Educating the community

We spoke with City of Swan Manager Fleet and Waste, Colin Pumphrey, about the municipality’s approach to upskilling its staff and waste management strategy. 

What do you look for in a successful tender and how do you go about it? 

Whenever the city tenders for goods and services, it must use a number of policies and procedures that comply with the Local Government Act 1995, and the Local Government (Functions and General) Regulations 1996 in the process. In evaluating a tender submission, the city always looks for best value for money. To achieve this, it must provide tenderers the same equal grounds to compete for our business.

The main procurement areas for the city’s waste services are in the procurement of plant and equipment, the sourcing of the various bin systems and disposal/recycling contracts.

What are some of the challenges surrounding collection and recycling?

The city has a diverse and growing population, so it must do all it can to ensure it can provide a service that suits all residents, businesses and visitors to the area. The main challenge is educating residents and businesses about how to responsibly and correctly dispose of waste and recyclables. To help with this, the city runs a number of waste education programs and events for residents and works with schools to support their waste education.

The city also works with local businesses to help educate them about acceptable waste disposal practices. Since 2015, it has been a part of the Light Industry Program, jointly run by the Western Australian Government’s Department of Parks and Wildlife, Department of Water and Environment Regulation and six other local governments. The objective of the program is to teach businesses how to prevent industrial pollutants from reaching the river system through the city’s storm water drains and groundwater.

Council has also been working hard to combat illegal dumping – another major challenge. Illegal dumping not only harms wildlife and creates potential fire hazards – it costs the city’s rate payers close to a million dollars a year to clean up. To help combat illegal dumping, the city launched the Reduce Illegal Dumping (RID) program in 2016, which encourages community members to report sightings of illegally dumped rubbish.

Since RID began in August 2016, there has been a steady increase in the number of illegal dumping reports to the city. Between 1 July and 31 December 2016 the city received a 13.4 per cent increase in work requests regarding illegal dumping related matters, compared to the previous year.

Which bin system do you use and why?

The city operates a weekly refuse service (240L bins) and fortnightly recycling (360L bin) service for its kerbside collection services. It was the first council in Perth to adopt the 360L bin service as the standard service option. Providing a larger bin and extra capacity for recycling allows residents more volume and as a result they are less likely to throw their recyclable goods into the waste bin. An audit of the exact impact of the 360L bins is planned for this year, but importantly, there has been continual positive resident feedback and the high utilisation of the 360L recycling bins since their introduction.

What has been working particularly well over recent years for the council in terms of waste management/recycling services?

The city prides itself on its good customer service, safe systems and equipment and ability to operate a number of waste management and recycling services.

Waste management at the city is made up of several services, including recycling, and refuse collections, litter control, illegal dumping, bulk verge and deceased animal collections. It utilises its staff and resources across all sectors and allocate the manpower/resources where it is needed most. Our waste staff members are multi-skilled so they can work across all areas, which has been attributed to the success of the service. For example, each of our drivers learn all of the rounds so they can pick up a service if another driver is unavailable. It also uses small collection litter vehicles which can be used to pick up missed services or fill in areas of specific need, to ensure the services are completed at the end of the day.

What equipment do you use in your collection service, including product model numbers, and why did you choose these products?

The city currently operates Bucher and Superior Pak side and rear loaders. These trucks are generally on a five-year changeover to ensure the city is keeping up to date with the latest models and maintaining quality.

The decision is based on safety, fuel efficiency and because it is the lowest whole-of-life cost choice at the time of purchase.

The city uses 29 m³ side loaders for recycling to ensure maximum possible volume per load and 22/25/29 m³ loaders for refuse. For bulk collections, large 28 m³ rear loaders are used.

There are two crews consisting of two rear loaders and a small articulated loader for each crew. These crews work all year round on the scheduled service. Smaller 11m³ rear loaders are used for litterbins and multi-unit development collections and some community buildings and inner city areas which have access issues like smaller entryways.

Is there any modern technology the council is utilising and/or would like to use that would make collection more efficient?

The city purchases the safest, most economical, and latest models available. It installs GPS devices on collection vehicles for route planning purposes, as well as load cell weightometers, which automatically weighs the vehicles during operation.

Read the full story on page 24 of Issue 13