With the crash of the international waste market Council officers recently provided the following information about waste management in Willoughby.
1. Sydney recycling plant to shut as market prices collapse, costs soar.
Willoughby Council was notified in December 2019 that Polytrade would cease recycling
operations on 31 January 2020. A new arrangement between JJ Richards and iQRenew
commenced on 3 February 2020 and will continue for the term of the waste collection
contract in July 2022.
The new recycling arrangement will cost approximately $1 million per annum more than what was originally budgeted however the cost to recycle the material is still less than the cost to send it to landfill. There will be no impacts on the budget in the current
financial year due to reduced costs in waste disposal. There are adequate Waste
Reserves to cater for the increased costs in the 2020/21 financial year.
2. Burning Waste for energy
Council has no policy regarding burning waste for energy. We are currently waiting for
the NSW Governments 20 Year Waste Strategy discussion paper (set to be released this
3. The previous WCC Waste Committee and members of the community have over 20
years requested that WCC establish a food waste collection and recycling scheme.
In response to those concerns WCC undertook the Non Fatty-Food Waste
Collection Trial (1999) with promising results. However, food waste stream was
not progressed and food waste remains a large proportion of our waste. Outline
potential for council to establish an food/organic waste collection, similar to those
that operate in Melbourne, Penrith and Inner West LGAs.
The food waste stream is being addressed. Since 2007 Willoughby Council, as part of
the NSROC Waste Alliance, has processed its waste through Veolia’s Advanced Waste
Technologies (AWT) at Woodlawn Eco-precinct. This process extracts the organic
composition (food waste) to produce compost and capture methane gas which then
produces energy, this waste is being processed by Veolia. Veolia are awaiting a site
specific approval from the NSW EPA to use the compost-like product to rehabilitate the
old mine site at Woodlawn Eco-precinct.
4. Quantify wastes captured in GPT in total, and where possible the approximate
weight of waste (plastic, glass) captured that may otherwise be recycled. Quantify
costs to council to remove this waste that should not have entered our stormwater
systems. What other more effective systems may be developed to remove this
waste, litter and debris from streets, and stormwater and/or potential that this
waste be sorted and streamed?
The current year’s budget for GPT and Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) cleaning
is $100k. It is estimated that this year we will remove 250 tonnes of material from these
devices. In February 2019, an audit was conducted into GPT waste. The top five items of
litter are: Ceramics/Rock (30.1%), Plastic Film/Bags (22.8%), Textiles/Rags (8.5%),
Aluminium beverage containers (8%), woody organics (7.7%) and PET containers (6%).
These services are contracted to a third party service provider who claims to divert over
90% of this waste away from landfill. The waste is screened and then used to make
compost and soil mixes.
Willoughby City Council has delivered the majority of its GPTs as planned. The following
4 years will focus on:
- WSUD – creating more naturalised pond areas, rain-gardens and bio-retention
- Street sweeping – Increasing the amount of street sweeping to reduce pollutants
entering into waterways.
- Targeted pollution reduction – In 2021 Willoughby will be trialling surveillance and
data monitoring to identify and target suspected polluters to reduce waste
pollutants entering into waterways.
5. According to media (SMH 12.2.20) council may increase waste charges. Please
provide estimation of potential waste fee increases and when may these be
The new recycling arrangement will cost an additional $1 million per year. However the
cost to recycle the material is still less than the cost to send it to landfill. There will be no
impacts on the budget in the current financial year due to reduced costs in waste
disposal. There are adequate Waste Reserves to cater for the increased costs in the
2020/21 financial year.
6. Extent to which council will be precluded from initiating other waste management
strategies (e.g. recycling plastics, food) as a result of the NSROC waste contract.
The NSROC Waste Alliance provides five councils in the region access to the $100
million dollar Advanced Waste Technologies (AWT) processing facility. If approval is
given to apply the compost to mine site rehabilitation, over the 10 year contract period up to 280,000 tonnes of waste will be diverted from landfill.
The NSROC Waste Alliance arrangement provides a solution for red-bin garbage and
clean up (bulky) waste. Council has an arrangement with SUEZ to compost garden
organics. This high quality compost has a very low contamination rate (less than 2%).
Council is now sending its recycling to iQRenew, and materials are being processed
7. Waste management in many multi-unit buildings is in need of improvement, as a
result of poor waste streaming, overflowing bins and presence rats. How can
council escalate strategies to improve waste education more effectively
throughout our community, improve waste management, re-use and recycling,
reduce waste, and eliminate rats and other feral vermin.
This year, Council is commencing a Multi-unit Dwelling waste project which will include
collaboration with strata, building managers and body corporates and involves
conducting a site audit of every bin room. The project will focus on ensuring Council’s
data on the number and type of bins at each premises is up to date and to ensure
buildings have sufficient recycling bins and appropriate signage. Council already
contacts strata and building managers with offers of free educational materials and letter box drops at buildings with waste management issues but is unable to install
infrastructure or signage on private property without the landowner’s consent.
Bin rooms need to be supervised by occupiers and building managers, so that they are
kept clean, excess waste is controlled and bins are not overflowing. Council may, upon
receiving complaint, direct the owners/occupiers by way of a Local Government Act 1993
Order to take appropriate action to ensure that the land is in a safe and healthy
condition. If the problem persists and is significant where vermin is identified, Council
may require a vermin proof garbage area to be constructed.
8. Plastic Free Willoughby – Quantify reduction in single use plastic bags and
containers saved within the LGA as a result of the initiative.
Council started working with the Chatswood markets in August 2018. Officers requested
all stallholders remove plastic bags, plastic cutlery, straws and plastic takeaway
containers. Council does not monitor and verify data on single use plastic at Chatswood
markets or any other location as it is not feasible to collect this information. However
anecdotally there has been a noticeable reduction in single use plastic.
In addition to this, the internal Willoughby City Council ban on single-use plastic has
drastically reduced plastic use due to the provision of reusable items which can be
borrowed for internal meetings, seminars and workshops.
Council is continuing to focus on single use plastic reduction. A new behaviour-change
app (Bye Bye Plastic) will soon be trialled to further encourage the reduction in plastic
9. Proportion of Waste Levy collected by NSW government that is returned to
The NSW Waste Levy raises nearly $800 million each year. According to a NSW
Parliamentary Inquiry in 2018, about 13 percent of the Waste Levy revenue was
reinvested in waste and regulatory programs, and a further 13 percent went to
environmental programs. In 2018/19, Willoughby City Council paid $2.2 million in Waste
Levy payments. Willoughby received around $110K during the same period as part of
the Waste Less, Recycle More grants program. In February 2019 Council wrote to the
NSW Premier and Minister for Local Government, Environment and Heritage for the
waste levy to be re-invested in the waste and recycling industry and to help build a
10. Capacity for council to advocate for increased and extended producer
responsibility e.g. for packaging.
Willoughby City Council joined the LGNSW ‘Save our Recycling’ campaign in December
2018, advocating for the Waste Levy to be re-invested in the waste and recycling
industry and to help build a circular economy.
11. Quantify proportion waste from demolition across Willoughby LGA that is
recycled. How is it monitored? Does it comply with council resolution that
minimum 85% building waste be recycled?
All Development Applications approved by Willoughby Council must include a Waste
Management Plan. This details how the development will achieve an 85% recycling
target. This is now standard practice for the construction and demolition industry in NSW, in part due to the waste levy (currently $143.60 per tonne) and high landfill disposal costs. It is now cheaper to sort construction and demolition waste and have it recycled than sent to landfill.
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