The Shire of Esperance Recycling Program prides itself on having a comprehensive recycling schedule. The acceptance of Plastics graded 1-6 has been on the schedule since 2006. Grades 1-6 include products like water, cool drink and milk bottles and also things like napisan containers, laundry and bathroom cleaning bottles, shampoo & conditioner bottles, strawberry punnet containers, laundry powder scoops, sauce bottles, rice bottles, margarine, ice-cream and yoghurt containers, egg containers, plastic bags & even plant pots.
Polystyrene or foam is not currently in the Shire's recycling schedule (even though some polystyrene has a grade 6), Polystyrene is a difficult product to transport – the weight of the product means that it is very expensive to transport as you are paying for space on a truck as well as weight. If the product can be compressed it becomes more viable, however the machinery to do this comes at a cost. A commercial compactor retails for around $100,000.
The Shire has been purchasing machinery to improve recycling capabilities over time, for example the recent purchase of a glass crusher. If it becomes viable to recycle polystyrene locally, we will advertise the change.
Recycling staff continually explore the recycling markets so that we can bale and recycle as much product as possible in order to divert it from landfill. From time to time markets are unavailable; however we regularly stockpile items until markets start up again.
The main message to remember when recycling items is to keep them clean and loose – we really only consider something contamination if it is dirty or the material is of an offensive nature. Everything is hand sorted so spare a thought for the staff sorting through your recycling.