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The Australia and New Zealand Recycling Platform (ANZRP) has announced plans to build the world’s first commercial e-waste plastic microfactory after receiving a $250,000 grant from Sustainability Victoria.
In partnership with UNSW SMaRT Centre and e-recycler TES, the microfactory will process up to 500,000 kilograms of waste plastic per year. This will be recovered from e-waste recycling and reformed into 3D printer filament for retail sale.
Worldwide demand for plastic 3D printer filament is estimated to triple during the next four years, reaching a value of more than USD$1,965.30 million by 2023.
With the upcoming e-waste ban in Victoria and growing restrictions on exports of mixed e-waste plastic, options to reduce the cost of recycling and keep these materials out of landfill are growing. The project aims to reform a waste stream (e-waste plastic) that’s currently shipped overseas for processing or sent to local landfill.
Warren Overton, CEO of ANZRP, said the e-waste plastic micro-factory is a truly circular economy approach that ensures materials are kept in productive use.
“We’re so pleased to be supporting Australian innovation from UNSW and TES that helps improve e-waste recycling,” Mr Overton said.
“As the volume of e-waste continues to increase, technologically advanced approaches such as microfactories will play a key role mitigating the impact of old televisions and computers.
“By working alongside industry and internationally recognised research hubs, ANZRP is committed to ensuring all e-waste is managed responsibly. This reduces environmental impact and creates employment.”
Victorian Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said the grants will help develop a circular economy that maximises the reuse of materials and reduces the amount of waste that goes to landfill.
With construction due to start early 2019, the microfactory will be housed at the TES e-waste recycling facility in Somerton, Victoria. This portable factory has the potential to be moved and process recovered e-waste plastic in other areas.
“The microfactory has the potential to scale and accommodate the 6000 tonne plastic feedstock that is currently produced each year from the e-waste recycled through the TechCollect program,” Mr Overton said.
“We have taken the first step with a scalable solution that has guaranteed feedstock, strong environmental benefits, as well as economic benefits through the creation of employment opportunities in regional and metropolitan parts of Australia.”
The Victorian Government has announced $4.8 million for 20 recycling projects as part of the third round of the Resource Recovery Infrastructure Fund.
The projects are expected to create 155 jobs across Victoria and divert more than 350,000 tonnes of waste from landfill each year.
The projects, worth more than $35 million, will expand the collection of kerbside food organics, increase the recycling of plastics and upgrade major recycling facilities, including three regional resource recovery facilities.
A further $1.5 million will be provided to 10 research organisations to explore new uses for recycled materials and to work with businesses or government to maximise their use.
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The Research, Development & Demonstration Program will provide grants of $50,000 to $200,000 to each of the 10 research projects.
The projects will investigate innovative uses for glass, plastics, organics, concrete, brick and rubber, while exploring new processing technologies.
The program will work with the University of Melbourne, RMIT University, Swinburne University and the Australian Road Research Board – in collaboration with several major Victorian businesses – to increase procurement of large volumes of recycled materials in to the commercial market.
The Victorian Government has awarded $15.1 million to support 47 projects through the Resource Recovery Infrastructure Fund.
The Research, Development & Demonstration grants are part of the Victorian Government’s broader $4.5 million Market Development program, which helps to build new, strong domestic markets for the state’s recovered resources.
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The City of Fremantle has used recycled glass equivalent to around 2640 glass bottles to resurface the car park at the North Fremantle Post Office.
A warm asphalt mix used 10 per cent crushed glass as a substitute for traditional crushed granite aggregate, alongside recycled road base.
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City of Fremantle Infrastructure Engineering Manager David Janssens said while recycled glass asphalt had been used on roads in the United States and Canada for many years, it’s not widely used in Australia.
“Extensive testing was undertaken by our supplier to ensure the material complied with our requirements and the glass would not come loose when cars drove over it,” Mr Janssens said.
“We also had to make sure the glass being used had no sharp edges so it was safe for people to walk on and wouldn’t damage car tyres.
“Once we get an idea of how it performs in North Fremantle we’ll consider using recycled glass in other road projects, and our suppliers are exploring the possibility of using recycled plastic and rubber in asphalt as well.”
Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said the move was part of the city’s One Planet strategy, which focuses on reducing waste and increasing recycling.
“Using recycled glass in asphalt for our roads and car parks could help to create an important local market,” Cr Pettitt said.
“And because the glass asphalt is made at a much lower temperature it also means using a lot less energy and producing less greenhouse emissions.”
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Container deposit scheme laws have been introduced into the Western Australian Parliament, with the scheme expected to start in early 2020.
The move is a major milestone for the scheme, which is projected to result in 706 million fewer beverage containers littered over the next 20 years.
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It also aims to increase recycling throughout the state and is expected to reduce the number of containers sent to landfill by 5.9 billion.
The scheme is expected to deliver a net positive benefit of around $152 million over the next 20 years and follows the state government’s waste reduction methods, which includes a ban on lightweight single-use plastic bags and a review of the WA waste strategy.
WA Premier Mark McGowan said Western Australians have been supportive of the scheme, with more than 3000 people supporting it during the public consultation period.
“The introduction of this legislation to Parliament marks a major milestone in bringing a container deposit scheme to Western Australia,” he said.
“Not only will we be diverting waste from landfill, this scheme is likely to create as many as 500 jobs as part of the new container sorting and processing facilities, and refund points across the state.”
WA Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said he is confident the container deposit scheme will reduce litter and increase recycling.
“It will also be designed to provide business opportunities for social enterprises and help charities and community organisations raise money to fund vital community work,” Mr Dawson said.
“This scheme will be a win for the environment and a win for the local economy.”
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