Port Stephens unlocking new circular economy

Port Stephens Council unlocking new circular economy, reducing waste and extending the life of unwanted household items.

Have you ever wondered what happens to the items you drop off at Council’s problem waste drop off days?

Our drop off days all play a part in creating a circular economy – where reusing and recycling helps to reduce landfill, and increases efficient use of natural resources, such as energy, water and materials! (Source: CSIRO)

In our current economy, we take materials from the Earth, make products from them, and eventually throw them away as waste – the process is linear.

In a circular economy, by contrast, we stop things going to landfill. Here are some of the things we’ve given new life to:

Mattresses

In the last 12 months, Port Stephens Council diverted 1423 mattresses from entering landfill, which we went on to recycle in the following ways:

  • Timber bases were turned into a mulch or weed matting.
  • Springs were sent to scrap metal, and recycled into metal roofing.
  • Foam was turned into carpet underlay.
  • Textiles were recycled into acoustic paneling.

In order to achieve this, we partnered with Soft Landing Mattress Recycling, a social enterprise creating stable and meaningful jobs for people experiencing barriers to employment.

Tyres

In the last 12 months, Port Stephens Council collected over 10 tonnes of tyres (that’s almost 2097 tyres!), which we went on to reuse in the following ways:

  • Steel was removed from tyres and recycled.
  • Rubber was turned into alternative fuel sources and crumb rubber products.

e-Waste

Did you know 90 to 95 % of electronic waste components can be recycled?

In the last 12 months, Port Stephens Council collected almost 5 tonnes of e-waste, which we diverted from landfill and went on to recycle in the following ways:

  • Plastic – has a number of uses and was turned into plastic sleepers, plant stakes, posts, insulation or plastic trays.
  • Metal – was collected a reused into other electronic components, and even jewellery.
  • Batteries – cobalt is reused to create new batteries.
  • Glass – on devices like TVs, glass contains hazardous substances like heavy metals, but once these are removed they can be turned back into new screens.

Chemicals

We collected 8.383t of unwanted chemical to be recycled and disposed of correctly.

  • Oils are processed and turned into lubricants or used for waste to energy.
  • Paints are used as an alternative fuel in cement kilns.
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