Australia has one of the highest rates of waste generation per capita in the world. All waste materials represent an investment of water, energy, and natural resources, such as coal, oil or trees. Once waste goes to landfill, virgin material has to be taken from our environment to produce new products. Reusing and recycling are two processes by which waste materials are diverted from the waste stream, sorted and used to produce new products.
The EcoCentre has been built using non-toxic materials to facilitate recycling the building at the end of its life whilst the steel frame, floor panels, windows and roofing can be reused. To reduce the amount of waste ending up in landfills, at the EcoCentre we:
- use a three bin system to separate rubbish into paper/cardboard, general and recyclables
- are a collection point for old batteries, mobile phones and printer cartridges
- use composting bins and worm farms, which also supplies fertiliser for our plants
Plastic recycling is the process of reprocessing used scrap and waste plastic into new plastic materials. To highlight the growing plastic recycling industry, the EcoCentre have two park benches made from recycled plastics (milk bottles and toners). These are lighter, pest resistant and will last longer than wood products. Recycling old plastic products uses 20-40% less energy than manufacturing it from new. If we recycled all of our plastics, we could reduce our oil consumption and save 25% of landfill space. The energy saved from recycling one plastic drink bottle will power a computer for 25 minutes.