Opened in 2013 the brand new Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) located at the Tuncurry Waste Management Centre is a state of the art facility that processes recyclables from the MidCoast Council Local Government Area. Each day an average of 40 tonnes of recycling is delivered to the MRF. That’s about 1,250 tonnes per month or 14,000 tonnes per year. Once at the MRF, the different materials are sorted using a variety of methods and are then either used locally or sent to market to be recycled into new products.
How does the MRF work?
After collection vehicles deposit recyclables into the receival area, they then enter the ‘feed conveyor’ which inclines up to the ‘manual sort’. Here MRF employees hand sort and remove any contaminants which have been incorrectly placed in recycling bins. Some of the most common contaminants include – plastic bags, nappies, food and other general waste, machinery parts, wire, expanded polystyrene, clothes, bedding and small metal objects such as universal joints, tap fittings and old tools.
Recyclable items leave the ‘manual sort’ and continue into the ‘disc screens’. The disc screens separate the different materials into three categories. Glass bottles and jars drop through the screens and are sent to the ‘glass crusher’ before being stored in the ‘glass bunker’ for use in the local market. Paper and Cardboard are blown over the top of the screens and conveyed to the paper ‘baler’. Plastics, Aluminium and Steel Items also known as 3D containers are removed and continue to move through the system for further sorting.
The 3D containers are conveyed towards an electromagnet which removes all steel items to be deposited into bales. The remaining recyclables continue on to the ‘optical sort’. The sorter uses advanced infrared technology to identify the different types of plastic and then uses high powered jets of air to separate the identified materials into specific holding containers eg. PET, HDPE, Mixed Plastics. Other items continue along to an Eddy Current which repels the Aluminium items into a holding container. Once the holding containers are full the products are then crushed, baled and ready for market.