Where recyclables go after collection
Kerbside recyclable material collected by Solo Resource Recovery in West Torrens is sent to recycling company Visy, which processes recyclables for millions of households, schools and businesses across Australia and New Zealand.
In South Australia Visy receives more than 69,000 tons of recyclables from homes in metropolitan and rural areas each year and recovers about 80 per cent for recycling. The company is continually looking at ways to improve this volume by the introduction of new technology at its Wingfield Material Recovery Facility (MRF) site.
To keep waste disposal costs down and to promote the circular economy, you are encouraged to keep recycling and to put only recyclable materials in your recycling bin. Your recycling efforts are not going to waste!
Visy's process in South Australia
Visy has a long history in the recycling industry and is one of Australia’s largest recyclers and a major producer of paper and packaging products. It is uniquely positioned to reduce its environmental impact via a closed loop supply chain.
Visy is committed to reusing and recycling in Australia and to supporting the local economy. The company has built a network of re-manufacturing facilities around Australia, including eight recycled paper mills, two glass plants and Australia’s only food-grade recycled plastics plant in Sydney.
Paper, cardboard and liquid paperboard
Paper comprises 58 per cent of the recycling bin contents in SA and is transported to Visy paper mills in Tumut (NSW), Coolaroo and Reservoir in Victoria. From the mills, it makes its way back as remanufactured cardboard to the SA Visy Board sites at Gepps Cross and Berri.
LPB (Liquid Paperboard)
e.g. milk, stock and fruit juice cartons
Paper board is coated with polyethylene or a waxed inner/outer layer with the possible addition of an aluminium layer. For this reason, special processing is required to remove the paper for recycling. There are only a few specialised mills in the world that turn LPB into pulp. The dehydrated pulp is then sold to different paper or cardboard mills. The destinations change regularly. Visy ensures it goes to reputable remanufacturers via their appointed agents.
Plastics comprise around two per cent of the material in recycling bins of which a small percentage is high grade plastic such as PET and HDPE. PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) includes beverage container bottles and HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) includes milk bottles.
A large percentage of PET and HDPE go to Visy's plastic recycling plant in NSW, 'rPET', where it is granulated and mixed with virgin plastic for processing into new bottles.
Since June 2019, Recycling Plastics Australia (RPA) in Kilburn has been receiving material from Visy in SA. RPA sorts, cleans and regrinds the different grades of plastic. This material is then sold to manufacturers of plastic items. The bulk of this material is mixed plastic that was previously processed by the Visy plant in Springvale, Victoria. A small percentage of pure HDPE is also processed by RPA.
Soft plastic is irrecoverable in the MRF. It is treated as a waste stream and sent to SUEZ-ResourceCo at Wingfield, where it is turned into Processed Engineered Fuel (PEF), an alternative fuel, for use in the Adelaide Brighton Cement kiln at Birkenhead.
Glass comprises 23 per cent of recycling bins in SA, with the majority being glass fines (small glass particles). The relatively low percentage of glass in recycling bins in SA is due to our 10 cent Container Deposit Scheme.
Glass is sent to Visy's beneficiation plant at Gillman where metals and other contaminants are removed. The finished product, cullet, is then sent to glass recyclers in SA for re-manufacture; namely Owens Illinois at Kilkenny or Orora at Gawler North.
Glass fines are sent to Visy's glass recycling plant at Laverton, Victoria. Laverton has automated sorting and screening processes that separate and beneficiate the glass fines. The larger pieces are recycled, smelted and turned into containers, and the very fine pieces are used for road base.
Metals - aluminium and steel
Metals comprise about three per cent of the recycling bins in SA. Steel is sent to Sims Metal and recycled steel furnaces in Australia.
CDL aluminium cans are collected and sold via the Super Collectors of 10c Containers to remanufacturers/re-smelters. The cans are high-grade aluminium and ideal for the remanufacture of beverage cans. The other aluminium is traded on the national and international metal markets and that material is remelted by facilities such as Alcoa Portland.
There is a proportion of material placed in kerbside recycling bins (around 14 per cent) that is not recyclable in the kerbside system and should never have been placed in recycling bins. This includes soft plastic, nappies, batteries, clothing and bedding, organic matter, liquids, medical waste and ceramic items.
This non-recyclable waste contaminates the recycling stream and prevents 'good' recyclable materials from being re-used as well as adding unnecessary cost to the recycling process.