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Community

21 May, 2021

Cairns doubles its recycling and recovery capacity

The city’s recycling and recovery capacity has doubled with the commissioning of a new state-of-the-art Materials Recovery Facility (MRF).


Council Resource Recovery Precinct leading hand Maru Saitu (left) showing Cairns Mayor Bob Manning (centre) and Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development Steven Miles around the new Materials Recovery Facility.

The $14.3 million facility was officially opened today and includes a new shed, glass-sorting and processing plant that can manage up to 30,000 tonnes of recycling each year, and an education room.

Cairns Mayor Bob Manning said this project reaffirmed Council’s commitment to reducing waste and keeping materials out of landfill.

“There are significant environmental and economic benefits that come from the completion of this project,” Cr Manning said.

“These upgrades will not only allow us to significantly increase the recovery rate of recyclables, but also reduce the amount of waste needing to go to landfill.

“We envision all glass processed through the MRF to be used locally, building a circular economy and avoiding the need to transport more than 5000 tonnes of glass each year to South-East Queensland.


“Improved technology, combined with additional staffing, will also achieve high quality recovered cardboard, plastics, steel and aluminium.”

Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development Steven Miles said the Queensland Government had invested $3 million into the project.

“Construction of the facility supported vital jobs, contributing to the Far North’s economic recovery,” Mr Miles said.

“The improved Cairns MRF will help lessen the region’s environmental footprint and lower the cost of recycling for the Far North.

“This is a smart, circular approach that will raise the quality of recycling in our state and give us better access to relevant global export markets.”


The facility’s new education room – the Rediscovery Centre – offers a bird’s-eye view of the processing plant, which is complemented by the use of cameras inside the machinery to see up-close how the facility works.

Schools and community groups can take guided tours of Council’s waste and recovery facilities, which includes a behind the scenes look at each step of the recycling sorting process.

Since opening in February, more than 400 children, students and community group members have visited the Rediscovery Centre as part of Council’s Resource Recovery Education Program.

“If we want to change household habits, the best place to start is through education, and particularly by arming younger members of the family with correct information on recycling practices,” Cr Manning said.

“This new Materials Recovery Facility can divert up to 85 per cent of items from landfill, but we need residents to also do their bit, and that means getting the right items in the correct bin.”


The Queensland Government provided $3 million to the project through the Building our Regions (BoR) program and $11.3 million from the Cairns Regional Council.

Five Cairns-based projects have been supported by the BoR program, including $3 million under BoR Round 5 towards the $28 million upgrades to the Cairns Esplanade.


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