In the first year of operation the Resource Recovery Centre (RRC) at Summerhill Waste Management Centre has recycled the weight equivalent of 74 semi-trailers of waste destined for landfill, whilst generating income for the City.
Opened in September 2019, the $6 million RRC provides over 2,000 square metres of undercover sorting area.
The site enables staff to sort recoverable items such as metals, cardboard, soft plastics, clean wood and electrical goods from loads of mixed waste, where previously this material would have been disposed of directly to landfill.
Prior to construction of the RRC, the Small Vehicle Recovery Centre was only able to accept 10-12,000 tonnes of waste per annum, due to size and equipment restrictions, and only 3% of this was able to be recycled.
Since commencing operations, City of Newcastle has recovered and diverted 3,100 tonnes of recyclables from landfill, which is a substantial increase to 16% materials recycled.
So far, this initiative has saved over $450,000 in waste levy fees to the Environment Protection Authority by recovering items for recycling, rather than disposal to landfill and has generated in excess of $250,000 income from sale of those resources.
Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said there has been a significant financial benefit for the City.
“The Resource Recovery Centre is a real win for ratepayers. The initial build was partly funded by the NSW Government and the fully operational facility now pays for itself, with the savings from waste levy fees and revenue from the sale of goods outweighing the operational costs to run the facility.
“It’s an ongoing investment for the City of Newcastle. As the City develops is strategic vision for Summerhill, the model for this facility represents a blueprint for future facilities to be developed on the site focusing on diverting additional waste from landfill.”
Manager Waste Services Troy Uren said the venture benefits both the environment and the community.
“Not only are we keeping recyclable material out of landfill, the City is contributing to a circular economy by selling waste materials to be repurposed and delivering positive economic, environmental and social outcomes for the Newcastle community.
“Newcastle residents have embraced the RRC, where they can bring sorted materials for free to be recycled. Scrap metal, cardboard, soft plastic and e-waste can all be dropped off at no cost, as well as problem household waste such as paint, gas bottles and batteries.
“We’re continuing our commitment to the environment by constructing an organics recycling facility, due to start processing our garden waste on site in 2022, with an aim to incorporate food waste by 2026 and divert 900,000 tonnes of food and green waste from landfill over 25 years.”