Cherbourg recycling facility manager Andrew Beckett … processing time at the Container Refund Point has been slashed

August 8, 2019

Waiting times at Cherbourg’s Containers For Change Container Refund Point have been slashed following the installation this week of a new counting machine at the facility.

Manager Andrew Beckett said large loads of cans and bottles which used to take up to two hours to process, now took just 30 minutes.

The bright orange machine, imported from Canada, was purchased with a $41,000 donation raised at Stanwell’s 2018 bowls day in Brisbane.

Every year, the organisers of the bowls day select a different project to support.

In 2018, Cherbourg Material Recycling was selected as the recipient, based on Andrew’s submissions.

The counting machine arrived at Cherbourg late last week and was put into action on Monday.

Pre-sorted PET and HDPE bottles and aluminium cans are placed separately into the main hopper and then get counted automatically as they run through the machine.

The key word here is “pre-sorted”.

Andrew said people bringing their containers for refunds should do a little bit of work first:

  • Remove all lids
  • Put aluminium cans, PET plastic bottles, HDPE bottles and glass bottles in separate bags
  • Don’t squash the cans
  • Don’t squash the bottles

And, please, don’t dig up old cans and bottles from the backyard which are covered in dirt and grime. Recyclables can only be sold if they’re clean. “Dirty” loads are one of the reasons why countries such as China have started to reject Australian recycling exports.

The new counting machine is saving time at the Container Refund Point, but it has not cut down on jobs.

In fact, it has increased efficiency at the nearby recycling plant.

Andrew explained that in the past when big loads came into the Container Refund Point, he would have to pull in workers from the recycling plant to help out with the counting.

“We don’t have to do that any more,” he said.

There are now three streams of recycling happening at the Cherbourg facility:

  • The Cherbourg Material Recovery Facility (MRF) deals with kerbside recycling collected in Cherbourg and recycling brought in by Cleanaway from Gympie Regional Council.
  • The Container Refund Point exchanges eligible bottles and cans for a 10c refund as part of the State Government’s Containers For Change scheme.
  • The MRF is the regional processor for other container refund point depots

The sorted items are then bailed and offered for auction.

Cherbourg prides itself on offering quality bales which is why cleanliness is so important.

The combined Cherbourg facility now employs 15 people in total and handles about 16 tonnes of recyclables a week.

Work is due to start on the Stage 4 expansion of the facility on August 13.

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The Container Refund Point is open from 8:00am to 4:00pm, Monday to Friday (but is closed each day from noon-1:00pm).

Andrew Beckett with Container Refund Point workers Celeste Purcell, Trevor Blair and Raymond Skinner
Andrew with the business end of the new machine … the bottles and cans are counted automatically as they pop out

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