Melbourne opens waste reduction grants

The City of Melbourne is offering grants worth $100,000 to projects aimed at waste reduction and growth in recycling capacity.

According to Lord Mayor Sally Capp, the City of Melbourne has this week reached an agreement to resume the processing of household recycling.

“The short-term arrangement to process household recycling was reached while Kordamentha seeks to finalise the sale of SKM,” Ms Capp said.

“We urge the community to continue separating their waste and recycling. It’s vital that general waste not be mixed in with recycling to ensure recycling services are sustainable and viable.”

To aid the transition, grants are available to groups located in the City of Melbourne that help reuse, recycle and divert waste from landfill.

“We’re looking for projects that could help reduce food waste, prevent litter or deliver local solutions to household waste,” Ms Capp said.

Grants up to $5000 are available for community groups, schools and non-profit organisations, while social enterprise startups and university researchers can accesses grants up to $25,000.

City of Melbourne Environment portfolio Chair Cathy Oke said it was important for council to support residents and community groups that are trying to avoid waste.

“Residents and businesses are overwhelmingly telling us they want reduce their environmental impact, and we want to respond to their goodwill,” Ms Oke said.

“Whether it’s home composting and using worm farms to reduce organic waste, or coming up with a solution for glass recycling, we can all have an impact.”

Applications close 16 October 2019.

Melbourne opens recycling hub EOI’s

The City of Melbourne is seeking innovative technological solutions to expand its network of rubbish and recycling hubs throughout the central city.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said expanding the hub network would streamline collection services and improve public amenity.

“We know there are around 1000 individual bins stored on public property across the central city. Bins in laneways take up space and can cause odour, visual pollution and attract vermin,” Ms Capp said.

“Over the long-term, businesses would be encouraged to use the communal network of resource recovery hubs instead of using on-street bins. As the network expands over time, the number of on-street private waste bins will be reduced.”

Ms Capp said council is asking companies to submit proposals for specialised waste and recycling collection services.

“We will consider everything from mini-compactor bins to specialised vehicles and collection of source separated materials such as glass, organics, paper and cardboard,” Ms Capp said.

“We could tailor our network of hubs to the profile of key precincts around the city. For example, we could deliver more food waste and plastic recycling hubs in our hospitality precincts.”

Ms Capp said council was looking at densely populated international cities such as Milan, which has one of the highest recycling rates in Europe.

“We want to expand our network of waste and recycling hubs to transform the way waste and recycling is collected in the central city,” Ms Capp said.

“Rather than have multiple trucks circling the city, we want to create more communal hubs so businesses can take their items to a local collection point.”

Ms Capp said since 2013, the City of Melbourne has removed more than 500 bins off the streets by providing access to communal garbage compactors and recycling hubs.

Environment Portfolio Chair Cathy Oke said residents and businesses have a critical role to play in helping to reduce waste and find local solutions to the state’s recycling crisis.

“Unfortunately, tonnes of recycling is being sent to landfill, so the most important thing people can do right now is to try to avoid creating waste,” Ms Oke said.

“The City of Melbourne understands this is a state-wide issue and we will continue to examine potential short and long-term solutions such as new technologies.”

Ms Oke said council is also asking residents and businesses to adjust their behaviour to achieve long-term change.

“This means changing the products we buy to ones that have less packaging or things that can be re-used in our homes or workplaces,” Ms Oke said.

“Food waste is an area that almost anyone can cut down on by starting to compost or simply using leftovers to make a new meal instead of throwing them out.”

The City of Melbourne is specifically looking for solutions that include:

— Wi-Fi or radio frequency identification technology that can charge users for the amount of waste calculated / disposed.

— Smart, card, tap technology which can bill users via a pay-as-you-throw waste management system.

— Smart sensors and bin weights to monitor bin levels.

— GPS tracking to help truck drivers know when a bin needs emptying.

— Ability to compact a variety of waste streams for easier storage and collection.

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Melbourne backs CDS plan

The City of Melbourne has joined other Victorian councils in calling for the state government to introduce container deposit legislation into parliament.

The campaign was started by the Municipal Association of Victoria, with backing from the City of Frankston, City of Darebin and City of Port Phillip.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said a container deposit scheme (CDS) would help reduce plastic and glass sent to landfill.

“The recycling system is broken and we need to harness community and industry support to fix it,” Ms Capp said.

“We need to reward individuals and community groups who are doing the right thing when it comes to recycling. It’s time to provide an incentive for people who collect bottles and cans and give back to the community.”

Melbourne Environment Chair Cathy Oke said Victoria and Tasmania are the only Australian states yet to commit to a scheme.

The Tasmanian Government announced it would implement a CDS by 2023 in June, but legislation is yet to be enacted.

“South Australian first introduced their scheme in 1977, leading the nation on waste management. They currently offer a 10 cent deposit and refund on beverage containers,” Ms Oke said.

“Introducing a similar scheme in Victoria would help reduce litter while providing a commodity that could be used by our local industry.”

Ms Oke said the scheme could include manually operated or automated reverse vending machines, that would give credit for each item deposited.

“Victorians are looking for answers to the waste crisis, so it’s time we helped people do their bit to help create a stronger recycling sector,” Ms Oke said.

“Along with reducing litter, the scheme would ensure the beverage supplier industry takes greater responsibility for packaging, and rewards individuals, community groups, sporting clubs and charities for picking up littered beverage containers.”

Following SKM’s decision to no longer accept recyclable materials, the City of Melbourne has been forced to send 45 tonnes of recycling to landfill each day.

Ms Oke said SKM sorts 50 per cent of Victoria’s kerbside recycling – close to 300,000 tonnes a year.

“More than $500 million of landfill levy income collected by Victorian Councils is available in the state government’s Sustainability Fund and could be invested to increase capacity in the local recycling sector,” Ms Oke said.

“We need the state government to unlock the funds councils have collected from landfill levies and invest in new technologies to transform our waste and resource recovery sector.”

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Melbourne fast-tracks waste strategy

The City of Melbourne will fast-track the delivery of its Waste and Resource Recovery Strategy and bring investment in infrastructure forward.

Following SKM’s decision to no longer accept waste material, the city has been forced to send 45 tonnes of recycling to landfill each day.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the city, and its subsidiary Citywide, will run an independent feasibility study into establishing a large-scale recycling centre in Greater Melbourne.

“As a matter of urgency, our waste collection business Citywide will work with independent experts to look at the best way to create a specialised recycling facility in Victoria that will be stable and sustainable,” Ms Capp said.

“The study will consider the potential size and location for a new facility, as well as the number of municipalities it could service. It would also consider the level of recycled material required for it to be viable and potential markets for recycled materials.”

Ms Capp said the city would also investigate new ways to reduce contamination throughout the municipality.

“We want to stop recyclables going to landfill as soon as possible and deliver long-term improvements for our residents and businesses,” Ms Capp said.

“We are going to increase the number of shared waste hubs for businesses in the central city.”

Ms Capp said the city is also examining international best practices and will run an expression of interest period for technology usable in Melbourne’s inner city laneways.

“This could include using everything from mini-compactor bins, specialised vehicles and collection of source separated materials such as glass, organics, paper and cardboard,” Ms Capp said.

“Ultimately we need to work towards the model used by many European countries where recycling streams are collected and processed separately.”

According to Ms Capp, the issue cannot be tackled by individual municipalities.

“The City of Melbourne will be working with other councils, the Victorian Government and the community to achieve long-term change,” Ms Capp said.

City of Melbourne Environment Chair Cathy Oke said local residents and businesses also needed to play their part to reduce contamination in waste streams.

“Rather than send our recycling overseas, we will examine the feasibility and cost of preparing materials for manufacturing use here in Victoria,” Ms Oke said.

“We need to provide a cleaner product for our recycling industry to return to a more sustainable and stable footing.”

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Melbourne to award waste minimisation grants

The City of Melbourne’s Small Business and Social Enterprise Grants are this year offering an extra $100,000 to businesses with a waste minimisation proposal.

The funding is part of council’s plan to transition to a 90 per cent waste diversion rate, under the Waste and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the grants have a long history of helping local businesses grow into well-known brands, including Keep Cup, which was awarded funding in 2008.

“We’re incredibly proud that past recipients of these grants have gone on to enjoy huge success, while also contributing to our city’s rich and diverse hospitality, innovation, sustainability and tourism sectors,” Ms Capp said.

Round one was awarded earlier this week, with Small Business Chair Susan Riley announcing Unpackaged Eco as among the recipients.

“There’s a huge variety of grant recipients this year for businesses doing amazing things. Helping the environment is Unpackaged Eco which uses smart technology to reduce packing in retail.”

Waste minimisation funding will be available in round two of the program, which opens 5 August.

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Melbourne City waste forum’s top 10 ideas

Around 80 retail and hospitality businesses have gathered for the City of Melbourne’s first waste forum, which looked at ways to assist medium sized businesses could reduce waste.

The forum resulted in more than 200 practical ideas and concepts which will be compiled and reviewed by the City of Melbourne as part of the council’s ongoing programs to assist small and medium businesses in the city.

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The top 10 ideas for waste reduction were identified in the forum and included installing more recycling bins across the city, installing additional organics recycling facilities and providing incentives for businesses to reduce their waste.

Additional ideas for businesses to reduce waste included the introduction of grants or loans and education to improve waste management.

Collaboration between businesses and waste collectors was also identified as a way of improving recycling.

Other ideas identified included the collection of unwanted office or shop fit out furniture for reuse and investigating a city-wide coffee/tea cup exchange system.

Participants included businesses involved in the council’s initial pilot program, which saw 27 businesses receive a $2000 grant to embark on waste reduction activities.

City of Melbourne Councillor Susan Riley recognised the need to look at ways to help small to medium sized retail and hospitality businesses to reduce waste.

“Reducing waste does so much more than just help to clean up the environment, it also can reduce costs, increase sales and even cut the number of garbage trucks on the city streets,” Cr Riley said.

“The level of insight and the number of opportunities for businesses to work together to reduce waste is inspiring.”

“Nothing is being ruled out, we’re open to all ideas and we want retailers and businesses to share their thoughts as we plan for a rapidly growing city.”

Image Credit: City of Melbourne

Improving Melbourne’s waste collection solutions

The City of Melbourne has released its Improving Waste Collection in the Central City discussion paper to assess potential waste management solutions for the CBD.

Limiting the number of private waste collection companies or expanding communal garbage and recycling services could be possible solutions to Melbourne’s disruptive rubbish removal system, according to the report.

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Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the paper presents problems and possible solutions to the issues associated with waste collection and bin storage in the CBD.

“Reducing the noise, smell, congestion and mess from waste collections across city streets and laneways is a key priority for the City of Melbourne this World Environment Day,” Cr Capp said.

“From day one of my term, waste management has been top of my agenda and my first meeting was to discuss how our waste system can be better managed.”

Currently rate paying businesses in the City of Melbourne are entitles to a weekly collection of one small garbage bin and one small or large recycling bin. If a business generates more waste, it must arrange their waste services through commercial waste collection companies.

“With 36 commercial providers registered to collect waste within the central city, in addition to council collections, there is a glut of bins and trucks clogging our streets and laneways,” Cr Capp said.

“We need to find a solution, so we’re putting ideas out there to find the best fit for our city. We want to hear from our residents, our businesses and visitors to find out how they’re impacted by the current system and what changes should be made.”

“This is about improving amenity, making it easier, safer and more pleasant to move around the city and maintaining our status as the ‘most liveable’,” she said.

City of Melbourne Environment Portfolio Chair Councillor Cathy Oke said feedback on the discussion paper was part of consultation on the Draft Waste and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030.

“We have done a lot of important and innovative work in waste removal in the central city. Since 2013 the City of Melbourne has taken an estimated 500 rubbish bins off the streets by setting up communal waste compactors and recycling hubs,” Cr Oke said.

“The goal of our new Waste and Resource Recovery Strategy is to build on this work by developing and introducing more initiatives that are focused on maintaining a liveable city, through cost effective and environmentally responsible means.”

The community will be able to submit feedback here. Additional discussion papers will be released next month.

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