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Council reconsiders recycling program

A person recycling correctly from home

Western Australia’s regional City of Kalgoorie-Boulder is considering ending its kerbside recycling program citing high costs and declining participation.

The Goldfields-Esperance region provides residents with their own recycling bins but has seen just 8 per cent of the city’s waste diverted from landfill, well below the target of 50 per cent.

John Walker, City of Kalgoorie-Boulder CEO, told ABC News it would need to be reconsidered if recycling rates did not improve, as the cost amounts to $1 million a year for ratepayers.

“Presently, we’ve got a very expensive scheme getting very little result,” he said.

“If it’s not successful, we’d be better withdrawing the service and saving the money, or using it elsewhere.”

ABC News reported contractor Cleanaway collected 305 tonnes of recycling in the 2016 December quarter, down from 405 tonnes the year before.

Mr Walker said the 8 per cent figure did not look good, considering the benchmark rate for waste diversion site at 40-70 per cent.

“It’s quite baffling [and] compared to everywhere else, we’re very much at the lower end of the scale,” he said.

Comparable regional centres record high rates of participation, with Esperance recording a 90 per cent rate and Albany at 100 per cent.

With low initial diversion rates, high rates of contamination also remain the other persistent issue in Kalgoorlie.

An education program has been laid out by the council to boost recycling rates, alongside a $20,000 state government grant to roll out bin tags informing residents about contamination issues.

“We’ve set ourselves a very modest target of 20 per cent, just to see whether or not we can achieve that,” Mr Walker said.

“All concepts are on the table, but we think education is the best way forward.”

A final decision on the municipalities recycling program is due before the end of the year.

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