Ipswich 'a hub of excellence' for resource recovery: Expert
RECYCLING is in crisis and Ipswich became the face of that crisis when the council sensationally declared all rubbish in yellow-lid bins would go to landfill.
Now the state's peak body representing the waste industry is hatching a plan to restore confidence in recycling by bringing operators and residents together in the pursuit of solutions and job creating innovation.
In October a major conference will be held in Ipswich, hosted by the Waste, Recycling Industry Association of Queensland in partnership with the State Government and Ipswich City Council.
The three day conference will cover a range of issues including the state of the industry now, its future and the push towards waste-to-energy along with the idea of a circular waste economy where products are brought back into the cycle instead of going to landfill.
Waste, Recycling Industry Association of Queensland Rick Ralph said the main priority was to restore confidence in recycling and to explore how Ipswich could become "a hub of excellence" in resource recovery.
"We can't bury our heads in the sand and hope the problem goes away," Mr Ralph said.
"We have to deal with it sensibly and smartly with a vision we can deliver."
Mr Ralph's vision is to turn Ipswich into the centre of innovation and manufacturing in Queensland by re-purposing and recycling products that may have otherwise gone to landfill.
But there was one major hurdle to overcome first, he said.
"Ipswich could quite easily become the hub of excellence in this area," Mr Ralph said.
"But first we have to get beyond the negatives and start focusing on what is achievable and what industry is prepared to do
"Because waste will always be generated while man is on this planet so we have to find sustainable solutions.
More than half of all Queensland's waste, 5,155,954 tonnes, is brought to Ipswich each year to be processed and sent to landfill.
According to a report released recently by the WRIQ, the incoming waste creates 428 direct jobs for Ipswich residents, paying a total of $25 million in salaries each year.
Mr Ralph said there were more investment opportunities, and more jobs to be created as Queensland wades through its recycling crisis, sparked by the China ban on incoming material.
The three day conference, Innovation in Recycling Secondary Resources, will be held at The Workshops Railway Museum between October 11 and 13.
Thursday and Friday will be technical content but on the Saturday, Ipswich residents are invited to learn more about waste operations and will be given the opportunity to see equipment and processes in action, as well as asking questions.
The public open day on Saturday, October 13 will include displays on recycling in action and a trade exhibition showcasing the industry's capability along with demonstrations for the community.