Negotiations over Sutherland Shire recycling centre for problem waste end in stalemate

Negotiations over setting up a new recycling centre for problem waste in Sutherland Shire have ended in a stalemate.

Sutherland Shire Council and the state government can't agree on funding arrangements for the facility, which would be a drop-off point seven days a week for household chemicals, paint, batteries and other low toxic waste.

While the state government is willing to build the facility and remove waste deposited there, it won't contribute to ongoing staff costs.

The council views this as "cost shifting" by the government, which historically has been responsible for this type of waste.

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) awarded a $223,000 grant for the community recycling centre (CRC) in 2015.

A council depot site at Kareela was selected and the centre was due to open by July 2017.

Two years ago, the council decided not to proceed with construction, saying government funding was inadequate to cover both capital and ongoing operating costs.

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The last council meeting was told further negotiations since then had failed to achieve an improved funding model.

"EPA advised there would be no changes made to the existing funding model for CRC grants," a staff report said.

The report said a CRC would be "an adjunct to yellow and green bin recycling to divert household problem waste such as paint, gas bottles, batteries etc which cannot be picked up by council collection services".

"A CRC could also potentially become a community recycling hub for other recycling services such as E-Waste and Paintback.

"It will also play a crucial role in improving environmental outcomes and reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill.

"The materials listed to be collected at a CRC have historically been collected and funded by the EPA and Sydney Water.

"Council undertaking this role can be viewed as cost shifting by the NSW Government."

The council decided to only consider a CRC when an improved funding model from the EPA was provided.

A Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) spokesman said grant funding was available to the council for 100 per cent of the infrastructure costs.

"DPIE also picks up the full waste collection cost for CRCs across the state," he said.

"All CRCs state wide are eligible for funding under this model.

"Additionally, DPIE funds education, advertising and training for staff "

The spokesman said 105 grants were awarded to councils to support the development of a network of CRCs across NSW.

Ninety-two centres were already in operation, and others were planned.

"DPIE is keen for Sutherland Shire Council to deliver a facility for their community with the funding it has been granted, and has been working with them to see how that could be achieved, while addressing the council's concern regarding contributing funding," he said.

"Once established, the CRCs are very popular with both councils and the community, with increased patronage year on year and recent research showing a 100 per cent satisfaction rate."

The spokesman said problem waste was collected in the shire on a six designated days a year - more than any other council area in the state.