Sydney’s Better Buildings Partnership has helped significantly reduce waste in the building and construction sector, but just how problematic is waste in the sector as a whole?
The City of Sydney will trial separate weekly residential rubbish collections for food waste and textiles and introduce weekly e-waste pickups.
It says the plan is part of the “most comprehensive strategy” to tackle residential waste in Australia.
Council unanimously approved the collections as part of its new Leave Nothing to Waste strategy. The council said residents and businesses strongly supported its ambitious target of zero waste to landfill when the strategy was open for comment earlier this year.
The new services include a trial of residential food waste collection – targeted groups of residents can opt-in to have their food waste collected separately and taken to a facility. From there, it will be converted into high grade compost or energy. The services also include clothing and textiles collection from apartment buildings, where residents will be able to throw all their old clothing in a communal waste bin, which will then be collected and recycled. A weekly kerbside electronic waste collection will also be introduced and residents will be able to book in a free pick-up each week, with their old electronics taken to a facility where precious minerals and materials will be collected and reused. Finally, the plan includes a community drop-off centre for problem waste streams such as gas bottles, paints and chemicals.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the plan would set a new benchmark for residential waste collection across the country.
“Australians are becoming increasingly concerned about where their rubbish ends up, which is why our new waste strategy has been so well received,” the Lord Mayor said.
“Our residents generate close to 65,000 tonnes of waste every year – and while 69 per cent is now diverted from landfill, we’re now taking practical steps to increase that to 90 per cent by 2030.
Mayor Moore said cheap clothing and fast fashion has led to a sharp growth in textile waste. He said more than five per cent of the average red bin is made up of clothing.
“Our textiles collection trial will seek to solve this waste stream, with separate clothing bins to become a feature of bin rooms in many apartment buildings across the city.”
“Although we had broad support for all the measures we’ve proposed, our residents have shown great interest in the food waste trial, which we will strive to get up and running over the next two years.
“Food waste makes up one third of the average red bin and can be converted into a valuable resource. Some of our residents have already taken matters into their own hands.”
As a result of feedback from community consultation, the council will also investigate including soft plastics on the list of items to be accepted at the community waste drop-off centre.
“The ABC’s War on Waste program put the spotlight on how harmful soft plastics can be. Residents and businesses have asked us to look at how the City can help keep soft plastics such as shopping bags out of landfill and waterways.
“We will continue to pressure the NSW Government to ban the plastic bag,” the Lord Mayor said.
The City of Sydney’s waste strategy has led to it achieving an impressive diversion rate of 69 per cent. Waste Management Review Speaks to Chris Derksema, Director of Sustainability.