Warren Burgess inspects the soon to be capped Cairns landfill site.
Warren Burgess inspects the soon to be capped Cairns landfill site.

Tip workers make grisly discovery during dumping spree

A POST-Christmas dumping spree at Cairns Regional Council-run waste transfer stations accounted for a large spike in all kinds of unwanted items including one seriously grisly offload discovered in a discarded freezer.

Council data obtained by the Cairns Post revealed waste at the Gordonvale, Portsmith and Smithfield transfer stations increased by about 20 per cent in December last year compared to November.

A council spokesman said typically the largest increase occurred in January each year which added a further 10 per cent to the 20 per cent December increase.

Portsmith Transfer Station Team leader Andrew Taylor on the general rubbish tipping floor PICTURE: ANNA ROGERS
Portsmith Transfer Station Team leader Andrew Taylor on the general rubbish tipping floor PICTURE: ANNA ROGERS

A fire at the Portsmith Materials Recovery Facility ignited by discarded lithium batteries caused a headache for council waste workers during the holiday dumping period.

But the Gordonvale Transfer Station claimed the prize for the most unusual dumped item.

Workers attracted, or rather repulsed, by the stench of rotting flesh in the summer sun were horrified to find a discarded chest freezer filled with dead feral pigs.

"While this was unusual, people often do not clean out refrigerators or freezers before disposing them at a transfer station," the spokesman said.

However, the main challenge faced by workers was dealing with frustrated customers forced to wait in line to dump their unwanted goods.

"Council apologies for inconvenience and asks residents to factor in potentially longer waiting times during this busy time of the year," the spokesman said.

On average, around 800 tonnes of waste is sent to landfill from the council transfer station network each month.

In December about 1000 tonnes of waste was collected, and based on historical figures, a further 10 per cent increase was expected this month.

Disposal of green waste has remained consistent with the slow start to the wet season delaying growth.

Details of free mulch deals were yet to be finalised, a council spokesman said.

Green waste from the garden can be taken to council's transfer stations year round but fees do apply.

However, two free disposal periods for domestic green waste are offered each year. One is prior to the start of the annual cyclone season and one near the end of the wet season. Council also offers free uncured mulch twice a year. Check it out on the website, Facebook, My Cairns app.



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