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BSL finalist in Government’s state-wide search for leader in eco-efficiency

November 30, 2016

This month Boyne Smelters Limited (BSL) was one of the three organisations recognised for eco-efficient processes Queensland-wide.

While BSL did not win the top award, its aluminium can recycling program was recognised as one of two finalists at the prestigious Premier’s Sustainability Awards, held in Brisbane on 17 November. The awards recognised the achievements of Queensland communities, schools, individuals, businesses and industries in adopting sustainable business practices.

For more than a year now, BSL has been adding value to Australia’s natural resources by reducing the number of aluminium cans being sent offshore for processing and recycling them right here in Gladstone, making the smelter Australia’s largest, and Queensland’s only, aluminium can recycler.

Producing aluminium is energy intensive, from refining bauxite to alumina, then finally smelting alumina into aluminium at BSL. Aside from the benefits of reducing landfill waste, recycling aluminium uses only around 5% of the energy of primary aluminium production, which means less greenhouse gas emissions are produced and aluminium is made much more efficiently.

BSL General Manager Joe Rea said it is a great achievement for an energy-intensive industry such as BSL to be recognised in Queensland for an eco-efficient process.

“Recycling cans fits with our vision, ‘Proudly Australian, operating beyond 2030’, which is all about taking pride in what we do and providing for future generations,” he said.

“The famous poem, ‘My Country’ really resonates with me. It mentions the love we have for our sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains, of ragged mountain ranges, of droughts and flooding rains... This is important because when I hear that and picture our beautiful country Australia, none of those words reflect a landscape littered with cans.”

“For me, it’s also important to get Australia’s aluminium back into a usable commodity rather than putting it into landfill. We have been able to retain the value of Australian resources by keeping a large portion of aluminium cans in our country to be recycled, which is a huge win for both the environment and Australian manufacturing,” Joe said.

Timeline of aluminium recycling at BSL

·         2014 closure of Australia’s largest aluminium recycling plant in Yennora, New South Wales

·         Most of the country’s aluminium cans were then being sent overseas for processing

·         2015 - BSL saw an opportunity to add value to Australian resources in Gladstone so commenced the trial of recycling (remelting) cans at BSL

·         BSL now recycles around 13 million aluminium cans a month and has the ability to double this effort pending the availability of cans


Fast facts

·         Recycling cans adds about 2,400 tonnes of aluminium to Boyne’s annual production.

·         BSL sources 80% of its cans from Queensland with the remainder from NSW.

·         BSL trucks in approximately 156 million cans in a year.

·         Recycling aluminium uses only ~5% of the energy of aluminium metal production.