A walk through the Recycling Shed

If you read the last post on Meeka Goes Green you know that a lot of work has gone into making recycling happen in Meekatharra. You may however be wondering what the project actually looks like, especially if you don’t live in Meeka and can’t just pop in to check it out.

So Saturday when I was at the Recycling Centre I took a few photos. I found that, when we were in the planning stages, it was very very helpful to see other recycling centres just to see that it is possible and what a general layout could look like. It was so helpful because I myself and I think all of the other members had never set up a recycling centre and therefore we had no clear vision of what we were working towards. Maybe this might come in handy for people out there who are also thinking about setting up a recycling centre in their community but just don’t know where to start.

Have a peek:

Our sign designed by our member Katie

Our sign designed by our member Katie

Our collection cages fabricated by the Yulella Aboriginal Corporation

Our collection cages fabricated by Yulella Aboriginal Corporation

The little trolleys that help us shift materials from the collection cages to the crusher

The little trolleys that help us shift materials from the collection cages to the crusher

A working bench (foldout table) where we cut big boxes into manageable pieces

A working bench (foldout table) where we cut big boxes into manageable pieces

The Beast that crushes everything into blocks. $11k worth of machinery bought with a Waste Authority grant

The Beast that crushes everything into blocks. $11k worth of machinery bought with a Waste Authority grant

We put shredded paper in boxes and then add those boxes to our cardboard bales

We put shredded paper in boxes and then add those boxes to our cardboard bales

A neat way of managing shredded paper

A neat way of managing shredded paper

The finished product - blocks of crushed cans, cardboard and plastics

The finished product – blocks of crushed cans, cardboard and plastics

The rainwater tank that will supply our garden beds

The rainwater tank that will supply our garden beds

Just waiting to be filled and planted

Just waiting to be filled and planted

What can we do with all our bottle tops? Any ideas? Post in the comments.

What can we do with all our bottle tops? Any ideas? Post in the comments.

There is a small percentage that we do have to put into landfill because we can't recycle it (yet) like styrofoam and glass bottles

There is a small percentage that we do have to put into landfill because we can’t recycle it (yet) like styrofoam and glass bottles

This sheet is handy when unsure of the plastic grade

Some boxes are just too good to recycle, like these removalist boxes. Anyone moving who needs boxes? Post in the comments.

Some boxes are just too good to recycle, like these removalist boxes. Anyone moving who needs boxes? Post in the comments.

We get looooots of bags of shredded paper from local offices. If anyone wants some for their garden or compost - post in the comments!

We get looooots of bags of shredded paper from local offices. If anyone wants some for their garden or compost – post in the comments!

Sometimes we end up with some goodies that are too good to throw out. Anyone want some used but good files?

Sometimes we end up with some goodies that are too good to throw out. Anyone want some used but good files?

Our motivational Recycling Posters

Our motivational Recycling Posters

It sure does.

It sure does.

It's wonderful to actually be able to do what the cardboard bx asks - please recycle. Okay!

It’s wonderful to actually be able to do what the cardboard bx asks – please recycle. Okay!

The setup is really simple. It’s a 9x6m secondhand shed (donated by WA Country Health Services. Thank you!) and as you can see we don’t even have a concrete floor. The workflow is straight forward:

  • People drop off their materials into the cages (sorted by material: aluminium, paper/cardboard, plastics)
  • Us volunteers look at which materials need doing (i.e. which cage is nearly full)
  • We put the materials in the trolley/wheelbarrow
  • We wheel it inside
  • We process it (e.g. cut cardboard boxes into manageable pieces, take caps of bottles, drain fluids out of cans)
  • We chuck the materials in the crusher
  • We press the button and watch and listen to it being crushed (it’s fantastic!)
  • We repeat above steps until the baler is full
  • We tie the bale and take it out  of the machine
  • We store the finished bales on pallets outside
  • When the yard is getting too full with pallets we organise a pickup
  • The local Toll agent Ronnie (you’re my hero) picks it up and puts it on the truck (free freight thanks to Ruggies Recycling)
  • It goes to Perth to Canningvale and gets processed at Remondis
  • Thanks to Ruggies Recycling 50% of the revenue goes towards the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation (a childrens’ hospital) and 50% flow back into our project.

The set up is so simple (so simple any town could do it) and yet it is very effective and is just ‘good’ on all levels: we keep materials out of landfill, we donate money to a kids’ hospital and we build community.

Keen to know how much we’ve recycled so far? And how much money we’ve raised for the hospital? More on that in another post.

2 Responses to “A walk through the Recycling Shed

  • Caroline
    3 years ago

    Hi. You have done a fantastic job. I’m in Geraldton and interested in this idea. How did you get the grant?

    • Outback Greenie
      3 years ago

      Thank you for your post, Caroline!
      Check out the Waste Authority (we scored an $18k grant through this!)
      Being in Geraldton you would also qualify for the Midwest Development Commission grants, check it out here.
      Keep Australia Beautiful also sometimes have grants available, there’s one going at the moment here

      These websites give you all the details – who’s eligible to apply, what is the funding for, when do you need to apply by etc.

      Often you need to be part of an incorporated association/group/business in order to apply. When we got the big grant Meeka Goes Green actually wasn’t an incorporated association yet. So we approached the local Community Resource Centre and we applied together with them, in their name. Something similar might be something to explore if you aren’t (yet) part of any kind of group.

      I’m so glad you’re interested in getting something going in Gero – I find it so hard to believe that a city that size doesn’t have proper recycling! No excuses there! 🙂 Good on ya, Caroline!

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