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Radio Broadcast

John Darley, Advance SA MLC (5AA 11.08 - 11.16)

(Byner: Recycling … the zero waste levy is just in the stratosphere with its rate … a lot of that money goes to the Minister with no oversight as to how he spends it … so far how everybody puts up with this … we heard in Breakfast today that households across many Adelaide suburbs that fail to dispose organic waste correctly the firm that’s done some investigation into this is called RawTech, they recommended that East Waste … has an idea to enforce service penalties, if you’re not putting the right stuff in the right bin we’ll take the bins off you, that has been scuttled but there’s an important issue … my next guest had one of his office interns do a study on recycling, there are lots of people with very good hearts who care about the environment who believe what’s being told to them about how much recycling there is … given this discussion today you need to get back to some basic facts … John …)

I think it was about five years ago I had a trainee do a bit of an investigation into what happens with recycling … material that ends up in the yellow bins and the councils said the recycling rate was about 80% at kerb side but what came out of his my person’s investigation was not everything that ended up in a yellow bin could be recycled because there was no value in it, there was value in the drink cans and glass hard plastic but in terms of newspaper and soft plastic there was no value at all but I think the issue is not that and five years ago and I think it was Prospect Council at that stage wanted to have fortnightly collection of household waste and I remember Grace Portolesi Labor, Dennis Hood … myself … and Stephen Wade … opposed that because in the health act there was a provision that household waste had to be collected weekly for the metropolitan area, where the saving is going to occur and this is what councils are on about … if they could get most of the household waste into the green bin which is recycled fortnightly that would be one way of only having to collect the household waste on a fortnightly basis, the recycling … there’s a shortage of hard plastic in the yellow bins and there’s a demand for that, the comparison should be anything, forget about the green that’s all mulched up … in the yellow bins you really have to look at the cost of emissions in producing anything out of the yellow bin and that’s why in my understanding it was attractive to send it overseas to China or Malaysia.

(Byner: We can’t do that now.)

No so they’ve got to think about it and now there’s a push to get more of the household waste food scraps into the green bin, there’s a SA company that does a lot of work overseas and interstate and they’re now doing it in SA whereby the problem with food scraps and all that household waste that goes into landfill that generates carbon monoxide which is 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide and this company has a system where they can extract 96% of that carbon monoxide and I’ve seen it in Victoria where they have these massive caterpillar engines 20 cylinder engines coupled to electricity generators, they use the carbon monoxide to drive the engines which generate baseload power back into the grid so we need to say ok if we’re going to recycle stuff out of the yellow bin we need to look at the emissions generated by using that stuff to make other material like I’ve seen it at Kilburn there’s a company they make plastic posts and plastic furniture …

(Byner: Why aren’t we doing that here in a much bigger way?)

That’s the point, this company has told me there’s a shortage of hard plastic, they’ll take all the hard plastic they can get to make it into these other things, if you can’t do that they should also look at this company called LMS Energy and they’ve got a plant at Playford they’re capturing the carbon monoxide generating electricity and I believe there’s a $10m plant going into McLaren Vale shortly to do the same thing, I’ve seen it in Victoria they do this overseas as well.

(Byner: Why are we pontificating about getting other agencies to write reports and make suggestions that are somewhat punitive when you’re suggesting there are other alternatives?)

Absolutely … I had a question about that consultancy you know how councils at one stage they were talking about how they can share resources and I asked councils you tell me which resources you’re sharing and I’m yet to receive an answer … if they can share resources why didn’t the councils share resources to do the report that the consultancy did, they’ve got the people to do this and then as someone mentioned … the saving they are going to achieve is that going to come back as a rebate on council rates, I doubt it.

(Byner: No …)

Let’s have a look at the whole system and say … they’re going to have to change the law to have household waste collected fortnightly.

(Byner: That’s not going to happen …)

That’s right, what they should be doing is looking more closely at the stuff that’s not being recycled how do they deal with that and if it goes into landfill why aren’t we capturing the carbon monoxide from the landfill generating base load power.

(Byner: Thank you …)