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With a state-of-the-art recycling and waste management facility on the Sunshine Coast, Rowcon Recycling is at the forefront of the sustainability movement, processing unwanted building materials into high-quality recycled products for the construction industry.

The recycling approach is being cemented in the construction and demolition (C&D) industry as more businesses seek sustainably produced building materials.

Smart technologies

Image: Inside the Rowcon Recycling facility

Best-in-class facility for C&D recycling

The Rowcon Recycling facility is one of the largest and most advanced C&D recycling and waste management operations in Queensland.

It has the capacity to process almost a tonne of waste every minute and the potential to generate 350,000 tonnes of recycled construction materials in a year.

One of the most impressive features of the facility is the customised waste processing plant incorporating smart technologies, allowing mixed materials to be deposited directly from a large loader bucket into the sorting line.

A combination of technologies separate waste based on material type and size. Magnets, vibratory screens and vacuums automate elements of the process. With these cutting-edge sorting capabilities, the facility can manage multiple waste streams to divert more materials from landfill.

Previously unwanted materials are transformed into high quality products that can be used for residential, industrial and civil construction projects.

Industry leader embraces new technology

Rowcon also has a manual picking station that allows materials like timber, PVC, plastic and cardboard to be recovered for other uses.

“The investment we have made into our waste management facility is one example of strategies we are taking to improve our environmental impact,” says Damien McCormick, Customer Service Manager at Rowcon Recycling.

“Rowcon Recycling is committed to reducing its own carbon emissions and helping other organisations do the same,” he says.

Asked to quantify the positive impact of the new facility, McCormick says since the new facility opened last year, they have stopped around 180,000 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere.

Image: Inside the state-of-the-art Rowcon Recycling facility

Scores for efficiency and reduced emissions

The company’s investment in top-of-the-range machinery helps maximise operational efficiency and minimise environmental impact.

One of Rowcon’s latest acquisitions is a high-tech “wheel loader” that helps move more material with greater efficiency, while generating fewer emissions.

Also aligning with Rowcon’s environmentally-minded ethos is its participation in the ASPIRE circular economy. ASPIRE is a digital platform that helps Sunshine Coast businesses source and re-purpose materials that would otherwise end up in landfill.

By exchanging waste as a resource, Rowcon Recycling and other members of the ASPIRE network are helping to reduce waste and greenhouse gas emissions.

A hot spot for sustainable construction

The Sunshine Coast is an ideal location for Rowcon Recycling to headquarter its operation. As a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, the region has a reputation for its eco-friendly and innovative industries. The region has one of the highest concentrations of clean technology businesses in Australia.

Rapid development across the region generates enormous opportunities for organisations that serve the construction industry. An additional 30,000 people are expected to be living on the Sunshine Coast by 2025, creating demand for new houses, roads, commercial and community spaces.

While there is a demand for development, there is also concern about the waste and carbon emissions the construction industry generates. As the market continues to shift in favour of sustainable operators, Rowcon Recycling helps developers strike a balance between progress and protection.

Building a future with less waste

Reusing and recycling building materials to minimise the amount of waste sent to landfills and incinerators is essential to reducing the environmental impact of the construction industry.

In Europe, research by the European Commission has found that waste from the construction industry accounts for a third of all materials in landfill by weight.

Using recycled materials for construction instead of virgin resources reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 40 to 70 percent according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

New building materials also strain the environment by degrading the land through mining and releasing carbon dioxide into the air by burning fossil fuels during the manufacturing process.

Driving a more sustainable construction industry

The Rowcon Recycling team are proud leaders in the movement to create a greener construction industry.

Damien McCormick says, “Our passion for recycling comes from extensive experience in concrete and C&D waste management. We are committed to protecting the environment by creating a more sustainable industry.”

Prior to the launch of Rowcon Recycling seven years ago, the company’s directors were involved in the development of some of the most extensive concrete recycling facilities in Queensland. Coupled with a wealth of experience gained from 25 years in waste management this experience in concrete recycling operations was instrumental to the successful establishment of Rowcon Recycling.

Over the past seven years, Rowcon Recycling has grown exponentially solely through word-of-mouth referrals and increased market demand.

Rowcon Recycling is a perfect example of the innovative companies that are thriving on the Sunshine Coast and creating a cascading positive impact on the environment and the wider community.

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