BIG CLEAN-UP: What a load of rubbish!
IT'S BEEN a big year for rubbish in the Clarence Valley with household clean-ups competing with bushfire and flood damaged goods dumped at our local centres.
In the annual waste management report to council, the kerbside residual waste that ended up in landfill was 8648 tonnes. This was an increase of 4 per cent over the same period in 2018/19.
However, recycling rates are falling, with 5200 tonnes received for this year, a fall of 4.4 per cent over last year.
The major change in the year was the cancellation of the bulky waste collection service for the year due to the effects of COVID-19.
The report states that protecting highly skilled landfill staff from COVID-19 to ensure business continuity presented significant challenges for waste services.
However, there was an unexpected side effect of the pandemic in the early stages of the March community shut down. Many householders took the opportunity to clean-up around the house resulting in a substantial increase in the number of people attending waste transfer stations.
As part of a special recycling program however, there were 1950 mattresses diverted from landfill.
At the Maclean waste transfer station, security staff were engaged to control the number of vehicles entering and leaving the site to ensure social distancing could be maintained.
Large crowds at sites were also noticed following the bushfire and flood events of the past year.
The Grafton Regional Landfill was one of only a few landfills on the Northern Rivers capable of accepting the quantity of waste involved. As a result, bushfire waste was received from a number of LGA's including Bellingen, Coffs Harbour, Kyogle, Lismore, Nambucca, Richmond Valley and Tenterfield.
"As at 30 June 2020 a total of 19,600 tonnes of disaster waste was received at the Grafton Regional Landfill which included 2,532 tonnes of asbestos. There was 1,140 tonnes of scrap metal and 1,731 tonnes of concrete recovered at the landfill for reuse and recycling," the report states.
"At the peak there was an average of 20 vehicles entering the landfill per hour which certainly stretched the capacity of the facility."
During the year Baryulgil Waste Transfer Station was upgraded with new gates and staffing.
The upgrade was successful with around 60% less waste being received at the site (much of which was believed to be coming from outside the Local Government Area) and the site being well maintained significantly reducing health and safety risks.
There were 229 reports of illegal dumping in the area, with council's regulatory staff using surveillance cameras at targeted hot spots throughout the valley. During 2019/20 these staff issued penalty notices, clean up notices and cautions relating to illegal dumping.
The report was presented to this week's committee meetings, and will go before full council next week.