Spencer Gulf Cities reveal 'war on waste' initiative

WAR ON WASTE: Whyalla Mayor Clare McLaughlin, Port Augusta Mayor Brett Benbow and Port Pirie Mayor Leon Stephens. PHOTO: Spencer Gulf Cities.
WAR ON WASTE: Whyalla Mayor Clare McLaughlin, Port Augusta Mayor Brett Benbow and Port Pirie Mayor Leon Stephens. PHOTO: Spencer Gulf Cities.

Spencer Gulf Cities have revealed plans to help reduce waste to landfill and attract new recycling and re-manufacturing enterprises to the region.

The launch coincides with a visit to the Upper Spencer Gulf by the State Parliament's Environment, Resources and Development Committee as part of their Inquiry into Recycling.

Chair of Spencer Gulf Cities Association Leon Stephens explained the Upper Spencer Gulf Waste and Resource Recovery Strategy sets out a framework for managing waste and resources over the next five years.

"Our three Upper Spencer Gulf Councils currently collect a combined 20,000 tonnes of waste per year from the community and on average, only recycle 41% of this," Mr Stephens said.

"We can't keep throwing things in the bin and giving it no more thought. We need to be a lot more environmentally responsible, but we can also use our waste streams as economic opportunities.

"This strategy sets out a number of opportunities for us to do better as Councils and communities, but also how we can encourage more recycling businesses to set up in the Upper Spencer Gulf."

Existing transport infrastructure across the region, including road, rail, sea and airport facilities could cater for commercial and industrial operations in the region.

It also reinforces the Upper Spencer Gulf as an ideal location for additional resource recovery, re-processing and manufacturing operations and growth in a 'Circular Economy'.

"We have a huge opportunity to use these existing strengths to attract new investment and infrastructure to the Upper Spencer Gulf, which will also help diversify our local economy," Mr Stephens said.

"This potential has been more sharply brought into focus following restrictions by China and other countries on export markets for recyclables and the growing economic and ethical momentum for processing our own waste and recycling streams locally."

Mr Stephens has called on the state government to release funding collected from councils through the solid waste levy money to help drive new investment and recycling initiatives.

"Councils have to pay the Government a levy on every tonne of waste sent to landfill. For regional areas this has more than doubled in the past five years from $26 per tonne to $70 per tonne."

"The South Australian government is now sitting on $120 million in this fund. We want to see some of this returned to the Upper Spencer Gulf to help us to really kick-start a 'circular' economy in the region."