Call for a waste management system for entire region

Jackson Lavell-LeeBusselton Dunsborough Times
Email Jackson Lavell-Lee
Burnt out sheds at a Cleanaway site in Perth with emergency officers nearby. South West MLC Steve Thomas is pushing for a site
Camera IconBurnt out sheds at a Cleanaway site in Perth with emergency officers nearby. South West MLC Steve Thomas is pushing for a site Credit: Ross Swanborough/The West Australian, Ross Swanborough

South West MLC Steve Thomas has called on the State Government to reprise a “critical” plan for a shared South West recycling facility because the existing contractor cannot process the waste.

Plastic waste collected from the City of Busselton and Shire of Augusta-Margaret River is transported to Picton where waste processing company Cleanaway compacts the materials and transfers them to Perth.

A spokesperson for Cleanaway said although recycling material from the Capes was not being processed due to a fire at its South Guilford site in November, the waste was being transferred to the South Metropolitan Regional Council rather than going to landfill.

“Following the catastrophic fire at the South Guildford Material Recover Facility, Cleanaway sought to utilise all additional recyclable processing capacity within the Perth market, including interim arrangements reached with SMRC,” the spokesperson said.

Cleanaway said a rebuild of the $25 million facility would be completed by the end of the year.

Cleanaway's recycling plant in South Guildford was last year the scene of a massive fire. With the company applying to re-start operations in December local residents are making it known that they would prefer it be moved to a location away from homes.
Camera IconCleanaway's recycling plant in South Guildford was last year the scene of a massive fire. With the company applying to re-start operations in December local residents are making it known that they would prefer it be moved to a location away from homes. Credit: Justin Benson-Cooper/The Sunday Times, Justin Benson-Cooper

The South West was previously promised $4 million for a shared waste facility and recycling plant, but proposed locations in Dardanup and Capel were opposed by residents.

“This is the sort of project that should have been part of the South West Recovery Plan,” Dr Thomas said.

He said local governments in the South West should share the running of a shared waste facility with the WA Government overseeing the process and investing in the project.

“We absolutely need a South West waste management system which brings all of the local government areas in,” he said. “It can’t be left just for local governments to manage this in the future. There has to be a better plan.”

City of Busselton waste and fleet services manager Mark Wong said the City would be interested to learn about any new shared facility, and “would be keen to explore how we may contribute to the local circular economy”.

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said the Government was taking steps to increase local processing capacity including spending $20 million on plastics and tyre-processing facilities.

“The Waste Strategy Action Plan includes an audit of State waste infrastructure and will inform decision making about what facilities are required and in what locations across the State,” he said. “This work is expected to be completed by mid-2021.

“The State Government and the Waste Authority assist local governments and the private sector to develop recycling initiatives through the provision of funding, policy and regulatory services.”

The Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery reserve account had $39 million allocated to plastics, tyre and regional processing, implementation of the COAG waste export ban and funding for the container deposit scheme.

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