Green energy a core focus as Ipswich combats recycling price surge

Ipswich City Council is set to embark on a revolutionary program which takes waste management into the next decade and beyond.

By mid-year, council will call tenders to bid on waste-to-energy projects which will enable a portion of the city’s energy to be environmentally-friendly.

From now, all contents from yellow lid recycle bins will be sent to landfill.

Ipswich Mayor Andrew Antoniolli said Ipswich was the latest domino to be affected by a nationwide issue – one which required a three-tier government solution.

Eventually, all councils would be impacted by the viability of recycling household waste, Mayor Antoniolli said.

Recycling contractors notified council that the current rate being paid to them by council would skyrocket if recycling was to continue.

The increase in costs in the order of $2 million per annum could potentially equate to a 1.5%-2% rate rise.

In addition, the current contamination levels in the city’s recycling is unacceptably high.

About half of everything collected from yellow lid bins is not able to be recycled.

For recycling to continue, that simply means we need to reduce by half the amount of pizza boxes, food waste, plastic bags, disposable nappies, grass clippings and garden waste, broken plates, coat hangers, light bulbs, dirty tissues and serviettes, and foam packaging.

“As a city, we need to move forward,” Cr Antoniolli said.

“We want to become a leader in the waste-to-energy space, which will in the medium to long-term provide us with an environmentally-friendly energy source, jobs and a better economic outcome for Ipswich.

“We’ve actually been looking at waste as an energy source for some time, and this gives us the ideal opportunity to be ahead of the game in that space.

“While it is fair to say the national recycling system broke sooner than we expected, Ipswich has been looking to the future. We’re making sure we tackle this issue head on.

“I have spoken personally to the minister on this issue, and made it clear that we’ve been backed into a corner on recycling.”

In the meantime, council has not given up on looking for recycling solutions.

Deputy Mayor Wayne Wendt said: “This is a fundamental shift in how we as a community think about waste.”

Cr Wendt advised residents that:

• People should continue to sort their waste as per normal – bins will be collected on the same days, with yellow lid bins collected each fortnight.

• Green waste doesn’t change. That will still be recycled.

• Red lid bins will still be collected weekly.

“The focus on recycling will now be very much about waste reduction. Everybody plays a role in the protection of our environment, and ways to reduce waste now become even more important to our daily lives.

“Since the 4 Corners program on waste was broadcast earlier this year, contamination rates of yellow lid recycle bins has doubled.

“Under the current and previous rates of contamination waste experts advise it would be almost unachievable even with the best and well-intentioned community education program to lower the rate of contamination to acceptable levels.

“In a nutshell, this means we were left with no other choice but to send yellow lid bin contents to landfill. Importantly, it is worth repeating that this does not change the way household rubbish is collected.

“There will still be the same number of trucks, the same number of staff, and we anticipate a similar level of waste.”

Recycling reset for Ipswich

FACT: Ipswich City Council is urging residents to continue with their household waste sorting practices. Essentially, business as usual for waste collection, although disposal measures will change in the short term.

FACT: The yellow lid bin is for plastic, paper, metal, glass and boxes. Continue to put these items in the yellow lid bin for collection every fortnight at your scheduled time.

FACT: Plastic includes milk bottles and yoghurt containers; paper includes magazines and egg cartons; metal includes aerosol cans and bottle tops; glass includes wine bottles and cosmetic jars; boxes include tissue boxes and clean pizza boxes.

FACT: Council will continue to collect the red lid (or older style olive lid) general waste bin weekly, plus the yellow lid bin and green lid garden waste bin on alternate weeks.

FACT: Green waste will continue to be collected and recycled. The organic material from this bin will still be mulched and turned into compost at a local composting facility.

FACT: Council’s Ipswich Waste Services operates the Riverview Recycling and Refuse Centre and the Rosewood Recycling and Refuse Centre. These services will continue for residents at current fees.

FACT: The charge for a weekly general waste collection service and a fortnightly recyclables collection service is $86.50 per quarter ($346.00 per annum) for the 2017/2018 financial year. These charges appear on your quarterly rates notices and will be unchanged for this period.

FACT: Council wants the community to reduce “contamination” of the yellow lid bin by half to improve chances of the recycling regime returning. That means not putting items such as plastic bags, food scraps, garden and lawn clippings, longlife milk or juice boxes, and broken glassware into the recycling bin.

FACT: There will be a temporary change of disposing all waste (except green waste) to landfill in Ipswich and will not lead to increased odour from the various refuse sites.

FACT: It will also have no impact on State Government plans to introduce a waste levy or the introduction of a Temporary Local Planning Instrument to assist council in regard to new or expanded waste facilities.

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  1. If no changes are occurring to the weekly general rubbish collection and all recycling will go to general land fill, why is the recycling collection continuing? Stop the recycled collection and return the associated fees to rate payers.

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