CANBERRA, June 20 (Xinhua) -- Australia's waste management crisis continues to spiral as authorities grapple with the country's growing mountain of unwanted recyclable materials.
Waste disposal, historically a responsibility of local government in Australia, has become such a serious problem that a record contingent of municipal officials has gathered in Canberra this week to discuss the options.
The crisis has worsened since some overseas countries decided earlier this year to no longer accept imported recyclables.
Previously, it had received more than 600,000 tons of material annually.
Now, tons of recyclables are being sent to landfill as supply continues to dwarf demand and councils struggle to find local companies willing to accept their rubbish.
David O'Loughlin, president of the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), said councils were running out of ideas.
"Waste is a dreadfully complex issue," he said on Thursday. "It used to be easier when we dug a hole and pushed it all in.
"People who are processing recycling materials are not finding a market for them."
The ALGA estimates more than 90 percent of Australians support a national strategy as attitudes towards recycling become increasingly proactive.
But the industry has been struggling to keep pace with this nationwide green sentiment, resulting in recyclables ending up in landfill, stockpiled on properties or dumped illegally.
One potential solution is for councils to use recyclables to build roads, local road funding makes up more than 40 percent of federal grants to local governments.
The ALGA has supported this option, predicting a massive boost to the domestic waste industry if more roads were built this way.