Call to turn recycling crisis into council opportunity

Cr Chris Potter believes Colac Otway Shire Council should use the challenges of the current recycling crisis facing Australian councils to find a long-term solution which could benefit the shire’s community. Cr Potter is pictured with council waste management officer Simone Robertson and Cr Joe McCracken.

A Colac Otway Shire councillor says Australia’s recycling crisis could provide the Colac district with employment and industry opportunities.

Cr Chris Potter said a visit to Canberra for the 2018 National General Assembly of Local Government provided a positive insight into the council’s options for dealing with recycling in the future.

He said the recycling crisis faced by councils would encourage Colac Otway to look at what other councils were doing and ultimately could provide a permanent solution to the problem.

The nation-wide battle with processing recyclable material intensified earlier this year after China announced restrictions on Australian imports of plastics, textiles and mixed paper because of their high contamination rates.

Australia had been annually sending more than 600,000 tonnes of recycling waste to China before the ban, which has forced councils to rethink their recycling process.

“It’s a matter of deciding what we could do and having the determination to do it,” Cr Potter said.

He said Europe had established waste-to-energy plants years ago and other councils across Australia were already addressing recycling within their communities.

“There was a mayor, admittedly from a bigger shire than us, who talked about his council’s facility for recycling foam; they were compressing, processing and selling it to underpin and fill roads,” Cr Potter said, explaining just one of the ideas shared at the Canberra assembly.

“It created employment and solved their recycling problem.

“These are the types of things we need to look at, maybe with our neighbouring shires to make the investment in a recycling facility viable.

“But we need a long-term solution,” he said.

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