Meander Valley Gazette

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Recycling concerns for Meander Valley?

CommunityJoanne Eisemann

By David Claridge

A RECYCLING slump across Australia has had a flow on effect where waste is unable to be processed as it was in many areas.

Business heavy weight SKM Recycling in Victoria has become insolvent in August after a $5.5 billion debt as reported on

Meander Valley Council was asked if there is any impact in our community to alleviate concerns. MVC Communications Officer Marianne MacDonald provided answers to these questions.

Where does our recycling go?

‘Most recyclable materials are processed in Tasmania or interstate. After initial processing, product is distributed to local and international markets.

’Given that recycling businesses are struggling and extra costs will most likely go to council and ratepayers, is our recycling under threat? ‘

Council is unable to predict changes in market demand for recyclable commodities, however, the current market is still viable.

‘Council is informed of emerging developments for reuse opportunities and continues to be proactive in engaging with multiple stakeholders.

‘The community does a great job in recycling various materials and Council encourages all its residents to continue to recycle.’ If so, what is Council doing to combat the issue? ‘

‘Council continues to work with other councils in the region to improve recycling opportunities and has recently contributed to the State Government’s Draft Waste Strategy Action Plan consultation.’

The Mercury in early September reported that ratepayers in the Hobart City Council area would be funding an extra shift to deal with excess waste as the SKM shutdown has adversely impacted their ability to relocate waste to the mainland. In the interim they have been stockpiling the waste at their facilities.


NewsJoanne Eisemann

September 2018 | David Claridge

IN THE Meander Valley we have various forms of recycling E-waste.

But what exactly is E-waste, and how do people know what to dispose of and where? Justin Jones from Just Waste has answered some questions about how to properly dispose of E-waste and what it actually is.

“As part of the Northern Tasmanian Waste Management Group, we provide a free service at both the Westbury and Deloraine refuse sites for people to be able to dispose of their E-waste,” he said.

“We put that into cages. Those cages then go to Melbourne and are put through a recycling process where each item is broken up into thousands of pieces.

“When an E-waste item is broken down, it’s sorted into its precious metals such as gold, silver, and copper. For TV’s and monitors, some have gases which are sucked oˆff and recycled, such as mercury vapour. Any glass is smelted in Adelaide.‰”

Justin went on to say that what confuses a lot of people is what E-waste actually is, as it is not everything with a power cord. E-waste is limited to the following: TV’s, computers, monitors, printers, and mice.

What E-waste doesn’t include are microwaves, toasters or kettles.

“We can still take those items, but we put them through the scrap metal process,” said Justin.

In the two and a half years since Just Waste implemented their E-Waste plan in Meander Valley they have recycled over 200 tonnes.

Mobile phones and accessories can be collected by Mobile Muster - there is a collection box at both the Deloraine and Mole Creek online access centres, while printer cartridges are collected by Planet Ark.‰ Printer cartridges can also be recycled at both of these locations.

Recycling recorded

FeatureJoanne EisemannComment

March 2018 | Nell Carr

RECYCLING HAS received a lot of interest lately, possibly because of the replay of the ABC series “War on Waste”, which depicts a huge bundle of soft plastic being trundled around Canberra by Craig Reucassel.

Jan and Steve Blakeney helped to raise consciousness of the environment when they arrived in Deloraine from the US in the 1970s. Jan began limited recycling at her Healthwise shop, but it was not until the Deloraine Environment Centre opened a room in the newly-acquired Deloraine House in 1989, that a group from the Centre decided that the former “Cobber” Eade foundry and blacksmith’s on the site could be utilised as a recycling shed, that large scale recycling of food cans, paper, aluminium and glass began.

In those days, Boags and Cascade bottles were washed and refilled, and the breweries were paying 30 cents per dozen. We were making $30 weekly towards the Centre’s expenses. Huge numbers of bottles were brought in at Christmas and New Year, and after public festivals, and were collected from businesses round the town on Mondays. (Volunteers became familiar with the customary Friday evening “booze up” in some shops and offices). But eventually, all glass bottles were broken up into ‘cullet’, - only 3c a kg. - to be melted down for new glass.

Since then, plastics can be recycled, even soft plastic, at the Deloraine Tip.

When Trash Transformers (Sonia Chergwin and Billie Willis) took over the tip, and set up recycling facilities, the Environment Centre closed the shed. The shed was becoming increasingly dilapidated and leaky, and would never have passed OH&S inspection. It has been replaced by a smart new facility for Deloraine House.

It is hard to credit that until the 1960s, Deloraine tip was on the banks of the Meander below the train park. Since that time, waste has increased exponentially, and a trip to the Deloraine tip is an unpleasant experience, with plastic bags and even some recyclable items lying about.

On their website, Meander Valley Council anticipates that the Deloraine tip will reach capacity during the next decade. One wonders where to next? In recent years, TVs, white goods, and e-waste have become the most conspicuous piles of waste - computers particularly, are quickly superseded when new, improved models appear. What will happen to them when the tip is closed?

Under new management, there is now an increasing pile of wool bale-sized bags of recyclables. Apparently their contents are to be compressed, which will make them more compact and therefore cheaper to send interstate for processing. It is unclear whether or not any actual reprocessing of materials occurs in our state, possibly aluminium, export interstate makes it so much more expensive.

Worldwide, soft plastic has become an enormous problem, littering beaches on uninhabited islands, and floating as ‘islands’ in the oceans. Photo-degradable plastic, which breaks up into minute particles, threatens the lives of the marine animals which unwittingly ingest it.

Our rubbish stays home

BusinessJoanne EisemannComment

February 2018 | David Claridge

THE RECENT ban on imported rubbish to China will have minimal impact to Meander Valley.

Back in July 2017 China announced that on 1st January 2018 they would stop importing 24 categories of solid waste from around the world, as the Environment Ministry claims that it is polluting China’s environment.

Justin Jones with local waste disposal company, Just Waste, is aware of the situation but allays fears that it won’t affect the Meander Valley region too much.

“For us who run the transfer station in Westbury, Deloraine and Mole Creek, it won’t have much of an impact,” he said.

“We collect, sort and process our product into high grade, low contamination material which is then sent to Victoria for further processing,

“Some of the bans they are talking about in regard to China is more the lower grade plastics. We do have a low-grade plastic line but that will actually end up being processed in Australia.

Now it will cost us money for recycling. In the past this particular product has been a source of revenue for some of the recyclers in Melbourne and Sydney, they were getting paid for it.”

This ban will have major impact on other nations such as those in Europe and the US.

Simon saves our scenery

NewsJoanne EisemannComment

Simon Williams of Weetah cleaning River Road

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DECEMBER 2015 | Joanne Eisemann

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“I AM JUST trying to take care of our local environment by picking up all the rubbish,” says Simon Williams when responding to the people who stop to ask him what he is doing.

“I managed to pick up every scrap of paper, plastic, bottle and can all the way from Deloraine to my back door,” adds the Weetah resident on his project to rid our country roads of rubbish.

Simon moved to Tasmania eighteen months ago for a simpler life away from big cities.

While travelling around the island state he began to notice just how much rubbish lined the roads.

“I just had to do something about it because it seemed like no-one was picking up any of the trash. And it was just getting worse and worse,” he laments.

A plan to begin tackling the issue hatched one morning when Simon drove to Deloraine. “I decided I’d walk all the way back to my house. I took a white Hessian bag and picked up all the rubbish on the left hand side of the road - everything I could possibly find all the way home - about 20 kilometres away.”

Then he pedalled back to Deloraine on his pushbike to pick up his car to fill it with rubbish from the small piles he had made along the way. It took him fifteen hours.

The next day he got up and did the same for the other side of the road.

Stored in his garage, the rubbish made an impressive pile. According to neighbour, Roger Davies, “it was huge”.

Roger goes on to say that the work Simon has done “is inspirational” and that he will be putting in more effort to keep his verge litter free.

Of the pile of he collected, Simon said “I was jumping up and down on it like Scrooge McDuck. One thing I noticed is that it is all recyclable stuff”.

Simon spent three days sorting it into glass, cans, paper and cardboard before taking three van loads to the tip. He found that 90% was recyclable.

“It was kind of frustrating as well because I did one side of the road and came to pick up my piles and I found that people had already had a few beers on the side of the road and just thrown their cans in the bush. I must have picked up thousands of cans. We live in the best place in Australia and still we are having this problem”

“One thing that would make a huge difference in Tasmania is if we could get ten cents a can return like South Australia,” he advocates. “You see five times less cans on the side of the road there.” Roger agrees: “Anything worth money doesn’t lie on the side of the road!”

Simon now has his eyes set on cleaning up the Lakes Road from Deloraine all the way to Hobart.

“I think it’s really important, our environment; it’s up to us. Locally, we all need to do our part.”

Simon welcome assistance. Anyone interested in joining in the collection can contact him on 0405 462 714.


[udesign_icon_font name="fa fa-camera" color="#000000"] Mike Moores

Sharon finds treasure in the trash

NewsJoanne EisemannComment

Sept 2015 Sharon Trash Transformers

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SEPTEMBER 2015 | Joanne Eisemann

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TRASH TRANSFORMERS on the outskirts of Deloraine lives up to its name. As well as providing a thriving tip shop and landscaping supplies business, each year the operation saves over 6,000 tons of ‘rubbish’ from going into landfill.

Started in 1992, owner and manager Sharon Lunson has worked for the company since 1995.

In 1997, when the previous owners began waste consultancy work, she started to managing the enterprise, eventually purchasing it in 2003.

Sharon is dedicated to recycling and reusing what would otherwise end up in landfill and feels supported by the community in this, “the community really get behind this, the more you talk to them the more they will recycle things,” she shares.

Together with the Deloraine site, Trash Transformers also manages the tip at Westbury and the transfer station at Mole Creek. All the salvageable items from this other tip come to the Deloraine tip shop, which has patrons visiting from far and wide looking for a bargain.

The tip sites are set up to make it easy for people to recycle. There is a circuit for cars so people can stop to recycle at different points; be it plastic, glass, metal or paper, with the tip-face being the last stop. Sharon says that of the average 50 to 60 cars that visit the tip each day, 90% recycle.

The business also has a selection of gardening and landscaping supplies whereby customers can fill up their trailer or ute to take home.

The rubbish from weekly Council collections goes to the tip-face but another company handles kerb side recycling.

Sharon describes the landfill as a community asset, “the more stuff you can keep out of it, the longer the landfill is going to last. It’s better for the environment,” says Sharon.

She adds that most of her ten staff have their own ‘thing’ they like to collect. Hers is sixties’ style cupboards and she has “a verandah full of them.”

Trash Transformers must be a good place to work. Staff turnover is so low that they “are all getting old and decrepit,” laughs Sharon.

Keeping up with innovations in waste management is important to both Sharon and her husband, Tony Sullivan, who manages the landfill operations.

“We went over to the waste and recycling expo in Victoria last week. We are always looking for new stuff to recycle and keep out of the landfill,” Sharon explains.

Silage wrap is the most recent addition to the recycling repertoire; being recycled in George Town by Envorinex.

Waste oils are accepted at the tip sites and empty oil containers are picked up once every six months by VIP Packaging from the mainland.

The drumMUSTER program for clean farm chemical containers is at Deloraine the 1st Monday in the month or ring for appointment if you can’t make that day.

Glass is also separated into brown, green and clear. It is crushed onsite and sent to mainland Australia in 20-foot containers for making into new bottles.

Baled plastics are transported there too, where some are recycled and others go overseas for processing. Collected metals are shipped out of the country as well by a Tasmanian Steel recycler.

Trash Transformers applauds the Meander Valley community for their progression towards reuse and recycling of waste products.

[udesign_icon_font name="fa fa-camera" color="#000000"] Mike Moores