Three South East Queensland Councils have joined forces to deliver a regional recycling facility that could start construction next year and divert tonnes of waste from landfill.
The $1.8 billion SEQ City Deal announced on Monday will support a raft of waste reform and infrastructure, with the potential for projects to include an innovative plan from Logan, Ipswich and Redland City Councils (SEQ sub-regional waste alliance) to build a regional Material Recovery Facility (MRF).
The proposed facility, which is estimated at around $30 million, could handle up to 60,000 tonnes of recycling annually.
Alliance Steering Committee Chair and Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding said the signing of the SEQ City Deal showed support at all levels of government for a collaborative approach to waste reduction, providing the alliance added confidence in its recent decision to progress to a formal tender for the regional facility.
“The ink may be barely dry on the SEQ City Deal, but there is no time to ‘waste’, so we are moving ahead with our plans for a regional recycling facility we know will deliver real benefits for our communities,” Cr Harding said.
“This is a positive initiative to give our Councils greater control in recycling. With new technology and improved processes, our communities can play a leading role in diverting more waste away from landfill.
“The community, and in particular our younger residents, will be able to see first-hand how the items in their yellow recycling bins are sorted and processed through the facility’s innovative education room and viewing platform.
“We have been working on this project since 2018 and knowing the City Deal has now been signed, we are keen to partner with the State and Federal governments in the hope of breaking ground on this exciting project next year.
“This regional MRF will support the broader South East Queensland Waste Management Plan, delivering potential benefits for the broader region.”
City of Logan Mayor Darren Power said the MRF facility will create local jobs and potentially save money for ratepayers.
“The project promises plenty of jobs during construction and ongoing once the facility is up and running, which is a great thing for the region, state and nation,” Cr Power said.
“Building our own MRF will mean recyclables can be processed and sorted in Logan. They will then be made available to local businesses in the region and will take us closer to the zero-waste future we all aspire to.
“Not only are there environmental benefits but there will be potential cost savings over the long term which will benefit ratepayers.”
Redland City Mayor Karen Williams said the finalisation of the City Deal provided the ideal foundation to move to the next phase of this regional collaboration.
“Waste is one of the largest challenges facing our communities, and by working together we know we can deliver for our residents now and in the future,” Cr Williams said.
“The SEQ City Deal includes $105 million for regional waste projects and initiatives, providing the perfect opportunity to deliver this innovative and modern facility.
“We know there is still plenty of work to do and we aim to work with the State and Federal governments to deliver this unique project.
“We would also like to congratulate the State and Federal governments, as well as our Council of Mayors colleagues, for committing to much needed waste reform in the SEQ City Deal, a commitment that will deliver a more sustainable future for our region along with exciting economic and environmental benefits for our communities.”
Currently all three Councils, which represent more than 700,000 residents, are transferring recyclables to a contractor based in Port of Brisbane for sorting.
The regional MRF, to be situated in the Browns Plains Waste and Recycling Facility in the City of Logan, will sort recycled material collected in yellow lid recycling bins.
The Browns Plains site offers environmental and economic benefits. It was chosen because of its size, central location to all Councils, proximity to existing infrastructure, and appropriately zoned land ready to accommodate this type of facility.
The Alliance was formed in 2018 to investigate joint procurement options in response to changes in waste policy, taking into consideration the move to a zero-waste future and reducing landfill, as well as increasing restrictions on exporting kerbside recyclables to overseas markets.
Building a sub-regional MRF would benefit the wider South East Queensland (SEQ) region and complements the Council of Mayors South East Queensland (COMSEQ) SEQ Waste Management Plan.
The tender process is expected to be finalised mid-year.