Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 03 Hansard (Thursday, 31 March 2011) . . Page.. 1221 ..
Handheld batteries of all chemistry types are most likely to end up in landfill, unless systems for collection and reprocessing can be established.
It pointed out that the prevention of batteries going into the mixed urban waste stream means that organics in particular that are captured from that can actually be re-used. One of the problems we have had with dirty MRFs, as Ms Hunter has talked about, has been that the organics which have been separated out of them have been contaminated, particularly with glass or with heavy metals from batteries and compact fluorescents. Compact fluorescents are a particularly good material to be properly recycled in the ACT because in New South Wales, in Sydney, a plant has been established specifically for recycling them. The ends are taken off and the mercury, which is a toxic material, is extracted and re-used, and the glass is re-used.
It is easy to set up the systems to separate and recycle those. This is something which the Greens have been calling on the government for a few years to do. It is cheap. If the Greens can afford to do it then I am confident the ACT government can afford to do it. To remove these toxic wastes from our landfill has got to be worth while. It is also something which is very necessary. If we are going to use our organic waste, we have got to make sure it is not contaminated with toxic waste.
In the short time left to me, I would also like to comment favourably that Mr Stanhope talked about the importance of consumption in the whole waste scenario. I agree with his remarks that one of the most important things is for us to look at our consumption and not to over-consume. When we buy something, we should think about its eventual fate—as he said—not buy too much food, not buy clothes and things that we do not want.
I look forward to people being more conscious in their consumption. As I think Mr Stanhope said—I will say it anyway—the ACT, being an affluent community, does consume a lot. This is one of our significant ecological issues. It is an area where we all need to take more individual responsibility towards our consumption and its eventual separation and re-use. Things that are separated become assets rather than waste. (Time expired.)
MR HARGREAVES (Brindabella) (4.01): Waste is a growing environmental, social and economic issue for all modern, expanding economies, and we know that. The way that waste is generated and handled has an impact on everyone, from individual citizens and small businesses to public authorities.
The ACT is one of the leading jurisdictions in waste management in Australia, with over 70 per cent of our waste re-used or recycled. In spite of this, the government remains committed to doing more and progressing towards its goal of zero waste to landfill. The current ACT’s no waste by 2010 strategy resulted in a resource recovery rate of over 70 per cent in 2008-09, a major increase from 42 per cent in 1995-96. While the ACT achieves one of the highest rates of recovery in Australia, more can be done. The ACT 2009-2010 budget provided $483,000 over the 2009-2011 budget periods for the development of a future waste strategy, including improving recycling