AN UNRESOLVED contract between the local council and Challenge Community Services has become a festering wound, as a photograph showed a mountain of recyclable waste dumped in landfill.
Tamworth Regional Council (TRC) claimed the recycling that ended up in landfill was highly contaminated and couldn't be processed in Sydney.
Challenge processed recycling locally until its contract lapsed at the start of July. Chief executive Peter Maher has since questioned whether the recycling that ended up in landfill was in fact highly contaminated.
"The general public need to be asking a lot more questions of council because I don't think the council has been totally transparent and honest in their processes," he said.
"It is interesting that TRC can deem a load of recycling contaminated, as over the time we have completed the service this would not have been allowed and we would have had to process.
"This is a photo [P2] from Wednesday's dumped recycling products and it looks no different to what we were receiving before July 1, 2021."
The relationship between TRC and the disability support service soured after the council split its waste contract into two parts; kerbside pick-up and recycling processing.
Mr Maher said the new tender wasn't a financially viable option as the business would have to pay to dispose of contaminated waste.
"Nobody was interested in doing it and they wonder why they got one tender," he said.
"No other organisation anywhere wanted to be responsible for everything that came out of those recycling bins and have to pay to dump it."
Since July 1, yellow-bins have been picked up by Cleanaway and delivered to the Forest Road Landfill, a TRC spokeswoman said.
"Highly contaminated recyclables are then put into landfill as has always been the case," she said.
"This is why we encourage our residents to put the correct recyclable waste in their yellow-lidded bin.
"Council has entered into a short-term agreement with Cleanaway to pick up this recyclable material every few days and deliver it to a facility in Western Sydney where it is processed."
The TRC spokeswoman said no conforming tenders were received.
Cleanaway's regional manager Steve Hoare said uncontaminated recycling bin waste is taken to a dedicated area at the Tamworth Waste Management Facility, where it becomes the responsibility of TRC.
The Leader's request for an interview with TRC general manager Paul Bennett was denied.
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