Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 01 Hansard (Thursday, 17 February 2011) . . Page.. 430 ..
(1) What options exist in the ACT for recycling of polystyrene for (a) residential, (b) commercial and (c) industrial use.
(2) What consideration has the Government given to providing a residential polystyrene recycling service at Hume and/or Mitchell resource recovery facilities.
(3) What consideration has the Government given to providing collection points for polystyrene, using the existing drop off recycle stations around Canberra.
(4) What would be the approximate cost to the Government of polystyrene recycling equipment that could recycle polystyrene from the ACT waste stream and can the Minister provide an estimation of the cost of equipment that could recycle all polystyrene, as well as for equipment that could recycle smaller percentages.
(5) Approximately how much landfill space would the ACT save annually if all of the polystyrene in the waste stream was recycled.
Ms Le Couteur: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:
1) Transpacific Cleanaway in Hume is the only registered recycler of expanded polystyrene in the ACT.
a) Transpacific Cleanaway does not accept residential expanded polystyrene in the ACT. ACT NO Waste is not aware of any other options to recycle expanded polystyrene in this jurisdiction.
b) & c) Transpacific Cleanaway will supply bags of approximately one cubic meter to commercial or industrial organisations, charging $5 per bag. Transpacific Cleanaway will accept full bags of expanded polystyrene from organisations for $5 per bag, or will collect them for $10 per bag.
2) The Department has given brief consideration to providing various recycling services for expanded polystyrene. However, expanded polystyrene is expensive to recycle, produces a low value product, is logistically difficult to transport due to its high volume and low density, and has limited end-use markets. It is also easily contaminated by dirt and oils, further reducing any markets. It is also easily contaminated by dirt and oils, further reducing any potential value. This means that it is a high cost / low return product to recycle. In addition, it only comprises around 3% of landfill each year, making it a relatively low-priority material in terms of landfill space.
In order to maximise resource recovery within a finite budget, the Government has been strategic. Initial focus has been on high-volume materials that provide good value to recycle and problematic materials that, for public policy reasons, should not be sent to landfill. The fact that the ACT leads the country in resource recovery shows the effectiveness of this approach.
While a programme to recycle expanded polystyrene may be introduced at some point in the future, it is not a high-priority waste stream at this stage and there are no current plans to introduce recycling. Private sector operators, like that offered by Transpacific Cleanaway, will provide recycling options in the interim.
3) See 2).