Expanded waste collection service now voluntary

28 Jun 2022 |

28 June 2022

Following community feedback and a survey of residents in the recent expansion of the designated waste collection area, Southern Downs Regional Council considered the findings at the Ordinary Meeting on Monday 27 June 2022 and resolved to offer households in the new catchment area the opportunity to opt-in or opt-out of the receiving service.

All residents within the expanded waste collection area will receive correspondence from Council in the coming weeks to update them on the decision.

While the service expansion formed part of Council’s long-term strategy to reduce the region’s environmental footprint and improve service delivery of waste services, divided community feedback prompted the recent review.

The new decision comes off the back of a free three-month trial which gave more than 1,100 landowners in the extended catchment the opportunity to experience the convenience of kerbside waste collection and improve the ability to divert recoverable resources from landfill.

The service will continue at no charge for a further three months while the revised program is implemented and all residents are contacted to confirm their preference, including the 40% of residents who did not respond to the survey.

Southern Downs Mayor Vic Pennisi said that the decision for a voluntary service delivery was undertaken to reflect community sentiment garnered from the review process.

“Council would like to acknowledge the valued feedback received from residents within the expanded waste collection area,” Mayor Pennisi said.

“In reviewing the case, we listened to the community and considered all feedback to make a decision that offers the opportunity for residents to opt-in or op-out of the program.

“There were strong cases for and against the service and Council deemed it fair to provide those residents with the choice.

“In 2020, the Southern Downs community disposed of more than 27,000 tonnes of waste into landfill and in 2021, not only did Stanthorpe landfill reach capacity, but Council also invested $3.1M in the construction of a new engineered landfill cell at Warwick.

“We simply can’t keep digging expensive holes. By expanding the waste collection area, we are relieving pressure on the newly constructed landfill by increasing recycling volumes.

“We must address the ongoing need to manage our waste responsibly and with more households having access to a dedicated recycling bin, we can rescue more recyclables from our landfill and increase its lifespan.”

Council’s review took into consideration social media feedback, correspondence with Councillors, Customer Service contact and a direct survey to property owners in the expansion area to provide considered insight on how the new service would impact on the domestic waste and recycling preferences in the catchment.

Prior to the trial, there were already 220 voluntary services in the newly expanded designated waste collection area that were absorbed into the catchment.

Following the initial roll-out in March 2022, Council received 27 additional requests to be included in the expansion, which reflects the community’s support of improved material recovery behaviours.

The expansion of the designated waste collection area was formalised in the Waste Reduction and Recycling Plan 2021-2024. The provision of waste and recycling services also supports the State Government’s Waste Management and Resource Recovery Strategy.

Last edited date 01 Jul 2022