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Budget plans cut waste, increase recovery

Waste and recycling
Bundaberg Regional Council’s Waste and Recycling portfolio spokesperson Cr Tanya McLoughlin.

There’s a big sustainability focus in this year’s waste and recycling budget with projects on the agenda to cut waste to landfill and increase resource recovery.

A significant focus for Bundaberg Regional Council’s Waste and Recycling services will be the rollout of the Food Organics and Garden Organics (FOGO) trial from October 2023.

Portfolio spokesperson Cr Tanya McLoughlin said it was one of a number of initiatives which would aim to cut waste to landfill over coming years.

“Our FOGO trial is an important step to take towards helping to meet the state’s zero waste to landfill targets,” Cr McLoughlin said.

“Organic materials which could be turned into compost for beneficial use currently make up more than 50% of the region’s waste to landfill.”

Another initiative to reduce waste to landfill is new equipment for the Material Recovery Facility which sorts the materials disposed of in the region’s yellow-lidded wheelie bins.

Cr McLoughlin said the investment had the potential to boost the amount of materials being recovered.

“We will purchase a new machine that uses magnetic currents to sort aluminium and a new trommel for the initial mechanical sorting of bottles, jars, cardboard and paper to replace the existing 20-year-old machine.

“This equipment will support the great work of the Impact Community Services team that hand-sorts recyclable materials at this facility and it will help to create efficiencies and improve the quality of the recycled end product.”

Cr McLoughlin said the costs of providing waste services were increasing but Council had worked to minimise the impact on residents.

“Council will once again provide ratepayers with two free waste disposal vouchers to use throughout the year.

“All price increases associated with residential waste collection services are well below CPI.”

The Queensland Waste Levy that is paid on household waste landfilled to the State Government, is forecast to cost the region’s ratepayers an additional $27,000,000 over the next nine years if we can’t find viable, cost-effective alternatives to landfill.

Cr McLoughlin said it was a major driver for Council with the aim of minimising the financial burden for residents and ratepayers.

“In line with its reducing waste to landfill targets the Queensland Government is reducing the waste levy subsidies on household waste.

“This means the amount of waste levy that Council has to pay to the State Government to dispose of domestic waste has increased and will continue to progressively increase over the next 10 years.”

In its 2023-24 budget Council has also invested in the construction of Cell 4 of the Cedars Landfill which receives the region’s kerbside wheelie bin and commercial waste.

The project is forecast to cost $4.5 million and will extend the capacity of the landfill for about another nine years.

“Of course if we, as a community, do all we can to take up opportunities to reduce waste to landfill we could potentially get another four to five years out of this investment,” Cr McLoughlin said.

“Disposing of waste to landfill is a costly and unsustainable practice and Council will work closely with the community to divert as much waste away from landfill as possible.”

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  1. I have collected bags of clean soft plastics. Is there a chance they can be recycled in the foreseeable future or must I send them to landfill?

  2. I also hate throwing soft plastics into the garbage bin. I try very hard not to buy products that are plastic wrapped but sometimes it is impossible not to do so. Its good to see that some supermarkets have replaced plastic shopping bags with heavy-duty paper ones. Back in the 1970’s that was what was used and we all survived.

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