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Tas council scraps kerbside recycling -

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Tas council scraps kerbside recycling

The World Today - Wednesday, 29 October , 2008 12:55:00

ELEANOR HALL: Now to Tasmania and recycling of a different kind.

The Apple Isle likes to promote itself as Australia's clean green state, but now the city of
Devonport is failing to pull its weight on the environment.

The Devonport Council has voted to end its kerbside recycling, saying it is too expensive. It is
also refusing to join a new regional recycling scheme.

But many locals are outraged and now the Mayor has responded by calling a special council meeting
for tonight.

As Felicity Ogilvie reports.

FELICITY OGILVIE: Devonport is one of the biggest local council areas in northern Tasmania.

It's the place where the passenger ferries that cross Bass Strait arrive.

Twenty 5,000 people live in Devonport and many like Lindsay McBride are angry that their losing
kerbside recycling service.

LINDSAY MCBRIDE: It's not just my own personal inconvenience, I think it's a very short-sighted
thing of the council to think about, even think about getting rid of something like this.

I think it's something that we ought to be increasing, rather than decreasing. I think it's good
practice to recycle as much material as we can, and I think most ratepayers would go along with
that, and we would feel that if there was a cost involved in it then we have to bear that cost and
maybe the council need to re-prioritise things.

FELICITY OGILVIE: The Devonport City Council says it costs $349,000 a year to provide the kerbside
recycling service. Many aldermen think that's too expensive, and at the last council meeting they
decided to vote it down.

At that same meeting the aldermen also refused to support Devonport joining a regional recycling
scheme.

Their opposition was again based on money, because they say it would cost Devonport $371,000 a year
to join.

The Deputy Mayor, Maurice Hill, is one of the aldermen who voted against kerbside recycling.

MAURICE HILL: We have had some people contact council and say that they really believe we should be
paying more attention to the environment, and I would suggest that the decision that I made, and
the way I voted certainly was with full agreement that we need to pay great attention to our
environment.

And I believe I voted to the best effect of the environment as well as to the cost effectiveness of
the Devonport City Council and it's residents.

FELICITY OGILVIE: Aldermen Hill says recycling isn't as environmentally friendly as it sounds
because it's shipped out of Tasmania to be processed elsewhere.

MAURICE HILL: If you look at the glass for example, non-broken glass goes to Melbourne, PVC
plastics go to Geelong. Other plastics, about 20 per cent of them go to various facilities around
the mainland and 80 per cent of the other plastics actually go to China.

FELICITY OGILVIE: If people in Devonport want to continue recycling they'll have to take their
waste down to the depot at the local tip.

One council member who voted to keep kerbside recycling is the Mayor Lynn Laycock.

She's called a special meeting tonight to see if the aldermen who've canned it will change their
minds.

LYNN LAYCOCK: I had an overwhelming response from the general public, in letters being hand
delivered into council within 24 hours, phone calls, emails, and I felt that we had a good reason
to call a special council meeting to listen to our public. Because that's what we're here for as
elected members.

FELICITY OGILVIE: Lynn Laycock also wants the aldermen to change their vote and support the
regional recycling scheme.

Seven councils on the north west coast are being asked if they'd like to combine their recycling
services.

The Mayor will be asking councillors to change their view and sign Devonport up to the scheme.

LYNN LAYCOCK: We need to be part of this new contract to support the other councils because it's a
coast-wide push, the councils are all in apart from West Coast and King Island, which of course are
our isolated councils and will do their own thing.

But of course if we all join together it does make it a lot cheaper and more sensible to go with a
new recycling contract.

FELICITY OGILVIE: If Devonport continues to refuse to join the regional recycling scheme it could
be too expensive for the other council's to go ahead.

But it appears unlikely that the Mayor will win over her fellow aldermen who are still opposed to
the scheme.

ELEANOR HALL: Felicity Ogilvie with that report.