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Focus on Recycle and Reuse in the Byron Shire

Resource Recovery programs and education campaigns by the Byron Shire Council have seen more than 9,000 tonnes of organic waste in the last two years being diverted from land fill and turned into compost.

Lloyd Isaacson, Byron Shire Council's Team Leader Resource and Recovery, said the introduction of a kerbside organics collection and a focus on recycling has drastically reduced the amount of rubbish being collected.

“The organic material is sent to Lismore where it is processed into a valuable compost resource,” Mr Isaacson said.

“Recycled materials from Byron Shire Council’s kerbside collection service are sent to a regional recycling hub at Lismore where the glass is collected, crushed and used in road making or as pipe bedding,” he said.

“Like several other councils in the Northern Rivers area, Byron Shire Council transports its kerbside waste to south east Queensland for disposal, with 10,875 tonnes being diverted from our local landfill in 2016/17,” he said.

This material is sent via sub-contractor to the TiTree Bioreactor facility and the New Chum inert landfill facility near Ipswich. 

Due to the large scale of these Queensland facilities the technology they use is extremely sophisticated and allows for the capture of landfill gases which are then converted to electricity to power homes. 

“Modelling undertaken by Byron Shire Council has found that the transport and disposal of landfill waste to Queensland results in reduced greenhouse gas emissions and improved environmental outcomes compared to the technology that is viably available for landfill management  in the Byron Shire,” Mr Isaacson said.

“It is estimated this has also saved Byron Shire Council approximately $850,000 in landfill levies and has prolonged the life of the Myocum landfill.

“Byron Shire Council is permitted to transport solid waste to Queensland under the Protection of the Environment Operations (Waste) Regulation 2014 and each month we provide a report to the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) outlining the volumes of waste that have been sent,” Mr Isaacson said.

Byron Shire Council is currently revising its  Integrated Waste Management and Resource Recovery Strategy which includes the assessment of innovative options for the medium to long-term processing of waste.

The objective of this strategy is to define a path to maximise resource recovery and maintain a landfill free Shire.

The money Byron Shire Council has saved by sending landfill to Queensland  has been used to fund the introduction of the organics collection system, education programs to promote behavioural change and improved recycling in households, the expansion of recycling bins in public places, the development of a high tech composting system at the Byron Resource Recovery Centre (BRRC) and ongoing upgrades to the BRCC.

Recycling facts

  • Since 2015/16 Byron Shire Council has diverted more than 9,000 tonnes of organic material out of landfill.
  • More than 5300 tonnes/year of kerbside recycling is sent to the Lismore Material Recovery Facility where:
    • Plastics, aluminium, steel, paper and cardboard are baled up and sold to market.
    • Glass is crushed into a sand product and used in road base and pipe bedding.
    • Green waste is collected and turned into compost on site at the Lismore Recycling & Recovery Centre.
    • Plastic bags and polystyrene are recycled and sold to market.
    • Mobile phones, electronics and other hard to recycle items are collected by the EPA to be dismantled and component parts recycled.

Media contact:

Media Communication Officer
Byron Shire Council
Ph: 02 6626 7320

Byron Shire is located at Australia's eastern-most point with a population of almost 29,000. It is a thriving community where residents and visitors live, work and play in a sustainable environment and where Council strives to deliver the highest standard of local government services and infrastructure.