Regional partnerships the long-term answer to waste

Published on 22 March 2018

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Byron Shire Council has been anticipating the reintroduction of a waste levy on the waste it sends to Queensland and this is being taken into account as part of its Integrated Waste Management and Resource Recovery Strategy which is currently being revised.

Lloyd Isaacson, Byron Shire Council’s Team Leader Resource Recovery, said Council will model the financial impacts as more information comes to light on the timeframes, structure and amount of the Queensland levy.

The Queensland Government has stated that this will likely be towards the end of the 2018 calendar year.

“In the short term, whilst we are developing our Integrated Waste Management and Resource Recovery Strategy, Council will continue to send waste to Queensland,” Mr Isaacson said.

“Byron Council is one of several councils in the Northern Rivers that currently sends waste to Queensland and in 2016/17 10,875 tonnes were taken to the TiTree Bioreactor and the New Chum inert landfill facility near Ipswich,” he said.

“Byron Council takes a very considered approach to sending its waste to Queensland, weighing up not just the cost but other factors including the impact on the environment.

“The technology used in these facilities is very sophisticated and they capture landfill gases which are used to generate electricity,” he said.

“Certainly, our modelling has shown that taking into account the transportation, the disposal of waste in Queensland still provides a better environmental outcome because of the technology employed in the facilities than we can currently offer in the Byron Shire.

“It has also saved Council more than $850,000 in landfill levies and has prolonged the life of the Myocum landfill,” Mr Isaacson said.

“It is important for people to know Byron Shire Council is permitted to send solid waste to Queensland under the Protection of the Environment Operations (Waste) Regulation 2014 and we provide a monthly report to the NSW Environment Protection Authority outlining the volumes of waste that we send to Queensland.

“One of the key areas of focus of our new Integrated Waste Management and Resource Recovery Strategy will be working with other councils in the region to develop partnerships to manage landfill waste,” he said.

“There are a lot of new and innovative European alternative waste management technologies that are starting to come to Australia.

“These require more feedstock waste volume than the Byron Shire can provide so looking to partner with other councils in the region is important when assessing the viability of these facilities.

“These waste issues highlight the need for continued investment in innovative solutions in processing and in the Byron Shire we have a strong focus on recycling.

“In 2016/17 we diverted more than 4,500 tonnes of organic waste out of landfill and our kerbside recycling program resulted in the collection of 5,350 tonnes which was sent to the Lismore Material Recovery Facility,” Mr Isaacson said.

“We are actually diverting approximately 65% of our household rubbish into recycling and organic streams which is a great effort on the part of our community,” Mr Isaacson said.

Byron Council is upgrading the Byron Resource Recovery Centre over the next 12-18 months to promote resource recovery and recycling. 

A high-tech composting system for garden waste is now operating and the product will be available for sale to the community in April 2018.

For more information contact Lloyd Isaacson on 6626 7084 or 0427 963 884.

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