Werribee Rubbish Dump Expansion

Skip Bin Hire Companies and Resident’s Worry over Dump Expansion


Homeowners living near the Werribee rubbish tip are fighting plans to expand its operation. Local non profit group the Western Region Environment Centre (WREC) have taken legal action, blocking Wyndham City Council’s plans.


The Council got the go ahead to expand the tip, in Melbourne’s western suburbs, in October 2017. If it expected local residents to accept the decision quietly, it has been proved wrong.


This action highlights what we at Best Price Skip Bins know to be part of a huge waste management problem. As the country’s best skip bin hire website, we actively promote correct disposal and recycling. WREC is hoping to force other agencies in Victoria to do the same.


Growing Problem


The amount of rubbish being dumped at Werribee has changed the nature of the tip. It was designated as a landfill site, where rubbish is buried in the ground. Then, about five years ago, residents noticed that rubbish was in fact not being buried any more.


As the land was filled, the Council allowed rubbish to be dumped above ground. Locals say they can hear the compactors working in the early hours of the morning. While this reduces the physical area taken up by rubbish, it still means that the tip is climbing skywards.


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gave permission for the Council to expand the tip with another four landfill areas. With their experience of the workings of the site, local residents fear these too will become “waste mountains.”


Highlighting the Issue


After the EPA’s approval, Wyndham City Council paid two artists to stage a residency at the tip. The artists and the Council said this was to highlight just how important the tip is to the locality. Local residents said they didn’t need this highlighting, they already knew all about it.


As part of the installation, one artist used a drone to take photos of the different types of rubbish. Another artist camped out at the tip overnight. The Mayor of Wyndham hailed the event a success in raising public awareness.


One of the types of rubbish highlighted at the tip was fluorescent globes. These contain material which is deemed hazardous in many countries. Victoria is accused of being lax in tackling the dumping of this type of hazardous waste.


The EPA, which gave the go ahead for Werribee’s expansion, said it allows small amounts of this type of dumping. It also said that fluorescent products will have to be recycled from July 2018.


Wider Concerns


The Werribee tip is at the centre of a wider waste management problem. Like most rubbish dumps, it is located at the fringe of an urban area, in this case, Wyndham City. This keeps it within the control of a city or municipal authority which produces the rubbish.


Wyndham is like any other local authority and wants to keep harmful or unpleasant materials away from densely populated areas. This is of no help to those in this part of the city, of course.


As well as its own residents, Werribee deals with waste from other Councils. It charges a fee to other localities to process their rubbish. This means that local residents are subject to waste from outside of Wyndham City. As such, Werribee is a strategic part of Victoria’s waste management process.


Unfortunately, the legal action taken by WREC has put something of a spanner in these works. Wyndham City Council has already said that it will no longer accept rubbish from other authorities after November 2018. This in turn will have a back up effect throughout this part of Victoria.


Facing Facts


The WREC action and other publicity around the Werribee tip has focused minds on the need for recycling. While this part of waste management is rightly praised across the board, it is not a silver bullet. As we know in the skip bin hire business, changing waste disposal habits is not easy.


Not only this, it emerges that recycling is not necessarily recycling. China has recently stopped accepting rubbish for “recycling.” In fact, all the Chinese authorities did with this rubbish was put it in land fill sites. These are now becoming a problem for their own citizens.


It is highly unlikely that residents and businesses were aware that their recycling was actually exported to China. This arrangement itself has thrown the whole business of waste management into the spotlight.


Victoria’s state government has said that the Chinese decision has caused it great difficulties. Wyndham City Council also claims that the sheer amount of waste it deals with is the cause of the Werribee problem.


However, WREC has pointed out that the Council has been aware for a long time that Werribee expansion would be opposed. WREC says that, instead of investing in recycling solutions, the Council ploughed ahead with its expansion plans.


Future Developments


As well as the WREC action, the wider waste management problem has been highlighted by Environmental Justice Australia. EJA have produced a report which will put further pressure on local authorities. WREC is somewhat unusual at the moment in taking its action. This is likely to change in the future.


The EJA is recommending that local groups living near land fill sites should have better access to legal action. The WREC campaign is priced at $30,000, which is prohibitive to say the least. This may well put off other local resident groups living near rubbish tips.


However, if the EJA’s report is taken on board, WREC type actions may well become more widespread. This is likely to be seen by local authorities as another pressure point in their efforts to tackle waste.


Positive Action


At Best Price Skip Bins, we believe in the power of local action. We are part of the waste management solution, not part of the problem. We apply skip bin hire solutions to help reduce the amount of waste going to land fill.


While local actions like this may seem small to some, WREC is showing that the little guy can make a real difference. For local waste removal solutions in your area, find out more by visiting our website. Or call us on 1300 791 132. Together, we can lighten the load.