Resource Recovery Centre diverts over 3,100 tonnes of waste in first year.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes and Deputy Lord Mayor Declan Clausen celebrate the Resource Recovery Centre’s first birthday with the centre’s staff.

In the first year of operation the Resource Recovery Centre (RRC) at Summerhill Waste Management Centre has recycled the weight equivalent of 74 semi-trailers of waste destined for landfill.

Opened in September 2019, the $6 million recycling centre  has 2,000 square metres of undercover sorting area.

The site sorts recoverable items such as metals, cardboard, soft plastics, clean wood, and electrical goods from loads of mixed waste. Previously this material would have gone directly to landfill.

Before its construction, a Small Vehicle Recovery Centre was only able to accept 10-12,000 tonnes of waste a year due to size and equipment restrictions. Only 3% of this was recycled.

Since RRC began it has recovered and diverted 3,100 tonnes of recyclables from landfill, which is a substantial increase to 16% materials recycled.

The recycling operation has saved over $450,000 in waste levy fees to the Environment Protection Authority by recovering items for recycling, rather than disposal to landfill. An additional $250,000 income derives from sale of recovered waste materials.

Manager Waste Services Troy Uren said the venture benefits both the environment and the community.

Not only are we keeping recyclable material out of landfill, the City is contributing to a circular economy by selling waste materials to be repurposed and delivering positive economic, environmental and social outcomes for the Newcastle community.

Newcastle residents have embraced the RRC, where they can bring sorted materials for free to be recycled. Scrap metal, cardboard, soft plastic and e-waste can all be dropped off at no cost, as well as problem household waste such as paint, gas bottles and batteries.

We’re continuing our commitment to the environment by constructing an organics recycling facility, due to start processing our garden waste on site in 2022, with an aim to incorporate food waste by 2026 and divert 900,000 tonnes of food and green waste from landfill over 25 years.”

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said there has been a significant financial benefit for the City.

The Resource Recovery Centre is a real win for ratepayers. The initial build was partly funded by the NSW Government and the fully operational facility now pays for itself, with the savings from waste levy fees and revenue from the sale of goods outweighing the operational costs to run the facility.

It’s an ongoing investment for the City of Newcastle. As the City develops is strategic vision for Summerhill, the model for this facility represents a blueprint for future facilities to be developed on the site focusing on diverting additional waste from landfill.”