What recycling crisis? This Sydney site is raising the bar for recycling quality.

November 12, 2018


Kicking off National Recycling Week, the Minister for the Environment, Gabrielle Upton, has joined Cleanaway CEO and Managing Director, Vik Bansal, to mark the official opening of Cleanaway’s new and technologically advanced Container Sorting Facility at Eastern Creek.

Whilst today marks the official opening of Cleanaway’s new sorting facility, the plant opened its doors last December, on day 1 of Return and Earn, the NSW Government’s Container Deposit Scheme. Since commencing operations nearly one year ago, the facility has now processed most of the 900 million containers collected.

Today, the facility is home to a sophisticated and highly automated optical sorting line, capable of sorting, baling and distributing up to eight tonnes an hour of extremely high-quality recyclable commodity streams including aluminium, steel, PET, HDPE and liquid paper board.

The NSW Government’ s Return and Earn Scheme was launched with the aim of reducing the volume of litter across NSW, but an additional benefit of the scheme is the quality of commodities now being delivered to local and global markets for recycling and reuse. This is particularly significant in the wake of China’s National Sword Policy, which has presented several challenges for the global and local recycling industry – primarily that recyclables which contain high levels of contamination will no longer be accepted in China.

Schemes such as Return and Earn require the community to pre-sort containers for recycling, reducing the level of contamination at the source. And with the new sorting technology installed at this facility, we are now able to improve the quality of the commodity streams even further,” said Mr Bansal when asked about the significance of the facility.

“The Eastern Creek Container Sorting Facility is a critical part of our Footprint 2025. We’re committed to putting the infrastructure and facilities in place to deal sustainably with Australia’s waste, well into the future.”

“The challenges our industry has faced over the past 12 months have changed the way Australians view ‘waste’. It is more important than ever before that we work together to address these challenges. Return and Earn is a great example of that. It has been encouraging to see so many people getting involved and increasing the amount of recyclables being sorted at the source. Coupled with a better network of facilities to sort the containers collected, we can produce commodity streams which are in demand, meaning more items are being recycled into new products,” added Mr Bansal.

NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton said that Return and Earn has been a great success with more than 900 million containers collected across NSW return points and Return and Earn litter volume already reduced by a third.

“The work being done here at the Cleanaway sorting centre is testament to the NSW Government’s promise to deliver the largest ever litter reduction initiative for NSW – a 10 cent container deposit scheme – which we have done and which the people of NSW have embraced,” Ms Upton said.

“I commend the people of NSW and congratulate Cleanaway on their state of the art facility that supports Return and Earn to provide a smart solution to reduce litter in NSW and contribute to a more sustainable future.”

To find your nearest collection point – visit ReturnandEarn.com.au.

Key facts:

  •  Cleanaway’s Container Sorting Facility at Eastern Creek first opened on 1 December 2017
  •  Initial sorting infrastructure included a simple manual sorting line, which used basic magnetic sorting and manual picking to separate steel, aluminium, cartons and plastics with a capacity of 1.5 tonnes per hour.
  •  Construction on the fully automated sorting line commenced in May 2018.  The new, fully automated sorting line will have a capacity of 8 tonnes per hour
  •  Advanced optical sorters are able to sort containers based on their material type at thousands of reads per minute. Air jets then separate the containers for compaction and baling.
  • Baled materials are distributed to domestic and international recycling markets for conversion back into food grade containers, a result of the extremely low level of contamination being achieved by the TOMRACleanaway collection network.
  •  Moving into the busiest period of the year, it’s expected that peak collections over December 2018 will exceed 5 million containers per day

About Cleanaway

Cleanaway Waste Management Ltd is Australia’s leading total waste management company, operating a national network of unique collection, processing, treatment and landfill assets from over 260 locations across Australia. We believe that all waste is a resource and we aim to incorporate recover, recycling and reuse throughout our operations and those of our clients. Our mission is to make a sustainable future possible for all our stakeholders.

In a joint venture between Cleanaway and TOMRA Systems ASA, TOMRACleanaway are the Network Operator for Return and Earn, with a network of more than 680 collection points across New South Wales.

For further information, interviews or additional images contact:
Melissa McColl, Communications and Engagement Manager, 0466 323 844 or Melissa.McColl@cleanaway.com.au, or
Frank Sufferini, Head of Investor Relations and Corporate Affairs, 0416 241 501 or Frank.Sufferini@cleanaway.com.au