Chemical recycling process

After a chemical drop off day, chemicals are sorted into 42 different types. Lead acid batteries (car and truck), gas cylinders and old fuel and hydrocarbons make up the majority of the waste collected. 

The remainder consists of small volumes of items such as cleaning products and pesticides.

The chemicals are placed in sealed containers and are then taken (by a licensed transporter) to a specialist waste treatment facility for final treatment. 

Every effort is made to re-use chemicals or to recycle them. As a last resort, a small amount of chemicals are stored in secure landfills, in line with the Environment Protection Authority requirements.

Item Treatment
Acids Acids are made neutral using alkali waste and are disposed of at a specialist waste facility.
Aerosols The aerosols are crushed under controlled conditions, allowing the propellants to be filtered and any chemical wastes to be captured for further treatment.
The metal containers are then recycled.
Alkali based products Alkalis are made neutral using acid waste and are disposed of at a specialist waste facility.
All types of paints Paints are mixed with other waste solvents and used as an alternative fuel in cement kilns.
Arsenic based products Arsenic material is stabilised, made inactive and enclosed in a cement based material.
This is then disposed of in a licensed landfill.
Automotive products
(oils, grease, coolants)
Oils are recycled into base oils or are used to make fuel oils.
Batteries – lead acid Lead acid batteries are sent to recyclers where the lead and acid are recovered and recycled.
Batteries – nickel cadmium and
nickel hydride
These batteries are collected, sorted and shipped to processing facilities in France, Korea and Singapore. These facilities are amongst the world's specialist metal recovery companies. A large amount of cadmium and nickel is recovered for use as raw materials by the metal industry.
Batteries – normal single use The batteries are collected and shipped to a central location for sorting. The sorted batteries are sent to an Australian processing facility for recovery of all metals including zinc and silver.
Cyanide Cyanides are chemically broken down into inert bi-products.
Fire extinguishers - non halon Steel is recycled from fire extinguishers. Gases and products captured and reused or disposed of in licensed waste services.
Fluorescent tubes Fluorescent lamps and tubes contain mercury.
The items are recycled with full metal recovery, reuse of the glass and recovery of the mercury and phosphor powder.
Gas cylinders Any remaining gas is recovered from the cylinders and the steel is sent for recycling.
General household chemicals
(for example: cleaners)
Chemicals are treated and then disposed of via a permitted trade waste line or landfill.
Halogenated solvents These wastes are mixed with other waste solvents and used as an alternative fuel.
Heavy metals Heavy metals are stabilised, made inactive and enclosed in a cement based material. This is then disposed of in a licensed landfill.
Low level radioactive items
(for example: smoke detectors)
The materials are disposed of in an appropriately licensed landfill.
Old fuel and hydrocarbons These wastes are mixed with other waste solvents and used as an alternative fuel in cement kilns.
Organochlorine pesticides, PCB materials and halon fire extinguishers These materials are collected and shipped to a specialist treatment facility in Australia. Treatment is via either ase Catalysed Dechlorination, allowing for recovery/re-use, or High Temperature Plasma Arc where temperatures exceed 3,000°C, breaking down the waste into atoms and ions totally eliminating the contaminant. Containers are recycled where feasible.
Pesticides - non organochlorine Pesticides are flammable and are treated to remove toxic agents. After treatment they are collected, emptied from containers and used as a fuel in industrial burners such as cement kilns.
Pharmaceuticals Pharmaceuticals are destroyed at high temperatures and disposed of by a licensed waste service.
Photographic chemicals Chemicals are treated to a high standard and then disposed of via a permitted trade waste line.
Reactive substances
(for example: oxidising agents and peroxides)
Reactive substances are chemically treated to stabilise them and make them inactive. They are then recycled for use in industry or disposed of by a licensed waste service.
Toxics
(for example: Strychnine and other poisons)
A combination of incineration, chemical treatment and fuel blending is used to safely manage the broad list of items within this category.




Page last updated: Friday, 23 August 2019

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