Published on 08 November 2021

SA's largest household recycling facility opens in Onkaparinga

South Australia's largest household recyclables facility was officially opened at Seaford Heights today, with the Southern Materials Recovery Facility able to process 60,000 tonnes of yellow-bin recyclables each year.

The opening, which comes on the first day of National Recycling Week, means the recycling from more than 300,000 residents across Southern Adelaide is now being processed locally, benefiting ratepayers, the local economy and the environment.

The state-of-the-art 4400m2 SMRF deploys world-leading advanced screening and optical sorting technologies for cardboard, plastic and glass and has been designed to meet the highest standards of recycling purity to ensure nothing goes to waste.

The SMRF is Australia’s first major materials recycling facility designed to meet the Council of Australian Government’s Export Ban requirements, which ensures waste is processed and reused in Australia rather than being shipped overseas.

Located in Seaford Heights, the SMRF is a joint initiative of Australian recycling and resource recovery specialist Re.Group and the Southern Region Waste Recycling Authority (SRWRA), which is a joint subsidiary of the City of Onkaparinga ,City of Holdfast Bay and City of Marion.

The novel Joint Venture structure makes this the first Australian materials recycling facility to be developed through this type of true public-private partnership.

A federal government Community Development Grant worth $5.35 million has allowed the facility to expand beyond processing the recyclables of the three partner councils to also service other regional councils and commercial businesses.

City of Onkaparinga Mayor Erin Thompson called the opening a historic day for the residents of Southern Adelaide and the South Australian recycling sector.

“More than 300,000 residents in South Australia now have the confidence that their yellow-bin recyclables are being processed locally—bringing down costs, creating jobs and, when the facility’s capability increases, being reused in council projects," she said.

“They can also be confident we’re closer to achieving our vision for a recycling circular economy, and tackling the challenges of climate change head-on.”

SRWRA Chair Mark Booth said the SMRF was a gamechanger for waste management and resource recovery in South Australia, which as a state has led the way in recycling and reducing waste.

“The support of the Australian government and leadership of the three partner councils will go a long way to addressing the need for increased recycling capacity across the state,” said Mr Booth.

“The SMRF will set a new benchmark for materials recovery facilities and raise the bar as Australia’s recycling industry continues to evolve and mature to meet the growing demand for domestic processing.”

The SMRF employs 18 full-time staff with senior employees requiring advanced manufacturing skills to use the cutting-edge technologies to process the regions recyclables.

Re.Group Managing Director, David Singh said new local employment opportunities were vital in a jobs market recovering from COVID-19 and its associated restrictions.

“We’re really pleased to be in the business of improving recycling and creating new jobs in Adelaide. There’s a strong history of manufacturing and technology in the state and we’re really looking forward to tapping into the talent and capabilities of South Australians to improve recycling and resource recovery in the region,” said Mr. Singh.

City of Marion Mayor Kris Hanna said it was critical that councils play their part in improving recycling for residents and businesses.

“This initiative will have long-lasting benefits for our community and provide value for ratepayers while protecting the environment," Mayor Hanna said.

“It's a demonstration of what can be achieved when government and the private sector work together.”

City of Holdfast Bay Mayor Amanda Wilson said the SMRF was an important step to take control of our waste, create local employment and drive new green economies.

“Keeping the recovery and reuse of valuable recyclable materials in Australia is vital to help build our circular economies and support a sustainable environment," Mayor Wilson said.

“It's exciting to think that glass that our residents recycle through their yellow kerbside bins now has the potential to be converted into sand for use by us, and other local councils, in road and civil construction projects.”

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The mayors of Onkaparinga, Marion and Holdfast Bay look across at the new recycling facility's high-tech macinery.