Mackay Regional Council has officially opened its upgraded materials recovery facility, which includes a glass crushing plant and an optical sorting plant.
Instead of landfilling thousands of tonnes of broken glass each year, Mackay Regional Council will be reusing it in construction projects.
Mayor Deirdre Comerford and Member for Mirani, Jim Pearce MP, officially opened the council’s upgraded MRF today (Wednesday 7 October).
The upgrade cost $2.6 million, incorporating an optical sorting plant and a glass crushing plant.
Mayor Deirdre Comerford said the upgraded MRF allows the council to recover more recyclable material.
Mackay’s new MRF is capable of processing 20,000 tonnes of recyclables per year, 11,000 more than the previous plant.
“The photogenic optical sorter takes photos of the items and sends them to the appropriate cage – mixed plastics, HDPE, PET, aluminium and steel cans,” said Mayor Comerford.
“The plant keeps recirculating material making sure we recover as many potential recyclable materials as possible.
Since the new plant was commissioned in June, the council has seen a 60 per cent reduction in recyclable material going to landfill. Two neighbouring councils, Isaac and Whitsunday, are sending close to 100 tonnes of recyclables to the new MRF each month.
The glass crushing plant was possible thanks to a $600,000 grant jointly provided by the Australian Packaging Covenant (APC) and the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.
Waste, Health and Regulatory Services portfolio councillor, Laurence Bonaventura, said broken glass that couldn’t be recovered was now being processed and produced into recycled crushed glass (RCG) on site.
“More than 2000 tonnes of glass is being diverted from landfill each year and is being turned into a product similar in texture to sand to be used as bedding material in footpaths, drains and culverts,” said Mr Bonaventura.
“The ability to use what was once a waste material is a major boost to the local economy.”
The Australian Packaging Covenant added that it had been pleased to contribute funding to the project’s realisation.
“This Government and industry funded project provides the region with a state-of-the-art facility to increase the recycling of used packaging into a valuable product for use in other regional projects, such as council roads, pipe laying and as a concrete additive,” said APC Project Manager, Ben Bateman. “It is fantastic to see the Mackay facility up and running and increasing the regional recycling rate,”
The new Materials Recovery Facility will be open to the public to inspect on November 14 as part of National Recycling Week.