New MRF gets green light

Council has approved the design and construction of the new multi-million dollar Material Recovery Facility, which will significantly decrease the amount of waste ending up in landfill.

Installed in 2006, the current MRF processes 13,300 tonnes per annum and achieves an average diversion from landfill rate of approximately 50%.

The new MRF will be capable of processing up to 25,000 tonnes per annum (15 tonnes per hour) and service Cairns and the broader Far North Queensland region for the next 10 to 15 years.

Expected to be complete by the end of September 2020, the new facility will divert up to 85% of waste from landfill.

Council has budgeted $6.9 million ($5.9 million in 2019/20 and $1 million 20/21) for the new MRF.

Council also received $3 million in funding from the Queensland Government through the Building our Region (BoR) program.

Consistent with Council’s Waste Strategy, the new facility will be one of the most technologically advanced MRFs in Queensland, particularly in relation to glass processing.

It is envisaged that all glass processed through the MRF (currently approximately 35%) will be used locally, building a circular economy locally and avoiding the need to transport over 5,000 tonnes of glass each year to South-East Queensland.

Improved technology, combined with staffing, will also achieve of high quality recovered cardboard, plastics, steel and aluminium.

The majority of this will be used domestically and the high quality will increase the ability for Council to sell the product to broader markets.

Re.Group Pty Ltd, an Australian company specialising in alternate waste treatment and resource recovery, has been awarded the contract for construction of the new MRF.

As part of the project, Council will also construct a new shed at the MRF.

This will allow for the continued recycling operations during commissioning of the MRF and save costs associated with the transport and processing of recycled material during the build, as well as alleviate the loss container refund scheme (CRS) revenue.

The existing shed can also be re-purposed for storage and processing of CRS containers and also storage for recyclables and recovered commodities, improving Council’s capacity to access commodity markets more strategically.

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