Fraser Coast joins push for regional waste management plan

THE increased processing and recycling of waste will improve environmental outcomes, while helping create new jobs.

close up photo of plastic bottles
Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

That is the word from Fraser Coast Division 9 Councillor David Lee who will represent the region on the Project Steering Group to develop a Wide Bay Burnett Regional Waste Management Plan.

“There is a billion dollars in funding over the next 10 years available for Councils through the Queensland Government’s Recycling and Jobs Fund to improve their recycling programs, but only if they are a part of a regionally-focussed waste management plan,” Cr Lee said.

“The plan will guide the collaboration of Councils and industry as we strive to meet the Queensland Waste Management and Resource Recovery Strategy.

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“It will provide the blueprint for investment while also delivering financially sustainable solutions to improve waste management, resource recovery, recycling, and the rate at which material is diverted from landfill.”

Cr Lee believes new infrastructure is needed locally to encourage the development of a circular economy.

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For example, he said such infrastructure would enable glass to be turned back into sand so it can be repurposed into other products locally instead of needing bottles to be shipped south for processing.

Council has already committed to including a glass recycling processing plant and mixed fibre optic-sorting unit (to sort paper) in its application for a $8-million grant from the Recycling Modernisation Fund (RMF) to build a new $25.1-million Materials Recovery Facility.

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“A modern MRF will greatly enhance our ability to sort recyclable materials, cut the amount of waste going to landfill and create new industries and jobs on the Fraser Coast,” Cr Lee explained.

The Queensland Department of Environment and Science has provided funding to develop the plan, with the Local Government Association of Queensland facilitating the engagement of a Project Manager/Co-ordinator and a consultant.

The plan needs to be adopted by Council by January 2023 and it is anticipated that the consultant will be on board in May with the project steering committee to meet in June. 

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