Council officers are on the money with their recommendation to limit the number of times residents can visit Redlands tips for free each year.
While their proposal to enforce a 26-visit cap at mainland centres fell flat at the council meeting last week, it should not be put on the backburner indefinitely.
A report tabled in the council meeting made it clear that introducing this system, along with associated charges, would have a series of benefits for the city’s ratepayers and council’s ageing waste centres.
Among them were cracking down on people dishonestly using the facilities as their personal dumping ground by falsely declaring their commercial loads as domestic waste.
According to the report, 1.5 per cent of vehicles visited mainland dumps more than 26 times in 2021/22, with the same group also accounting for 13 per cent of the green and mixed waste received at the sites.
Officers say this statistic supports suggestions that high frequency users are disposing of waste that has potentially been collected under commercial arrangements for a fee.
As several councillors pointed out last week, residents using dumps properly should not be disadvantaged by users exploiting the system for their own commercial gain.
Cr Tracey Huges told the chamber she had seen visitors “blatantly lying” about what they were carrying into the Birkdale waste centre.
If that didn’t set off alarm bells, then surely officers writing in their report that commercial operators are “potentially profiteering” from council’s free waste centres would have done the trick.
Data from the audit shows just 1.5 per cent of those using council’s mainland facilities will be affected if a limit of 26 visits per year is imposed.
And again, the majority of people who fall into this category are likely taking advantage of council’s free tip system anyway, so impacts on the average ratepayer will be negligible.
Figures published in the report suggest adopting the scheme will provide additional revenue of about $471,000 through commercial fees and charges.
It explains that this will help reduce “the required increases to the Waste Utility Charge” as council will be able to offset waste disposal costs.
The fact Moreton Bay Regional Council has adopted a similar policy is all the evidence needed to show that this scheme has legs.
It might not be a comfortable solution with an election looming, but as the officer’s report explains, it has plenty to offer Redland ratepayers with the right exemptions in place.
To their credit, councillors have tasked officers with looking at how residents and businesses can use waste services “fairly and effectively”.
It is a start, but the solution to the fair use problem is already there for all to see. The officers have it spot on.