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Newcastle Residents Embracing New Recycling Service

City of Newcastle’s new recycling service for Newcastle residents has had some impressive results just four months after beginning operations. More than 40,000 customers have visited the new Resource Recovery Centre (RRC) since it opened at Summerhill Waste Management Centre in September last year. Almost 5,000 tonnes of material has been dropped off to date, with eighteen per cent recovered and diverted to recycling or reprocessing into new products and materials.

The RRC boasts a 5,000sqm undercover sorting area which allows staff to sort out recyclable and reusable items from mixed-waste loads, greatly increasing the City’s capacity to divert materials from landfill. But perhaps the most exciting part of this new facility is the Sort & Save service introduced at the same time.

Sort & Save allows Newcastle residents to drop off clean cardboard, scrap metals, yellow bin recyclables, clean, untreated wood and soft plastics directly into identified stockpiles at no charge. But different materials have to be sorted from each other before they’re dropped off.

The new service brings the number of different items that Newcastle residents can drop off at no cost to 90-plus when the existing free e-waste drop-off and Community Recycling Centre for household problem-wastes are also considered. All these services are located under the one roof, making it easier than ever for Novocastrians to recycle.

Those who bring in pre-sorted loads containing only Sort & Save items, e-waste (with a maximum of 10 items per visit) and household problem wastes will pay nothing at the gate.

While the new Sort & Save service is being warmly embraced by Newcastle residents, City of Newcastle advises that contaminated material is still coming in within loads intended as Sort & Save. “Cardboard is a good example,” the City’s Waste Services Manager, Troy Uren, said.

“While the service offers free drop-off for clean cardboard, many people are bringing in cardboard filled with polystyrene, soft plastic and other packaging materials. This has to go to landfill as it can contaminate whole bales of recycled cardboard. Not only is it impacting our ability to recycle, but it also costs the customer as well because we can’t accept the contaminated cardboard free of charge.

“We simply ask residents to remove all excess packaging, tape, plastic strapping and polystyrene before presenting their cardboard boxes for recycling at the RRC”.

Businesses who pre-sort their loads for drop-off will also benefit from reduced tipping fees. This applies to select items which are published on the City of Newcastle’s website.

Unsorted waste is also welcome but will continue to be subject to normal fees, which cover staff and equipment needed to extract recyclables from mixed loads.

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