Media and News

Ipswich City Council Reconsiders Decision To Stop Recycling

Earlier this month, Ipswich City Council stated that the cost of its recycling program was no longer feasible and it was dropping the program. During its waste crisis, an inquiry found that the contents of Ipswich’s yellow lidded recycling bins had been going to landfill for six weeks and counting.  The decision ignited strong public backlash and Council now plans to reverse its decision to send recycling to landfill.

This still leaves Ipswich with a major problem.  Following China’s ban on waste imports, the cost of recycling is skyrocketing – an issue which is compounded in Ipswich where more than 50% of recycling waste is contaminated (by comparison Brisbane City has a recycling waste contamination rate of less than 10%). Recycling loads with more than 25% contamination won’t be accepted and must go to landfill.  If Ipswich city Council and residents can’t work together to get contamination levels under control, waste will continue to be rejected and sent to landfill.

Image: ABC

Straw Bale Gardening

A great green gardening trend that is coming back into fashion is straw bale gardening.  If you are unfamiliar with the term, its pretty much exactly what you are imagining – growing veggies or flowers in bales of straw, instead directly in the ground.

Compared to traditional gardening methods, it has a range of benefits. Straw bale gardening is easy to set up and far less labor intensive – none of that digging up the backyard or building planter boxes. It is highly versatile and adaptable, if you have a few acres, or a concrete balcony, straw bale gardening can work for you. Its even more productive than traditional gardening and can extend your growing season!

It isn’t without its drawbacks; the bales aren’t as aesthetically pleasing as a slick new planter box and can require more watering.  They certainly have their own charm though, and if its an idea you are interested in, here is a great article that takes a step by step approach to setting one up, as well as a consideration of the pros and cons of the straw bale approach.

Plan Your Brisbane Round Table

If you live in Brisbane you may have heard of Council’s recent ‘Plan your Brisbane’ campaign. The campaign is seeking to get those of us who live in Brisbane to step up and have their say about what we would like our city to look like in the future.

The campaign included a number of open forum discussions and an online game which was an exceptional tool for getting people involved and thinking about what they would prioritise. The game assessed how each player prioritised affordability, lifestyle, transport and greenspace as part of the polling process.

As part of this campaign, Brisbane city council hosted a round table discussion among Brisbane planning and construction industry leaders which John Tuxworth attended as President of the AGDF. The discussion aimed to aid the formation of a Charter of Principals that will guide critical development decisions to intentionally shape Brisbane’s future growth.  As part of the discussions, John Tuxworth contributed to a workshop sub-group comprising Noel Robinson (Noel Robinson Architects), Floor Felten (Brisbane Airport Corporation), and Greg Meek (Gadens).

The roundtable discussion addressed four primary areas of future development and discussed potential principals of each that council could focus on developing. The areas were lifestyle, greenspace, affordability and transport, with additional time to discuss any other areas of influence.

To work toward these objectives, the round table put forward a range of suggestions. Greater connectivity between rural and city zones, improved transportation to beach cities, additional green space and entertainment venues were brought up. Other suggestions included integrated, self-contained communities; electric buses; free transport; and a light rail around the city.

Ipswich Council Recycling Scheme Dumped – The First of Many

Yesterday, Ipswich City Council announced that it would no longer continue to operate its recycling program. The contents of Ipswich’s yellow-lidded recycling bins will now go straight to landfill, and experts are predicting that this is only the beginning.

The effects of China’s decision to stop accepting 24 categories of solid waste earlier this year are making themselves known.  Previously, China was responsible for over half of waste imports worldwide and China’s decision has left a gaping hole in international recycling efforts, disrupting 600,000 tonnes of recycling exports annually from Australia alone.  In the wake of China’s decision, the cost for Australian Councils to recycle their waste has absolutely sky-rocketed.  The Local Government Association of Queensland says that Ipswich is just the first of many Councils to be forced to recognise they simply can’t afford to continue to cover rising costs.

For more information, here is the ABC News article.

Image: ABC News

NSW Bottle Collection Scheme

We are now five months into New South Wales’ new recycling program, which went live in December last year; what have we learnt?

Last December NSW launched their ‘return and earn’ container deposit scheme.  Residents can take their used drink bottles and cans to a ‘reverse vending machine’ and receive 10c back for each container.  It sounds like a great idea, but how well is the scheme actually working?

So far it’s had its ups and downs. NSW’s premiere acknowledges that the scheme needs improvement. Higher prices for bottles at retailers are driving some customers across the border for their shopping, but the biggest difficulty is in the number of collection points.  The number of collection points just isn’t cutting it for many residents, with some being too far away to justify the trip.

There is good news though. The scheme aims to reduce the state’s litter by 40% by 2020, and it has made steps in that direction. In its five months since going live, the scheme has collected almost 250 million containers, with high yielding days sometime bringing in 2 million containers. The success of similar schemes in places like Germany is also encouraging. While it has kinks that need ironing out, it is a system with potential. It is another stepping stone toward a greener Australia.

Image: ABC News

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