The Newcastle Greens will work to transform our waste management system to create a circular economy that promotes the reduction of resource use, and then reuses and recycles materials instead of sending them to landfill.
Landfill wastes valuable resources, many of which are non-renewable, and generates a range of pollutants, including carbon emissions.
Newcastle Greens believe that local councils, businesses and institutions, households and individuals all have a role to play in reducing waste. The production of waste has many local and global, economic and environmental impacts including:
- financial cost associated with administration, transport and handling of waste
- using land for landfill
- production of greenhouse gases such as methane from decomposing material
- pollution of land and waterways with unidentified chemicals dumped in landfill
- use of energy associated with production of new products instead of reusing
- excessive water usage
- litter and illegal dumping
The Newcastle Greens are committed to reducing the amount of waste our society produces, while radically improving waste management systems in order to create a circular economy.
The circular economy concept is built on the progressive implementation of the waste hierarchy (avoidance and minimisation, re-use, recycling, recovery and disposal). We recognise that the goal of a circular economy is a zero-waste society, and this is the long-term aspiration of our waste policy platform.
Reducing waste will benefit the community by saving money spent on waste management, creating a cleaner city, reducing energy use, and reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
The Newcastle Greens will work with Council and the community to reduce and eventually eliminate waste by:
Redirecting 100% of the revenue raised by the Waste and Environment Levy into fixing our growing waste crisis. This funding will support improving the quality of waste management services, including waste reduction, avoidance and re-use programs, and environmental programs to encourage the development of innovative waste management technology, and rebuilding our recycling capacity.
Banning waste-to-energy schemes. Waste-to-energy involves incinerating waste to produce heat and electricity. It is unsustainable, polluting and weakens community support for recycling. We oppose the inclusion of waste-to-energy in the waste hierarchy that underpins the circular economy.
Establishing a moratorium on new landfill sites. A mortarium on new landfill sites will drive innovation in waste minimisation and material recovery and will reduce the environmental impacts of landfill on land, water and greenhouse gas emissions.
Establishing a city-wide organic waste collection, including both kitchen and garden waste. This will divert more than one third of the waste stream of Newcastle from landfill, reducing the waste levy paid by Newcastle ratepayers, while creating a valuable compost product for landscape management.
Eliminating all single-use plastics from Council activities, events and enterprises, including events conducted on Council land.
Ensuring Newcastle City Council conducts regular waste audits to continually monitor the city’s waste
stream to assist identification of best practice waste avoidance and resource recovery systems.
Requiring waste audit and minimisation programs for all new commercial and industrial developments.
Establishing a formal system of Council support and incentives for local businesses, institutions and community groups that seek to reduce or eliminate waste associated with their products and services. Public recognition and reward should be given for businesses, institutions, and community groups that:
- Reduce or eliminate packaging used at the point of sale, including plastic bags
- Accept point-of-sale return of packaging used in a transaction
- Use 100% biodegradable, recycled or re-usable materials
- Take active measures to increase recycling of recyclable materials (including food), and decrease waste going to landfill
- Reduce the use of ‘junk’ mail for advertising their goods and services
- Have or introduce waste reduction as an operational function of their business
Ensuring that Council establishes formal commercial agreements with organisers of community events
such that licencing costs include:
- the provision of recycling and other waste collection bins
- the transportation of waste from the site
- the ethical disposal and treatment of that waste
Reducing the use of PET water bottles within the city by:
- Having Council install strategically placed water bottle filling stations throughout the city
- Having Council actively encourage businesses and other institutions to follow suit
Encouraging households to engage in home composting to reduce the production of methane from anaerobic breakdown of food and garden waste.
Ensuring that any waste collected by Newcastle Council is sent only to certified disposal and recycling facilities, and that Council is on board with appropriate industry bodies and the Federal Government through the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme to facilitate permanent drop-off points whereby industry takes responsibility for the collection and recycling of waste televisions, computers, printers and other electronic products.
Creating business opportunities associated with the recycling of e-waste, including examination of incentive schemes driven by Council for the establishment of such business opportunities.
Ensuring a more active and effective role for Newcastle City Council in community waste education to promote waste reduction such that it is:
- Made a priority for Newcastle City Council
- Far-reaching and effective in that it results in the reduction of waste
- Regularly evaluated