Wollongong City Council has come out in defence of its recycling outcomes following last night’s Four Corners program on the ABC.
You can watch that HERE
Four Corners found mountains of glass, collected but not recycled, blowing apart confidence in our progression toward Australia’s environmental sustainability.
In Wollongong however, we can rest assured our recycling is being correctly handled.
Council staff have spoken with Visy Recycling to confirm the contractual arrangement. This states more than 90 per cent of the material collected in the yellow top rubbish bins must be recycled.
A Council spokesperson says in light of the Four Corners program, they will be in touch with various waste providers seeking further assurance over how recyclables from the Wollongong local government area are being managed.
SO WHERE DOES OUR WASTE GO?
“Recycling (yellow lid)
From the kerbside, Recycling is taken to a transfer station at Kembla Grange which is operated by Visy Recycling. At this facility the material from our yellow kerbside recycling bins is loaded into large transport vehicles and bulk hauled to Visy’s Materials Recovery Facility at Smithfield. The Smithfield facility sorts the recyclables into different product types including, paper, plastic, glass and metals before distributing the individual material types for recycling.
Organics (green lid)
From the kerbside, garden organics are taken initially to a sorting and processing facility at Kembla Grange which is operated by Soilco. Here our organics are screened and reduced in size as part of a process to develop a nutrient-rich material used for soil, soil improvers and mulch.
On-Call Clean-Up – Recycling
The recyclable items collected via Council’s On-Call Clean-Up Service includes mattresses, e-waste, tyres and scrap metal. Mattresses are taken to Bellambi for recycling, and the tyres, e-waste and scrap metal are brought to the Wollongong Waste and Resource Recovery Park where the loads are aggregated and then sent for recycling.
Residual Waste (red lid) and On-Call Clean-Up (non-recyclables)
Waste collected from our kerbside red bins and the general waste portion of the On-Call Clean-Up is taken to the Wollongong Waste and Resource Recovery Park (Whytes Gully) to be landfilled. This facility is owned and operated by Wollongong City Council.
In addition to operating a landfill at this site, Council provides a Revolve and Community Recycling Centre and accepts a large range of recyclable items free of charge to encourage residents to sort their waste and save on disposal costs. Items include commingled recyclables, paper and cardboard, batteries and mobile phones, waste motor oil, gas bottles and fire extinguishers, fridges and freezers, scrap metal and televisions, computers and computer peripherals.
Waste Disposal Costs
The gate fee at the Wollongong Waste and Resource Recovery Park for 2017/18 is $367 per tonne. Over 65 per cent of Council’s gate fee is made up of various levy’s and taxes, which includes the State Government’s Waste Levy. The Waste Levy aims to reduce the amount of waste being landfilled and promote recycling and resource recovery. Last year, Wollongong City Council paid out more than $15 million in Waste Levy.
The Environment Protection Authority subsequently uses some of these funds to help the community avoid waste and increase the diversion of waste from landfill and into resource recovery through a funding program titled Waste Less, Recycle More. In the current financial year Wollongong City Council will receive approximately $216,000 of guaranteed funding through this program. Council may also be eligible for additional contestable grant funding opportunities under the program.