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Byron Shire
April 20, 2021

Byron shire could do better on recycling

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Roger Garlick, Mullumbimby

The Byron Shire Echo‘s recent ‘Recycle Supplement’ seems to be a little on the PR side.

Surely Byron Shire can do far better at recycling being in theory a Green Council.

With my ear to the grass roots folk here, there are serious concerns that recycling or ‘resource recovery’ as Richmond Recycling well terms it, could be vastly improved.

As Byron Shire seems to be quietly shy of stating that all our rubbish has to be trucked out of the shire to Brisbane.

How much fuel, paid wages and Brisbane dumping levies does that entail?

I am well acquainted with the term ‘food-miles’ but have yet to hear of any verbalisation of ‘rubbish-miles’.

For all the doubters and lazy ones who have a cynical view of recycling it does at least reduce our trucking miles to Brisbane.

Recycling certainly creates jobs from sorting and base material for new products, lessens our reliance on raw materials, recycles oil (plastics) and helps lessen the environmental problems associated with mining (sand mining in Tasmania for glass) and sacred sites.

The article states correctly that batteries are one of the most toxic disposable items.

Myocum Tip has an evil, oozing toxic leachate from its own prior rubbish landfill there but this seems to be swept under the rug or forgotten.

I see the suggestion is to take your dead batteries to Battery World at Three Chain Road, Lismore for recycling. Personally I rarely go to Lismore, again more ‘rubbish-miles’!

The recycling PR article omits to enlighten us that you can also drop your dead batteries at Aldi (bless them). Why, may I ask, is there not a simple drop off box at the Byron Council chambers, a stroll there to do the right thing when I am shopping in town? Zero ‘rubbish-miles’.

Like all other thinking folk in the shire, I lessen my electric use by using energy-saving globes.

Where is the recycle bin in Byron for dead globes which are another source of toxic chemicals?

I had the shrinking experience of asking a visiting friend who lives in Bellingen Shire to take my ten odd globes back to Bellingen where they have a collection point.

The article displays a graph of the overall content of Byron’s waste. Fifty per cent is organic matter.

So where are our Council promised green bins? They were promised for last July.

Byron’s current financial dilemma could be lessened by big time production of organic compost for our conscious gardeners and organic growers.

This large-scale composting is profitably underway by the tip truck load in our neighbouring shires who cannot keep up with the demand.

The other statistics are  33 per cent garbage. Then a 17 per cent recycle content, way too low. I do not have either a garbage or recycle service where I live and am forced to be conscious of my ‘garbage’.

I  know over 50 per cent of my ‘hard-garbage’ is recyclable.

Why, when I go to Murwillumbah, Tweed Heads and Lismore, do I see recycle bins alongside rubbish bins in the street?

Are we not supposed to be the ‘Green Shire’. I look hard here but they are nowhere to be found. Makes one a little cynical of the Green Shire.

I am disappointed to lift the lid on a street corner rubbish bin in Byron, easily 75 per cent recyclable.

If, like me, you live on the shire boundaries and do not have a shire truck pick-up recycling or garbage service there is no option but to make a car trip to Myocum to do the right thing.

OK, if you’ve got a car, time, or go that way and see. Having recently been to Europe and seen the ergonomic and friendly facilities for recycling was a revelation.

Supermarkets and retail outlets have recycle facilities outside their stores so customers only have to take home their purchased contents, not the packaging!

Byron, is it too much to ask to at least have a few local drop off skips with a covered hood and small orifice to accept bottles?

Recycling plants are now a streamlined ‘mining operation’, even sorting glass into separate colours off a conveyor belt.

Byron’s got a long way to go to do the ‘right thing’ and needs to deal better with it’s own s**t!

 

 


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