Dubbo Regional Council is considering ways to become a leader for resource recovery.
There has been a growing concern within NSW councils since China’s National Sword Policy went public, stating the country would reduce the amount of recyclable materials it accepts from foreign countries.
About half of Australia’s recycling is processed in the country and the other half is sent to China.
Council has urged the NSW government to use 100 per cent of the funds it collects from the waste levy into recycling, resource recovery and waste management infrastructure. It’s also investigating all the opportunities available for resource recovery.
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Mayor Ben Shields said he was looking at securing funding from higher levels of government to make it happen.
“I believe our council is well-placed to be a leader when it comes to resource recycling, with the Whylandra Waste and Recycling Centre capable of accommodating more infrastructure. We are looking at becoming a centre of innovation and best practice,” Cr Shields said.
“We know that China’s restriction on importing waste has placed pressure on Australia’s recycling and there is a growing concern that Councils and therefore ratepayers will be left with mounting costs to deal with it.”
Cr Shields said it would be a disaster if China’s decision lead to the death of kerbside recycling or increased costs.
However, the mayor said Dubbo was an ideal location to accept recycling from other council areas, located at the crossroads of three major highways and with a rail line located on the edge of the Whylandra facility.
As part its strategic planning process, council has already undertaken preliminary investigations into potential locations for a large-scale recycling facility at the Whylandra site and has a strong understanding of the supporting infrastructure required to integrate it into the overall operation of the facility.
Initial investigations found the ideal plant would be a combination of automated processing and positive sorting to ensure a clean product. Council would also consider whether it could partially power the by using landfill gas and solar power.
“Dubbo Regional Council is very happy is very happy to lead the way on this issue and we believe it could have very positive impacts for the local community,” Cr Shields said.
“Through our collaboration with Netwaste, which represents 26 local government areas covering 40 per cent of NSW, we are well placed to develop a regional recycling facility in Dubbo which could become a showcase for other regional areas across Australia.”
In March, the NSW government introduced a $47 million support package to help local government and the industry respond to the recycling changes.