Recyclers shocked at being given the dump
CAROL and Trevor Boyle stand to lose not only their jobs but also their home at the end of July.
The couple, along with many in the Bellingen Shire, are in shock this weekend at the news that long-time Bellingen Shire recycling business, Ecohouse, has lost the management contract for the shire's waste depots.
At its meeting on Tuesday night, Bellingen Shire Council awarded the new management contract to Coffs Harbour demolition company AARVBEE.
In the 14 years since Ecohouse took on the then unsexy challenge of recycling, it has become something of an institution in its crusade to encourage people to save the environment while saving money.
The not-for-profit company now employs 19 people.
"To think of the concept of Ecohouse not existing is devastating," Ms Boyle said.
Bellingen resident Bruce Erskine was shocked and dismayed at the news.
"Ecohouse do a really remarkable job," Mr Erskine said.
"They are a strong business, who provide a lot of jobs and great service."
"They've built it up on such strong ethical principles over quite a long time."
Co-owner Thomas Luck said Ecohouse had achieved some remarkable results over the years, including a phenomenal 12.6 per cent reduction in waste going to landfill.
"This is a sad day for this region and the environemnt," Mr Luck said.
"All the values Ecohouse and its employees stand for are being tossed out the window for short-term cost savings."
Bellingen Shire mayor Mark Troy said it had been a tough decision given the long relationship the council has had with Ecohouse.
"But things have changed so much (in waste management) now we have the regional waste scheme," Cr Troy said.
"The successful tenderer probably won't employ as many people but at the end of the day council had to be sure it was getting the best value for public funds."