In 2017 China implemented strict import restrictions on unprocessed packaging and paper. So strict that the world's recycling processors had to find new markets and end use for products. Australia's processors relied heavily on the Chinese market as the final destination for material re-manufacturing as it was an inexpensive and efficient process.
The decision by China has caused Councils to rethink their service.
Hunter Resource Recovery continues to work closely with member councils Cessnock, Lake Macquarie, Maitland and Singleton, and its recycling contractor Solo Resource Recovery to implement a three-step plan to ensure the continuity of this important service.
Step one was to coordinate early intervention with member councils to ensure that all products continued to be processed and recycled and that no products were land filled. This included covering the costs associated with establishing new processes and end uses.
Step two was to develop new strategies to establish processing and recycling of products within Australia wherever possible to stimulate the circular economy. However, for this to work in the long run, businesses and consumers must adapt purchasing decisions to favour products made with domestically sourced recycled content.
New processes for glass recycling has resulted in the establishment of new recycling plants capable of producing glass aggregate and washed glass sand for construction. Plastics processing facilities are being developed to turn unwanted plastics into diesel fuel.
Step three involves assessing future processing opportunities, in particular for paper, cardboard and plastics which all require a greater level of sorting and processing before being accepted by end users to make into new products. Councils are assessing the most efficient and cost-effective methods available for meeting new stringent demands for fully separating recycled materials that will ensure the contents of local kerbside recycling bins end up back in new products for many years to come.
Residents have an important role to play and Hunter Resource Recovery seek your help in supplying the cleanest products to our processing facility. How can you help?
Always follow the A to Z guide for accepted products;
- Empty containers and bottles of all contents;
- Remove lids and caps and place these separately in the recycling bin;
- Do not place recyclables in plastic bags.
For advice and assistance call the recycling hotline on 1800 838884 only for residents of Lake Macquarie, Cessnock, Maitland, and Singleton Councils.