UPDATE: Ipswich City Council has reversed its decision to send stop recycling household waste.
Ipswich Mayor Andrew Antoniolli told ABC News the council was looking to utilise a provision in the Local Government Act which would allow the employment of a short-term recycling contract.
“We have been upfront with the people of Ipswich, and we have proudly sparked a national debate on council waste management practice. This is an issue of global significance, and our position is strong,” he told ABC News.
“The existing methodologies of recycling are not working — they’re short-term, they’re not sustainable — we need some long-term strategies.”
Cr Antoniolli said the council would run a campaign to better educate residents about what can and can’t be recycled.
“The cost is not the issue — the issue is contamination,” he told ABC News.
“If we can’t meet a certain level of contamination, they won’t accept it — it’ll go to landfill.
“At present there are quite simply too many pizza boxes, plastic bags, burger wrappers and other items not fit for recycling.”
ORIGINAL STORY BELOW:
Ipswich City Council has announced all contents from household recycling waste will be sent to landfill.
The council also aims to focus its efforts on green energy and intends to call tenders to bid on waste to energy projects by mid 2018.
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The move comes in response to the recycling price surge nationwide. Ipswich City Council said recycling contractors notified the council that the current rate being paid to them would skyrocket if recycling was to continue in the order of $2 million per year, which could potentially lead to a 1.5 to 2 per cent rate rise.
Additionally, the current contamination levels in the city’s recycling was said to be unacceptably high, according to the council, which said about half of everything collected from household recycling bins was not able to be recycled.
Ipswich Mayor Andrew Antoniolli said Ipswich was the latest domino to be affected by a nationwide issue – one which required a three-tier government solution.
“As a city, we need to move forward,” Cr Antoniolli said.
“We want to become a leader in the waste-to-energy space, which will in the medium to long-term provide us with an environmentally-friendly energy source, jobs and a better economic outcome for Ipswich.
“We’ve actually been looking at waste as an energy source for some time, and this gives us the ideal opportunity to be ahead of the game in that space.”
Deputy Mayor Wayne Wendt said the move is a fundamental shift in how we as a community think about waste.
“The focus on recycling will now be very much about waste reduction. Everybody plays a role in the protection of our environment, and ways to reduce waste now become even more important to our daily lives,” Cr Wendt said.
“Under the current and previous rates of contamination waste experts advise it would be almost unachievable even with the best and well-intentioned community education program to lower the rate of contamination to acceptable levels.
“In a nutshell, this means we were left with no other choice but to send yellow lid bin contents to landfill. Importantly, it is worth repeating that this does not change the way household rubbish is collected. There will still be the same number of trucks, the same number of staff, and we anticipate a similar level of waste,” he said.
Ipswich City Council is advising residents to continue sorting their waste as normal and that green waste would continue to be recycled.