Good news for recycling glass

Rhonda Dredge

A new glass recycling plant has been put through its paces over the past three months and the guys down at the Dynon Rd depot are pleased with its performance.

Citywide showed North West City News through and the remarkable plant will turn even the most contaminated glass into small usable particles.

A high temperature burner is the secret to the process, according to commercial waste manager Travers Martin.

“It burns off the sugar residues which can’t be used in asphalt,” he said. “The process here is an absolute first. Plants haven’t been able to do this before and bring out this quality.”

A truck came to pick up 20 bags of glass particles weighing 3.5 tonnes for use in the manufacture of asphalt pavers for bicycle paths in the CBD, the result of one day’s work.

Even the pick-up guys were on board with this striking example of the circular economy.

Ironically, most of the glass ready to go into the plant comes from the CBD in the form of Heineken stubbies, picked up from bars and restaurants.

The circular economy aims to recycle materials and keep them out of landfill but even the greatest optimists would not have predicted a bar to road cycle that was so useful.

Legislation has forced municipalities to deal with glass recycling. In the past only the clean, clear bottles were reusable. Now thanks to this technology, glass from co-mingled bins and highly contaminated material can be processed.

Citywide will be inviting other councils to bring down their glass waste to be processed by the plant.

“It needs ‘food’,” Mr Martin said. He is particularly proud that the glass is replacing sand in asphalt production, reducing the construction industry’s voracious appetite for virgin sand.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for us and we’re looking at Dynon Rd as a circular hub,” he said. “We’re paying much more attention to the end product.”

The new plant will also play a significant role when Victoria’s container deposit scheme begins in 2023.

“We are in the middle of a generational change right now in how we deal with waste and recycling products,” Citywide operations executive Duncan Reid said.

“We have quite literally reached a tipping point where we are rightly assessing the recyclable value of existing products.”

“The circular economy is all about examining every waste product we can possibly divert from landfill and repurposing it in a sustainable way.” •

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