Livingstone Council looks to make money from its waste
WASTE is one of the leading challenges of our time and much of the responsibility falls on local councils to find innovative yet affordable solutions to a growing problem.
Livingstone Mayor Bill Ludwig says the community is educated and wants to recycle and discussions start this Thursday with the Department of State Development around funding for some innovative ideas.
"Research indicates that communities the size of Livingstone are ideal for micro-factories to re-purpose waste for higher-end reuses," Cr Ludwig said.
"The timing is right and Livingstone is perfectly located.
"We have our own business and industry park in the Gateway Industrial Park.
"It's readily available, already zoned and council-owned ...we have skin in the game."
The Queensland Government will reintroduce a $70 a tonne waste levy in January, designed to stop NSW companies from dumping thousands of tonnes of waste in Queensland landfills, but the levy also applies to local waste heading for landfills.
The levy will be redirected to fund regional areas for innovative solutions to the landfill and waste problem.
"I've always believed the greater the challenge, the greater the opportunity if people are prepared to be innovative," Cr Ludwig said.
"This is something we've been thinking about for some time but the timing is right now, with commitment from the State Government to put resources into councils like ours."
Micro-factories envisaged by the council can provide innovative solutions to some of the shire's waste problem and employment opportunities along with it.
"This is limited only by people's imaginations, by translating global research into practical applications," Cr Ludwig said.
"This council is focused and supportive of innovation and we can hit the ground running with a dedicated industry precinct."
A major presentation at the recent Australian Local Government Conference in Gladstone focused on e-waste.
Mobile phones, computers and other tech products contain high-value metals.
"This is a niche market that can be very profitable," Cr Ludwig said.
"If we establish a node within Gateway Industry Park then we can partner with the private sector to take it to the next level and success builds on success."
He said the shock came when China banned importation of much of Australia's recyclable waste but it created opportunities.
"It will require us to be more creative and now the government has put funding in place to support us to do that."