Millions of Aussies have been warned they could face an additional $600 in council charges if they don't improve their household recycling, with a bold new strategy unveiled at the weekend set to combat skyrocketing rates of recyclables ending up in landfill.
Brisbane's Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner has rolled out a number of new incentives set to "beat" the state's controversial "bin tax" and make reducing household waste more appealing to the city's residents.
These include a $200 rebate for homes that install food waste disposal systems — such as Insinkerators — and waste dehydrators from January 1, 2024. In addition, 50 new community-based recycling hubs will be installed over five years — for items such as batteries, CDs and glasses — waste vouchers will be digitised, rebates increased and a further 1500 new recycling bins in parks implemented.
Schrinner explained these new changes are aimed at combatting the Queensland government's “bin tax” on councils, which was first introduced in 2019. The tax, initially billed as $70 per tonne of waste, has this year risen to $105 per tonne, and would grow to $145 by 2027-28.
People will have to pay more, Lord Mayor announces
"Unless there's a massive increase in recycling, and diversion from landfill, people will have to pay more," Schrinner told Seven News.
Schrinner blamed the state government for increasing the waste levy while reducing the council rebate, which is estimated to cost the city $338 million over the next 10 years — or $600 per household.
“Every Brisbane household will pay the state’s bin tax if we don’t take action,” Schrinner said, The Courier Mail Reported.
“The state government promised residents its waste levy wouldn’t effectively be bin tax but unfortunately that’s not going to be the case. Our strategy will help residents recycle, reduce the volume of waste that ends up in landfill and, importantly, minimise the impact of the state’s bin tax.”
Schrinner however maintained Brisbane residents wouldn't lose their weekly red bin collection service – a measure other councils around the country have recently introduced to combat landfill rates.
“Our commitment is simple,” he said. “We will keep weekly red-top collections. We will not cut them to fortnightly.
“We’ve seen what’s happened when much smaller councils have rushed food waste recycling, cut red-top collections and caused a big stink with their residents.
“Just recently there were reports of Sydney families being forced to freeze dirty nappies to avoid them festering for a fortnight in red-top bins.”
Waste levels soaring all over Australia
The city's problem with soaring levels of household waste is one not unique to Brisbane, with cities all over Australia also grappling with similar issues.
In September, millions of ratepayers in Victoria were hit with huge rubbish bin collection charges, up by more than 20 per cent in some regions, in a move that had residents fired up.
Meanwhile, a 'pay-as-you-throw' scheme put forward in South Australia was brutally lashed by its residents, who branded it unfair.
In NSW, Sydney's ongoing battles with kerbside rubbish collections has been well-documented in recent months.
In Bassendean in WA, a petition was launched by locals begging for the council to revert back to weekly general waste removals, more than a year after first introducing a three-bin system which sees food organics and garden organics (FOGO) picked up weekly while general rubbish is picked up fortnightly.
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com.