City taking realistic approach to recycling

Published on Thursday, 13 February 2020 at 7:53:44 AM

In what has been described as a “nationwide crisis” the City of Greater Geraldton are ensuring a realistic approach to recycling.

In recent years China placed restrictions on foreign waste and now only accept material with a contamination level of no more than 0.5%.

As a result, many Councils in eastern Australia have ceased recycling collection due to this restriction and recycled waste is going to landfill.

City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn said many people don’t understand the current struggles associated with recycling.

“It’s been reported that just 9% of plastics from Australia have actually been recycled, a lot of it is ending up in landfill – and people aren’t aware of that,” he said.

“We don’t think it’s sustainable to increase rates to introduce a recycling program that is in actual fact, just ending up in landfill.

“Due to current recycling limitations, we are taking a considered approach to try and ensure we give our community realistic options to recycle and ensure that it ends up being recycled and not in landfill.”

There are currently no recycling facilities within WA that don’t rely on Asian markets to recycle the material. Each recycling facility within WA only sort, bale and then ship the material to other countries for further processing.

In July 2019 the Federal Government announced that it would be placing a future ban on export of waste plastic, paper, glass and tyres. This will have a significant impact on the current recycling market and where these materials will eventually end up without any remanufacturing sites within in WA.

Recent Cleanaway fires at their Material Recovery Facility in Perth (which was the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere) have had a big impact on recycling with places such as Kalgoorlie–Boulder and City of Mandurah having to send kerbside recycling to landfill due to the facility not being able to take the material.

With studies showing that Food Organic and Garden Organics (FOGO) potentially makes up for 40% of our waste stream – the City has made the decision to introduce a FOGO trial which will commence in March.

FOGO material will be processed locally for the local market without relying on any international fluctuating markets.

In June, the State will also be implementing a Container for Change scheme. All eligible glass, plastic and aluminium bottles can be taken to at least one refund point in Geraldton by June 2020 for a 10 cent refund.

“We are serious about reducing waste and that’s why we are implementing realistic and worthwhile recycling initiatives,” Mayor Van Styn added.

“FOGO material is a valuable commodity which should not be dumped in landfill which is why we are going to collect it and process it locally to make compost for the City and community to use.”

The small scale trial of kerbside collection of FOGO waste slated to reduce waste to landfill by potentially 50% will begin in March. The trial will also give the City an opportunity to perfect the composting process.

A total of 500 randomly selected house across nine City suburbs will soon be receiving their lime green lidded FOGO bins in the lead up to the first collection.

A series of ‘Street Meets’ will be held in the neighbourhoods of the selected households over the next two weeks where City staff will be on hand to answer questions about the trial and deliver free kitchen caddies to trail participants. 

For more information on the FOGO trial or where to recycle, head to the City’s website for details

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