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Government backs local investment in recycling and jobs

Posted:
Thursday 01 Apr 2021
Pm scott morrison visits srwra

Household recyclables from southern Adelaide will soon be processed through a new best-practice recycling facility at Seaford Heights, in order to maximise the value of material in the yellow bin and meet the Australian Government’s commitment to build the nation’s recycling capacity and stop the international export of low-value material.

The Southern Materials Recovery Facility (SMRF) will process at least 31,000 tonnes per annum of ‘yellow bin’ recyclables and, thanks to $5.35 million in funding support from the Australian Government through the Community Development Grant Programme, has the capacity to handle more than 60,000 tonnes. This will allow the new facility to service other regional councils and commercial businesses from the surrounding area, and help to create a more resilient recycling sector for all of South Australia.

The SMRF is a joint initiative of Australian recycling and resource recovery specialist, Re.Group, and the Southern Region Waste Resource Authority (SRWRA), a joint subsidiary of three South Australian local councils – City of Onkaparinga, City of Marion, and City of Holdfast Bay.

SRWRA Chair Mark Booth said the project was only possible thanks to the collaboration and partnership fostered between local government and private enterprise.

“The unanimous support of our constituent councils has allowed us to fast-track this important project and place the orders required for the new facility to be fully delivered and operational in the second half of 2021,” said Mr Booth.

“The strategic need for a recycling facility south of the city, and for increased recycling capacity across the state of South Australia, has been understood for years; the leadership shown by Holdfast, Marion and Onkaparinga Councils means SRWRA can now make this project a reality.”

It is anticipated that the SMRF will employ 18 people on a full-time basis for the next 20 years. These jobs require advanced manufacturing skills, and will see staff using cutting-edge technology to process the region’s recyclables.

Re.Group Managing Director, David Singh said that these opportunities were vital in a jobs market recovering from COVID-19 and its associated restrictions.

“We’re really pleased to be in the business of improving recycling and creating new jobs in Adelaide. There’s a strong history of manufacturing and technology in the state and we’re really looking forward to tapping into the talent and capabilities of South Australians to improve recycling rates and resource recovery in the region,” said Mr. Singh.

The SMRF represents an investment of over $20 million on the Adelaide region, which will result in resilience in the state’s waste management and resource recovery capabilities.

The investment of Federal Government funding into local recycling efforts was also praised.

“We are thrilled the Morrison Government is supporting our efforts to invest in growing the Australian recycling industry and building local markets for recycled products. This is great news or the environment and for the local community,” said Mr Booth.

“We’re also extremely grateful for the tireless efforts of the countless individuals who have worked to ensure this project goes ahead – both within Government and in the private sector. I’d like to especially thank the Member for Boothby, Nicolle Flint MP, who recognised the environmental benefits of the Southern Materials Recovery Facility, and without whom we wouldn’t be able to make this announcement today.”

Equipment for the SMRF is being sourced from RDT Engineering – a leading Australian recycling specialist, committed to maximising local fabrication of non-specialist items. The design ensures that outputs from the facility are ‘COAG Export Ban-ready’, and meet the highest quality standards. The facility design includes the latest in sorting and screening technology and has the capacity to convert recycled glass into sand for use by local councils in civil and road construction works.

The facility is expected to be operational by the end of June, 2021.

About SRWRA

The Southern Region Waste Resource Authority (SRWRA) is a regional subsidiary established by the Cities of Onkaparinga, Marion and Holdfast Bay, pursuant to Section 43 of the Local Government Act, 1999. SRWRA is responsible for providing and operating waste management services on behalf of our constituent Councils.

SRWRA’s core business activity is the management of the wholly-owned SRWRA Landfill and Recycling Operation, which employs innovative resource recovery approaches in managing all products and materials as valuable and finite resources. SRWRA is one of South Australia’s major landfill operations currently receiving over 100,000 tonnes of waste annually.

Since 1996, the Authority has been extracting landfill gas (methane) through its gas management plant. A joint venture operation with Integrated Waste Services (IWS) has developed through 2016/17 with significant improvements in the recycling programme through the jointly operated Southern Recycling Centre (SRC) realising significant improvements in the reduction of waste to landfill.

About Re.Group

Re.Group is an Australian recycling and resource recovery specialist, with a vision to create a wasteless society.

Re.Group currently processes recyclables for over a million Australians, with operations in Queensland, New South Wales, the ACT and Western Australia, from ‘yellow-bin’ recyclables processing in Materials Recovery Facilities, to Container Deposit Scheme return point networks.

The Southern Materials Recovery Facility Factsheet

The Southern Materials Recovery Facility (SMRF) is a joint initiative of the Southern Region Waste Resource Authority (SRWRA) and Australian recycling and resource recovery specialist, Re.Group. The three member Councils that formed SRWRA are the Cities of Holdfast Bay, Marion and Onkaparinga.

The SMRF has been awarded $5.35 million in funding through the Community Development Grant Programme to address the critical requirement of additional recyclables processing capacity in the Southern Adelaide region. The SMRF will separate paper and cardboard using optical sorting technology and will produce three fibre grades at 98% purity levels, as well as five grades of plastic. In addition, the SMRF will produce a glass sand product suitable for civil and construction projects.

The SMRF will process at least 31,000 tonnes of ‘yellow-bin’ recyclable material per year, with additional capacity for up to 60,000 tonnes per year in order to service other regional councils and commercial business in the surrounding area.

In March 2020, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to ban the exports of waste plastic, paper, tyres and glass with additional supporting interventions to build recycling markets and associated domestic demand. In line with the strategy, governments agreed to ‘expand on work with industry to invest in growing the Australian recycling industry and build markets for recycled products’.

The SMRF is expected to employ around 18 full-time operational staff for an operating term of at least 20 years, in addition to generating local economic activity to fulfil maintenance and repair requirements.

There is more than 100t of locally fabricated steel work in the MRF for various platforms, walkways, conveyors and supports, in addition to materials sourced locally for the shed. SAGE Automation is providing the MRF control systems, adapting leading skills developed in Adelaide’s defence sector to improve recycling outcomes.

The SMRF will be developed at SRWRA’s existing 190ha site at 112 Bakewell Drive, Seaford Heights. The SMRF is an important centrepiece for the wider circular economy focus at the SRWRA site, with other elements including:

• 600kW solar power system delivered in 2020, plus 3MW landfill gas generation capacity already installed, enough to power 4,400 homes
• The potential to upgrade the solar power system to 2.4MW in phase 2, enough to power another 2,400 homes
• A 600ML recycled water dam that is used to irrigate vineyards in McLaren Vale and reduce demand for potable water
• Mixed Waste Processing that diverts organics from landfill and reduces the volume of material disposed to the existing landfill cells
• Plans for a Circular Economy Estate, adjacent to the SMRF, to encourage co-location of compatible industry to the area.

The SMRF is already in construction and is expected to be operational by the end of June 2021.

Image (L to R): Mayor of Marion Kris Hanna, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Holdfast Bay Mayor Amanda Wilson, Onkaparinga Mayor Erin Thompson