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Armidale’s strong message at waste conference

Armidale’s strong message at waste conference

The head of Council’s waste management, James Turnell, has flown the flag for local government at a major conference about the waste and recycling issues confronting the nation.

Mr Turnell’s prominence in the waste management industry and Council’s achievements in recycling prompted an invitation for the Program Leader – Waste Management to speak at the three-day Waste 2018 Conference.

He told the conference Australia needed national leadership and a nationwide vision to address the challenges currently confronting recycling in this country and protect community confidence in the recycling industry.

Mr Turnell was part of a discussion panel on day two of the conference, held in Coffs Harbour by consultants Impact Environmental. He said communities now had very high expectations about the recycling services provided by their councils and how those materials were reused.

“We must maintain trust with the community. It’s paramount, otherwise we will go back decades,” Mr Turnell said.

“The community has heightened awareness about the industry and the genie is out of the bottle.”

As Deputy Chairman of the Regional Network for Effective Waste Management (RENEW), Mr Turnell in April addressed the NSW Minister for the Environment and for Local Government, Gabrielle Upton, about the China National Sword Policy’s likely impacts in regional areas.

The meeting, arranged through the NSW Environment Protection Authority, looked at how China’s tighter restrictions on the importation of recyclable materials would impact on NSW local governments.

China has traditionally been a major buyer and processor of recyclable materials but announced it would no longer accept materials with a contamination level greater than 0.5%.

When the National Sword Policy was implemented in January, Mr Turnell indicated Armidale Regional Council’s crate system to separate recyclable materials at the household level would enable the district to continue to sell recycled materials within Australia and potentially meet China’s revised permissible contamination levels for paper and cardboard.

“The crate system might involve a little more sorting by households, compared to the bins used in many other areas, but it means we can continue to meet our waste diversion goals,” he said.


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