ResourceCo rebuilding with rubble

ResourceCo is reusing Adelaide’s construction and demolition waste to build new roads, homes and buildings.

In 1993, resource recovery company ResourceCo began operations in Adelaide.

Today, the company has grown to have more than 700 employees, with sites around the country recycling more than two million tonnes of waste a year.

The company’s goal is to find new ways to recycle and reuse everything it can to preserve the world’s resources.

Andrew Silvestri joined the company in 2010 as an account manager for ResourceCo’s concrete business. He is now the State Sales and Customer Service Manager, in charge of construction demolition waste and alternative fuels.

“We take construction and demolition waste from around South Australia. These various waste streams come from businesses and councils that demolish old buildings and replace road surfaces.

“We take the material and maximise the reuse of every tonne we receive,” Andrew says.

“This financial year, we’ll receive 750,000 tonnes of construction and demolition waste to the Wingfield site. Up to 95 to 98 per cent of that waste will be recycled and sold back to the market.”

He says ResourceCo has grown significantly over the past eight years, moving from 60 employees when he started to more than 700 nationally and internationally.

“We crush the material and turn it into aggregate and stone, which can be used in the construction of future roads or concrete.”

One particular example of this recycling that Andrew points to was the demolition and redevelopment of one of Adelaide’s retail gems.

The Harris Scarfe Building, in the city centre, was demolished in 2011. The process generated more than 25,000 tonnes of material, according to construction provider McMahon Services. This material was sent to ResourceCo’s site.

There, the waste – which included concrete, steel, wood and plastic – was processed and crushed into base material for 3500 cubic metres of concrete.

Andrew says it was then used by McMahon Services to build the foundations of the $385 million development of the new Harris Scarfe building where the older building had once been.

“We were able to redirect thousands of tonnes of waste that would have gone to landfill and reduce the carbon footprint of the construction and demolition process,” Andrew says.

THE PLANT

Andrew says ResourceCo has been recycling and reusing construction and demolition waste in SA for decades and it improved the processes to make it more efficient.

“We have an advanced plant that turns the material into various sizes and grades of aggregate, which can be turned from waste into resource within a day,” Andrew says.

“The site has been modified and expanded over the years, keeping pace with the growth of the business and how much material it can handle. We use a series of excavators and loaders to process the materials.”

One of the innovations has been the introduction of a magnetic system to help in the separation of the materials. Andrew says they are used over the belt to remove steel while blowers get rid of wood and plastic.

After separating the materials, ResourceCo creates sand, aggregates, bitumen and concretes for various applications.

The company manufactures class one and two concrete for the South Australian Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure, which Andrew says is tested against the department’s standards.

“From a performance point of view, our concrete meets the same national standard as a quarried alternative.”

Andrew says that every tonne of stone ResourceCo is able to reuse not only saves it from being sent to landfill, but also means there is one less tonne that needed to be blasted and quarried, creating an economic and environmental benefit.

He says that every tonne of aggregate ResourceCo produces is the result of six full time employees, compared to one to two employees at a quarry.

Andrew says ResourceCo’s concrete business started with just five trucks and a single plant in Adelaide. Now, there are double the amount of plants, with 18 trucks. ResourceCo does not believe this growth must come at the cost of the environment. The company says that it has an obligation to leave the planet in a better state than when it began and uses initiatives like the Wingfield plant to do this.