More than one million tonnes of shredded material left over following metal recycling will be diverted from landfill each year and transformed into new products under a global programme announced in Australia today by Sims Resource Renewal, a division of Sims Limited. This follows on from Sims’ significant growth strategy announced in April 2019.
That’s the 2030 vision of Sims Resource Renewal, which will help the company achieve its purpose; create a world without waste to preserve our planet. The programme will transform shredded material (known as “ASR”) into new, quality products, such as construction materials, electricity and recycled plastics.
ASR is what remains once recoverable materials are removed following the recycling of metal-based goods like cars, washing machines, and shopping trolleys.
Sims Resource Renewal aims to have 11 resource renewal facilities operating globally by 2030, with the first facility proposed for Campbellfield in Victoria.
A research and development focused pilot facility is also proposed at Sims’ existing metals recycling site at Rocklea in Queensland.
Sims will undertake research and innovation at both facilities to further advance the technology needed to support a more circular economy.
The sites were chosen following a global selection process.
Group Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Sims Limited, Alistair Field, emphasised the importance of working in partnership with the communities in which Sims Resource Renewal operates so that Sims is genuinely delivering shared value for society.
"A key priority for Sims is to take care of today’s waste, so it is not left for future generations to manage.
"Over the last decade, Sims has recycled in excess of 110 million tonnes of material globally. Today’s announcement progresses our efforts one step closer to creating a truly closed loop business model and achieving our purpose: create a world without waste to preserve our planet.
"In addition to the environmental benefits created through Sims Resource Renewal, our resource renewal facilities will create new jobs and industry development opportunities in local communities, which will be particularly important as we work together to recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19” Mr Field said.
Group Chief Technology Officer Brendan McDonnell said Sims will be investing in research and development to create the best available technology to support the facilities and, in turn, a circular economy.
"Our first resource renewal site in Victoria will be an environmentally state-of-the art facility. We will use a process called plasma gasification which uses high temperatures in a controlled manner to break down the ASR into its basic compounds – producing synthesis gas and a glass like product. Importantly, this process does not involve the incineration of ASR.
"At first, we will use the synthesis gas to produce electricity and the glass like product will be used as an aggregate for construction materials. The electricity produced will power our resource renewal facility, as well as neighbouring metals recycling facility with any remaining electricity put back into the grid.
"As our technology advances, we will shift to producing other types of products from the synthesis gas which will include the building blocks of recycled plastics.
"Modern plasma gasification technology is used safely around the world and our designs will be based on European emissions standards, the current global emissions benchmark.
"We’ve chosen INENTEC as the technology partner for our first resource renewal facility. The technology has operated safely throughout the US and Asia since 1997".
Subject to necessary environmental and planning approvals, construction is expected to commence in late 2021, with the facilities operational by late 2022.