Thanks for your questions.
While there is an increase for some residents to travel further the “landfill externality costs” which include the generation of methane, general environmental impacts and human health will be greatly reduced. The aim of the project is to divert as much away from landfill as possible, plus reuse, reduce etc etc. So we recycle more, we aren’t then using virgin materials which have huge environmental impacts.
Very little is currently recycled, 4500 tonnes of material from skip bins at waste & recycling depots was landfilled during the 18-19 financial year. All bar a few percent is recoverable, provided you have the systems in place to do so. This includes infrastructure that comes at considerable cost.
The Nation and State targets for diversion from landfill sits at 75% on average, we as a community are at about 30%. Not very good, I’m sure you’ll agree.
Illegal dumping occurs in most instances for different reasons and it’s not because disposal points are too far away. There is a plethora of data that supports this. If some members of our community don’t feel it’s their responsibility to look after their of waste then the only option is to investigate and fine those individuals. The cost will be born by both state grants and council.
With regard to additional costs such as fuel, by providing bins either kerbside bins or via a bin bank most of the waste generated will be disposed of via this process. As it already is for 16,500 properties in our shire. The need to then go to a recovery depot reduces to only a few times a year. Vouchers are provided by council for disposal of bulky items, the sites will be open every day so its more convenient, but again people need to be responsible for what they generate.
Nothing has been looked at in isolation, we simply cannot do that, what we need to do is look at what money we have, what are the best outcomes, both economical and environmental and go from there. The alternative would be to raise waste charges considerably so that we can expand the existing landfill, plus we’d need to put away millions of dollars once the existing landfill site is at capacity, that’s not a good outcome.
Agree European countries in particular are great at resource recovery. When you have 15 million people paying rates in small areas geographically, and only looking after one facility (if that) it’s pretty easy.
Council has no involvement with the Return and Earn program, but agree it sets the right message (which is user pays BTW). If there was a return and earn on every corner it would cost considerably more to operate, which is why there are only a few in our Shire. It’s the same as what Council are proposing.
Merimbula is a challenging site as its built on an old landfill, so building new infrastructure is challenging (which equals more $$$), plus we want to reduce the site and do them better.
In all, I agree it is a big change having to travel further, but if you are only visiting a few times a year the challenge is reduced. Put this together with job creation, satisfaction knowing you are leaving our environment in a better condition that you found it, plus not locking future rate payers into astronomical waste charges are all good outcomes. We understand that the change is frustrating, but it’s the right thing to do.
I hope I have answered your questions.
Joley – Waste Strategy Coordinator -BVSC