Port Macquarie-Hastings Council seeks clarity over recyclables management from contractor

Port Macquarie-Hastings Council has written JR Richards & Sons to clarify the waste contractor’s management of recyclables collected from households and businesses in the LGA.

The move follows the airing of Monday night’s ABC 4 Corners program which alleged the stockpiling and land filling of thousands of tonnes of glass.

Council said once it received advice from JR Richards, it will determine what action, if any, needs to be taken to ensure the community that recycling efforts achieve the desired outcomes.

“While council is confident that our recyclables are being managed properly, it is important that we can confirm the current situation so that community confidence in recycling is maintained,” a council spokesperson said.

“Information will be made available to the community as it becomes available.

“The Port Macquarie-Hastings community is demonstrating the right behaviours when it comes to recycling, and council’s investment in waste education programs will continue to drive positive community outcomes.”

The NSW Environmental Protection Authority – the industry regulator – described waste disposal and management as ‘complex’.

“The state government has the strongest waste regulations in the country and one of the highest recycling rates compared to other states,’” the EPA said.

The state government has the strongest waste regulations in the country and one of the highest recycling rates compared to other states. - NSW Environmental Protection Authority

“Waste disposal and management is complex, encompassing multiple industries and levels of government. The proximity principle was introduced with the intention of keeping waste managed locally and to address the issues associated with interstate waste transport.

“It has proven challenging to enforce so the NSW EPA is leading work with its interstate counterparts to discuss national approach to waste regulation.”

The EPA has a strong prosecution track record. In the past financial year, it completed 100 prosecutions with about $2.36 million in fines issued, making it a record year for financial penalties.

“Illegal dumping is an abhorrent environmental crime. It leads to pollution, risks human health and leads to unsightly community spaces. Combating illegal dumping is of the highest priority for the EPA, and the EPA is working with the NSW government to reduce illegal dumping incidents by 30 per cent in 2020.”

The EPA said the state government has committed more than $800 million to waste management and recycling over nine years.

From 2017 until 2021 almost $340 million will go towards recycling and waste management including $88.5 million for resource recovery infrastructure, $57 million for household problem waste programs, including $37 million for community recycling centre collections and processing, $70 million for councils’ waste and resource recovery projects, $65 million to combat illegal dumping and $30 million for litter reduction programs.

Go to council’s website for information on its waste recycling programs.

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