Ipswich council to send all recycling to landfill

ALL recycling collected in Ipswich will be sent to landfill from now on.   

It comes as Ipswich City Council tries to grapple with China's ban on imported recycling products.   

Recycling contractors have told the council the charge to dispose of recycling items would skyrocket, if recycling continued in its current state.   

The increase cost would be in the order of $2 million each year.  

Covering the increased cost would mean a 1.5%-2% rate rise.  

It's a problem councils around Australia will face in the coming months, with nowhere to process recycling and stockpiles reaching limits. 

Would you pay higher rates if it meant your recycling wouldn't go landfill?

This poll ended on 26 April 2018.

Current Results

Absolutely, I care about the environment


No, we already pay enough in rates


I don't care either way


This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.


While Ipswich council has made the decision to landfill all recycling - for an indefinite period of time - it is looking for solutions.   

By mid-year, the council will call tenders to bid on waste-to-energy projects to dispose of some of the areas rubbish in a way that produces energy.  

"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.   

"While it is fair to say the national recycling system broke sooner than we expected, Ipswich has been looking to the future. We're making sure we tackle this issue head on.  

"I have spoken personally to the minister on this issue, and made it clear that we've been backed into a corner on recycling."    

Minister for Environment Leeanne Enoch labelled the move as a 'terrible outcome' for the environment.

"I am disappointed with Ipswich City Council's decision to place collected recycling into landfill," Ms Enoch said.

"Councils are stuck without an opportunity to recycle this waste, which is a terrible outcome for the environment."

She said the government is in discussions with other Australian states and territories about China's ban on importing recycled material.

"Last month I wrote to the Federal Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg to communicate the urgent need for action from the Turnbull Government and affirmed the need for this issue to be on the agenda at the Meeting of Environment Ministers next week," Ms Enoch said.

"While I am yet to receive a response from Minister Frydenberg, I am pleased that this matter is now on the agenda for the meeting."



The problem

UNTIL recently, China has been accepting some 1 million tonnes of recycling waste from Australia each year and 30 million tonnes from across the world.

The shift has threatened the viability of kerbside recycling in Australia which is no longer economically viable.

According to the New South Wales Government, 1.25 million tonnes of recycled material was sent from Australia to China in the 2016-2017 year.

Last year the manufacturing giant warned it would ban the importation of certain recyclable plastics.

Known as the National Sword policy, the China ban covers 24 categories of solid waste.

At the start of January 2017, however, China began to stringently enforce restrictions on the importation of recycled materials under its National Sword policy.

The National Sword policy has been introduced in phases.

In July, China made it clear there would be a reduction in the imports of certain materials.

This has impacted council contracts across the country including the agreement Ipswich City Council has with its contractor.

It means recycling picked up from your home has nowhere to go.

Stockpiling of recycling has been ongoing for some time, presenting a health and fire hazard.

There are limits on the amount of waste that can be stockpiled and those limits have been reached.  

This month, the Queensland waste industry will hold a forum in Bundaberg to discuss potential solutions to the unfolding crisis.

Discussions will centre around the Chinese Government's decision to restrict the amount of waste being imported and how it effects Queensland's domestic recycling capabilities.

The forum, supported by the Queensland Government Environment Department, will be held on April 26 and 27 in Bundaberg.

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