16 June 2021
By Toby Hutcheon, Boomerang Alliance
In the three years since the waste levy was introduced in Queensland, waste levels have reduced in the business and construction sectors. There have not been comparable reductions from the municipal sector, a sector that is exempt from the levy, that receives an estimated $150M in advance payments from the levy.
‘The question must be asked; what have councils been doing for the last 3 years to reduce household wastes, as they have promised, and reduce any impact of a waste levy may have on households?’
‘Instead of whingeing about the levy, it would be better if they acted on better services that reduce household waste, and less waste to landfill means less greenhouse gas emissions,’ said Toby Hutcheon from the Boomerang Alliance.
Of 232 councils in Australia with green waste collection services, only 8 councils in Queensland offer such a service-and only on an opt-in basis. This is despite green waste representing about 50 per cent of household wastes. The NSW Govt has just mandated green waste services for all councils.
In most council areas, every household pays the same service fees for waste, irrespective of how much they put in their bins. There is no incentive to reduce waste and those who do are effectively subsidising those who don’t. What happened to every council offering smaller bins to households or considering weight-based charging?
‘Councils actively changing services to help households reduce waste and encouraging resource reuse will promote new business and more jobs and contribute to the LGAQ stated goal of a zero-waste future.’
‘Time to act, not complain.’
NOTE: According to the latest QLD Waste and Recycling Report 2019-20, the average household discards 648 kgs of waste per year. A $75 per tonne levy does not mean a significant cost impact. Reducing household waste or smaller bins instead would mean paying even less. A small price most would be prepared to pay for a less wasteful, more resourceful, and cleaner Queensland.