City of Newcastle (CN) is seeking feedback on its proposal to construct a Material Recovery Facility (MRF) at Summerhill Waste Management Centre, allowing red, yellow and green bin waste to be processed at one location.

Recycling waste locally will reduce transport costs and greenhouse gas emissions, City of Newcastle said. Photo: City of Newcastle.

The proposed facility would allow plastics, paper, cardboard, glass and metals to be recovered at the Summerhill site, which would reduce transport costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

Newcastle Lord Mayor, Nuatali Nelmes, said the project would deliver major environmental and financial benefits for the city and community. 

“Combined with the organics processing facility, the MRF will be an important foundation for achieving our vision for a circular economy where recyclables can be processed and remanufactured into new products locally,” Cr Nelmes said. 

Recently, recyclables collected from Newcastle households have been transported to the Central Coast for processing due to the only MRF in the Hunter closing in 2020.

This affected CN and several other Hunter councils whose recyclables were also being processed locally. 

Cr Nelmes said the new facility’s design featured state-of-the-art sorting technology to produce clean and well-sorted recyclable streams of plastics, paper, cardboard, glass and metals. 

“Up to 28 full-time equivalent jobs will be created at the facility alone, with additional employment generated through the emergence of downstream business incentivised by the local supply of recycled materials,” Cr Nelmes added.

The proposed design can process up to 85,000 tonnes of recyclables per annum, creating a regional solution for recyclable waste from across the Hunter.

The project received $5 million from the Federal and NSW Governments in August last year and is included in the draft 2022/23 Budget as one of four city-shaping projects that will deliver key outcomes for the community. 

CN has prepared concept designs in conjunction with site master planning to ensure the optimal location of the facility alongside other waste diversion projects. 

The news comes after CN announced in March that it was exploring options to fast track the organic food waste processing facility at Summerhill.

The development application for the organics facility is expected to go on public exhibition in mid-2022.

Information sessions relating to the MRF will be held to allow the community to ask questions and give feedback on the project and its proposed design. 

Residents can attend a drop-in session on May 31 at the Minmi Progress Hall between 5.30 pm and 7.30 pm, while an online information session will be held on June 2 from noon to 1 pm. 

Maia O’Connor

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