Recycling rates may be on the rise

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
Bunbury City Council votes to get chief executive Mal Osborne to negotiate its contract with recycling company Suez.
Camera IconBunbury City Council votes to get chief executive Mal Osborne to negotiate its contract with recycling company Suez. Credit: Graphic / South Western Times

China’s ban on foreign waste could be about to hit Bunbury ratepayers’ pockets, with the City’s recycling contractor making moves to bump up its prices.

Behind closed doors last week, Bunbury City Council voted to get chief executive Mal Osborne to negotiate its contract with recycling company Suez.

Mayor Gary Brennan revealed to the South Western Times that China was a primary market for Suez and the country’s ban on waste meant the company’s revenue took a hit.

The Asian country last year decided it would no longer take in 24 categories of solid waste to protect the environment and public health.

“That’s added significantly to their (Suez) cost,” Mr Brennan said.

“That means they’ve come back to their customers, including the City of Bunbury and other local governments, and said ‘look, this change of policy with China, has now incurred expenditure we weren’t expecting’.

“They asked the City to look at increasing the amount we pay Suez to deal with our recyclables.”

Mr Brennan said it was likely any increase would equate to about $10 extra a year, per household.

“That’s based on the discussions we’ve had so far ... but that’s a matter for the CEO to negotiate with the company,” he said.

“It’s fair that our community should be aware that this is likely to be the increase. Importantly, we want to continue recycling.”

Mr Osborne will negotiate the continuation of the contract for the remaining six months of this financial year and negotiate a new one to include a new processing rate.

The council will also use the opportunity to include provision for a Container Deposit Scheme rebate — a move Cr Murray Cook said was a good money-making opportunity and a win for the environment.

The scheme would most likely see a 10-cent rebate on containers.

“The finer details are still being worked out and every council will have to agree to whatever they want ... the recommendation will probably be that the material recovery facility and the local council will probably go 50/50,” Cr Cook said.

“It is hoped that most will share the little windfall that will come out of the yellow bin.

“My personal problem is that 10 cents is probably not enough, if it was 20 cents then people would probably make an effort, but hopefully most families will.

“Obviously the old scheme of boy scouts and all those sorts of things, saving cans to get cash that will come into vogue again.”

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails