Neighbouring council on front foot of waste debate

TOOWOOMBA Regional Council has a comprehensive waste strategy that will see all but one of its 23 landfill sites close.

That strategy includes a waste-to-energy project at its remaining landfill Toowoomba Waste Management Centre Facility which has a 50-year lifespan.

In the neighbouring area, the council is seeking expressions of interest to construct a facility to allow gas created at the landfill to be harnessed.

Toowoomba council's Water and Waste Committee Chairwoman councillor Nancy Sommerfield said details, including whether the power generated, could be fed back into the grid were still being established.

"We've done a pilot study on the quantity of gas being generated in the landfill and it's looking good," Cr Sommerfield said.

"We want some cases to come back to us so we can decide whether we want to create electricity to feed back into the grid, or, given our waste water treatment plant is next door, we could use the energy to power that plant."

Cr Sommerfield said her council was even investigating if the bin collection trucks could be fuelled by gas created at landfill.

"In the past few weeks, we've also been talking about setting up a plant to break down plastic and turn it back to its original form, to be reused," Cr Sommerfield said.

When asked if Toowoomba would consider sending its waste to Ipswich, to feed a waste-to-energy plant, Cr Sommerfield was doubtful.

"Waste is an asset and we are looking to harness it," she said.

More than 71,000 tonnes of waste was buried at Toowoomba's landfill sites in the 2015-2016 financial year, according to its draft Waste Management Strategy released in 2017 for public consultation.

The document is an update on the 2012 version.

Toowoomba's strategy focuses on maintaining service levels while diverting waste away from landfill.

Recycling services are unchanged in Toowoomba with residents urged to continue carefully separating their waste.

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