Creating a circular economy for plastics in Geelong

Thursday, 14 April 2022

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Outdoor furniture, garden pots, worm farms and roadside bollards are just some of the products being created from recycled plastic, with every stage of the recycling process happening right here in Victoria.

It all starts at Moolap-based GT Recycling, where broken wheelie bins, car bumpers, kids' swimming pools, washing baskets, garden pots and other end-of-life items made from plastic types PP, LDPE and HDPE are processed into a pellet form and on sold to Victorian manufacturers.

The manufacturers then use the pellets as a virgin material substitute, which is melted down to create a range of new products.

How is plastic recycled at GT Recycling?

Plastic waste is loaded onto a conveyor belt and fed into a shredder, which reduces the size of the material down to fist size pieces. It then goes through a granulation process, further reducing the plastic to fingernail size pieces, followed by a decontamination process to remove dirt and other non-plastic waste.

After this, the material is fed into an extruder that melts the material and produces the finished raw material in small pellet form, which is bagged and ready for dispatch.

“When something like a wheelie bin is delivered to the recycling facility, it could be recycled and transformed into a new wheelie bin within a week,” said GT Recycling Business Development Manager Brett McLean.

The majority of plastic processed by GT Recycling is factory waste from local businesses, however items like household plant pots, buckets, storage containers, kids’ hard plastic swimming pools and washing baskets dropped off at the City’s Drysdale and North Geelong Resource Recovery Centres are sent to GT for recycling. 

What other plastics can I recycle?

Many hard plastics that cannot be put in your recycling bin can be dropped off at Geelong Resource Recovery Centre at 100 Douro Street. These include most objects made completely of plastic: chairs, kid's swimming pools and toys, plant pots and more. See the full list.

CDs and DVDs including their cases can also be recycled. These can be dropped off at libraries and customer service centres.

Creating a circular economy for plastic waste in Geelong

Brett said the recycled plastic pellets replaced the need for manufacturers to draw on virgin material, much of which is imported. 

“Everything we produce in Geelong is used by Victorian manufacturers and the new product can be recycled over and over again. A lot of stuff that reaches end-of-life from Bunnings, for example, comes back here and turns into new products sold in Bunnings, so it’s a real loop.”

“We currently recycles thousands of tonnes of waste plastics per annum, which will increase once the plastic waste export ban comes into place mid-year, at which time our processing capacity will double,” he said.

Supporting a local recycling industry

A local company employing 30 people, GT Recycling is looking forward to expanding and recycling more here in Geelong.

It will soon start onsite recycling of softer industrial plastics, such as pallet wraps and retail packaging (made from LDPE), which will be made into products like garbage bags, irrigation pipe and slip sheets that can be used as an alternative to timber pallets.

Page last updated: Thursday, 14 April 2022