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The Rino Recycling revolution

The Rino Recycling revolution

Rino Recycling’s new facility in Queensland signifies a significant stride towards a circular economy in the construction industry.

Located in Pinkenba, Queensland, Rino Recycling’s (Rino) new state-of-the-art facility utilises advanced technology to transform a variety of construction, demolition and excavation waste streams, previously destined for landfills, into high-quality outputs. These resources are then reused in construction projects throughout the state, meeting the increasing demand for sustainable materials within Australia’s built environment.

Daniel Blaser, Rino’s general manager, highlights the facility’s ability to recycle various materials, including waste from skip bins, soil from pool excavations as well as concrete and rubble sourced from notable projects such as Brisbane’s Eagle Street Pier and Waterfront Place redevelopment.

“At Rino, our ethos revolves around reclaiming, refining and reusing,” explains Blaser. “Our new facility is purposefully designed to accommodate diverse waste streams, with our best-in-class technology allowing us to take co-mingled waste – no source separation required.”

Once materials arrive at the Pinkenba facility, they are directed to one of four feed points. Sophisticated machinery efficiently separates these materials, earmarking light components for reuse while refining heavier components before they undergo processing in the wash plant, yielding premium-grade outputs. Through this process, Rino achieves an over 95 per cent recovery rate, ensuring maximised diversion from landfill.

The facility combines both wet and dry processing to produce a diverse product line, including road base, aggregates, Class A fill, washed bedding sand, crushed rock, soil, shredded timber, rigid plastics and both ferrous and non-ferrous metals.

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Rino Recycling’s new multi-waste stream recovery centre in Pinkenba, Queensland integrates both dry and wet processes. (Image: Supplied by Rino Recycling)
Rino Recycling’s new multi-waste stream recovery centre in Pinkenba, Queensland integrates both dry and wet processes. (Image: Supplied by Rino Recycling)

“We are steadfast in our commitment to delivering superior products,” says Blaser. “What truly sets us apart is our holistic approach.”

“We don’t just manage waste; we view it as a manufacturing process, relentlessly striving to generate products of unparalleled quality to meet the high standards of construction projects statewide.”

Blaser explains that the most challenging aspect of recycling is achieving maximum product separation. Historically, co-mingled materials have often been consigned to landfills, primarily because recycling them requires a sorting process.

“Our high recovery rate stems from our handling of more challenging wastes that other recyclers often resort to landfilling,” says Blaser. “We operate without a landfill, ensuring that even the toughest materials are repurposed rather than discarded.”

“Our fundamental principle is to recycle everything possible, and we anticipate that, through collaborative projects currently in progress, we will soon achieve a recovery rate exceeding 99 per cent.”

Blaser emphasises the need for stronger consequences for businesses disposing of materials in landfills to improve recycling rates in Queensland and Australia.

“Ultimately, if we can recycle it, so could everyone else,” says Blaser. “Our goal is to champion the circular economy, lead its adoption in Australia and make it commercially viable.”

The sustainability benefits of Rino’s new facility are far reaching, conserving natural resources by decreasing the demand for virgin materials, protecting local ecosystems and maintaining diversity levels. Situated strategically just 13km from the CBD, the facility reduces road haulage needs, thereby alleviating road congestion and enhancing safety, all while lowering energy consumption by minimising transport emissions.

Blaser highlights these benefits, noting reductions in resource consumption, diversion of waste from landfills, decreased reliance on quarrying and the resulting lowered greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, recycled materials possess lower embodied energy, making them a greener option for construction businesses targeting sustainable outcomes on their projects.

Further attesting to its commitment to sustainability, the facility is GreenStar certified, enabling governmental entities and businesses alike to fulfill their environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) objectives.

“We offer reporting options on a per-project, per-week, per-month or per-year basis, allowing companies to fulfill all of their ESG requirements and report them to their shareholders,” explains Blaser. “Our reports not only quantify greenhouse gas emissions saved but also provide insights into material recycling rates and the destinations of recycled products.”

“This will be of significant importance under the new mandatory climate reporting obligations, commencing 1 July 2024.”

For example, Rino collaborated with the delivery partners responsible for Brisbane’s Eagle Street Pier Waterfront Place redevelopment, recycling all of the project’s waste material and providing comprehensive reports on the resultant products. These recycled materials were then used in other construction sites managed by the developer.

“It is a prime example of a circular economy initiative: they supplied the materials, we repurposed them, created usable products for their sites, delivered them and handled all the ESG reporting,” adds Blaser.

Previously, a stigma has been associated with the quality of recycled construction materials, which Rino now addresses through education on the high quality of products that can be produced and the associated emissions savings.

Rino Recycling has set out to revolutionise construction and demolition waste handling in Queensland and provide a tangible solution for sustainable construction practices for future generations. (Image: Supplied by Rino Recycling)
Rino Recycling has set out to revolutionise construction and demolition waste handling in Queensland and provide a tangible solution for sustainable construction practices for future generations. (Image: Supplied by Rino Recycling)

“One prevalent stigma surrounding recycling has been the assumption that products made from recycled materials inherently lack quality compared to those made from virgin materials,” says Blaser. “However, our advanced technology and dedicated wash plant effectively remove contaminants, enabling us to consistently meet the same specifications as virgin-quarried materials.”

This capability paves the way for governments and businesses at all levels to embrace a ‘recycled-first’ policy. As long as the recycled material meets the necessary specifications and remains cost-competitive, explains Blaser, it should be the preferred choice.

“It is predominantly about education,” says Blaser. “Recycled products not only hold their ground independently in terms of quality but also possess all the additional ESG benefits.”

Rino’s facility boasts a significant capacity of 1.5 million tonnes per year – equating to 1.5 million tonnes of waste in and 1.5 million tonnes of product out. Although the plant has only been operational for a few months, currently utilising approximately half of its capacity, Rino foresees reaching full capacity over the next 12 to 18 months.

With its recycled product quality on par and offering a like-for-like substitution for virgin-quarried materials, Rino provides infrastructure for all levels of government, developers and contractors to achieve their sustainability goals, representing a greener future for Australia’s construction industry and built environment.

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