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Waste Is No Longer Just Rubbish

By Duncan Horscroft on October 3, 2012 in News

Photo: Grant Brooks

It’s taken a while but now we are beginning to realise that rubbish is big business and not just a load of garbage.
Waverley Council is slowly cashing in on waste products, which are making their way back into the community in the form of fencing and other items that were once only the domain of timber.

A recycled plastic/wood product has been produced to closely resemble timber and a new fence using the material has been erected along the Bronte Cutting and on the northern side of Bronte Beach along Marine Parade.

According to Waverley councillor Ingrid Strewe, the product is far more resilient than wood alone and has a much better lifespan when exposed to the elements.

That lifespan is yet to be determined but given the hardiness of plastic one would imagine it would be quite substantial.

The use of these products has opened up an opportunity for the council to cash in on its recycling facilities.

“We have to get the resources out of the waste stream and back into business,” Cr Strewe said.

“At present we pay a company about $30 a tonne to take our mixed (recyclable) containers.

“But I am of the opinion that we should receive payment for them as they are a valuable resource. I believe we are aiming for this.

“Waverley does get paid for collected paper. There is a spot market (for paper, tin, aluminium, PET, etc.) and the price goes up and down virtually daily. I hear one or two council’s link their price to this.

“The new fences, although dark initially, have been painted with special paint – the plastic undercoat etches the surface to assist the paint sticking and then it is painted with an overcoat.”

As well as the fencing there is a huge range of other wood lookalike products such as outdoor furniture, gates and the like, and it’s becoming increasingly obvious that the need for timber is no longer a precedent.

If everyone could utilise the waste products that end up as landfill the world’s rainforests could start breathing a big sigh of relief.

The amount of plastic bags thrown out on a daily basis is criminal and with the recycling technology now available it must be a relatively simple task to turn them back into something other than a death sentence for wildlife such as sea turtles that mistake them for food.

We can already see the damage that we have done to our planet and while that damage can’t necessarily be undone, at least we are starting to realise there is an alternative.

Recycled fences are just the beginning.