Want to help create a less wasteful world? Here’s how

Sunshine Coast Council Kerbside Collection fleet

Power-generating waste, turning discarded plastic into park benches and recovery centres that are thriving economic hubs … welcome to a wonderful new world where garbage is gold.

Sunshine Coast Council has developed a clever plan that paves the way – with recycled products, of course – for a less wasteful future that is cleaner, greener and more sustainable.

It focuses on providing sustainable, well-planned infrastructure and services for our growing community and considers how we can adapt to the rapidly evolving waste industry and transition to a circular economy while protecting our beautiful environment.

Now, Sunshine Coast Council is inviting community input on the Draft Sunshine Coast Waste Strategy 2023-41 at haveyoursay.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au before 5pm, August 9, 2023.

The power of change

Sunshine Coast Environment and Liveability Portfolio Councillor Maria Suarez said the draft strategy supported Council’s goal to send zero waste to landfill by 2041.

“Imagine it’s 2041 and households now dispose of less than 200kg of rubbish each year – as opposed to 700kg in 2023 – and this is collected by a fleet of hydrogen powered waste trucks with zero carbon emissions,” Cr Suarez said.

“In 2041, we are using state-of-the-art technology in our waste recovery and processing facilities to capture materials that were previously sent to landfill. This is being turned into resources and reused again and again – like food waste that can be converted into energy and compost and recovered plastics that can be repurposed into clothing or park benches.

“Resource recovery centres and landfills across the region are powerful economic hubs for composting, recycling and generating energy.

“And waste that cannot be reused or recycled is bulk hauled to a large-scale South-East Queensland waste-to-energy facility where it is processed to generate electricity that powers the region’s households and businesses.

“That’s Council’s vision for the future of waste on the Sunshine Coast.”

Future of waste looks bright

Cr Suarez said there was a lot of work to do and changes to make to achieve the vision but thanks to a solid foundation set through the previous waste strategy, Council was already on its way.

“Under the 2015–25 strategy, Council invested more than $100 million developing new and improved resource recovery facilities, establishing innovative waste management contracts, increasing landfill capacity, investigating a range of alternative waste treatment initiatives and engaging with our community,” Cr Suarez said.

“Council started the construction of a new hi-tech material recovery facility to process kerbside recyclables; set up the Caloundra Renewable Energy Facility to capture gas from landfill and turn it into electricity; expanded garden organics kerbside collection service to more than 85,000 properties and collaborated with other South-East Queensland councils to develop the South East Queensland Waste Management Plan.

What happens next?

“There is more work to do, and this strategy sets out our plan to get there,” Cr Suarez said.

“Council will meet Commonwealth and State waste reduction targets by working together with industry and other governments, investing in infrastructure, moving to a food organics and gardens organics collection service, advancing the local circular economy and helping our community change their habits with more education. 

“I encourage you to have your say because, by working together to improve waste management at a local level, we can create opportunities for jobs, protect the environment and better manage valuable and finite resources.” To give Council your thoughts on the way we deal with waste in the future complete the survey by 5 pm August 9 or register to attend a community workshop on July 31. Visit haveyoursay.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au for details

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