NSW bushfire crisis sees ACT paper and cardboard temporarily stored

Released 30/01/2020

Paper and cardboard processed through the ACT Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) will be temporarily stored to manage the impacts of the bushfire crisis in NSW.

The Materials Recovery Facility at Hume processes approximately 470 tonnes of paper and cardboard each week, from a range of sources including our yellow recycling bins, some surrounding local council areas and commercial entities. This material is then packaged and sent to the Visy pulp and paper mill in Tumut for recycling into paper and cardboard products.

“The operator of the Materials Recovery Facility, Re.Group, has advised the ACT Government that although the Visy mill at Tumut has not been directly impacted by the fires, a number of their plantations and stored wood chips were burnt around the Eden area,” Minister for Recycling and Waste Reduction Chris Steel said.

Visy’s products are manufactured using a combination of recycled content and wood chips, and the impact of the fire on the plantations means that Visy temporarily needs to slow production of recycled paper and cardboard.

As Visy has been unable to accept all of the ACT’s paper recycling at this time, the Hume MRF has reached capacity for storing baled material on site.

“While about half the volume of paper and cardboard will continue to be sent to Visy each week, the ACT Government has taken the decision to temporarily store the remaining material at Mugga Lane and West Belconnen resource management facilities over the coming weeks,” Minister Steel said.

“The additional storage locations have been determined in consultation with ACT Fire and Rescue to minimise fire safety risks, and ACT Fire and Rescue has also been involved in assessing the stockpiles at the Hume MRF.

“Temporary storage of the baled paper will help to prevent land filling in the short term while we wait for the recycling industry to recover from the fires and process the material.

“Landfilling is the last resort, and will only be considered if the recycling industry is unable to recover and increase production levels, and stored material can no longer be safely managed.”

The ACT Government will continue to work closely with Re.Group to review arrangements and explore all options to avoid landfilling paper and cardboard. Re.Group are actively looking for other markets to sell the recycled paper and cardboard to and have been advised by Visy that they are working to resume full operations as soon as possible.

In the meantime, everyone should continue to recycle their paper and cardboard as per normal through the yellow bins or the recycling drop off centres in Belconnen, Gungahlin, Mitchell, Phillip and Tuggeranong. These are open 24 hours per day.

- Statement ends -

Section: Chris Steel, MLA | Media Releases

«ACT Government Media Releases | «Minister Media Releases