General waste and recycling bins waiting for collection in Ipswich.
General waste and recycling bins waiting for collection in Ipswich.

Major catch as recycling continues

THE contamination rate of recyclables in Ipswich City Council's yellow-top bins will have to halve under a new short-term recycling contract that could be finalised tomorrow.

The council earlier this month backflipped on a decision to dump recyclables into landfill, with Mayor Andrew Antoniolli urging residents to improve their recycling efforts as council sought a short-term contract.

At a federal Senate committee hearing in Brisbane this morning, council confirmed all recyclable loads that have a contamination rate of over 25 per cent will be rejected under an interim recycling arrangement, expected to be announced tomorrow.

Cr Antoniolli said he was confident council would be able to reach the new target, despite current contamination rates being around 50 per cent.

"I think it may take a couple of months," he said.

"What you've got to recognise is that not every load is 50 per cent.

"Some loads will be closer to 25 per cent. Some suburbs will be closer to that 25 per cent than others."

He said contamination rates had been just 15 per cent a few years ago, and Brisbane's was 7 to 10 per cent.

 

Ipswich Mayor Andrew Antoniolli thinks confusion may be behind rising contamination rates in the city’s recycling.
Ipswich Mayor Andrew Antoniolli thinks confusion may be behind rising contamination rates in the city’s recycling.

 

"We can't put a finger on it, but I think recycling has become somewhat confusing," he told the Senate committee.

"There has been some talk around the fact we are obviously a highly multicultural area, and some cultures aren't as familiar with recycling as others."

Cr Antoniolli also suggested the new recycling arrangement would have an impact on rates and council's budget.

"I think all of the community in general approve of recycling and if they see that there is going to be an increase in costs, I think they're willing to accept that," he said.

The Senate committee hearing on waste is considering the fallout from China's ban on the importation of foreign recyclables, leaving Australian local councils with a mounting pile of rubbish.

The Local Government Association of Queensland told the hearing 10 councils expected the crisis to cost them an extra $7 million in the 2018-19 financial year.

"A further 18 are concerned and are aware of the impact that will occur in the future," the LGAQ's Robert Ferguson said.

He warned the true cost to councils could prove far higher, as they contended with higher charges by contractors, and truckloads of waste being rejected because contamination levels are too high.



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