ACT, Industry News, News

ACT appoints Minister for Recycling and Waste Reduction

The ACT government has appointed Chris Steel as Minister for Recycling and Waste Reduction.

Announced in late August, Steel aims to start with tasks such as reducing food waste in order to improve the waste management and resource recovery capabilities in ACT.

In the first few days of his appointment, Steel has been actively supporting recycling and reuse efforts in ACT – acknowledging community efforts to opt for reusable coffee cups and supporting the ACT government’s plan to implement a bulky waste collection service.

“In my new role I will be ensuring that we cooperate with other governments in the region on actions to better manage waste, develop new industries and create jobs,” Steel said.

Steel is a member for Murrumbidgee in the ACT Legislative Assembly, representing the districts of the Woden Valley, Weston Creek, the Molonglo Valley and Kambah.

Steel was elected to the Assembly in October 2016. Prior to entering politics, he was an education advocate, at peak body Early Childhood Australia and has previously worked in both the Australian Government and ACT Government focusing on a range of social policy areas.

His new portfolio as Minister for Recycling and Waste Reduction will see him focus on improving waste management in ACT, while supporting programs such as the bulky waste collection service rollout.

From July 2020, Canberrans living in Tuggeranong and Gungahlin will have access to a free household bulky waste collection service, with a city-wide roll out to follow.

Steel said the free bulky waste pick up will make it easier for people to dispose of household waste in a sustainable and accessible way.

“Our guarantee to Canberrans is that we will continue to provide the services a growing city needs.

“Earlier this year we completed the rollout of green waste bins to all of Canberra a year in advance and under budget. We have started the detailed design of a food organics processing service and I am pleased that next year we will further extend the waste and recycling services available with the rollout of bulky waste collection,” Steel said.

For the past eight years, only eligible concession card holders have been able to access one free household bulky waste collection per year.

With this roll out, the service will be extended to all ACT households over the next four years.

Households will receive a single collection per year for items including furniture and household appliances, which will be based on a booking system.

“Not everyone has a trailer or large car to take their unwanted items to the Green Shed or the resource centre, and some Canberrans are physically unable to remove bulky items from their homes,” Steel said.

“We will provide an extension service available to residents who are unable to move the bulky goods from their home to the kerb themselves. This service will be provided for a fee, but will be free for eligible concession card holders.”

The collection service is also likely to include a system to separate reusable items and recyclables such as metals and e-waste from landfill waste.

The new recycling and waste reduction portfolio reflects the ACT government’s future focus on:

– Taking the next steps in phasing-out problematic and unnecessary single-use plastics in the ACT;
– Planning for a food organic waste collection service including processing site and facility, products and markets;
– Developing of a food waste avoidance pilot campaign;
– Finalising a waste to energy policy in the ACT;
– Planning the future of materials recovery centre infrastructure in our region; and
– Building a Canberra region market for waste resources.