Concerned over continued operation of Donnybrook material recovery facility

Stuart McGuckinSouth Western Times

The ability of the Donnybrook Lions Club to continue operating the town’s material recovery facility is in doubt after it ran at a loss for the first time over the past year.

Donnybrook-Balingup shire councillors voted to grant the club a one-off payment of $6000 to cover its losses over the past financial year.

Shire chief executive Ben Rose has been tasked with negotiating with the club in hope an arrangement can be reached to allow the operation of the facility to remain financially viable.

“We don’t want the club to be out of pocket, but at the same time we don’t want to have to fund them to do that work,” he said.

“We will come together to find a solution that works for all of us.”

Lions Club member and former president Bruce Hearman said the club started processing and selling cardboard waste material from Visy’s manufacturing plant in 1998.

After Visy left Donnybrook the club established a memorandum of understanding with the council to continue a similar operation based out of the Donnybrook tip in 2009.

Mr Hearman said a change of policy by China last year had resulted in changes in the recycling market and led to the loss.

“We have found it a valuable method of raising funds allowing us to contribute and support more areas of our community,” he aid.

“The club has received good returns from the sale of recyclable cardboard, paper and plastic waste but the decision by China to limit imports of waste material has dramatically reduced the returns.”

Club secretary Peter Thompson said the State’s container deposit scheme set to be introduced next year could help the club return to profit in the “medium term”.

“As a not-for-profit with experience in volunteering and recyclables, we see ourselves in a very strong position to be of use to its operation in the shire,” he said.

“In the longer term, Australia will simply have to solve these recycling issues, when that happens operations like ours will be very important.”

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