Changes to City’s Recycling Processing Contract

12 Feb 2020

Recycled waste collected from yellow lid bins on Newcastle residential streets will be processed on the Central Coast rather than in Lake Macquarie, following a change to the city’s waste contract.

The new processing location will have no effect on residential recycling collection days or times.

Council has also requested management explore a model that would include locating a materials recovery facility (MRF) at the Summerhill Waste Management Centre, which would ensure recyclable waste throughout the Hunter, can be processed locally.

The change follows recycled waste contractor Solo Waste Pty Ltd advising City of Newcastle in late January that the processing equipment leased by its subcontractor Polytrade Pty Ltd and operated at Solo’s Gateshead site, was no longer available for use.

Under the recycling contract, Solo had collected all recyclable waste, with its subcontractor Polytrade then processing it. The closure of the Gateshead MRF is also affecting several other Hunter councils whose recyclable waste was until recently being processed locally. 

Given the uncertainty of Polytrade’s ability to process recycled waste locally and at what cost, Council last night resolved to vary the recyclable waste contract so that the processing will now be performed by iQ Renew (iQR). They also process recyclable materials for Port Stephens and Central Coast councils.

City of Newcastle Manager Waste Troy Uren said that waste services are provided by local councils on a cost recovery basis.

“To ensure the continued processing of local recyclable material, a contract will today be signed with iQR. The cost of this change in contractor will from July add 38 cents per week to the annual domestic waste service charge paid by each household.  Despite this increase, the annual waste charge paid by Newcastle households will continue to be the lowest of any council in the Greater Newcastle area by up to $200 per property. 

“Under the iQR contract, local recyclables will be taken to a Recycling Transfer Station at the Summerhill Waste Facility before going to a processing facility on the Central Coast.

“The financial challenges currently being faced by the recycling industry are well known following China’s decision several years ago to significantly increase the standard of acceptable recycling material.

“By signing a new processing contract, City of Newcastle and its residents finally have certainty that local recycled waste will continue to be collected without disruption, and most importantly, processed rather than sent to landfill,” he said.

iQR own and operate primary recycling (sorting) equipment, and two secondary recycling (processing single streams for re-manufacture) facilities. Combined, iQR’s facilities process over 100,000 tonnes annually of recovered resources.

Glass is typically crushed and washed and converted to recycled sand for roads and drainage construction. Plastics are sorted and processed to create recycled content for manufacturing. 

The change to the recyclable waste contract has no impact on other waste services, including general waste (red lid) and garden waste (green lid) bin collections performed by City of Newcastle staff.