Goulburn's recycling contamination reflects poorly |Editorial June 15, 2018

Whether it was act of ignorance, laziness or otherwise, the latest incidence of waste contamination has had major consequences.

Exposing anyone to asbestos, let alone people with disabilities, is the height of irresponsibility.

Endeavour Industries is counting the cost of such action, with a three-day shutdown, testing and decontamination. A council truck must also be decontaminated and is out of action until Friday. There is also the high personal cost to Endeavour Industries’ employees who have to undergo health checks and then twiddle their thumbs until the workplace is rendered safe.

All this over two tiles that someone can’t think twice about before throwing out. 

This attitude is steeped in the past and will cost everyone dearly in the long run.

Waste management is an expensive business. It’s all the more costly in the current environment where China is no longer accepting Australia’s recycled material. It demands a smarter, more innovative approach where councils can collaborate on re-use initiatives. 

Goulburn is finding ways to prolong its landfill’s current 15-year life through a $500,000 state-of-the-art re-use centre. It will allow people to drive in and separate their rubbish at the source and pay less for the privilege.

This is the type of incentive that’s needed to get the message through. Those among us who care about the environment will use it. Others will continue to use recycling bins to throw away all manner of things and leave others to deal with the consequences.

A much stronger education campaign is a good first step. The current ones are obviously still falling on deaf ears.

Perhaps the council and Endeavour should take a tougher stance and leave contaminated bins at the kerb.

On Thursday, Mr Kettle and Endeavour chief executive Sonya White were overseeing the Oxley Street facility where again, workers were encountering all manner of contamination from the city’s recycling bins.

The asbestos disposal happened in the same week that another recycling centre in the central west was shut down due to contamination.

It is dispiriting to everyone and more importantly, jeopardises safety.

The time has come when we can no longer afford such carefree attitudes to waste management.


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