Polystyrene recycling efforts soaring on the Fraser Coast

LOCALS who recycled polystyrene over the past financial year can give themselves a big pat on the back.

Fraser Coast Councillor David Lee shows off one of the bricks produced by Council’s polystyrene recycling machine. The bricks are resold and can be made into products like picture frames and boards. PHOTO: Supplied.

The amount of polystyrene recycled on the Fraser Coast more than doubled in 2021/22 compared to the previous period.

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An impressive 21 tonnes of polystyrene was diverted away from landfill in the previous financial year – up from 10 tonnes in 2020/21.

Division 9 Councillor David Lee said the performance was something worth celebrating during National Recycling Week (7-13 November).


Cr Lee said the more polystyrene that can be kept out of the Saltwater Creek Landfill, the longer it can operate.

Polystyrene can be taken to the recycling shed at the Nikenbah Transfer Station as well as the Maryborough landfill and should not be placed in the yellow recycling bins collected from in front of your house.

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The collected polystyrene is then fed into a machine that shreds and melts it – producing a sausage-like product that is moulded into bricks.

“The bricks are sold and the material is used to create other products such as picture frames and boards,” Cr Lee said.

“Everything that can be recycled helps us cut our carbon footprint and is good for the environment.”

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In the past financial year, more than 100,000 tonnes of material was recycled.

That includes: 

  • 35,300 tonnes of green waste (converted to mulch);
  • 33,500 tonne of clean fill;
  • 11,000 tonnes of mixed paper, cardboard, glass, steel cans, hard plastic and aluminium cans;
  • 4,500 tonnes of concrete (crushed to recover steel and used as fill on building sites); 
  • 65 tonnes of plaster board; 
  • 32 tonnes of tyres, and; 
  • 21 tonnes of polystyrene.

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Some 600 tonnes found its way through the Nikenbah and Maryborough tip shops for reuse or repurposing.

“If items are not in re-sellable condition, we salvage whatever we can at our recycling shed before disposing the rest to landfill,” Cr Lee said.

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 At the same time 11,000 tonnes of material collected from the kerbside recycling bins each year was processed through the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) in the Nikenbah industrial estate.

“While a lot of things can be recycled, not all of them can go in the recycling bin; some, like paints and oils, broken electrical items and polystyrene packaging, should be taken to a transfer station or landfill site,” Cr Lee said.

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“Most of the items that can be recycled can be disposed of for free at the Council transfer stations and landfill.

“There is a charge to dispose of fridges, freezes and air conditioners to cover the cost of degassing and processing the refrigerant.

“There is also a cost for tyres to cover the cost of shipping them to a processing plant near Brisbane.

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“But other items such as steel, green waste up to 1 tonne and paper are accepted for free.

“If you sort your load before heading to the landfill or transfer station, it is easy and quick to unload the reusable and recyclable items and green waste so it does not end up in landfill.”

CLICK HERE to find out more about recycling and to download an A-Z Recycling Guide.  

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