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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 15 August 2017) . . Page.. 2675 ..


MS LE COUTEUR: My question is to the Minister for Transport and City Services and relates to last week’s Four Corners program on waste. Noting that the waste feasibility study has not yet been completed, what assurances can the minister provide to ACT residents that materials such as glass bottles which are placed in our recycling bins are being recycled and not ending up in landfill?

MS FITZHARRIS: I thank Ms Le Couteur for her question. Like many others, I have been interested to view both the ABC’s War on Waste program and the Four Corners report last week. I can assure the Assembly, and through the Assembly the broader ACT community, that, regarding glass recycling in the ACT, glass is processed locally in the ACT. It is decontaminated, made into glass sand and used primarily as day cover in landfill.

Re.Group, which is our contractor, recently upgraded the facility to invest approximately $6 million in the installation of a glass blaster. This technology allows all glass received to be processed into a product called glass sand. Imploded glass is turned into glass sand with approximately 70 per cent to 80 per cent used as landfill day cover, which is the layer of sand placed over waste material each day in the ACT. This is in line with EPA approval and is a beneficial reuse of the material, thus saving the use of soil.

Other uses for recycled glass are also being explored and tested, for example, for use in road base, concrete mix and pipe bedding. I understand that there have been some questions about stockpiles of recyclables in the ACT that TCCS may be aware of. There are some in private hands in the ACT. But certainly following the Four Corners report I can assure the Assembly that the glass that is picked up through ACT government contracts is processed locally here in the ACT.

MS LE COUTEUR: Minister, what compliance and enforcement processes are in place to ensure that stockpiling and illegal dumping of waste by private companies, including those subcontracted by ACT government contractors, is not taking place?

MS FITZHARRIS: In terms of the waste feasibility study that Ms Le Couteur referred to in her original question, we are looking forward to that report and study being presented to the government in October this year. In the meantime, of course, the Assembly passed last year the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Act, which commenced in the ACT on 1 July. There is a phased implementation to that new legislation. The first components are the licensing of waste facilities, registration of waste transporters and the implementation of a mandatory data reporting regime. Those will all go some way to addressing the issues that Ms Le Couteur raised. Again the waste feasibility study, when completed, and when its recommendations are presented to government later this year, will further that regulatory work.

MR STEEL: Can the minister provide an update on new benefits from the upcoming container deposit scheme?

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