Mayor issues polystyrene recycling challenge

Redland City Mayor Karen Williams has challenged Queensland councils to follow the Redlands lead and recycle polystyrene.

The Mayor said 47 tonnes of polystyrene waste – nearly 800 truck loads – had been diverted from landfill since the program started in the Redlands five years ago.

“Regrettably, Redland City is the only Queensland council with an expanded polystyrene recycling program,” she said.

“There are challenging impacts of the disposal of expanded polystyrene waste – it is bulky and lightweight, can easily become airborne once dumped in landfill and can cause the death of wildlife.

“It isn’t biodegradable, tends to be used only once and with the decreasing availability of landfill space and the introduction of the carbon tax there are increased costs associated with its disposal.

“But there are real and tested solutions to these challenges and I encourage other councils to follow our lead.

“There is a fresh impetus for councils to consider the program –there is also community expectation to consider – people want councils to be sustainable wherever possible.”

The Mayor said Redland City Council five years ago formed a ground-breaking association with Leo Sines from Polystyrene Recycling Queensland, the Good Guys Capalaba and a range of other local businesses.

“Together, we launched an expanded polystyrene recycling trial that diverted nearly four tonnes of the material from landfill in a mere three months,” she said.

“During the trial, participating businesses collected their polystyrene waste in special cages and this was emptied weekly and then twice-weekly.

“Residents would bring their polystyrene waste to a waste transfer station and this was also collected, along with the used polystyrene from businesses.

“The waste was delivered to Leo Sines’ Carton Warehouse in Brisbane’s western suburbs, where it was broken down into granules and compressed into logs.

“The collapsed product was then shipped off to China for melting and recombining, creating a whole new set of products like synthetic timber, picture frames, pot planters and coat hangers.”

Redland City was last week named Queensland’s Most Sustainable City for 2012 by Keep Australia Beautiful Queensland, the second time in three years the Redlands has won the award.