City of Newcastle presents vision for sustainable waste future

26 Sept 2022

Image: Deputy Lord Mayor Declan Clausen at Summerhill Waste Management Centre solar farm.

Summerhill Waste Management Centre will be transformed into an innovative regional recovery hub under a 20-year vision to reduce waste, increase recycling rates, strengthen the economy and create new jobs in Newcastle.

The vision has been outlined in City of Newcastle's (CN) draft Our Sustainable Waste Strategy, which will be tabled at tomorrow's Council meeting ahead of a proposed six-week public exhibition period.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said developing a sustainable solution for waste was crucial for the future of our planet, our people and our prosperity, while also ensuring we're able to manage the waste generation associated with ongoing population growth.

"During the next 20 years, Newcastle's population is expected to grow by more than 15 per cent, which in turn will lead to an increase of almost 18 per cent in waste generation," the Lord Mayor said.

"Our Sustainable Waste Strategy focusses on reducing the amount of waste going to landfill and changing the way we return, reuse, repair and recycle resources.

"Our draft Strategy will deliver significant benefits to the planet by preserving our finite resources and reducing emissions, while also protecting and creating new jobs in Newcastle and unlocking economic opportunities for local businesses and industry through the circular economy."

"This is an important milestone for City of Newcastle in our journey to reduce our emissions, protect our environment and implement our commitments to sustainability under our adopted Climate Action Plan and Community Strategic Plan."

Newcastle Deputy Lord Mayor Declan Clausen said the Strategy proposes a mix of infrastructure and service provision supported by educational campaigns and includes construction of the planned material recovery facility and organics processing facility at Summerhill.

"We're committed to increasing our capabilities for the recycling and reuse of products in order to meet the State and Federal targets of diverting 80% of recycling and 50% of food waste from landfill," Cr Clausen said.

"This includes investing in the infrastructure needed at Summerhill to allow residents to easily increase their recycling rates, with a recent kerbside waste audit showing that more than half of the waste in our red-lidded bins has the potential to be recovered in an organics processing facility, which can then be processed into compost for reuse in agriculture, landscaping and home gardens.

"By capturing more of the value from more of our waste, we’re localising a new resource steam, which may have significant benefits to local businesses and industry, kick-starting a local circular economy.

Pending approval from Councillors at tomorrow night's meeting, the draft Our Sustainable Waste Strategy will be placed on public exhibition for six weeks before returning to Council later this year for adoption.