Published on 16 September 2021

Your recycling at work

If you’ve been spring cleaning—or getting stuck into the shed or the cupboards is on your to-do list—load up your unwanted stuff and head to local recycling depot Hackham Recyclers.

Owners Zhifei Xue (known as Jason) and his wife Liping Han (Lilly) have managed Hackham Recyclers for nearly a decade. Jason has used his experience as an environmental engineer in the waste management industry to help build the business into a major recycling centre with a skilled team of 16 employees.

Hackham Recyclers is one of seven recycling centres in the Onkaparinga community taking in cans, bottles and scrap metal. Other accepted materials include non-ferrous metal, car batteries, air-conditioners, radiators, e-waste, cardboard, old clothing, tyres, waste oils, old gas bottles and fire extinguishers, waste paint and farming chemical containers.

The centre is a collection point for Paintback, an industry-led initiative designed to divert unwanted paint and packaging from ending up in landfill and waterways, and Drummuster, an environmental stewardship program managed by Agsafe that provides a container recycling pathway for users of agricultural and veterinary chemicals.

“People say they have a good experience when they visit us. We have an easily accessible yard, and we focus on providing good service,” Jason says.

The statistics around Hackham Recyclers’ collections are astounding. Each year, more than 9300 tonnes of recycled materials are collected, including 640 tonnes of cans and bottles (equating to nearly 15 million units), 8000 tonnes of scrap steel, 420 tonnes of car batteries, 120 tonnes of waste paint, and 120 tonnes of cardboard, clothing, plastic drums, waste oil, and more.

“People are surprised about some of the things they can bring to us. We take electrical items including anything with a plug, metal furniture with small amounts of plastic, wood or fabric attached, exercise machines and bikes with tyres, and any kind of plastics, including soft plastic, polystyrene foam, CDs and DVDs,” Jason says.

Hackham Recyclers recently won a $96,500 state government grant to upgrade its plastics collection depot. The funding comes ahead of the highly anticipated opening of the Southern Materials Recovery Facility at Seaford Heights later this year to process ‘yellow bin’ recycling for Onkaparinga, Marion and Holdfast Bay councils. The facility will be a huge boost for the south, with a capacity to process 60,000 tonnes annually of household recyclables.

“The state government grant will support us to expand the business, allowing us to collect more waste plastics for recycling, keeping soft plastics, polystyrene foams and hard plastics out of landfills,” Jason says.

When visiting Hackham Recyclers, take note of the educational posters around the site. The posters were created using a City of Onkaparinga environmental grant to explain to the community how different materials are processed and outline the benefits of recovering the resource.

For example, did you know cans made from recycled aluminium use 95 per cent less energy than making them from new materials? Recycling one aluminium can saves enough energy to power a television for three hours!

An astounding 85 per cent of the rubber in tyres and 95 per cent of the steel is recovered through tyre recycling, which is then used to make new tyres. Recycling tyres offsets up to 60 per cent of the greenhouse gases emitted when making new tyres.

Visit for a full list of the materials Hackham Recyclers is handling. Cash is paid for some items, while fees apply for other materials.

Visit the City of Onkaparinga website for more information on waste