We are aiming to address major challenges facing the waste and recycling industry with a new long-term strategy.
Australia is facing a wide range of issues in the waste sector, such as China’s ban on contaminated recyclable materials, the current closure of three Victorian recycling centres, rising processing costs and landfills that are edging closer to capacity.
In addition, concerns around climate change provide incentive to live more sustainably and to preserve our environment for the health of current and future generations.
We are seeking community input ahead of the development of a Waste and Resource Recovery Strategy, which will help fight Geelong’s war on waste.
The strategy will set our long-term goals to reduce waste and increase the rate of recoverable material being diverted from landfill, in line with circular economy and One Planet Living principles.
54.75 per cent of garbage, recyclables and garden organics were diverted from landfill in 2017-2018.
While it is more than 10 per cent higher than the Victorian council average of 44.69 per cent, we are keen to improve our diversion rate.
One potential measure is to reduce the amount of food waste that is being sent to landfill.
A household audit in 2018 showed that food organics made up 34 per cent of all the material found in residential waste bins.
This would be the equivalent of each Geelong resident throwing out about 70 kilograms of food waste each year.
We are investigating ways to divert food waste from the red lid waste bins.
Options being explored include the introduction of a food organics collection service and a greater opportunity for social welfare agencies to access food that would otherwise become waste.
Development of the strategy comes on the back of other recent City waste initiatives, such as:
- the $3.5 million garden organics composting facility, to process garden organics collected in kerbside green bins
- the Drysdale renewable energy facility, which is turning landfill gas into electricity
- the hard waste collection service trial, which begins in April
- work in partnership with other councils to explore a waste-to-energy solution and
- a Plastic Wise Program to reduce single-use plastics.
Before we begin developing a new long-term strategic direction,we are keen to hear from our community on future waste management.
Please provide your views on two discussion topics: Geelong's War on Waste and Reducing Our Food Waste.
Consultation began on Monday 18 February 2019 and will continue until Friday 15 March 2019.
Councillor Bruce Harwood - Mayor
Based on predicted growth rates, Geelong is expected to generate 58,700 tonnes of waste per year in 2026.
With processing costs rising, we have been actively seeking alternative options to treat and process our waste.
We would like to hear your thoughts on how we should respond to the challenges facing the national waste sector.
Your feedback will help us create a sustainable strategy for managing the increasing amount of waste across Geelong.
Councillor Sarah Mansfield - Chair Environment and Sustainability portfolio
Our community is increasingly aware of the impact of consumption and waste on our environment and are looking for ways to live more sustainably.
There are fantastic initiatives to achieve this happening at the grassroots level, however to make a significant impact these need to be supported by governments and businesses.
We can play a significant role in empowering the community to live more sustainably, and I look forward to hearing from community members about how we can best achieve this.