China shipment a triumph for recycling system

A 35-tonne shipment of recycled plastics, destined for China, is another feather in the cap for the Armidale region’s distinctive recycling program.

The shipment of mixed plastics, which equates to two shipping containers, was dispatched last month by Armidale Recycling Services (ARS), which is contracted to process recycling materials from Council’s kerbside collection service.

It is one of this region’s largest shipments of recyclables to China, even though that country has clamped down on the quality of recyclables it receives. In 2016-17, China announced it would no longer accept recyclable materials that exceeded a certain level of contamination.

At the time, Armidale Regional Council confirmed its crate system for recycling was a key factor in enabling this region to stay within those contamination levels, while many other local governments were now struggling to find markets for their recyclables.

“Armidale Recycling Services is continuing to sell our clean recycling products within Australia and to overseas markets, including China,” Armidale Regional Council Mayor Simon Murray said.

Last month’s shipment comprised Category 2, 4, 5 and coloured Pet1 plastics.

ARS is on track to export other types of plastic – HDPE, clear Pet1 and clear plastic film – in the future.

“The combined efforts of Council, ARS and the community is capturing around 97% of waste for reuse, which is among the highest rates in Australia and a reason for pride for our residents,” Councillor Murray said.

“The crate system has been in place since 2006 and requires some additional input from each household to sort items but it is paying wonderful dividends. All of us share some responsibility to reuse resources where we can, to make best use of our resources and protect our environment.

“The comingling of materials within a single recycling bin, a system used in many parts of Australia, is contributing to an increase in materials going to landfill.”

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