One of every councils core functions is to provide a domestic waste collection and resource recovery service for residents. Councils provide this service differently depending on the priorities for their local communities.
Wollondilly Shire Council provides a weekly red-lid and a fortnightly yellow- and green-lid service, and two kerbside clean-ups per year on a scheduled basis. Following responses to our recent community survey on the future of waste management in the Shire, we are currently investigating the option to change over to on-call clean-ups.
Wollondilly has a strong strategy and action plan to improve our waste collection and resource recovery service. This includes updating our waste processing & disposal as well as collection contracts over the next couple of years to provide the best possible service at the lowest possible price for the community.
Technologies associated with the recovery, re-use and recycling of the waste materials we collect can be complex and specialised, as can the management of landfills or other facilities for waste that cannot be recovered. For example, the yellow-lid bin contains a range of recyclable materials including paper, cardboard, steel, aluminium, glass, and various types of plastics. Separating these products for recycling involves a combination of various specialised technologies and manual labour. Once the materials are separated, people with strong negotiation skills and specialised knowledge of the commodities market sell the separated products to re-manufacturing companies.
Similarly, the green waste we collect needs to be converted into a range of products including high-grade compost to meet strict environmental standards, lower-grade compost for, say, contaminated site rehabilitation, soil additives and conditioners and other products for agricultural use and for sale at retail outlets. The market demand for these product types fluctuates rapidly, and the recycler constantly monitors market demand to determine which products they will generate at any given time. It’s generally considered that processing of the materials we collect from the kerbside is not a core council function, as it requires highly refined specialised skills and experience, and therefore it’s a function best left to the specialists in the industry. For this reason, most councils, including Wollondilly, contract out the processing and disposal of the materials we collect.
NSW faces a number of significant challenges in relation to waste management. Waste infrastructure and landfill capacity within the Sydney metropolitan area is near capacity. Recent and impending changes to waste regulatory measures have created uncertainty in the industry and a reduced appetite for commercial risk. The stringent environmental compliance requirements placed on Energy from Waste Infrastructure has created challenges for the waste industry.
In addition, the NSW Government’s recent announcement of only four specific precincts in the state where Energy from Waste infrastructure will be permitted, set back a number of major waste infrastructure projects that until that point were well under way through the planning and design process, resulting in a further delay in the availability of viable waste infrastructure. Given the four approved precincts are all in rural locations a considerable distance from Sydney, the increased cost of transporting the waste to these facilities will be borne by the ratepayers of the most densely populated parts of the state. The NSW Environment Protection Authority’s recent change of position on acceptable input materials for FOGO bins has created concern among councils about the financial and contractual risks that the implementation of FOGO may place on their residents.
At 21 persons per square kilometre, Wollondilly Shire has one of the smallest population-to-square kilometre figures in the Sydney region. In stark comparison, our neighbouring councils of Camden, Campbelltown and Liverpool have ratios of 597, 571 and 767 persons per square kilometre respectively. This means that Wollondilly’s domestic waste collection contractor has very large distances to travel to service our households.
Therefore, unlike our neighbours who have much larger populations to share the cost of a service spread across a much smaller geographic area, Wollondilly has the challenge of providing a service across a vast geographic region and having to share the cost of that service between a significantly smaller population. One of the longer term benefits of continued population growth in the Wollondilly Shire will be that the total cost of the waste collection service will be diluted across a larger number of properties.
Small Business Month 2023
Creating a Habitat Garden Workshop
Tahmoor DNA BMX Park Working Bee
BMX Park Adventure Play Upgrade now complete
Local Heritage List to preserve the past for future generations
Small Business Month Activities in Wollondilly this October