Rubbish route

WITH National Recycling Week (November 11-17) wrapping up the Morrison government has announced a phased-in ban on exporting waste from July 2020 – so where will your rubbish go then?

If you live in Fremantle, Melville or East Fremantle, your trash goes to the Regional Resource Recovery Centre in Canning Vale.

The centre’s waste educator Elizabeth Wilkerson says they export some waste overseas – with the location changing every three months – and the process is legal and regularly monitored.

“It’s in all of our tenders contracts,” Ms Wilkerson says.

“They have to sign that they are accepting it [waste] legally, and reprocessing it into products, not just getting burned.”

The over-aching Southern Metropolitan Regional Council assured the Herald the waste was not illegally dumped in third-world countries.

Until last week the RRRC processed three types of household waste on-site, but its waste compost facility has now been decommissioned, meaning content from the Food Organics, Garden Organics (FOGO) system is being shipped to WA composter Purearth.

Previously, general waste was churned into low-grade compost which was taken to Nutrarich and sent to farms.

Ms Wilkerson says “this waste will now be sent to Cleanaway’s landfill site in Dardanup and Suez’s landfill site.”

Despite this, she says the amount of waste being sent to landfill is expected to decrease significantly as SMRC member councils transition to the FOGO system.

Green waste from verge- side collections and gardening businesses are still being accepted on-site.

The green waste is shredded and sold to Richgro, which reprocesses the material into mulch and compost, before it is sold to stores like Bunnings.

Contents from the yellow-top bins are sifted, sorted and sent to South East Asia, with only glass being reprocessed for road base in WA.

Starting from July next year, many of these exports won’t be an option as waste leaving Australia’s shores is progressively phased-out.

The export of waste glass will be banned by July 2020, followed by mixed plastics by July 2021, whole tyres by December 2021 and all remaining waste products, including paper and cardboard, by no later than mid-2022.

Ms Wilkerson says Australia needs a rapid growth of infrastructure to enable a successful domestic recycling sector.

“If we can’t sort them and reprocess them in Australia, they go in the ground.”

by INDIANA LYSAGHT

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