Australia's domestic recycling system
The current process for most recycling of domestic waste in Australia is managed by local councils, and often carried out under contract by waste management businesses that pick up comingled recycling bins from residential addresses on a fortnightly basis. Residents are expected to sort and clean a number of classes of material, such as hard plastic, hlass bottles, aluminium, steel, and paper and cardboard, to varying degrees, depending on the particular arrangement in their jurisdiction, before placing these materials in separate wheelie bin. A number of council areas have restrictions on recyclable materials with food contamination, and various kinds of plastic, in particular expanded polystyrene. Many councils also have optional green bins for garden waste, and/or kitchen scraps, and some councils have begun using a separate glass recycling bin to help reduce contamination.
The contents of these recycling bins are collected by specialised garbage trucks, usually with robotic arms. The trucks compact the materials as they move through each neighbourhood, as a decent proportion of recyclable materials such as plastic bottles are large in volume and light in weight. They typically then deposit the recyclables to a primary facility where bailing and often further compacting is done prior to transport on larger trucks to secondary sorting facilities. The secondary facilities have historically, often been offshore, however since the recent recycling crisis, more have been established onshore. These facilities separate and sort materials into their various streams; such as plastics, glass, metals and, contaminants, using a combination of manual labour and automated systems. After this, each material is processed in specialised equipment, sometimes on site, or at a tertiary facility.
Items not accepted by the kerbside portion of the domestic recycling system are either collected during hard rubbish events, or are expected to be taken to a variety of different dedicated collection depots such as Council waste transfer stations, Redcycle bins at supermarkets, or E-waste collection points at post offices, and other businesses.
Statement about draft
This article is presented as a very early draft. The intention for this article is that it describes an overview of the processes for recycling via the government organised systems for domestic recyclables. As there's significant variation in practices depending on the jurisdiction, and a large amount of detail required, this article may take some time to draft. The primary focus of this article will be on the kerbside systems, but the headings below should give an indication of the intended scope of the article.