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Response to 60 Minutes story about recycling plastic waste

Published on 15 April 2019

City of Ryde would like to clarify Council’s current recycling program following a 60 Minutes episode about recycling plastic waste that aired on 14 April 2019.

City of Ryde’s recycling contractor is Visy, which specialises in sorting, processing and onshore recycling of cardboard, plastic and aluminium.

Material from City of Ryde yellow-lidded recycling bins is taken to a Visy Material Recovery Facility in Sydney, where this is sorted and processed into recycled materials such as new paper, plastic bottles, cans and foil and steel products, among others. Other materials are processed and sold to commodity markets.

Council’s preference is to always process recyclables onshore, however, there are various challenges within the recycling industry, including limited onshore processing options in NSW, and the recycling contractor ultimately determines whether recycling material is sold on the commodities market.

Every individual has a part to play in reducing waste and Council encourages residents to avoid excess packaging, reduce their use of single use plastics and reuse household material where possible. Council makes every effort to ensure that residents recycle right in Ryde and do not contaminate recycling bins with non-recyclable items such as soft plastics, garden hoses, clothes and kitchen items.

City of Ryde runs regular tours of the Visy Materials Recycling Facility at Smithfield to educate residents about where recycling goes after it has been collected. More information can be found here.

Seven Steps of Sorting at a Visy Material Recovery Facility

Find out more about how recycled materials are sorted in the diagram below.

Seven steps of sorting at a Visy material recovery facility


Waste hierarchy 

View the waste hierarchy below, in order of preference:

  1. Avoid and reduce
  2. Reuse
  3. Recycle
  4. Recover energy
  5. Treat 
  6. Dispose.
Last updated on 15 April 2019