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.