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May 18, 2021

Tweed shire’s waste recycling defended

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Photo Anders Sandberg / flickr.com
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Tweed Shire Council has moved to assure residents that all recyclable waste its contractors collected is being recycled properly following a damning revelation that hundreds of thousands of tonnes of glass in NSW are being stockpiled and landfilled instead of being recycled.

ABC Four Corners reported this week that the issue is threatening to seriously damage the community’s faith in the billion-dollar recycling industry.

Tweed council’s waste management staff say all recyclable waste collected by council’s contractors goes to a NSW Material Recovery Facility that provides regular assurances the material has been recycled.

Council’s waste management co-ordinator Rod Dawson shire contractors were required ‘to report to us quarterly on the amount of recyclables received and where each type of recyclable is then sent after processing’.

Mr Dawson said that while council currently sends its landfill waste to South East Queensland, it is in accordance with NSW legislation.

‘The Ipswich facility is within 150km of the Tweed and therefore compliant the Proximity Principle put in place under NSW Protection of the Environment Operations Legislation,’ he said.

‘The real concern is that waste generated in the Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong metropolitan areas and then transported to Queensland landfills, largely to avoid paying the landfill levy.’

Mr Dawson said the contract to send the Tweed’s landfill waste over the border was also in line with Local Government Act requirements to openly tender for providers, to ensure the process is fair, transparent and achieves the best result for Tweed ratepayers.

‘We only received submissions from Queensland-based waste disposal sites to receive our waste and could therefore only accept one of those submissions,’ he said.

‘Given our close proximity to the border, the disposal of waste in Queensland is our most cost-effective option.

‘Council is working on developing new waste disposal capacity at the Stotts Creek Recovery Centre, which will eventually receive our waste,’ he said.

‘It also means our waste is going to is a state-of-the-art, best practice landfill with gas capture and power generation, which the Tweed landfill does not have.’


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1 COMMENT

  1. One of the biggest costs of recycling is the separation of materials. In the Byron shire glass, paper, card and plastic are all mixed up and go in the same bin and I find it hard to believe that micro shards of broken glass can be completely separated from paper and card as many bottles get broken in the collection process and also wonder who does it and what is the cost.

    Where I come from back in the UK we have recycling bins and boxes. The house holder separates the materials into these containers and the council collect each type of waste whilst not mixing it. The collection vehicles have separate compartments for paper, glass, card and plastic while green waste is collected in the same way as here by a separate truck.

    Clean waste is worth more and has a better chance of being recycled than mixed or contaminated waste. After seeing how the waste is collected, I’ve often wondered how Australia recycles waste economically and how and whether the waste is actually properly separated and cleaned but I guess not many people really care as long as the bin is emptied.

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