The concept of recycling is not new to the Plastics Industry. The common plastics used for pipe production like PVC and PE are thermoplastics and readily reprocessed. Scrap generated during manufacture is reground and fed back into the manufacturing process. The industry is also now recycling post consumer waste where pipe is collected from the waste stream and recycled back into pipe products.
Plastics pipes are long life products with an expected life span in excess 100 years so the amount entering the waste stream is relatively small as the products are largely still in their first life cycle. Studies have shown that fabrication and installation processes generate relatively small quantities of scrap and demolition sites provide used material that can be recycled back into primarily non-pressure pipe and conduit applications. In the case of pipes there is already an established range of pipe products that can use recyclate. Future increases in recyclate volumes will be readily accommodated by the demand from these recyclate friendly products.
PIPA Plastics Pipe Recycling Program
PIPA has arranged recycling of waste PVC and Polyethylene pipes in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane with established plastics recyclers. The waste pipes are converted into feedstock suitable for manufacture of new plastics pipes.
To recycle waste plastics pipes and pipe scrap contact the following recyclers:
In Melbourne to recycle PVC and Polyethylene pipes contact:
NWC Nationwide Connect Pty Ltd
5 Gipps Court EPPING VIC 3076
Tel: 03 9408 4414
Mobile: 0400 565 356
In Brisbane to recycle PVC and Polyethylene pipes contact:
37 Matheson St VIRGINIA QLD 4014
Tel: 07 3865 7199
Mobile: 0427 527 490
Tel: 07 3879 4409 or
In 2005 PIPA Board committed to recycling of post consumer plastics pipes and received support from all PIPA members manufacturing plastics pipe. The Board authorized a trial for the recovery of plastics pipes from construction and demolition waste. Collex-Benedict conducted the collection trial at their waste recovery facility at Banksmeadow in Sydney and Iplex at Chipping Norton sorted and processed the pipe.
Similar trials followed in Melbourne and Brisbane and in 2007 plastics pipes recycling from demolition and construction waste established. Initially the projects concentrated on PVC pipes which were cleaned, granulated, micronised and used in the manufacture of foam core pipes and conduits for non-pressure applications. Most of the HDPE pipes are sourced from rural and agricultural applications where dedicated collectors ship the product to Brisbane.
In 2008 PIPA started looking at availability of plastics pipes from the mining, rural and agricultural industries.
A well established collection system is operated by NWC Nationwide Connect Pty Ltd. Construction site are supplied with collection cages and instructed in the collection process. Both PVC and Polyethyline pipes are collected and transported to NWC site at Epping, a northern suburb of Melbourne. The product is collected from all over Melbourne and on spot basis from regional towns and cities. NWC collects most of the product, but some construction sites deliver to Epping.
NWC is committed to receive and process all available plastics pipes from construction and demolition sites. At the Epping site the collected product is sorted, cleaned and granulated. The granulated product is sold to Vinidex Pty Ltd for conversion into new pipes suitable for non-pressure applications.
In 2008 NWC expanded its operation to a second factory in the same Epping Business Park which is dedicated exclusively to processing PVC pipes. They also leased a nearby holding and sorting yard where waste plastics pipes are sorted by products of manufacture and transported to the factories for processing.
Go to the Plastics Pipes in Construction Waste paper for details.
PPI Corporation Pty Ltd began recycling HDPE pipe collected from rural and agricultural applications. They have since sold their recycling plant but are using product from NAIT Recycling.
Pipemakers are committed to process collected scrap PVC pipes, but in 2007 the availability of PVC pipes for recycling was insignificant. Work is progressing with Waste Management companies to identify potential sources of product.
Collection and Recycling of Plastics Pipes
The paper presented by Dr Alan Whittle at PIPES XIII on the trial at Collex and Iplex in Sydney, Collection and recycling of plastics pipes in demolition and construction waste stream, has been published after a peer review for acceptance. It was published in June 2007 in Plastics, Rubber and Composites: Macromolecular Engineering. Vol 36, No 5, pp190-193 under the authorship of Whittle, A.J. and Pesudovs, D. This magazine is published by Maney Publishing on behalf of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining and the original source of publication can be found at www.ingentaconnect.com/content/maney/prc and the PIPA paper can be viewed here as a PDF (823 kb)