NSW councils commit to funding waste-to-energy research

10 NSW councils, with support from the NSW Country Mayors Association, have committed to funding research into the viability of council level waste-to-energy solutions.

Led by Tenterfield Council in regional NSW, the proposed project will ensure a fully independent, scientific and rigours study is undertaken.

Tenterfield Chief Executive Terry Dodds said waste-to-energy initiatives would reduce the amount of material sent to landfill and produce low carbon energy that could be used locally or fed into the grid.

“Some people would ask why the hold up, as waste-to-energy plants are used all over the world already? Regional NSW has less scale and population density than most city areas where waste to energy plants are already proven solutions,” Mr Dodds said.

“We need to determine what the smallest scale solution would be that still proved to be economically and environmentally sound regionally.”

Mr Dodds said $160,000 of the $540,000 needed to conduct the study has been committed so far.

“The time to hide our waste problem in ever increasing landfill sites is drawing to a close. Local government needs to seize the lead on addressing these issues given the failures at a state and federal level.”

Tenterfield Shire Council Mayor Peter Petty said as the market for recyclable exports decreases and existing land fill sites reach capacity, a waste-to-energy facility could address the growing waste problem for many regional councils.

NSW Country Mayors Association Chair Katrina Humphries has invited all councils in NSW to contribute to the study.

“We are looking at contributions of $15,000 per council, which compared to the costs of dealing with waste is chicken-feed,” Ms Humphries said.

Tenterfield Shire Council have met with the NSW Office of Regional Economic Development to seek financial assistance.

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Planet Ark and HP release sustainability report

A new study from electronics manufacturer HP and Planet Ark has found 90 per cent of Australian consumers and businesses are concerned about environmental sustainability, with more than 70 per cent willing to pay more for environmentally friendly products.

The HP Australia Environmental Sustainability Study 2018 was commissioned to discover the perceptions, value and behaviours of Australians toward environmental sustainability.

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It surveyed more than 1000 people aged 27 to 53 and more than 600 businesses ranging from one to four employees to 51 to 500.

According to the study, most consumers and businesses see marine plastic pollution, landfill waste and the impact on the natural environment as the three leading environmental sustainability concerns.

The study also found a lack of awareness about e-waste, reporting that half of Australian consumers and 44 per cent of businesses do not recycle printer ink and toner cartriages.

HP South Pacific Interim Managing Director Paul Gracey said Australians are starting to recognise the impact of their day to day behaviours.

“Through this research collaboration we aim to help Australian consumers uncover new ways to help the planet, while putting a spotlight on the need for businesses and brands to take meaningful action towards becoming more environmentally sustainable – both for the health of the planet and to future-proof their business,” Mr Gracey said.

Planet Ark Recycling Programs Manager Ryan Collins said it is no longer enough for companies to have environmentally sustainable practices and should encourage these behaviours in others.

“Today’s consumers have good intentions but look to brands to help them to make positive changes towards protecting the environment in their day to day. At Planet Ark, our focus is on enabling companies to be part of the solution and we’re proud to be working alongside HP to better educate Australian consumers and businesses,” Mr Collins said.

For more information on the report, click here.

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