The glass reprocessing plant is the first part of a regional strategy to provide local end markets for glass containers collected from three local government areas within the MidWaste group of councils – Greater Taree, Gloucester and Great Lakes.
The second part of the regional strategy will be to use the recycled crushed glass on roads in the Great Lakes Council area.
The new plant was funded by the Australian Food and Grocery Council’s Packaging Stewardship Forum (PSF) and JR Richards & Sons. The facility is expected to handle more than 4,500 metric tons of glass collected through curbside programs operated within the MidWaste group of councils.
JR Richards & Sons will crush the collected glass to a specification standard suitable for use in a range of alternative local markets, including road base, asphalt, and concrete and pipe embedment as a partial sand replacement.
Greg Turner, with JR Richards & Sons says, “The decision to process and re-use the glass locally was taken because we believe this delivered the most sustainable outcome as we no longer have to transport it long distances as we have in the past. This reduces our carbon footprint.”
Alec Wagstaff, PSF chairman, notes that the use of recycled crushed glass in the road construction sector provides one of the most significant opportunities to dramatically boost glass recycling rates nationally.
“Through our curbside recycling systems we’re collecting more than 76 percent of glass beverage containers annually, but due to breakage we’re recycling just over half back into new containers. That means around 120,000 metric tons is either stockpiled or going to waste in our landfills annually.”
“The road construction sector uses millions of metric tons of sand and aggregate each year. By using recycled crushed glass as a replacement for sand, we could reduce the extraction of sand, eliminate current glass waste, save landfill space and provide ongoing local markets for the glass we collect. There is now momentum building in New South Wales as councils see the benefits of using recycled materials in civil engineering projects,” Wagstaff adds.
A public demonstration of the use of recycled crushed glass from the plant in will be done with two sections of the road in NSW, the first use of the glass in the region.
The demonstration project is a partnership between the PSF, Great Lakes Council, the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water NSW, the Roads and Traffic Authority NSW and the Roads & Transport Directorate of the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia.
The construction will use an estimated 100 metric tons of recycled crushed glass from the new JR Richard & Sons glass reprocessing facility in road pavement (asphalt and granular pavement) within NSW.