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December 4, 2022

What to do with Lismore’s waste

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The subject of rubbish was up for discussion at Tuesday’s Lismore Council meeting as a report about how and by whom Lismore’s waste should be disposed of, was presented in the chamber.

The report was prepared by Council’s Manager Commercial Services, to inform Council of the submissions received for Tender T21/26 Transport and Disposal/ Reprocessing of Resource Recovery Materials and to provide recommendations for adoption.

The Executive Summary said there was an open tender process with a total of 10 respondents were noted, with nine compliant submissions received across the range of response options. 

More information

Cr Vanessa Ekins was on her feet as soon as the item came up saying she would like to see a lot more information before Council starts signing ongoing contracts to companies to deal with Lismore’s waste. 

‘We have an adopted waste strategy, which we haven’t adequately funded – this delegates to the (interim) General Manager to sign contracts for the disposal of our waste for two years, and then the (interim) General Manager can also extend that into the foreseeable future.

I think we need a workshop on what the current status of our waste facility is. At the moment we are tracking waste to Ipswich or somewhere, which is not what is in our adopted Waste Management Strategy. 

‘I’d really like to know who these companies are and what they plan to do with our recyclable materials, with our glass, with our green waste – with all of that stuff. 

There was no information in the report. I looked up some of those companies online, there was not a lot of information on them at all about what they plan to do with it. 

Marketable products

‘If we’re signing contracts or delegating authority to our (interim) General Manager to sign contracts for two years and ongoing into the foreseeable future, I’d really like to know what these companies plan to do with our green waste and with our glass! These are marketable products and they’re in our Waste Strategy. Our community is very engaged in the waste cycle – we’re actually looking at the circular waste economy. 

So all I’m asking is that we just defer this matter to a workshop so that we can actually find out what the status of our waste facilities is. I think we should all be engaged in that conversation about what actually happens there. Are we separating the glass? Are we separating the cardboard? What are our plans for the site? 

I know that we’re in the process of masterplanning for the site, but I’d actually like much more information before we give away all this material to unknown companies to do I don’t know what with.

‘I am concerned about delegating authority to sign off on that without fixed upper limits of expenditure and authorising those options to go to contracts to be extended indefinitely. 

‘Let’s have a workshop on this and find out who these companies are, what they actually intend to do with our agreements. In Lismore, we’ve got a really proud history of managing our waste for 20 years.’

The truth about the waste centre

The (interim) General Manager said he would welcome this matter being referred to a workshop. ‘As long as it included the ability for us to tell you the truth about what’s happening at the waste centre as a recycling centre, because I think there’s a lot of information that people believe is happening there, that is not.

The waste facility is good operable at the moment, in terms of the tip – the recycling facility is costing a fortune to run. It has been poorly maintained over time and I think a lot of the stories that come out of there about the so called successes are not true. And so I’m happy for this to be referred there but it will be accompanied with a full review which we have been planning to bring to you about the operation of the waste centre because I think it’s fine council understood what is happening there and what needs to be done.’

The Mayor took a vote and it was agreed unanimously that the matter be deferred and there be a workshop.

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  1. After WW2 many people kept on recycling as a habit, caused initially by the national need for conservation of scarce materials.
    Just before the LCC became recycle-conscious, there were at least three local private recyclers around Lismore.
    But they couldn’t compete with this new and massive ratepayer-funding, so they all eventually closed their doors.
    The only chance now for ratepayers to escape a heavy NSW Guv penalties on landfill appears to be with contracts with large corporations.
    IMHO we need action on waste/recycling now, not grand-standing and prevarication for political reasons.
    The LCC’s record for recycling is good, but with the massive 28/2/22 flood debris they will certainly need a bit of help.


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