Sorting waste for overseas market

Adelaide Resource Recovery
Thursday, 30 September, 2010

Waste processed to replace virgin raw plastic

Adelaide Resource Recovery (ARR) operates from Adelaide’s Wingfield Recycling Centre and is receiving regular enquiries from businesses in Hong Kong and China that are keen to buy SA’s waste plastic.

The company is committed to the recycling of construction and demolition materials into valuable resources. During the past nine months, ARR has exported more than 22 containers, each holding 21 tonnes of cleaned and baled waste plastic, which would normally be sent to landfill.

Extracted from the mixed waste stream that comes into ARR’s 20-hectare sorting facility, plastic waste ranges from soft plastics such as carry bags to hard plastics such as the strapping used to bind construction materials.

ARR sales and marketing manager Hugh Hocking said most of the enquiries were coming from businesses in Hong Kong or China. “In the past nine months, we’ve shipped more than 500 tonnes of waste plastic overseas,” he said.

“Once our customers receive it, they ‘pelletise’ the plastic, so that it comes out looking like granules. For them, it’s a replacement for virgin raw plastic. Our waste plastic is used in a range of new products ranging from manufacturing automotive components to construction materials such as flooring strapping and buckets.

“For ARR, the beauty of this new business is that this waste plastic would normally go to landfill, which would cost us money. With some plastics selling for up to $500 a tonne, this way it actually earns us income and it’s doing the right thing for the environment.”

As well as providing a full-time job for the baler operator, ARR’s waste plastic export operation has created demand for additional labour on the sorting line, where plastics are extracted from the general waste stream.

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