State Waste Levy forces industry to clean up
  • Thursday 24 February 2011

When a State Government Waste Levy is introduced on 1 December, Coast businesses including Sunshine Coast Council will need to recycle more if they want to pay less.

Anyone who produces commercial waste will pay an extra 35% on top of their current waste charges. The charge does not apply to recycling.

A visit to the tip could cost an extra $35 for a tonne of commercial non-recyclable waste. Domestic waste produced by and delivered to the landfill by private householders does not attract the levy.

Environment Portfolio Councillor Keryn Jones said that the introduction of the levy has been pushed back to December following talks between the State Government and the Local Government Association.

"But, it’s a small reprieve – business operators who want to save money will need to act now to minimise their waste production," Cr Jones said.

"The levy will affect the construction, production, tourism, retail and even work from home businesses if their home is listed as commercial premises.

"Council will certainly be reviewing its own commercial waste stream to find savings. Based on current charges, we will need to pay an additional $280,000 per year in levy charges.

"The best way for council to help Coast businesses is to assist them in reducing their waste. That’s both good for the environment and their bottom line.

"We recently employed three staff to help business with recycling – many don’t know they are entitled to recycling bins at no additional cost and as it’s free to dispose of many recyclable materials, this could be a big help to small business.

"As an environmental initiative, if it’s executed well, the levy could work in the long term to improve recycling and reduce waste to landfill, but it’s imperative that businesses are prepared for the change they’re about to face and we’re going to do our best to help them.

"I can certainly see some new economic opportunities on the horizon for those who want to start businesses sorting and recovering resources from waste as was flagged in Council’s Waste Minimisation Strategy – that really would be a good outcome.

"And as part of the 2011/2012 budget process, we will consider a report on cost, inputs, business opportunities and commercial arrangements.

"Council will be responsible for collecting levy money at Coast landfills, informing affected businesses of the levy and increasing business recycling education for commercial operators."

Council endorsed recommendations to seek further clarity from the State Government around the logistics of the levy at its Ordinary Meeting today.

Council will also write to the State Government to voice concern about charges being applied to commercially delivered domestic waste and to request a more equitable solution be introduced.