COST INCREASE WON’T REDUCE RECYCLING COMMITMENT
Scenic Rim Regional Council faces a major increase in the cost of waste management less than a month after reaffirming its commitment to recycling.
In April, Mayor Greg Christensen acknowledged the strong performance of residents across the region in maintaining low levels of contamination – ensuring that materials unsuitable for recycling were not disposed of with recyclables – which impacts waste management costs.
“This was despite a price increase occurring in November 2017 and recently shared with the community our appreciation for their efforts in recycling, as well as our vision for the future of sustainable waste management,” he said.
“Since April, we have been advised of yet another price rise. Based on current recycling volumes, this represents a direct cost of close to $500,000 specifically for processing our recyclable waste material through a materials recovery facility.
“Given the strong performance of our residents in reducing waste contamination, we believe this latest price rise is not fair, reasonable or justified.
“We believe this increase does not properly recognise the low contamination rates achieved as a region and appears to be a single application of a broad brush to pricing.”
Council is considering both short and long-term solutions to mitigate the impact of price increases by exploring other options within the waste industry to reflect the community’s disciplined approach to recycling.
Cr Christensen expressed his concerns over the present price volatility of the waste management industry and its effect on local governments.
“This kind of shock outcome from the waste sector creates an unacceptable forward landscape, not just for our council but potentially many others,” he said.
“We believe it is time to look at alternatives that reduce exposure to pricing volatility and protect our communities from what appears to be commercial opportunism by some in the private sector.
“What might that mean? There are many discussions happening and numerous examples around the world of collective councils operating facilities that cleverly convert waste and recyclables into value generators for the community.”
Cr Christensen said Scenic Rim Regional Council will be working with the Council of Mayors (South East Queensland) to determine the prospects of future waste management solutions.
“We are committed to addressing this issue as quickly as possible and, when appropriate, will provide updates to our community to engage their thoughts regarding a way forward,” he said.
Last month Council applauded Scenic Rim households and businesses for their concerted efforts to separate recyclable material from general waste and Cr Christensen restated his confidence that the Scenic Rim community would maintain this high standard and that it would support Council’s efforts to secure a positive outcome for the region’s waste management.
“To be very clear, we will not put our recyclables into landfill,” he said.
Recognising the widespread concern about waste management issues, the Council of Mayors (SEQ) has formed a dedicated Regional Waste Working Group, chaired by Cr Christensen.
“Scenic Rim Regional Council is committed to ensuring positive and financially viable solutions that provide effective outcomes for our region, a significantly integrated and wonderful part of Australia,” he said
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