Recycling costs set to rise
Ratepayers could be facing increased recycling costs and a push for mandatory participation as the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River faces a major price jump due to a Chinese crackdown on imported waste.
Challenges in WA’s recycling industry, mainly due to China put- ting strict limits on imported waste materials, triggered the recent request for a cost variation which councillors will consider next week.
Recycling company Suez is seeking a 37 per cent increase for its kerbside recycling service, with the Shire contract to expire in June.
The cost could be passed on to ratepayers after the next mid-year budget review, with the increase estimated at about $50,000 for six months service.
Further details were covered by commercial confidentiality.
The change comes as elected members prepare to review their long-awaited waste feasibility study, expected to guide the Shire’s waste management ahead of the Davis Road tip reaching the end of its lifespan.
Increased recycling costs seemed likely, as well as more education for ratepayers and possible mandatory participation.
“The current feasibility study has acknowledged that the lack of a mandatory recycling service is resulting in a lot of this material filling up our landfill instead of being recycled,” the report said.
“It will be proposed that the Shire introduces mandatory recycling to increase the recycling rate, and to increase the diversion of recyclable material away from landfill and minimise the contamination of both bins.”
Feedback from Suez, contained
in the council report, said waste from the South West was “more contaminated than their Perth metro product”, and more workers, as well as an upgrade to its processing centre, would improve efficiency.
The news follows further changes to recycling guidelines, announced just after the Shire completed its recent waste and recycling guide.
Last month, the Shire’s waste guide was updated online to reflect a new agreement from WA’s main contractors about reducing yellow-bin contamination, and which materials had the best prospect of recycling.
Reducing waste to landfill and overall household consumption was expected to be central to the new waste strategy.
Although the Shire could quit the contract, a better price from other operators was unlikely, the report said.
“The resulting impact for local governments is the passing on of increased sorting costs which is driving up the collection costs,” the report said.
“At the current collection rates, it is not viable for Australian recyclers to collect and process materials that would be delivered to the market at a profit.”