After Transpacific garbage trucks were grounded last week, and Ashfield was grounded in rubbish, we started wondering where our waste actually goes once it’s been swiped from our sight.
With only three to six years worth of landfill space left in Sydney, the Inner West’s waste is being transported further away from familiar doorsteps to be buried. Inner West councils are now paying top dollar to banish waste, forking out approximately $100 per tonne of rubbish. We thought we ‘d take a look at some of the places being paid to make our rubbish their problem.
About a half-an-hour drive away from Inner Sydney, Lucas Heights Resource Recovery Park in the Sutherland Shire is one of the oldest and largest landfill sights still operating in Australia. Lucas It’s the final destination of Marrickville Council’s waste, of which around 20,000 tonnes enters landfill every year. The park spans 165 hectares, backing on to Heathcote National Park.
Every year 400,000 tonnes of waste is sent 250km by rail from Sydney to be processed in Woodlawn, Goulburn. Leichhardt, Burwood, Ashfield and Strathfield Councils all contribute.
With the impending closure of other facilities closer to home, Sydney is becoming increasingly reliant on the Woodlawn site. A new rail line and transfer centre are being built in order for Sydneysiders to send a further 500,000 tonnes of garbage from our homes there each year.
Erskine Park Landfill is run by Transpacific, the waste management service used by Canada Bay and Ashfield councils. The Erskine Park facility is situated near the Penrith City suburb of St Clair and is set to close in 2016.
Residents of this area have the double pleasure of there being another landfill site and chicken-farm close by, both of which have been investigated for the mismanagement of odour. Erskine Park is also particularly famous for its annual dog-show.
Did you know?
• Landfill is the most expensive option for managing waste
• In Sydney 445kg of waste is generated per person per year
• Australians are the second greatest producer of waste per person worldwide
• If household waste was composted and sorted correctly, municipal landfill waste would be dramatically reduced
• Only 30 per cent of TVs and computers in Australia are recycled
•When paper is disposed in landfill it breaks down to produce the greenhouse gas, methane
• 30 per cent of retail food waste goes straight into landfill without ever reaching the consumer
• Not everything with a recycling triangle on it can be recycled, generally only those items numbered with a 1, 2, 3 or 5
• Gas from decomposing waste can be turned
into household energy. Lucas Heights and Woodlawn both contribute electricity to their local power grid.