A controversial ban imposed on recycling bins in a Queensland town has been declared temporary following brutal backlash faced by the mayor who imposed it.
Andrew Antoniolli, mayor of Ipswich, crippled under mounting pressure to go back on his earlier plan to scrap the recycling program completely.
In an announcement Friday afternoon, Mr Antoniolli revealed the town’s recycling bin service would be briefly halted in favour of hiring ‘short-term contractors’.
Andrew Antoniolli (pictured), mayor of Ipswich, crippled under mounting pressure to go back on his earlier plan to scrap the recycling program completely
A letter sent to Ipswich residents stated too much contamination was the reason behind his move towards ditching the program.
‘We need to reduce contamination levels as a matter of absolute urgency,’ Mr Antoniolli wrote.
The City of Ipswich announced Wednesday that rubbish previously thrown in yellow-lid recycling bins were going to be sent to landfill instead.
Prior to it being announced as a temporary fixture in council plans, Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ)’s chief executive Greg Hallam said the move would ‘be the first of many in Queensland and indeed across Australia’.
Mr Antoniolli revealed the town’s recycling bin service would be briefly halted in favour of hiring ‘short-term contractors’ (stock photo)
‘It’s unfortunate and we would prefer it to be otherwise, but without any sort of subsidy for our recyclable materials, councils just can’t make the maths add up,’ he told ABC News.
Ipswich City Council was told by contractors that they would have to pay a $2 million price hike to continue the service.
A rate rise of 2 per cent would be the only way to cover the costs, according to Mr Antoniolli said.
‘I have spoken personally to the minister on this issue, and made it clear that we’ve been backed into a corner on recycling,’ he wrote in a statement.
Ipswich City Council was told by contractors that they would have to pay a $2 million price hike to continue the service (stock photo)
Another concern was the city’s contamination level, as half of what is found in yellow bins is not recyclable.
For recycling to continue Ipswich would have to reduce its rate of pizza boxes, disposable nappies, food waster broken plates, light bulbs and grass clippings by half.
The massive hike in fees is due to China now refusing to accept recycling waste from Australia, having previously accepted up to a million tonnes annually.
This leads to private contractors having to find other solutions as to what to do with the waste which are not as cheap.
Another concern was the city’s contamination level, as half of what is found in yellow bins is not recyclable (stock photo)
Late last year, when news of China’s ban on importing recycling waste was still sinking in, the Waste Management Association of Australia noted the reason it is so expensive for Australia to recycle their own waste was that we don’t have the market for recycled products.
‘We don’t have sufficient demand in secondary markets of recyclable product on shore at the moment,’ CEO Gayle Sloan said.
The WMAA called on the Federal Government to mandate the use of recycled materials in its purchasing policies, however, the Environment Minister, Josh Frydenberg, responded that it is a matter for State, Territory, and local governments.
A rate rise of 2 per cent would be the only way to cover the costs according to Mayor Andrew Antoniolli (pictured)
The city has not given up on its plan for a sustainable future.
‘While it is fair to say the national recycling system broke sooner than we expected, Ipswich has been looking to the future. We’re making sure we tackle this issue head on,’ Mr Antoniolli wrote in a statement.
Deputy Mayor Wayne Wendt said: ‘The focus on recycling will now be very much about waste reduction. Everybody plays a role in the protection of our environment, and ways to reduce waste now become even more important to our daily lives.’