Councillor David Lee with the new polystyrene melting machine in action.
Councillor David Lee with the new polystyrene melting machine in action.

When life gives you polystyrene, make bricks

AN INNOVATIVE way of keeping polystyrene out of landfill has arrived at Fraser Coast tips.

Councillor David Lee said the council bought a machine that melted polystyrene into bricks so it did not go into landfill.

"The machine has four main benefits - it diverts polystyrene from landfill which saves space in the landfill; creates a product that can be reused to make other products; cuts the cost for residents to dispose of rubbish and saves the council money," Cr Lee said.

"While polystyrene does not weigh a lot, it takes up a lot of space in landfill. The more we can divert from landfill the longer our landfill sites will last.

"The bricks can be further processed to produce a range of products such as composite decking, picture frames and skirting boards."

The council has also made it free for residents to take up to one cubic metre of polystyrene packaging to the dump.

Cr Lee said the council did not expect to make money from the bricks but they would cover the cost of the melting machine.

"The savings for residents are great news. Previously you would have paid to dispose of polystyrene," he said.

Councillor David Lee with the new polystyrene melting machine in action.
Councillor David Lee with the new polystyrene melting machine in action.

"If you turned up with the packing from a new TV or washing machine there was no charge for the cardboard and plastic strapping, but you would have paid $5 (the minimum fee) to get rid of the polystyrene packaging.

"Now it is free for residents to drop off up to one cubic metre (a standard trailer load) of clean polystyrene.

"Loads larger than one cubic metre will cost $5 per metre cubic metre."

The cost of transporting the material from Maryborough to Hervey Bay has also been covered.

"There is really no cost to transport the material from Maryborough to Hervey Bay as we use it as backload in the empty trucks that are returning to Nikenbah after unloading at the Saltwater Creek Landfill," Cr Lee said.

The machine uses two processes to convert polystyrene into high density bricks.

A series of blades cuts the product into small pieces to be fed into the melter which then put out a "sausage" of soft material into the brick mould.

The process reduces the volume of polystyrene by 90 per cent.

Clean polystyrene products can be taken to the recycling shed at the Nikenbah and Maryborough waste facilities.

The council eventually hopes to be able to collect polystyrene at all its tips.



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