At Monday night’s Council meeting, Wollondilly Mayor Matthew Deeth gained support in calling for urgent action from the State Government to address major shortfalls in waste and recycling management in NSW.

Council will support the local government sectors’ Save our Recycling campaign, urging the NSW Government to invest the money it collects from the waste levy into the state’s ailing waste and recycling system and help build a circular economy, taking the burden off local communities.

Mayor Matthew Deeth said, “The amount of waste being generated each year is increasing, while our recycling and waste diversion rates are stagnating and our waste infrastructure is barely keeping up with demand.”

“We can no longer ship our recycling offshore for someone else to manage. Recycling in NSW is at the crossroads and we need to address these issues right now,” he said.

The NSW Government collects revenue from a waste levy through licensed waste facilities to discourage the amount of waste being landfilled and to promote recycling and resource recovery.

Wollondilly Council paid a total of $3,298,987 via the waste levy in the financial years 2013/14 to 2017/18. Over the same period, Council received only $713,887 in funding to assist with waste management and recycling infrastructure, programs and education.

Mayor Deeth noted, “This is a levy collected by Council through the rates notices it but goes straight to State Government general revenue.”

He also highlighted that revenue from the waste levy is expected to increase substantially over the next few years.

“By the end of the 2022/23 financial year, the waste levy revenue is forecast to have increased to more than $800 million a year; that is $100 for every woman, man and child in NSW. Less than a fifth of this is invested back into waste and recycling programs,” he said.

Council acknowledged that although much more needs to be done, on the local front many initiatives and projects are under way within the Wollondilly local government area which can be built upon, including:

Working alongside other Councils and stakeholders such as the EPA on regional programs to improve waste management  including battery recycling, litter and illegal dumping campaigns Working with the EPA to host yearly household chemical clean out events Employment of an Illegal Dumping Officer at Council, and participation in the Southern Regional Illegal Dumping Program Supporting waste reduction and removal initiatives like Garage Sale Trail and Clean Up Australia Day Use of 100% compostable cutlery, cups, plates and napkins at Council events Supporting Macarthur Centre for Sustainable Living Providing free waste reduction workshops to the community and schools such as composting and worm farming, food preservation and chicken keeping Delivery of the Love Food Hate Waste Program and School Sustainability Programs including litter audits Providing community awareness through Waste to Art competition at Illuminate Improvement to recycling options for residents at Bargo Waste Management Centre such as free paper/card and electrical drop off as well as other recycling streams.

Council will write to the State Government and Opposition to confirm its support for recycling and outline the urgent need to educate, innovate and invest in local waste and recycling services via the waste levy.