Qld council changes tune on recycling

27/04/2020 Posted by admin

Queensland will reintroduce a waste levy to ensure councils don’t scrap recycling services.The southeast Queensland council that sparked a national debate on waste management when it said it was cancelling its recycling scheme has now indicated it wants to keep the service going.
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Ipswich City Council came under fire this week when it announced it had ditched its yellow-top bin recycling program and had been sending recyclable waste to landfill for a month.

The move was slammed by the Queensland government and recycling advocates but Mayor Andrew Antoniolli insisted on Friday the council had never intended to stop recycling.

Instead, he took credit for sparking a national conversation on the issue.

“We are the first council that this has greatly affected. We won’t be the last,” Mr Antoniolli told ABC Radio.

“No one was talking about this issue.”

The mayor confirmed on Friday the council would hire a “short-term recycling contractor” as it sought a long-term solution.

When he announced on Wednesday the council would scrap its recycling program, the mayor seemed more certain the program was being stopped.

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

Mr Antoniolli was also forced to issue a clarification on Thursday when he claimed in a media conference he had told the state government of his intention to scrap recycling programs four weeks ago.

He admitted they had spoken more generally about waste management but that particular subject was not discussed.

The issue arose due to stricter recyclable waste import restrictions from China, with Ipswich’s recycling contractor hiking its rates, which the council said it would have to pass on to ratepayers.

The rise would have added about two per cent to an annual rates bill, or about 59 cents a week.

As a result of Ipswich’s announcement and in an attempt to head off more councils following their example, the state government this week announced it would implement its proposed waste levy later this year to help councils meet the cost of recycling programs.

Mr Antoniolli said the council’s predicament arose only because its waste collection contract was up for renewal.

The Victorian and NSW governments helped their councils dispose of recyclables after China’s heavier restrictions.

The debate comes as the National Waste and Recycling Industry Council says Australia will run out of space to store recycled waste in just a few months.

It says three months worth of waste has already been stockpiled after China changed its import standards.

Australian Associated Press

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