Council leads the way on recycling message


Published: 08 November 2019. (Note: information was correct at date of publication but may have since been changed or superseded.)

Cairns Recycling Week activities

  • Council Waste Education Stall at Cairns Central (outside Coles)
    Monday 11 November from 9am-11am.
  • Waste Street renaming
    Tuesday 12 November from 10am-11am
  • Community Waste and Recycling Tour
    Wednesday 13 November. Two tours, 9am and 12.30am
  • Cairns Buy It Back Day – Cairns Regional Council
    Saturday 16 November from 9am-1pm.

Almost 58,000 tonnes of refuse was diverted from landfill by Cairns Regional Council in the 2018/19 financial year.

That accounted for more than 60 per cent of city’s total refuse and underlines Council’s focus on waste reduction and recycling.

Recycling Week officially kicks off on Monday (11 November), with a number of activities planned for Cairns, culminating with National Buy It Back Day at Council’s Buy Back Shop on Saturday 16 November.

However, a week was not long enough to spread the “Reduce Waste and Recycle” message, so Council started its campaign this week with educational workshops at local shopping centres.

Last financial year, Council diverted almost 58,000 tonnes of waste from landfill, and with construction to start in 2020 on a new multi-million Material Recovery Facility, there is more in the pipeline.

The new MRF will be capable of processing up to 25,000 tonnes per annum (15 tonnes per hour) and service Cairns and the broader Far North Queensland region for the next 10 to 15 years.

Expected to be complete by the end of 2020, the new facility will divert up to 85 per cent of waste from landfill.

Already this financial year, Council has diverted thousands of tonnes of refuse from landfill through improved resource recovery procedures.

More than 7,500 tonnes of concrete has already been diverted from landfill and crushed for repurposing since June as part of Cairns Regional Council recycling endeavours.

An upgrade to the Smithfield Transfer Station’s concrete demolition disposal area to allow for easier access, improved safety and lower maintenance has significantly increased recycling of clean concrete.

Since June, 400 tonnes of concrete was deposited at the Smithfield, adding to the 600 tonnes at Portsmith and a further 6,500 tonnes of Council demolition concrete.

The concrete is crushed and screened into two products – a fine sand and 40mm rocks – which Council can then reuse as base for future works.

Cairns Mayor Bob Manning said everyone had a part to play in reducing the amount of waste ending up in landfill.

“What we’d really like is for residents to think twice about everything they throw out – can it be recycled, reused or composted?” Cr Manning said.

“By considering the potential for waste before making a purchase, we can all take steps to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill or requiring processing.”

During National Recycling Week, Council is asking residents to take a few minutes to review their recycling behaviours.

“If residents are unsure of what should go in their recycling bin, they can visit the Recycle Right webpage to check,” Cr Manning said.

“There’s a list of common household items and which bin they go in and a search feature if you can’t find the item you’re looking for. It also tells you what happens to those items after they get collected.”

The Recycling Right page is at (note: no www.).

Cairns Regional Council diverted more than 60% or almost 58,000 tonnes of refuse from landfill in the 2018/19 financial year, well above the State 2017/2018 average of 45%.
Key totals include:

  • Alternate Waste Treatment Facility (Bedminster): 26,000
  • Green waste: 19,000 tonnes
  • Material Recovery Facility: 6,500 tonnes
  • Scrap metal: 3700 tonnes
  • Non-ferrous metal (copper, stainless steel, aluminium etc): 100 tonnes
  • Construction and demolition: 1260 tonnes
  • Buy Back Shop: 895 tonnes
  • Ewaste (TVs and computers): 150 tonnes
  • Lead acid (vehicle) batteries: 100 tonnes
  • Household batteries: 5 tonnes
Last updated: 18 June 2020