The ACT government has called bids for new ways of dealing with rubbish, as emissions from landfill continue to climb, impacting the territory’s ability to meet its emissions targets.
The government went to the market this week, calling for proposals for new recycling facilities, waste-to-energy proposals, and other ideas for diverting rubbish from landfill, soil banking, and ways to help apartment blocks reduce waste.
The levy is just one of the new rules the government is considering.
New rules could also require some businesses to separate organic waste, and encourage them to consider “food rescue” where food is still fit for consumption or for animals. Apartment buildings might be required to separately collect paper, cardboard and recyclables.
The ACT has a target to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020. It wants waste to be carbon-neutral by 2020, but a review in 2015 warned that waste emissions were continuing to rise, with delays in projects to turn waste into energy and to better separate and recycle waste.
Waste made up 2.6 per cent of emissions in 2015-16, at 106 kilotonnes of CO2, up from 62 kilotonnes in 2012-13. Waste is expected to account for 6 percent of emissions by 2020.
In its call for bids, the government says if it is going to reach its target of full resource recovery by 2025, current performance must improve by nearly 20 per cent – and waste-to-energy might need to be part of the mix.
It is considering paying operators for any energy they generate from waste, in line with the feed-in tariff it pays to solar and wind farms.
It has pointed companies to a number of sites on the corner of the Monaro Highway and Mugga Lane opposite Hume that could be used for waste processing plants.
The area off John Cory Rd near Hume where the government proposes new waste processing sites.
The ACT generates 1.1 million tonnes of waste a year, with about 310,000 tonnes going to landfill. About 72,000 tonnes is collected each year from the kerbside collections, and the government is now rolling out kerbside bins for green waste, which will collect about 40,000 tonnes of garden waste.
In 2020 the West Belconnen landfill is closing, and being incorporated into new suburban development. The government has also promised a container deposit scheme in 2018.
Its market sounding this week asks for companies to build and operate recycling collection facilities which could also be container deposit depots.
“The territory is interested in any waste collection solution industry wishes to propose for the ACT, even it is a service rather than a facility. This may include hazardous waste and waste associated with product stewardship schemes,” it says.
It wants ideas for “soil banking”, where non-contaminated soil can be bought and sold. And it wants businesses to come forward with ideas for improving recycling in older apartment blocks and advising developers of apartment blocks
The market sounding closes on April 14, with decisions expected later in the year.