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The Canberra Times
The Canberra Times
Olivia Ireland

Recycling material being diverted to Western Sydney

The Materials Recovery Facility at Hume after the fire. Picture by Sitthixay Ditthavong

Canberra's recycling material is being diverted to a facility in Western Sydney following the fire at Hume Material Recovery Facility.

ACT Minister for Transport and City Services Chris Steel confirmed the recycled material which has been temporarily stored at the Mugga Lane Resource Management Centre has begun being transported to a recycling facility in Western Sydney.

"For ACT residents it is business as usual, and households should continue to use their yellow-lidded recycle bin, the container deposit scheme and the recycling drop-off centres," he said.

This follows the major fire that broke out at the Hume facility on Boxing Day which was expected to smoulder for days.

The facility became unusable, which Mr Steel acknowledged was "a significant setback" for recycling in the ACT.

At this stage, approximately 36 tonnes of material a day has been transported to Sydney, while Mr Steel said they were "hoping to increase the tonnage as more trucks become available".

"There is limited capacity at the recycling facility, and options for other facilities in the Sydney region are being explored by MRF operator Re.Group," he said.

Clean up will likely continue at the Hume facility and is expected to be completed in coming weeks subject to the final structural engineers reports.

The ACT government is also working with insurers and operators to minimise ongoing costs associated with the disruption to business activities.

"The MRF was covered by insurance for asset loss and business disruption," Mr Steel said.

While most of the Hume facility was destroyed by the fire, the outside baling and storage areas were not affected.

Glass containers returned through the ACT container deposit scheme have been stored onsite, while longer-term arrangements are being put in place.

"In the medium-term it is likely the MRF site, once made safe, will be operational in some capacity," Mr Steel said.

"At a minimum the site could be used as a transfer station to other recycling facilities while work continues on the development of a new MRF for the ACT, previously announced in August 2022.

"The government had already decided to fund a brand new modern MRF to ensure that the ACT has modern recycling infrastructure. Work has begun to examine options to expedite the building of this new facility."

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