Ipswich City Council plans to call tenders by mid-year to bid on waste-to-energy projects.
In the meantime it has announced that all contents from yellow lid recycle bins will be sent to landfill.
It follows the “China National Sword” policy, which has seen the biggest destination for recycled materials from Australia curb further waste exports by imposing strict limits on the contamination of material for Chinese processing.
Ipswich Mayor Andrew Antoniolli said the council area was the latest domino to be affected by a nationwide issue – one which required a three-tier government solution.
Eventually, all councils would be impacted by the viability of recycling household waste, Cr Antoniolli said.
Recycling contractors notified Ipswich City Council that costs would skyrocket if recycling was to continue, potentially equating to a 1.5 per cent to 2 per cent rate rise.
In addition, contamination levels meant about half of everything collected from yellow lid bins was not able to be recycled, the council said.
“As a city, we need to move forward,” Cr Antoniolli said.
“We want to become a leader in the waste-to-energy space, which will in the medium to long-term provide us with an environmentally-friendly energy source, jobs and a better economic outcome for Ipswich.
“We’ve actually been looking at waste as an energy source for some time, and this gives us the ideal opportunity to be ahead of the game in that space.
“While it is fair to say the national recycling system broke sooner than we expected, Ipswich has been looking to the future. We’re making sure we tackle this issue head on.
“I have spoken personally to the minister on this issue, and made it clear that we’ve been backed into a corner on recycling.”
Queensland Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said she was disappointed with Ipswich City Council’s decision to place collected recycling into landfill.
She blamed a Newman Government decision to repeal the waste levy in 2012 for stymieing investment and growth in the state’s waste and recycling industry.
“Our government is in discussions with other Australian states and territories about China’s ban on importing recycled material,” she said.
“China’s decision is a national issue for our waste and recycling industry and the Federal Government needs to show leadership to deliver a national solution.”
The NSW government has set aside $47 million to help consumers, local councils and the waste industry cope with the crisis caused by China’s clampdown on imported recyclables, while in February the Victorian governmnet allocated $13 million in emergency funding for councils to pay their increased costs.
The Maroondah council in Melbourne this week announced it would be raising its charges for bin collection by $68 a year, to $324 per household, as a result of China no longer taking Australia’s recycling waste.