Our commitment to the Australian community is simple - we aim to recycle the maximum amount of useable plastic pipe.
While it may seem obvious to our industry, it needs to be remembered that plastics pipe represents a very small proportion of waste going to landfill – a fact confirmed by the NSW Government audit of construction and demolition waste. The reason for this is that plastic pipe in all its forms has a very long service life and is still in its first life cycle as further explained below.
The common plastics pipe systems are readily recycled and are being recycled now. Practically all post industrial waste is recycled and we are also recycling post- consumer pipe waste. For example, in excess of 3000t of PE pipe was recycled last year. Considering only post-consumer PVC pipe there was over 650t mostly sourced from demolition sites or construction waste recycled by the industry last year. This recycled PVC material is used in an innovative product range where the recyclate is used to manufacture new pipe with the same life and performance expectations as pipe made solely from virgin material. It is good to know that even when that long service life has been achieved that it can be recycled again back into pipe with exactly the same performance and life expectancy as the original pipe.
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. As noted above, the industry is also now recycling post- consumer waste where pipe is collected from the waste stream and recycled back into pipe products, Specific PVC recycling locations are available in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane and PVC pipe can be recycled at general plastic recycling stations throughout Australia.
In Australia, plastic pipes were only widely deployed for use in water supply systems from the 1970s. Due to plastic pipes being highly reliable, durable, and with a life expectancy exceeding 100 years, there is very little plastic pipe found in construction and demolition (C&D) waste streams. Due to the low volume of plastic pipes in waste streams, the plastics pipe industry has had to make significant effort to collect volumes viable for designated recycling. Additionally, it is only plastic pipe installed in buildings that is readily available for recycling after building demolition. The vast majority of plastic pipes used for water supply, sewerage and drainage applications are installed in ground. When these buried pipes reach the end of their serviceable lives (and that is a long way off) they will likely not be available for recycling but rather will be the host pipe for some form of trenchless rehabilitation.
Having regard for this, our industry over the last decade has:
- Worked with major waste management companies
- Worked with major distributors of products
- Based on the identified “learnings” of 1 and 2, in terms of volumes, contamination from foreign material and issues of logistics, we moved to the current more focused and efficient model of small scale company facilities in some states and one dedicated recycler in Melbourne. In addition, we have worked with specific suppliers/clients such as Ausgrid, Queensland gas industry and others for one-off projects. PIPA continually seeks new partnerships with industry and development projects to maximise the potential to recycle plastic pipe.
As plastic pipe enters the C&D waste stream in higher volumes, the designated plastic pipe recycling schemes and sites will become more effective, and the plastic pipe industry stands ready to utilise the material. This will further reduce the life cycle impacts of all plastic pipes. Combining all recycling sources, the total volume of material recycled by our industry is over 18,000t/a. This figure has been provided formally in March 2016 to the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage and the NSW EPA.
Please note that Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) have been completed for PVC,PE and PP pipe 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 Sydney to recycle PVC
35 Alfred Road, Chipping Norton NSW 2170
Open hours: 8:00am to 2:00pm
For more information and to arrange a convenient drop-off time (by appointment only), please contact us on (07) 3881 9578.
Unit 3 11 Harris Street, St Marys NSW 2760
Open hours: 8:30 to 3:30
info [at] jkplastics.com.au
JK Plastics accepts polyethylene and agricultural pipe that is free from heavy soiling or other contaminants. These may be off cuts, whole piping or discontinued and end of life/use pipe.
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
Email: adaban [at] bipond.com
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
email: info [at] theresitechgroup.com or
Gryphon Eco Solutions
Tel:0448 144 888
Collection and Recycling of Plastics Pipes
August 2007The 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)