Furniture, fences and tourist infrastructure
Melbourne is home to recycling companies varying in speciality, such as glass or soft plastics – the sort of scrunchy plastic used in lolly wrappers.
These businesses partner with external companies to then turn the processed materials into new products.
Many of these manufacturers create a range of new things, often using up to 90 per cent recycled materials including park benches, picnic settings, fencing, bollards, outdoor exercise equipment and decking.
You’ve probably walked past or used an object made from recycled plastic already. Notable Melbourne-based projects include providing recycled plastic sheeting for the 2021 Australian Open’s Bar Atrium; using plastic offcuts to make toys for animal enrichment at Werribee Open Range Zoo; and providing decking, bollards and outdoor furniture at Buchan Caves.
Recycled plastics manufacturers also provide plastic bollards, fencing, benches and pavement in Boroondara, Maribyrnong, Wyndham, Bass Coast, Manningham, Yarra Ranges and Frankston council areas.
Metal is one of the most recycled materials in Australia, with 90 per cent of all metals turned into new products - this includes construction materials as well as vehicles.
Car brands like Ford, Audi, BMW and Jaguar have all used recycled aluminium in some of their latest models.
BMW even presented a concept vehicle, the i Vision Circular, at the 2021 International Mobility Show that is made almost entirely from recycled materials. When the car reaches the end of its life, it can then be broken down and recycled again.
Other car makers are using recycled plastics in their vehicles. The Kia EV6 uses recycled PET plastic bottles in its floor and door panels, as does the Volvo XC40 Pure Electric in its carpet.
Repurposing food and garden waste
According to the Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group, organic waste like kitchen scraps and garden trimmings makes up 42 per cent of waste going to landfill.
Along with increasing population density, the uptake in apartment living has resulted in more people unable to compost their own organic waste in their own backyards.
To prevent this waste going to landfill, Victorians are soon getting a green-lidded kerbside bin to recycle their organic waste.
Like food and garden scraps that go into home compost bins, organic waste is sent to facilities that turn the refuse into compost and mulch that can used by farmers or sold to wholesale and retail outlets.
This means the produce you buy, or the plants in one of Victoria’s best parks and picnic spots could’ve been grown using composted household waste.