National Recycling Week highlights need for NSW recycling refresher course

National Recycling Week is the perfect time to make sure the beloved Aussie institution of kerbside waste collection and recycling creates a product not a problem, Local Government NSW (LGNSW) President Linda Scott said.

Cr Scott said it was time to get serious about educating people on creating a cleaner recycling stream through kerbside collections that would not only prevent material going to landfill unnecessarily but enable new products to be made and re-used again and again.

“Councils across the State are doing a great job helping people to recycle the right way, but they are also battling to reduce the huge volume of products that can’t be recycled but that are ending up in the yellow bin,” Cr Scott said.

“Items such as nappies and food leftovers in the recycling bin contaminate the items that can be recycled – glass, paper and plastic drink bottles – making recycling of these items more difficult and costly. And plastic bags clog the sorting equipment costing money and time.

“Part of the problem is that these contaminants must be sorted from the recyclables, which is not always easy, and then sent to landfill at a cost.

“In the past the problem was simply being exported overseas, but with a national ban on waste exports starting January (2021), it’s up to us to deal with it locally.

“LGNSW has long advocated for an overhaul of the State’s waste and recycling management, and we hope the upcoming State Budget will finally invest in real changes.

“A critical component is an extensive and coordinated education plan to ensure people know how to sort out what is recyclable and what is not. We cannot assume they just know. A clean recycling stream will help local recyclers and manufacturers, save money and create new jobs.”

Cr Scott said an extensive waste and recycling education effort was part of LGNSW’s Save Our Recycling campaign to deal with the more than 580,000 tonnes of recycling from households’ yellow bins that will need to be processed locally starting January 2021.

“Councils already lead the way in recycling and waste management – not just collecting it, but also re-using it,” she said.

“But councils can’t do it alone. LGNSW is calling on the State Government to put recycling to the front of the agenda by dedicating much needed funding for local government to develop waste management planning, education and infrastructure.

“The NSW Government collects around $800 million annually through its Waste Levy. This money could be used to help fund council development of regional waste plans and build priority infrastructure.

“That, along with a commitment of Increased local and State Government procurement of recycled goods made with domestic content, would revolutionise waste and recycling and address what is becoming an increasingly pressing and expensive issue for councils and their communities.”

Source: LGNSW