, recycled plastic is sliced into flakes, washed, melted and squeezed through small holes. The resulting strands are chopped into pellets, bagged and taken to a factory. Here, the recycled plastic is usually re-melted, mixed with virgin plastic, and moulded, possibly using injection, extrusion and blow moulding processes.

As might be expected, paper goes through a different recycling process. It is collected, shredded, baled and, subsequently placed in a large vat, where it soaks and breaks down into small particles. These particles are then screened, pressed, dried, rolled and shaped into new paper products. Over time, the recycling of paper degrades the paper fibres so, as with plastic, it is conventional practice to mix recycled and virgin paper material.

Garden Organics (Green-lid bin)

Garden organics collected through your garden waste bin are sent to a composting facility where they are shredded and composted, resulting in  composted organic materials such as mulch, compost, soil conditioners and similar; which can be bought from local nurseries.

Garden organics collected through the kerbside service include:

  • Grass clippings
  • Flowers
  • Leaves
  • Shrubs and tree prunings
  • Small branches
  • Twigs
  • Weeds

Find out more about how your green waste is processed.To help keep the product(compost materials) quality high its important that resident recycle right and avoid using the bin for any other materials than garden organics.

Food Scraps (Burgundy-lid bin)

Source separated food scraps collected through the 'give food scraps a future' trial are processed at a facility that turns them into a fertilizer that can be used in agricultural processes and Biogas that is used in the production of renewable energy.

Instead of burying this resource in landfill we are giving it a new life, thus contributing to better environmental outcomes and reduction in greenhouse gas emissions associated with landfilling.

Find out more about how your scraps are processed.To help keep the fertilizer quality high its important that resident recycle their food scraps right and avoid using the food scraps bin for any other materials than food scraps.

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