What is Your Waste Recycled Into?

  • 28 May 2018

The average person in Western Australia produces a whopping 2.4 tonnes of waste each year. On a per capita basis, this makes WA the highest waste-producing state in Australia.

With Australia’s waste growing at double the rate of our population, awareness about waste management and recycling has never been more critical. Fortunately, thanks to a stream of ongoing educational initiatives, social media campaigns, news articles and ABC’s highly-publicised documentary series ‘War on Waste,’ the public are becoming more environmentally-conscious.

As more and more of us adopt a ‘waste reduction’ mentality, recycling is on the up.

At Instant Waste Management, we process 700,000 tonnes of waste per year at our Bayswater material recovery facility. With a recycling target of 80-90%, that’s a lot of recycling.

With such high volumes of waste being recycled, you might be wondering where it goes. So, let’s take a look:

Construction & Demolition Waste:

Each year, WA alone produces 3.4 million tonnes of building and demolition waste.

IWM’s state-of-the-art material recovery facility – combined with those owned by our sister companies – processes around 1.8 million tonnes of this building material each year. Here, the waste undergoes a meticulous sorting process in order to recover any materials which can be recycled.

We recycle the bricks and concrete into road base, which is then distributed for use on new roads and roads which are being upgraded throughout the city.  Bricks and concrete are also recycled into a tracking material for use under our roads and carparks, as well as for temporary applications to gain hard stand access to building sites. Plate glass is also currently being crushed and repurposed as a tracking material under roads.

A number of our clients have won accolades for their environmentally-friendly practices. And in 2017, our client Satterley Property Group achieved an outstanding 96% recycling rate for their 180-hectare urban development, the Catalina Estate. IWM provided a full waste management and recycling service throughout the project – and this waste was recycled into road base.

However, with such high volumes of waste being produced, WA is currently unable to meet the demand for recycling facilities. There is therefore an urgent need for more recycling plants.

Timber:

Timer is recovered either at source or at our Bayswater recycling facility and then transported to secondary recycling facilities for use in composting or animal bedding.

Our aim is also to process the waste into a fuel source, in the form of electricity and / or heat. This not only presents an environmentally-friendly way of generating – and burning – energy, but is also cheaper than traditional coal.

Metals:

In our material recovery facility, powerful magnets are used to retrieve any metal from waste material. This metal is then sent overseas via secondary recycling facilities, where it is broken down and transported in shipping containers to the smelting factory.

The smelters are enclosed furnaces which apply intense heat to the waste metal, to extract the base metal from its ore – either as the element or as a simple compound.  A range of base metals can be extracted from their ores, including iron, copper, silver and lead.

Through this process, the waste metal is re-manufactured into reinforcement bars for use in strengthening concrete structures.

Paper & Cardboard:

Paper and cardboard is commonly separated at source and also from construction and demolition waste.

It is then exported to paper mills where it is mixed with hot water to form a pulp and all glue, plastic and stables are removed. From there it is repurposed into recycled products, such as packaging, paper towels, tissues and cereal boxes.

 

Recycling goes a long way towards reducing pollution, protecting our wildlife and reducing the greenhouse effect. But not only does it have a hugely positive impact on the environment; thanks to the landfill state levy, it is actually cheaper than sending waste to landfill.

For more information on recycling, or how we can help you with your waste management, please contact our friendly team today.