The Queensland Government has announced it will reintroduce a levy on interstate waste and two local councils using their services admit costs could go up in the short term.
Both Byron and Tweed councils ‘export’ their non-recyclable waste to ‘state of the art’ landfill sites in Queensland but both say they have dramatically cut their use of the service since introducing green waste bins in urban areas.
Lismore City Council processes its own landfill locally.
Tweed Council says its contractors currently transport ‘around 35,000 tonnes of residual waste annually to South East Queensland’.
Byron Shire says its resource recovery programs and education campaigns ‘have seen more than 9,000 tonnes of organic waste in the last two years being diverted from landfill and turned into compost’.
Tweed says that since the introduction of green bins this year it is now diverting ‘62 per cent of domestic waste away from landfill, up from 40 per cent six months ago’.
Byron’s organic material is sent to Lismore ‘where it is processed into a valuable compost resource,’ according to Lloyd Isaacson, the council’s Resource and Recovery Team Leader.
Tweed Council’s Community and Natural Resources Director, Tracey Stinson, says there is a long-term plan for the shire to build its own waste management facility, at a cost of some $40 million.
Byron Council currently has no such plan.
State of the art
But both Tweed and Byron have defended the use of the Queensland facility, with Ms Stinson saying, ‘there are environmental benefits for us transporting residual waste to a state-of-the-art waste management centre which has landfill gas capture and energy recovery on the site’.
‘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.
Meanwhile, Ms Stinson said, Tweed Council is ‘ready to make the changes needed as a result of the Queensland levy and can begin accepting waste at Stotts Creek again when required’.
‘We have at least two years’ worth of air space at our facility which could be extended even further the more successful our community is at reducing our waste,’ she said.
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,’ he said.