Community asked about rubbish

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RATEPAYERS are again being asked for their views on the shire’s waste recovery plan as pressure is said to be growing on the landfill at Rye, predicted in some Mornington Peninsula Shire reports to be full in two years or less.

The current draft ̔Municipal Waste and Resource Recovery Strategy’ follows several previous similar documents, including the 2009 ̔Municipal Waste Management Strategy’ and a proposal in 2013 following the Environment Protection Authority’s refusal for a tip at the old Pioneer quarry on the Arthurs Seat escarpment.

The new community consultation was approved by councillors at the 11 May meeting. It is available on the shire website and the Let’s Talk Waste “community engagement” website.

The latest report’s major option for waste disposal is to enlarge the Rye landfill facility by opening a new disposal area, or “cell”. This was the shire’s preferred option in 2009, when Rye was considered capable of accepting waste until 2030. But by June 2013 this date had dropped to “between 2016 and 2018”.

In the current report Rye is estimated to be full by 2017, increasing the urgency of finding an alternative place to dump rubbish. However, the report states that “full development” of Rye would extend its life to 2041.

Even limited development would ensure Rye remained open until 2032 or 2028, according to the report.

Cost to households would vary according to which option the shire adopted, from $28.69 (partial development of Rye’s western portion) to $58.36 for transfer of all waste off the peninsula from a holding area in Dromana.

The report is silent on the destination of waste if the Dromana option is chosen. The closest off-peninsula landfills are the SITA facility at Hampton Park, about half an hour away, and at Dandenong South. The shire has previously favoured trucking waste 102 km to Werribee or to slightly closer landfills at Sunshine and Deer Park.

The most favoured option – alternative waste technology (AWT), sophisticated high-temperature incinerators, as used widely in the US and Europe – is not available in Victoria. The Pioneer quarry appeared to be the anticipated solution for waste disposal until fierce community opposition and the EPA ruled it out.

The report states that an additional $6.5 million would be required over the next three years for the draft strategy. It does not say whether the $2.52 million raised in 2014-15 from the optional green waste bin service will contribute toward this sum.

“Sixty per cent of the funding is associated with extending the Rye landfill. The other large budget items are the weekly summer recycling service ($350,000 annually), extending the opt-in green organics to include food … and extending ‘no charge’ green organics weekends to include Friday ($130,000 annually),” the report says.

Extending the green organics to include food would cost $130,000 to establish and involve an annual cost of $300,000, it adds.

The report says the strategy “embodies best practice measures … and takes a number of critical steps towards moving the shire closer to its vision of zero waste”.

First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 19 May 2015

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