Monday, 03 July 2017 14:25

Energy from waste part of bigger issue

Pile of black garbage bags in a green field. Pile of black garbage bags in a green field.

Energy from waste technology is currently taking centre stage on the political agenda however, from a regional perspective, it is just a small part of a much bigger issue.

With a growing population, Western Sydney’s waste and recycling infrastructure is quickly reaching capacity. Despite being one of society’s most basic essential services, there is little leadership in strategically planning for Sydney’s future waste needs – whether this be through traditional facilities or new technologies.

For the past three years, WSROC­­ has been working with Western Sydney councils to fight for better planning of waste infrastructure, without which local government will struggle to deliver affordable waste collection to its residents.

As a result, the organisation is widely regarded as an authority on waste infrastructure planning, not only for Western Sydney, but Greater Sydney - which relies heavily on the West for waste management and processing.

WSROC was invited to appear before the ‘Energy from Waste Technology’ Parliamentary Inquiry, on Tuesday 27th June, to detail the role of local government in waste management and the waste and recycling infrastructure needs of the region beyond 2021.

WSROC reiterated its concern for the lack of strategic planning for waste and resource recovery by any state or industry body, and the various infrastructure needs of local governments to reach the NSW targets for diversion of waste from landfill.

WSROC’s submission to the inquiry highlighted:

  • The need for leadership in an integrated strategic planning approach for all waste infrastructure across Sydney;
  • The challenges and pressure, including capacity issues, of existing waste and recycling infrastructure;
  • The role of energy from waste technology in meeting NSW and regional waste and resource recovery targets;
  • The need for compliance with NSW Energy from Waste Policy prior to planning assessment for any energy from waste facility.

WSROC President Cr Stephen Bali said “Sydney is in desperate need of new waste processing facilities however, in the absence of appropriate planning, land available for waste processing infrastructure is quickly diminishing.

“While concerns regarding the placement and regulation of new energy from waste technologies are legitimate, the wider demand for waste infrastructure in Sydney means that such facilities must be seriously considered to meet our city’s growing waste processing needs.

“If we do not plan for essential waste infrastructure today, we will increasingly see waste being shipped outside the Sydney basin for processing, and this will be at the cost councils and their residents,” said Cr Bali.

“The NSW Government urgently needs to reserve land for waste processing activities, but also ensure that their policies and regulations are equipped to respond to new technological solutions as they arise,” he said.

WSROC’s submission to the Energy from Waste Technology Inquiry is one of many recent submissions to the NSW and Australian Governments regarding Western Sydney’s waste infrastructure requirements. This includes landfills, waste processing and recycling facilities, community recycling centres and infrastructure for the forthcoming container deposit scheme (due to start on 1 December 2017).  ­

Further information:

Western Sydney Waste Infrastructure Needs Assessment

 

Last modified on Tuesday, 04 July 2017 10:23