There has been a lot of discussion about recycling in the media recently. Please be assured that recycling in Esperance is still a vital component of our Waste Strategy and we strongly encourage everyone to keep recycling.
We have had a few questions from people who have heard about Ipswich council in Queensland halting their recycling collection. There are a number of reasons for this - one being that Queensland does not have a waste levy which means that landfilling can be a cheaper option than recycling, WA has a waste levy.
The other more published reason is due to China’s National Sword campaign which aims to crackdown on foreign waste entering the country. China has imposed higher quality specifications on all imports, in order to reduce the amount of poor quality products being sent to China. If recycling bales or loads contain too much contamination or waste they can be sent back to their place of origin.
Esperance has been reassured by our major recycling merchant that it is business as usual for our recycling product. Most recycled products are sold into other Asian markets, and they have not sold into China for a long time apart from some plastics.
Some changes have also been made to ensure the quality of product remains high, these include: Imposing higher specifications for product received, more stringent inspection of product received and the rejection of substandard /contaminated product. The merchants also issue NCRs (Non-Conformance Reports) for any supplier of recyclables who deliver substandard/contaminated product to merchant’s sites.
The Shire of Esperance has a great track record in this area. We produce high quality recycling product due to our fantastic crew and community for a relatively low contamination rate.
The fact that Esperance hand sort recyclables means that a lot of the contamination is intercepted before it is sent to the buyers. The experienced recycling team know the categories well and ensure that only compliant, clean products are baled. The Esperance community can assist by rinsing all products eg milk and yoghurt containers and check the recycling schedule for accepted products. Generally the blue bin is for food and consumer packaging items – plastics, aluminium, food tins, glass, cardboard and paper products and it needs to be free of residual food or soiled material.
An additional positive for Esperance in terms of recycling is that the Shire owns and operates the Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) which means we are not locked into one buyer or market for recyclable products. We are a community that is passionate about recycling and Council supports these initiatives.
Council is committed to recycling and waste reduction and are continually exploring new markets and opportunities in waste minimisation and diversion. The purchase of a glass crusher in 2017 stemmed from a reduction in the glass recycling rebate. This would have meant an increased cost in sending glass to Perth. The purchase of the glass crusher allows us to process the glass on site and the end product is used in road base and civil works - recycled and reused in our community.
The future of recycling is looking positive, future recycling projects include working in conjunction with the state government when the container deposit and single use plastic bag legislation is implemented later this year.
Did you know the Shire of Esperance was the first permanent drop-off partner in WA under the TechCollect Ewaste program? We have been involved in the Garage Sale Trail for the past two years and have signed up for a further three. These are great initiatives aimed at avoiding, reusing and recycling waste at every opportunity.
The Shire of Esperance strongly encourages the community to keep using your blue bins for recycling as we strive to minimise waste going to landfill.