NSW Rubbish Tips Are Nearly Full

by: Lucy Jones | 5 months ago | News

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NSW councils don't know what they are going to do about their overflowing rubbish tips. "We're basically drowning in our own waste," Coffs Harbour councillor Sally Townley told ABC News.

"In Coffs Harbour, the waste that we are generating each year has quadrupled in the last decade,” she continued.

"So people are buying more, using more, throwing more things away.”

Rubbish tips in NSW are almost at capacity, and many of them will be full in the next one to three years, but the state government still doesn’t have a waste management policy. Despite increasing the levy on waste, the NSW state government is doing little to address this waste crisis. This year, the state government will collect $133.4 million from the waste and environment levy but it is only investing a small percentage of those funds back into recycling initiatives.

"We know last year the State Government collected $727 million in one year from the waste levy," Local Government New South Wales president, Linda Scott, said.

"Of that, $300 million was from local governments, and yet only 18% was returned to local government for the management of waste."

Nationally, the Australia government makes around $1.5 billion from the waste levy every year but most of this money, around 80%, goes to consolidated revenue.

Greens environment spokeswoman Cate Faehrmann accused the government of using the levy to "prop up their budget bottom line instead of responding to the serious and escalating waste crisis in NSW".

“It is scandalous that the government will invest only 16 per cent of the $2.1 billion raised by the waste levy over the next four years into reducing waste despite the massive and unsustainable increases to landfill predicted," she said.

Recycling bodies have also raised concerns about the health and safety risks of stockpiling waste.

"There is not much space at all," chief executive of the National Waste and Recycling Industry Council Rose Reid told the Sydney Morning Herald. "It's getting closer and closer to being a real risk if something falls over."

Chief executive of the Australian Council of Recycling, Pete Shmigel, said that we need to come up with ways to turn our waste into new products, instead of just opening more landfills.

"At the end of the day, you're not recycling until you make a new product out of the material that we all put out on our kerbs,” he said.

Head of the Total Environment Centre, Jedd Angel, agreed that its high time for the government to develop effective waste management policies and invest in recycling initiatives.

"We don't want more landfills, incineration and wasted resources, but that is the future we are facing if government, industry and the community don't get on top of the problem," he said.

"It's time to reduce the consolidated revenue take of waste levy money, improve regulation, and make even bigger investments in reducing waste."

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