Waste plan in place

UNITED: From left, Whyalla City Council CEO Chris Cowley, Upper Spencer Gulf Common Purpose Group Chair Anita Crisp, Port Pirie Mayor Leon Stephens, Port Augusta CEO John Banks and Port Pirie Regional Council Director Grant McKenzie.
UNITED: From left, Whyalla City Council CEO Chris Cowley, Upper Spencer Gulf Common Purpose Group Chair Anita Crisp, Port Pirie Mayor Leon Stephens, Port Augusta CEO John Banks and Port Pirie Regional Council Director Grant McKenzie.

The Spencer Gulf Cities today launched a comprehensive plan to help reduce waste to landfill and investigate opportunities to attract new recycling and re-manufacturing enterprises to the region.

The launch coincided with 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, Port Pirie Mayor Leon Stephens explained the Upper Spencer Gulf Waste and Resource Recovery Strategy sets out a framework for managing waste and resources over the next 5 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."

"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."

Mayor Stephens explained that the existing transport infrastructure across the region, including road, rail, sea and airport facilities to cater for the commercial and industrial operations in the region, 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."

"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."

To help realise this potential, Mayor Stephens is calling on the South Australian Government to release funding collected from Councils through the solid waste levy money to help drive new economic investment and recycling initiatives in the Upper Spencer Gulf.

"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 kickstart a 'circular' economy in the region."