Field Services Committee Report

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Field Services Committee Report

Councillor Peter MATIC, Chairman of the Field Services Committee, moved, seconded by Councillor Kim MARX, that the report of the meeting of that Committee held on 1 May 2018, be adopted.

Chairman: Councillor MATIC?

Councillor MATIC: Thank you, Madam Chairman. There are two items. Firstly, the Committee presentation on Brisbane Recycling. Being the first Committee meeting back, I thought it was appropriate that I provide a presentation to the Committee on what obviously was, and still continues to be, a very important issue in our city, and that was the announcement by Ipswich City Council where they intended to end their recycling program.

They started doing that earlier but formally announced it about three weeks ago. Given the significance of the announcement and the larger impact it was having within media and community as a whole, I thought it was important that our branch manager provided us with an update as to the significant amount of work that Brisbane City Council does in this space and set clearly for the record, the significant difference between the practices at Ipswich and that of Brisbane.

The presentation was quite thorough and detailed, informing all Councillors in the Committee about the amount of contamination, 7% in Brisbane. The amount of recycling that’s done locally, 80%. how that breakdown is also conducted in our partnership with Visy around not only paper and glass, Madam Chairman, but also plastics. We also provided an overview of the program generally and reinforced the importance of education and information, and I think we’ll continue to—our passionate commitment to this program, Madam Chairman, because this Administration has clearly shown its commitment to a clean, green, sustainable Brisbane.

The fact that we’ve won the award for Australia’s Most Sustainable City twice, the record growth that we continue to have in improvements in recycling, the Love Food Hate Waste program that the city continues to embrace—all of these factors clearly show that this Administration is right on target and will continue to deliver on that.

Madam Chairman, the second item is a petition on kerbside organics recycling service for Brisbane. The petitioner is requesting that we introduce a kerbside collection system through the green bins for food organics. In our response to the petitioner, we’ve outlined the program that we’re undertaking through Love Food Hate Waste, all the different initiatives that we are undertaking as well and we noted, Madam Chairman, on the record too that it is something that we’re investigating but a city as large are ours, there are a number of factors that need to be taken into consideration so that such a program can run efficiently.

When you’re looking at where green bins are not compulsory across the city, how you deal with that program and in some instances, in some developments where there is no need for a green bin, how you manage that. So all of these factors are being taken into consideration, Madam Chairman, and in our ongoing commitment to reducing food waste in that red top bin and doing the things we need to. But as we outlined here, our composting program as I said earlier, 2,700 residents across the city, we’ll continue to reinforce that and look for those options because this is a space that we will always continue to grow in and continue to do more in, and it’s something that we need to take all Brisbane residents with us.

Chairman: Further debate?

There being no Councillors rising to their feet, anything further, Councillor MATIC?

I will now put the report.

Upon being submitted to the Chamber, the motion for the adoption of the report of the Field Services Committee was declared carried on the voices.

The report read as follows¾


Councillor Peter Matic (Chairman), Councillor Kim Marx (Deputy Chairman), and Councillors Steven Huang, Nicole Johnston, Charles Strunk and Steven Toomey.



  • Arron Lee, Manager, Waste and Resource Recovery Services, Field Services, Brisbane Infrastructure, attended the meeting to provide an update on Brisbane’s recycling. He provided the information below.
  • The issues currently impacting Australian recycling include escalating landfill levies; falling commodity prices affecting Material Recycling Facility profits; glass becoming a problematic waste stream; newspapers reducing, and glossy magazines/flyers increasing; volatile foreign exchange rates since the Global Financial Crisis; high contamination rates from some councils and China’s introduction of the National Sword and Blue Sky Policies.
  • China’s changing policies include the National Sword Policy (Operation Green Fence) which stops the importation of foreign waste. The policy has mechanisms to restrict import licences for recycled products to less than 0.5% contamination. Most Australian material recycling facilities operate on a less than 5% contamination rate in export materials. The Blue Sky Policy reduces carbon emissions from industry (landfills and incinerators). Different media clippings about China’s ban on foreign waste were shown to the Committee.
  • Brisbane has one of the most successful kerbside recycling schemes in Australia. Forty-eight per cent (43,300 tonnes/pa) of Council’s domestic recycling is paper and cardboard, which is processed into cardboard boxes in Brisbane. Thirty-four per cent (31,000 tonnes/pa) is glass, which is processed into bottles or used in the production of asphalt in Brisbane. Five per cent (4,900 tonnes/pa) is plastic which is processed into bottles in New South Wales, while three per cent (3,000 tonnes/pa) is soft plastic and scrap paper. A table was shown listing the different types of plastics and their recycling symbol.
  • Two per cent (1,800 tonnes/pa) of Council’s domestic recycling is steel and one per cent (800 tonnes/pa) is aluminium, which is processed into cans in New South Wales. Seven per cent (6,100 tonnes/pa) of Council’s domestic recycling is waste, which is sent to landfill. This consists of nappies, batteries, plastic bags, textiles, garden waste and food. Council’s important message to residents is to keep recycling and put the right things in the bin.

Following a number of questions from the Committee, the Chairman thanked Mr Lee for his informative presentation.






  • A petition from residents requesting Brisbane City Council establish a weekly kerbside organics recycling collection service, and establish or contract an organics processing facility was received during the Summer Recess 2017-18.
  • The Executive Manager, Field Services, Brisbane Infrastructure, provided the following information.
  • The petition contains 145 signatures.
  • The petitioners believe that due to the significant portion of organic waste in Brisbane household rubbish bins, Council should accelerate the establishment of an organics recycling service.
  • The organic waste percentage of 60% quoted in the petitioner’s letter differs to Council’s household rubbish bin assessment of 52%. That said, the petitioner is correct in her arguments that organic matter makes up the major component of our city’s rubbish bins and kerbside organics recycling services are increasingly being rolled out in various councils across Australia, including the nearby Ipswich City Council and Tweed Shire Council.
  • Council’s Brisbane. Clean, Green, Sustainable document has goals of reduction of waste to landfill and increased resource recovery. In order to achieve these goals, the logical target for our programs in coming years needs to be organics such as garden and food waste.
  • Concerning garden waste, Council already supplies a green waste recycling bin service to residents as an opt-in service. In the last financial year, Council’s green waste recycling service collected and diverted 21,699 tonnes of green waste. This is equivalent to 34 Olympic-sized swimming pools. The total number of green waste bins ordered since the service commenced in May 2010 is 88,979 bins (accurate at 15 March 2018). A further 57,017 tonnes of green waste was diverted from landfill via Council’s resource recovery centres.
  • Concerning the food waste component, Council announced a three-year commitment of $975,000 in its last Budget to participate in the international Love Food Hate Waste program. Reducing food waste at its source saves energy and other resources used in the production, delivery, sale and preparation of food.
  • Developed in the United Kingdom by WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Program), the Love Food Hate Waste behaviour change program and its partners have contributed to a 21% decrease in avoidable food waste being disposed in the United Kingdom between 2007 and 2012.
  • The Love Food Hate Waste program aims to avoid and minimise food waste by modifying behaviour through education around purchasing, consuming and storing food. The campaign will target audiences with the highest opportunity to reduce food waste, including younger people 18-24 years, families and residents with incomes over $100,000.
  • The Executive Manager recommended as follows and the Committee agreed.



Attachment A

Draft Response

Petition Reference: CA18/3891

Thank you for your petition requesting Council provide green waste bins to all households and establish a weekly organics recycling collection and processing facility.

I appreciate you taking the time to raise awareness about the benefits that organics recycling has for the environment and our capacity to keep Brisbane clean, green and sustainable. Council is very aware that such collection services have been established in other local government areas around Australia, including nearby Ipswich City Council and Tweed Shire Council.

You will be pleased to know that the viable conversion of Council’s current green waste recycling bins to also accept appropriate food scraps, such as fruit and vegetables, is already being investigated.

Council is conscious that a waste levy is currently being considered by the Queensland Government, hence our approach so far has been to focus on ensuring residents have a broad range of other organics recycling opportunities. The strategies we have adopted to address organics recycling include our growing network of Community Composting hubs, our ongoing schedule of free compost and worm farm workshops and the strong commitment we have made to reducing avoidable food waste through our Love Food Hate Waste program.

With this in mind, Council is committed to the objectives of the petition in-principle and will continue our research. In the interim, we encourage all households in Brisbane to take advantage of the aforementioned alternative organics recycling options.

Should you wish to discuss this matter further, please contact Ms Christine Blanchard, Waste Minimisation Manager, Waste and Resource Recovery Services, Field Services, Brisbane Infrastructure on (07) 3178 8419.

Thank you for raising this matter.



Extract from the 4544 meeting of the Brisbane City Council, held at City Hall, Brisbane
on Tuesday 08 May 2018 at 2pm

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