The City of Adelaide’s Associate Director Public Realm Peter Patterson explains how it is evolving its services in response to changing community expectations.
Q. How has waste collection in the City of Adelaide evolved over time?
A. Community expectations change over time, influencing our services from single stream general waste collections to the introduction of kerbside recycling. These changes were delivered through partnering with Green Industries SA.
Q. How do you manage the challenges of urbanisation and a shift towards apartment living? Do the collection process or vehicles need to change?
A. Our development and density influences the design of our collection services. With the introduction of the three-bin system, it was noticed early on that this system works best in a low-density development environment but can create conflict in high-traffic (pedestrian, cycle and vehicle) and high-density areas. As such, we are developing a design guide for resource recovery in high-density areas and mixed- use buildings.
Q. Does this involve liaising with developers when new apartments are built in the city to ensure collections can support them safely?
A. We consider this as an important role yes, and have built strong relationships with developers, architects and strata management companies here in Adelaide.
Q. What do you look for in a successful tender and why?
A. Like all local government authorities, we have standard evaluation process with key elements to assess. As a part of this, a strong focus for us is assessing how partnering can assist in delivering our strategic goals for our community.
When it comes to selecting a waste contractor, in addition to the range of standard criteria we have from a procurement perspective, the City of Adelaide greatly values a strong, constructive partnering approach which includes shared values to ensure the best possible services and outcomes for our communities and the broader environment.
Q. How do smart waste bins support the City of Adelaide’s plan to become a smart city?
A. To become a smart city, data is crucial to guiding our decisions and community and our smart bin locations are supporting this aim. Using technology in delivering waste and recycling services is improving our resource efficiency, understanding of the volumes and nature of waste collected and has a positive impact on the customer experience of the city.
Q. How is food waste disposed of at City of Adelaide?
A. The City of Adelaide piloted food organics recycling in the late 2000s when we committed to delivering this service to all residents that had or accessed our green waste collection service.
As part of our services to apartment living, we introduced a weekly collection for dedicated food organics. We now supply kitchen organic containers and compostable bags to support the pathway from kitchen to the bin.
Our apartment communities receive the same opportunities to recycle as other residents and this service change led to a significant increase in diversion away from landfill.
Q. What are the challenges going forward for the City of Adelaide in waste and how does council plan to solve them?
A. The transition of current waste and recycling services to a circular economy is a challenge for the City of Adelaide, along with the entire sector and other levels of government. Working with our communities to affect the practise and behaviours which are needed to effect the changes to deliver this approach is also a challenge for us all.
Our roles in engagement, education (behaviour change), procurement and service provision are all being reviewed as a part of our emerging Waste Management Strategy together with our role as an advocate and influencer with industry and state and Federal Governments.