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Proposal for major overhaul of Bega Valley waste

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Proposal for major overhaul of Bega Valley waste

Waste Strategy report cover.
The Bega Valley Waste Management and Resource Recovery Strategy (2018-2028) ‘Recycling the Future’ outlines how Council will work with the community to better manage waste

20 August 2020

A proposal for a major overhaul of Bega Valley waste services will create new employment opportunities, stimulate the local economy, extend the life of landfill and meet national waste diversion targets.

Construction of a new state-of-the-art resource recovery precinct at the Central Waste Facility underpins the proposal, with a vision to create a circular economy that reuses, recycles and repurposes.

This in turn will reduce the pressure on the Shire’s landfill which is filling at a faster rate than initially forecast.

The proposal, to be delivered in stages over the next five years, includes introducing new kerbside and bin bank collections to more than 1,100 rural residents and reopening the fire-damaged Bemboka waste transfer station.

It also includes, in order of delivery:

  • immediately increase opening hours at Bermagui, keeping the fire-damaged Cobargo waste transfer station closed
  • further develop Bermagui and Eden waste transfer stations to encourage greater waste diversion
  • close Candelo waste transfer station
  • close Wallagoot, Bemboka and Merimbula transfer stations
  • prepare a development application to expand the Central Waste Facility.

The cost to deliver the changes will be funded through the waste fund and grants.

Councillors will vote on the proposal at next week’s Council meeting.

The changes are in line with Council’s 10-year Waste Strategy, Recycling the Future, which aims to divert the amount of waste that goes to landfill and place the Bega Valley at the forefront of waste reduction initiatives to meet national environmental and regulatory best-practice.

Council’s Director of Assets and Operations, Anthony McMahon said the risks of not changing the way Council managed its waste were far greater than accepting the proposed changes.

“We appreciate some aspects of our proposal will be challenging to deliver, but we must move forward to provide the best possible waste management services to our community, meet national waste diversion targets and reduce our environmental impacts,” he said. “These changes will deliver financial, economic and social benefits.”

Mr McMahon said although a primary objective of minimising waste to landfill was to reduce the region’s environmental footprint, the proposal also had clear economic and financial drivers.

“Council’s waste transfer stations operate at considerable net loss due to the high cost of servicing relative to the amount of waste they process,” he said. “Council needs to improve the quality and number of service locations provided – less sites done better.”

He said the proposal would have far-reaching benefits, with the 2018 National Waste Policy identifying that every 10,000 tonnes of waste material equals either 2.8 landfilling jobs or 9.2 recycling jobs.

“Council’s Waste Strategy guides more than just diversion of material from landfill. The benefits are far reaching, with business and partnership opportunities being created as a direct result of diversion,” he said.

“This then supports further opportunity to value-add to these products locally, and the cycle of opportunity continues.”

Mr McMahon congratulated the Bega Valley community for embracing resource recovery initiatives such as the FOGO bin collection service, while also creating community momentum for change through new businesses like Ocean2earth Australia and programs such as Plastic Free Pambula.

“Our community are leaders and innovators and people in the Bega Valley are making a difference when it comes to the way they think about waste.

“This proposal supports and encourages this innovation and leadership. It provides a pathway to a positive long-term future that gets as much use out of products and materials as possible and reduces the amount of waste we generate.”

The Waste Facility Consolidation and Modernisation Project report will be published on Council’s website this afternoon (Thursday).

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