New South Wales’ (NSW) Dubbo Regional Council (DRC) has strengthened its commitment to environmental sustainability by trialling a new polystyrene recycling programme.

The pilot programme will be carried out at the Whylandra Waste and Recycling Centre, where a ‘Foam Muncher’ bin will be installed within the centre so customers can drop off their clean polystyrene waste.

The waste is then melted down into blocks by the machine and subsequently transported to manufacturers, which will convert it into new products like skirting boards, flooring, picture frames and railway sleepers.

DRC’s manager for Resource Recovery and Efficiency Jamie Lobb said: “This trial is part of DRC’s work to reach the goal of 80% waste to landfill diversion by 2030.

“By introducing the Dubbo region’s polystyrene waste back into the manufacturing process through recycling, we’re helping create a circular economy that is better for the environment and offers more choice for consumers who want to live sustainably.”

Currently, the trial is only exclusively available for households and is set to expand to include commercial customers in NSW after the pilot.

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The trial is expected to end on 11 August 2023.

In Australia, more than 71,000 tonnes of polystyrene are produced and used annually, of which 85% enter landfills.

As part of the 2040 Community Strategic Plan, the council aims to cut its environmental footprint and impact on the environment through waste management processes.

Recently, Australia’s federal and state governments joined forces to impose mandatory packaging rules on manufacturers and retailers.