Recycling on a major (hospital) scale
How do you recycle something as big — and complex — as a major public hospital?
That’s the question we explored with South Australian school children who took part in a major World Environment Day event this week at Adelaide Botanic Garden, next door to the former Royal Adelaide Hospital site.
This site is being transformed by Renewal SA as the Lot Fourteen innovation neighbourhood on behalf of the state government, to drive jobs and opportunities for all South Australians in deep tech industries.
Our display revealed how unwanted equipment and various waste streams are being recycled as demolition, refurbishment, landscaping, civil works and construction continue on the site.
For example, surplus equipment and medical supplies which were not needed for the new Royal Adelaide Hospital were distributed to hospitals and other healthcare organisations in developing countries by Rotary Australia World Community Service.
Thirty shipping containers of equipment were supplied to 28 projects across 21 countries including Nepal, Fiji, Nigeria and Papua New Guinea.
This effort saw 7,393 items re-used across the globe, with an estimated value of between $3.4 million and $12 million.
Other examples of recycling at Lot Fourteen include:
- More than 23,600 tonnes of brick and concrete were recycled from the first stage of demolition, mainly for use as road surface. That’s enough material to fill 8.5 Olympic swimming pools or to cover the Adelaide Oval with a layer 1.3m deep.
- Ferrous metals (those that contain iron) in components such as steel beams, wall frames, concrete reinforcing, ducting, tanks and roof sheeting were separated to be melted down and recast as new products.
- Over 2 million kilograms of steel-based materials were sent for recycling — about the same amount as recycling more than 1,800 cars.
- 123,000 kilograms of non-ferrous materials (made from metals that do not contain iron including aluminium, copper, lead, zinc tin, gold and silver) were recycled from the Eastern Zone demolition program.
- Nearly 9 tonnes of green waste such as branches and plants was recycled, generally by being turned into mulch. Other plants dug up and replanted.
In total, more than 27,000 tonnes of material was recycled in this first stage of demolition — that’s a recycling rate of 95% of recyclable materials.
It is expected that in excess of 100,000 tonnes of material will be recycled by the time the hospital demolition program is complete in the next two to three years.
Renewal SA is targeting a 6 Star Green Star – Communities Certification and is the first registered WELL Communities pilot project in Australia, demonstrating that the project is leading the way in the development of communities that embody sustainability and a commitment to wellbeing.