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Rubbish fees - couches cop a charge at Benalla Landfill

Benalla Rural City Council will now charge residents for recycling of sofas and sofa beds at landfill with a maximum rate of $39 per sofa.

LIBBY PRICE August 6, 2014 3:00am

Benalla residents will have to pay up to $39 to dispose of household furniture items at the Benalla landfill.

Benalla Rural City Council adopted the new fees at its meeting last week.

While several councillors queried whether the fee was too high, it was agreed that items of furniture such as sofas take up a large volume of space and are difficult to compact effectively. They also take a long time to degrade, which reduces the available space in the landfill cell.

The council’s Development and Environment general manager Veronica Schilling said disposing of old furniture was costly.

‘‘Providing adequate infrastructure for landfill is an expensive and complicated business, so the more we can divert from going into landfill, the better.’’

It was also argued that allowing inclusion of large furniture items in hard rubbish collection created an occupational health and safety issue for the waste management workers.

The council’s Planning and Development Committee meeting heard that the company that recycles mattresses provided a corresponding service for lounge furniture. Foam, timber and springs are able to be recovered and re-used.

By comparison, the Rural City of Wangaratta Council charges $15.50 for a two-seater sofa, while Strathbogie Shire charges $50/m3 or $23 for a double mattress and base.

The councillors were confident implementing the charge would not lead to furniture being dumped on roadsides.

‘‘The fee is enough to cover the cost to council of providing this service, delaying the need for building extra landfill cells — which will save the community a significant amount of money in coming years,’’ Ms Schilling said.

‘‘Sending less waste to landfill and ensuring that valuable resources are recycled where possible is also environmentally responsible.’’

People with questions about how to recycle lounge furniture or other items should contact Benalla Rural City Council on 57602600.

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