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Byron Shire
April 16, 2024

Shattered glass: Where does it all go?

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Council’s Business Development Coordinator Danielle Hanigan and Stirloch Constructions Project Engineer Shane Mangan with the recycled glass being used as pipe bedding at the South Lismore Sewage Treatment Plant. Photo supplied.
Council’s Business Development Coordinator Danielle Hanigan and Stirloch Constructions Project Engineer Shane Mangan with the recycled glass being used as pipe bedding at the South Lismore Sewage Treatment Plant. Photo supplied.

Have you ever wondered what happens to your recycling? Does it actually get recycled, does it just end up in landfill or in some dodgy over the boarder rubbish run?

Lismore Council has been putting its rubbish where its mouth is and have been coming up with new ways to re-use all that glass you have been putting in your recycling.

With the new glass recycling plant that takes recycling form Byron, Ballina, Lismore, Ricmond Valley and Tenterfield,  Lismore City Council can now recycle nearly every type of glass as well as crockery and pyrex that you put in your recycling bins.

‘The only glass that can’t be recycled is windscreen glass,’ said a council spokesperson.

The glass is crushed and turned into a glass sand, that has characteristics similar to river sand, and was being used to mix with road base. This is now being taken a step further and is being used to help build the $20 million South Lismore sewage treatment plant.

The council contractor Stirloch Constructions have recently begun using the recycled glass sand in pipe bedding as part of the major construction project, which will transform the 80-year-old plant into a modern facility with an increased capacity of 45per cent.


‘We are always interested in trying out new products and there are a number of new products that haven’t been used in Australia before that we are utilising on this project,’ said project engineer Shane Mangan from Stirloch Constructions.

‘We conducted a number of tests and trials using the material prior to proceeding with its use. Further to this we researched whether any new health and safety risks would be presented by the use of the material, none of which were found.’

The company is among to use around 1000 tonnes of the glass as they lay the foundation pipes for the new plant.

Council’s Business Development Coordinator Danielle Hanigan said she was thrilled that Stirloch was willing to try the product and said glass sand was also now being used by Council in other construction projects, such as pipe bedding in the Nimbin water supply upgrade.

‘Initially we were only using the glass sand to mix into roadbase, so it’s fantastic that we can broaden its use into other construction applications,’ she said.

‘With all the media around the stockpiling of recycled glass within Australia recently, we are really keen for the community to know that we are using their household rubbish in really innovative ways, and that their waste is being recycled responsibly in the local area.

‘The next big goal is to find a way to recycle plastics locally, and that definitely presents some challenges. But that’s exactly what Lismore City Council is all about – tackling our waste problems and finding solutions that make us a leader in the field.’

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