Page 3948 - Week 12 - Thursday, 20 October 2005

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MR HARGREAVES: I am sorry; I would love to address Mrs Dunne’s problem about putrescible waste. I am just responding to the question, and a legitimate question it was. So much of it is manufactured by the Liberal Party that it is a little bit beyond me at the moment.

Can I just indicate that I am pleased to report that Canberrans have yet again risen to the no waste challenge, with 2004-05 showing a continuing increase in the amount that is being diverted away from our landfills and is instead being reused, reprocessed or recycled. In 2004-05, over 554,000 tonnes of material was recovered—a rate of 73 per cent. The big achievements were in the recycling of demolition waste, where over 241,00 tonnes were recovered, and in garden/compost waste, where 197,000 tonnes was also recovered. More than 33,000 tonnes of material has been recycled through the residential kerbside recycling collection service.

This reflects, to a large degree, the great commitment Canberrans have to recycling. It also reflects the contribution of the ACT’s wide range of no waste initiatives such as the business no waste program, the waste pricing strategy, the waste-wise schools program, public event recycling, the no waste awards and other education campaigns and programs that have been adopted to increase our resource recovery and recycling efforts further.

The people of Canberra deserve our congratulations on this great result. But there is also a reminder that there is more that we could be doing. The fact that we achieve such a great recycling result in the ACT needs to be considered together with the knowledge that Canberrans are substantially higher consumers and waste generators compared with the rest of Australia. It is of concern that waste generation has risen by 50,000 tonnes in 2004-05. We need to encourage Canberra residents, businesses and government to think before they purchase items as so much ends up in landfill.

While it is natural to assume that much of the easier waste minimisation work has already been done, there is still enormous potential to make significant inroads into our waste minimisation and recycling practices to deal with readily recyclable materials such as paper, cardboard and a range of packing material. For instance, much of the 204,000 tonnes of waste sent to landfill in 2004-05 was easily recyclable. The business community alone sent almost 78,000 tonnes of waste to landfill, while a further 30,000 tonnes was construction and demolition waste.

I cannot emphasise enough that too much material being put into garbage bins and hoppers is easily recyclable. Again, I call on all businesses and government departments to take up recycling. I urge businesses and government departments to review their current waste arrangements, downsize their waste bins and get this material into recycling services and potentially save money in the process. Sending recyclables to landfill is not promoting Canberra as the clean, green, sustainable city we all want it to be. There are more challenges that we face in recycling and reuse. We meet those challenges all the time. I pay tribute to those good officers in ACT No Waste for their innovations, their thinking and their commitment.

It needs to be a twofold approach. The first one is for us to continue the innovations and to check out whether or not these things are economically viable in this city. The second

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