Important waste and recycling information for Lismore residents

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Lismore City Council would like to reassure residents that recycling and waste practices in Lismore are best-practice in the wake of a Four Corners program on Monday night that revealed many councils are trucking waste to landfills in Queensland.

Lismore has its own landfill cell and anything that cannot be recycled is landfilled right here in Lismore. There was an exception to this during the March flood, when Council received almost 50% of its entire annual waste stream in a four-week period.

To cope with this, Council sent some waste to a tea tree bioenergy landfill in Queensland, located at Ipswich. This was not a traditional landfill but an old coal mine pit that will be filled, capped and the methane converted to electricity to power homes.

“While this was necessary due to the sheer volume of waste collected during the flood, our normal practice is not to send waste away for landfill,” Council’s Commercial Services Business Manager Kevin Trustum said.

“We are committed to recycling waste we generate in our own backyard locally wherever possible, and this was a big motivation for building the $3.65 million Materials Recovery Facility and Glass Processing Plant in 2014.”

In the next financial year, Council will build a $2.5 million commercial waste sorting facility, which will hopefully reduce waste going to landfill by another 50% – or around 10,000 tonnes per year.

Much like the Materials Recovery Facility, this machine is essentially a large conveyor belt, and staff will be employed to remove any recyclable materials so these can be fed into the recycling stream.

“We are always trying to improve our recycling and find ways to keep reducing what is going to landfill,” Kevin said.

“Not only is this good for the environment but we will save money as we will not have to pay the waste levy on materials that don’t go to landfill. On top of this, we can earn money by selling more recyclables and provide jobs for local people.”

As well as operating its own landfill, Council recycles other products in the following ways:

  • Plastics, aluminium, steel, paper and cardboard is baled and sold to market.
  • Glass is crushed into a sand product, which is used in road base and pipe bedding.
  • Green waste is collected and turned into compost on site at the Lismore Recycling & Recovery Centre.
  • Plastic bags and polystyrene are recycled and sold to market.
  • Mobile phones, electronics and other hard to recycle items are collected by the EPA to be dismantled and component parts recycled.
  • Chemicals, paints and other hazardous materials are collected by the EPA to be disposed of safely.

The Materials Recovery Facility has grown to become a regional recycling hub, and currently processes recyclables for surrounding councils including Ballina, Byron, Richmond Valley and Tenterfield.

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