Kerbside by the wayside

There are still no yellow top bins in sight on the kerbs of Geraldton and a local business owner fears not enough is being done to provide more recycling solutions.  

A 2022 report by Waste Authority found Western Australians produced 6.4 million tonnes of waste between 2020 and 2021 and 60 per cent of that was repurposed.

It also found 94 per cent of WA Local Governments provide their residents with a kerbside recycling bin.

But why are these bin services still unavailable in some WA cities like Geraldton?

Mayor of City of Greater Geraldton Shane Van Styn said there were no plans to introduce kerbside recycling bins, as it would be too expensive to build a processing facility or transport recyclable material to facilities in Perth.

Owner and operator of Geraldton and Midwest E-waste Michael Barker said the need to process recycled materials at facilities outside of the city was a “load of crap”.

Mr Barker said if kerbside recycling bins were introduced processing should happen at a local level so collected material could properly be sorted and repurposed into items for the community.

Picture of sorted recyclable materials.
Correct sorting of materials is a key step to ensure efficient recyling. Photo: Chloe Maher.

Mr Barker has tried to get the city on board with the idea of smaller processing centres where recycled materials could be made into sellable products on site, but he said it won’t look past major recycling facilities.

He said recyclable materials like glass should be repurposed into an aggregate for local roads and only sent away as a last resort.

Mr Van Styn said: “Geraldton, whether it was good or not, did have sufficient landfill space for another 20 to 30 years.

“And what we should aim to do is reduce the amount of waste we generate rather than necessarily just trying to focus on recycling.’’

According to the Western Australian Local Government Association kerbside services are sometimes too expensive or impractical for local governments with low resident population and large areas to cover.

Geraldton residents are expected to take their recyclable items to: Containers for Change, the Tip Shop, Geraldton and Midwest E-Waste or other various drop off locations in town.  

But Mr Barker said Geraldton desperately needed kerbside recycling facilities.

“There wasn’t just a space. There was a guaranteed need,” he said.

“We have only taken a fraction of what’s out there. There is so much more that could be done.’’