What happens with yellow bin materials?

Once collected from the kerbside, your yellow bin materials are taken to a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF), where they are recovered and sorted into secondary raw materials so they can be recycled into new products.

The MRF sorting process has 8 steps:

1. Pre-sort room

In the pre-sort room, MRF sorters manually remove as many contaminants as possible. Contaminants can include textiles, nappies, crockery, batteries, gas bottles and other items that are non-recyclable.
Large pieces of cardboard are also separated and moved onto conveyors to bypass the sorting equipment, helping it to work more efficiently. At the end of the sorting process, these large cardboard pieces are combined back with other cardboard products.

2. Trommel

From the pre-sort room, materials are moved into the trommel – a large cylinder that is lined with holes of 2 different sizes and rotates the materials around, separating containers (like glass bottles, steel cans, aluminium cans and rigid plastics) from paper.
The separated containers then travel over bounce conveyors, which separates any residual paper from the stream.

3. Container Sorting Room

The separated containers then move on to the container sorting room, where different types of plastics and glass are separated into different holding bunkers, ready for a quality check by the MRF sorters.

4. Screening and quality check

The sorted plastic and glass container products are screened, quality checked and bulked up ready for transport to end markets to be recycled back into products.

5. Electro magnet

An electro magnet is then used to remove steel cans, which are transferred to a steel baler and baled ready for transport to downstream processors to be made back into steel products.

6. Eddy current

Next, an eddy current removes any aluminium products (such as drink cans, deodorant cans, aluminium trays and foil), and these are and blown into cages ready for a secondary sort into beer cans, soft drink cans and other aluminium products.

7. Ballistic separators

Back to the paper stream, ballistic separators clean up the stream by separating any residual containers, glass, dirt, bottle tops and organics. From there, the paper is transferred to the quality sort paper room.

8. Quality sort paper room

In the quality sort paper room, MRF sorters remove any contamination left in the paper and cardboard stream so it can be baled ready for transport and recycling back into paper and cardboard products.

To learn more about this process, check out this video from NAWMA: