WSROC calls for federal action on waste

The Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) says delays in establishing a national waste policy are causing a processing capacity shortfall in NSW.

WSROC President Barry Calvert said the next elected government must act to stimulate local recycling capacity, ensure more products are recycled and develop new markets for recycled products.

In the lead up to the election both major parties committed to upgrading recycling infrastructure, establishing local markets for recycled content and dealing with plastic pollution.

Neither the Labor or Liberal Party has committed to developing a national regulatory framework for waste management in the country however.

“Waste collection is managed by local governments, however international forces acting on the waste industry at present are far beyond the capacity of local communities to address,” Mr Calvert said.

“The introduction of the China National Sword Policy in 2017, and the rise and fall of international commodity markets have created an unsustainable situation for Australia’s waste management sector.”

Mr Calvert said without federal action the cost of managing Australia’s waste will increase, and environmental outcomes may be compromised.

“Since China’s recycling ban, we have seen much discussion around amendments to Australia’s National Waste Policy but very little action,” Mr Calvert said.

“This delay has put extreme pressure on councils as they try and reduce impacts to local communities and ensure environmental outcomes are being met.”

Mr. Calvert said by 2021 Sydney will experience a shortfall of over 1.4 million tonnes of waste processing capacity due to population growth.

“To meet that shortfall we will need to build around 16 new waste facilities,” Mr Calvert said.

“We need to stimulate local recycling markets to ensure we have the capacity to responsibly manage our own waste, which would create opportunities for new jobs and positive outcomes for the environment.”

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WSROC calls on NSW Government to reinvest waste levy funds

The Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) has called on the NSW Government to direct waste levy funds collected in the region to sustainable waste management programs for western Sydney.

According to WSROC President Barry Calvert, the NSW Government has reinvested only $20 million of the $225 million collected from western Sydney waste levies over the last five years.

“Each year councils pay the NSW Government a significant levy on waste sent to landfill, the aim of the levy is admirable – to discourage landfill and encourage recycling and reuse – however, only a small percentage is actually used for this purpose.

“Government should be using waste levy money for the purpose it was collected – to promote a more sustainable waste sector,” he said.

Levy rates for NSW are $81.30 per tonne in regional areas and $141.20 per tonne in metropolitan areas like western Sydney.

Mr Calvert said given that western Sydney processes the majority of the cities waste, improving recycling and resource recovery in the area is critical.

“We should be seeing $234 million invested in helping councils adapt to the new market conditions caused by the China National Sword Policy, investing in the development of local recycling markets and waste processing infrastructure, and implementing measures to reduce waste generation,” Mr Calvert said.

The state governments half yearly budget review, released late last year, showed the treasury collected $769 million in 2017-18.

At the Save Our Recycling Election Summit earlier the year Local Government NSW voiced similar concerns, calling for 100 per cent of waste levy funds to be re-invested into sustainable waste management initiatives for the state.

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Western Sydney Councils release four year plan for waste

Western Sydney councils have joined up to reduce waste, increase recycling and prevent illegal dumping under a newly launched four-year strategy.

The Western Sydney Regional Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2017 – 2021 is a blueprint for a cleaner and more sustainable future.

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The Regional Waste Strategy has received $120,000 in funding from the NSW EPA under the Waste Less Recycle More initiative, which uses funding gathered from the waste levy.

Blue Mountain, Blacktown, Cumberland, Fairfield, Hawkesbury, The Hills, Liverpool, Parramatta and Penrith councils have all committed to participating in the plan.

Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) Vice President Barry Calvert said waste, like water and electricity, is a critical service for any city, delivered almost solely by local government in partnership with industry.

“Councils are constantly working to deliver safe, sustainable and affordable waste services to the community. This is no easy task in a region experiencing rapid growth, increasing household waste generation, and changing recycling markets,” he said.

“Working together allows councils to share knowledge, find efficiencies and work strategically to meet these challenges.”

Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC)
WSROC CEO Charles Casuscelli and WSROC Vice President Cr Barry Calvert.

Western Sydney’s first regional waste strategy was developed in 2014, which has helped local councils cut the percentage of household waste going to landfill from 49 per cent to 43 per cent.

“Our goal is to reach 30 per cent by 2025,” said Cr Calvert.

“Landfill space in Sydney is filling up fast. At the same time, we have a million additional residents moving into the region.

“We must reduce the amount of waste we send to landfill if council waste services are to remain affordable and sustainable well into the future,” he said.

Cr Calvert said the WSROC is working closely with the community to reduce the amount of waste created and to increase the rates of recycling.

“At the regional level councils will work with industry and the state government to identify and support new recycling methods, investigate new technologies and plan for future waste needs,” he said.