Multi-million dollar upgrade of Hume recycling centre unveiled to the public
Advertisement

Multi-million dollar upgrade of Hume recycling centre unveiled to the public

Concrete made with recycled glass could soon be seen on Canberra construction sites, after a recent upgrade of the ACT's main recycling centre.

More waste will be sorted and broken down even further as part of an $8 million improvement to the Materials Recovery Facility in Hume.

Recycling packaged together at the centre in Hume.

Recycling packaged together at the centre in Hume.Credit:Sitthixay Ditthavong

The upgrade was shown off to the public on Saturday as part of the centre's first open day.

As part of the works, glass bottles processed at the facility will now be able to be turned into a sand, which can be used in road bases and concrete mixes.

Advertisement
Chair of Re.Group Robert Hill and Transport Canberra and City Services (TCCS) DIrector-General Emmas Thomas in front of the imploder.

Chair of Re.Group Robert Hill and Transport Canberra and City Services (TCCS) DIrector-General Emmas Thomas in front of the imploder.Credit:Sitthixay Ditthavong

Transport Canberra and City Services director-general Emma Thomas said trials were under way to see how the recycled product could be used.

"We're hoping that we can trial it in construction and using it in other materials," she said.

"The trialling of glass sand is an innovation and we're pretty interested to see how it goes, and what products it can be recycled into."

The upgrade, which took six months to complete, now allows for glass bottles to be 'imploded' in order to break down.

More than 60,000 tonnes of rubbish will be sorted at the facility every year.

More than 60,000 tonnes of rubbish will be sorted at the facility every year.Credit:Sitthixay Ditthavong

Optical-sorting technology has also been added to ensure the 60,000 tonnes of rubbish sent to the facility every year will be able to be reused.

Robert Hill, the chair of company Re Group which operates the facility, said glass has traditionally been difficult to fully recycle, and the Canberra site was one of few in Australia able to break it down into sand.

The piles of glass from ACT recycling bins dumped near the Federal Highway at Lake George.

The piles of glass from ACT recycling bins dumped near the Federal Highway at Lake George.Credit:Rohan Thomson

"It's certainly been difficult in the past to find a market for waste glass," he said.

"We're now developing markets that will be able to use it in a productive way."

Glass previously sent to the recycling facility was dumped at a site in Bywong more than two years ago to the anger of residents.

The mountain of glass remains on a property near the Federal Highway, despite repeated calls to Yass Council and the ACT government to remove it. On Wednesday, the contractor who stockpiled it said he will clean up the site.

The glass has not been dumped at the site since February 2016 since Re Group took control of ownership of the Hume recycling facility.

"[Glass dumping] hasn't happened for a number of years. We know where all of the products are going," Mrs Thomas said.

She said she hopes the upgrade to the Hume facility will allow for better sorting of materials and less being sent to landfill.

It's estimated that 10 per cent of items sent to the centre are unable to be recycled.

Loading

"There's been lots of interest from recycling businesses to prevent rubbish being sent to landfill," she said.

"People are also a lot more interested in where their waste is going and what happens to it after you put it in the yellow bin."

Andrew Brown is a journalist at the Sunday Canberra Times. Andrew has worked at the Canberra Times since 2016.