A Boral spokesperson confirmed the company was preparing a development application to expand operations at its 12-year-old resource recovery business in Newcastle, New South Wales.
The business operates a facility in the industrial precinct of Kooragang Island that accepts construction and demolition (C&D) materials and recovers recyclable components for use in new building materials.
“[The proposed expansion is] a reflection of the increasing market use of recycled building materials in projects throughout the Hunter [region],” the spokesperson explained, adding that the project would be classified as being of state significance.
Although the spokesperson declined to confirm further details of the expansion, ABC News reported that Boral was proposing to increase waste production from the current approved rate of 100,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) to 350,000 tpa and to expand its stockpile area and height.
A history of recycling
The origin of Boral’s NSW recycling business dates back to the 1970s when the former Newcastle-based business BHP Steelworks was processing blast furnace slag for use as road construction material.
When the steelworks closed in the early 1980s, Boral made up for the loss of slag with C&D base, which was processed in an industrial precinct now known as Steel River. In 2006, Boral relocated this operation to Kooragang, and in the late 1990s, the company opened a similar C&D operation at Wetherill Park in Sydney. Boral later partnered with civil and demolition contractor Delta Group and today recycles C&D waste at six locations across Australia.
The company produces a range of recycled products – from specified and unspecified road base to aggregates of varying sizes to manufactured sand – and its NSW operation has contributed to port and coal-related infrastructure as well as various road base projects across Newcastle.
According to the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA), approximately 75 per cent of the state’s C&D waste is diverted from landfill through on-site reuse or through resale and reprocessing.
“By diverting household building waste from landfill, it is possible to avoid the negative environmental impacts associated with landfill and the waste of valuable materials,” the EPA website states.
“Recycling household building waste reduces material extraction, which protects air quality, and reduces water pollution, energy use and habitat loss. Reusing and recycling recovered materials also generates fewer greenhouse gases than the manufacture of building products from new materials,” the website adds.