Funding knockback delays Geraldton recycling centre

Francesca MannGeraldton Guardian
There are 15 blue recycle bins in Geraldton for recycling type 1 and 2 plastic.
Camera IconThere are 15 blue recycle bins in Geraldton for recycling type 1 and 2 plastic. Credit: Francesca Mann The Geraldton Guardian

Plans for a recycling centre have been temporarily scrapped by the City of Greater Geraldton.

The City had allocated $8 million in the 2018-19 budget for the construction of the Mid West Regional Resource Recovery Facility at the Meru landfill.

It would have enabled the City to process recyclable material in Geraldton instead of sending it to Perth.

But the City was unable to secure a $4.6 million grant from the Federal Government’s Building Better Regions Fund and the project has been removed from the budget.

“As a result it won’t be going ahead,” Mayor Shane Van Styn said.

“The State’s waste strategy will help determine the way forward with all things recycling and waste diversion.”

Plans for a recycling facility have been on the table for several years, with the City commissioning a study on waste management strategies 2 and a 1/2 years ago.

City chief executive Ross McKim said introducing a recycling program in Geraldton was not as simple as rolling out recycling bins for households.

“If you introduce a yellow-top bin you have to provide the system to sort, bundle and transport the waste to market,” he said.

“This means either establishing a facility in Geraldton, or trucking the unsorted recycling materials to an existing facility in Perth.”

According to the study, a recycling program would cost the City around $10 million.

It noted most of the recovered materials would likely end up in landfill because of high levels of contamination in recycling bins and a lack of viable markets for recovered materials.

“The council at the time of the study formed the view that the community was not able to afford that level of funding for a comprehensive recycling program,” Mr McKim said.

“Council was also not supportive of committing to a program that would see the majority of recovered material end up in the landfill.

“The City is investigating various options to develop resource recovery infrastructure that is within the City’s budget to assist with diverting waste from landfill.”

In February the State Government announced plans to implement a three-bin system in all Perth and Peel households by 2025.

As part of the Waste Avoidance and Resources Strategy 2030, the Government will also work with regional councils to address their waste challenges.

Mr McKim said a number of recycling options were available in Geraldton.

“Recycling is a whole-community approach,” he said.

“There are a lot of independent businesses and organisations who take different forms of recycling.

“We encourage our community to do their bit and recycle where they can.”

Mr McKim said the City was working on developing a new waste strategy to meet the State Government’s waste objectives in regional areas.

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