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Public Exhibition: Draft Waste Resource Management Strategy

Thank you to everyone who took the time to let us know your ideas on waste reduction, which alongside our report information, has helped us formulate our draft Strategy. Council is inviting you to have your say on the strategy during phase two of engagement.

Waste is everyone’s issue – we all have a role to play in reducing the amount of waste generated its impacts on our community. The draft Strategy assesses current waste initiatives and seeks to encourage change to help minimise the amount of waste sent to landfill and its impact on the environment. This is an important step in finding solutions that close the loop on waste.

Now is the time to have your say on the draft Waste Resource Management Strategy.

Have your say

This Draft Waste Resource Management Strategy was on exhibition from 11 May until 21 June 2020.

Your attention is drawn to the provisions of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 which allows for possible access to certain public and personal documentation.

About the Central Coast Waste Strategy

Waste Management in Australia is constantly evolving and recent changes including the Council amalgamation have provided us with an opportunity reassess our waste initiatives and seek to inspire change to help minimise the amount of waste sent to landfill and its impact on the environment.

Council cannot do this alone – we need our community to help guide where this Strategy goes and your willingness to come on board with future initiatives will be the key to its success.

We already provide a number of innovative free recycling options and education programs to help our community reduce the amount of waste being created at home and sent to landfill and these have been successful due to the motivation of our community to do the right thing.

This includes our record-breaking Chemical CleanOut events and problem waste collection units throughout Council, which has seen more than 15 tonnes of batteries, half a tonne of light globes and one tonne of mobile phones collected for recycling.

However, right now more than half of Central Coast residents’ household waste is sent to landfill. In order to make significant improvements, we need to proactively continue to re-evaluate our waste initiatives, with the aim of reducing the amount of waste we send there.

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Public exhibition (Phase 2)
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Why do we need a Waste Management Strategy?

Waste management is an essential service that plays a role in minimising the impacts to our environment, community amenity, and public health. It links directly to the way our community produces and consumes. It concerns everyone.

Waste management is currently facing a series of unprecedented pressures including restrictions on export of household recyclables, constraints around local end markets (buyers of recycled materials), rising community interest in waste management, growing expectations around ‘greener’ outcomes and limitations in available landfill space. Developing a Waste Resource Management Strategy provides an opportunity to respond to these pressures, not just through the implementation of major infrastructure or service changes, but by engaging the community in new perspectives on waste that encourage avoidance, sharing, reuse, redesign and recycling.

Through this Strategy we hope to inform the community of how Central Coast Council is currently performing in the area of waste management and landfill diversion.

If there are solutions to divert waste from landfill why aren’t they simply being implemented?

Activities that divert waste from landfill need to be considered from many perspectives, including:

  • Their contribution towards diversion of waste from landfill

  • Local markets to purchase recycled products

  • Ability to meet planning requirements and regulations

  • Likely community acceptance and uptake of methods

  • Carbon emissions performance

  • Cost of implementation

In order to create the best chance of success, initiatives need to be implemented in a timely manner, with consideration given to best practice and learning from existing case studies, rather than doing things quickly. While Central Coast Council is currently undertaking effective waste management processes, continuous improvement is always a high priority.

Does this mean Council is looking into the possibility of residents being able to dispose of food scraps in the green vegetation bin?

Yes, this is one possibility amongst others being considered to try and stop food scraps being sent to landfill. Currently, the existing green bin is for garden material only and Council is contracted to the system as it is at the moment. However, it is possible that food waste could be included in the green bin organics collection, but that will require significant changes to the existing processes (bin servicing arrangements), a higher level of technology to process the waste, identification of end markets, and significant community education. All options regarding organics collections will be considered as part of the development of the Waste Resource Management Strategy.

If a Food Organics Garden Organics system (FOGO) is implemented does that mean our red waste bins will only be collected every two weeks like the Lake Macquarie Local Government Area?

The intention of the Waste Resource Management Strategy is to allow a broad range of waste initiatives to be considered. This includes a FOGO system with either a weekly or fortnightly red bin collection. Before any changes are put in place there would be extensive education campaigns, so residents are well aware of any changes to their waste processes.

How has Council been impacted by the China Sword Policy and the recent announcement from Malaysia and India that they will no longer receive plastics from 2021?

Council has experienced increased costs for the provision of household recycling service as a result of the China Sword Policy, increased recyclable commodity volumes and cheap imports. This is because the cost to process and recycle products in Australia relative to overseas is generally higher resulting in an increase in the cost of providing household recycling services.

Currently, recoverable mixed plastics are sent to a processing facility in Melbourne, under a new three-year recycling contract with IQ RENEW Pty Ltd.

Under the terms of this contract they are required to process the recyclable materials from the Somersby Facility and reuse/sell for ultimate beneficial reuse. Recyclables are not allowed to be landfilled under the contract – only contaminated or waste materials are diverted to local waste management facilities.

Similarly, Cleanaway Pty Ltd deliver waste collection services across the region and under this contract, all recyclables collected from residents’ yellow lid bins must be taken to the Somersby Facility for processing.

Council is committed to continuing the very successful household recycling service, which saw 2,379 tonnes of recyclables processed in March 2020.

Assistance from our National and State Governments is needed in order to help develop a modern, smart, home grown resource recovery and recycling industry, establish more innovative recycling facilities, producing packaging and products that are easier to recycle and reuse.

Does this mean in the future we will be able to place all items with a recycling symbol into our yellow-lid household bins to be processed?

No. Just because something has a recycling symbol does not mean it can go in your recycling bin. Items need to have a market to be bought and sold into and as soon as it becomes cheaper to create new items rather than recycle items, they become less attractive to the industry. As each Council has different acceptable items, it is worth visiting Central Coast Council's website to see what can and cannot be recycled across the Central Coast - https://www.centralcoast.nsw.gov.au/residents/waste-and-recycling/household-waste

Does Council already have any Waste Avoidance Programs available for residents?

While reducing, reusing and recycling waste are fantastic waste behaviours, waste avoidance is always the highest priority when it comes to waste management practices.

Council's Green Living Workshops teach waste avoidance practices as do programs such as Love Food, Hate Waste.

Other waste avoidance programs we offer include:

  • E-waste recycling – residents can drop off up to 15 household e-waste items our Buttonderry and Woy Woy Waste Management Facilities and Kincumber Transfer Facility for free.

  • Battery, light globe and mobile phone recycling - units can be found at Council’s Gosford and Wyong administration centres and library branches for items to be dropped off for free.

  • Mattress recycling - mattresses can be dropped off for $25 each in addition to the Mixed Waste fee (or free through Council kerbside collection) to be shredded for the recovery of metal springs and other materials

  • Scrap metal - can be dropped off to be recycled for free at any of our Waste Management Facilities. This includes aluminium cans and foil, car bodies (not LPG), whitegoods, tin and steel aerosol cans, and car tyres with rims (maximum 5).

  • Chemical CleanOut events - provided in conjunction with the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE), Council hosts two bi-annual events over two locations each year. It is anticipated that the next events will be held in the second half of the calendar year and announced shortly.

How has Council spent funds from the Waste Management Facility gate fee? What happens to the Waste Levy funds?

Funds collected through Central Coast Council's Waste Management Facility gate fees are used to both operate and remediate the Facilities as well as pay the NSW Waste Levy. The Waste Levy is a contribution for each tonne of waste received at the facility (currently $141.20 per tonne), charged by the NSW State Government – a requirement of The Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (POEO Act). This levy is collected by Central Coast Council and passed in full to the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE).

Central Coast Council paid $57.8m in Waste Levy funds in the 2016/17 and 2017/18 financial years, but only received $670,000 over the same period to assist with waste management, recycling infrastructure, programs and education. This has gone towards Green Living Workshops, Problem Waste Units for battery, light globe and mobile phone recycling, planning and development of a new Community Recycling Centre, and a Craig Reucassel waste talk, amongst other educational initiatives.

Please visit epa.nsw.gov.au/your-environment/waste/waste-levy for more information.

What is Council currently doing to offset carbon emissions from waste that is sent to landfill?

Landfill gas is a natural consequence of organic (predominately food) waste decomposing. Council is successfully reducing our carbon footprint by generating electricity through the extraction and combustion of landfill gas at our Waste Management Facilities, which created enough renewable energy to power more than 4500 local homes last financial year.

As part of the national Cities Power Partnership Program Cities Power Partnership Program to actively reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Council is also looking to increase the efficiency of the landfill gas capture at its Waste Management Facilities.

Will there be a change to tipping fees?

It is unknown at the moment what effect the Waste Resource Management Strategy initiatives will have on tipping fees. Any proposed changes to tipping fees will be put on public exhibition and open to comment.

If all initiatives are implemented does this mean our rates will increase?

It is unknown at the moment what effect the Waste Resource Management Strategy initiatives will have on rates. Any proposed changes to rates will be put on public exhibition and open to comment.

What about soft plastics?

Central Coast Council does not currently accept soft plastics through the household yellow-lid recycling bin, though is currently investigating innovative methods and technologies. For example, soon the community may be able to drop off soft plastics free of charge at Council facilities to be baled and recycled by new innovative industries currently evolving in Australia (through roads and outdoor equipment). More information will be communicated on this project in due course.

Why does Council conduct studies and plans?

Flooding has the potential to cause considerable damage and disruption to a community. In addition to tangible damage, floods also impose high levels of intangible damage such as increased levels of stress on affected communities. Council undertakes studies so there is a better understanding of the flood hazard in the study area, and the information from the flood study will be used as the basis of a future floodplain risk management study for the area.

The main objectives of the floodplain risk management process are to:

  • minimise risk to life, health and safety
  • reduce flood damage to property and infrastructure in the existing community
  • ensure future development is controlled in a manner which is compatible with a catchments flood risk
  • protect and enhance the floodplain environment and be consistent with relevant state government policies
  • ensure that the flood study and/or floodplain risk management study and plan has the support of the local community.

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