Tackling bin contamination

bin contamination

A new process designed to minimise household bin contamination is up and running in the Bega Valley Shire.

Beginning with an ongoing education campaign to help people sort their waste correctly, the process is an opportunity to make the most from recyclable and compostable materials.

“A lot of uncertainty exists when it comes to choosing the right bin, so we are continuing to focus on education initiatives to reduce doubt and confusion,” said Alan Gundrill, Waste Services Manager.

“We’re confident that by making it easier to choose the right bin, people will make the right choice.

“By working together, we can significantly reduce the number of spoiled green waste loads turning up at our transfer stations. These loads are either hand sifted by our staff, or in some instances diverted to landfill if heavily contaminated.

“Either way, choosing the wrong bin can be dangerous to our staff, it can add needlessly to landfill, and it’s a missed opportunity to make valuable and useful products from waste materials.”

Gundrill said the new process allows council to act on households that regularly contaminate their bins.

If waste collection drivers or in-truck cameras detect significant contaminants in household bins, the first step is to let the resident know and to help them avoid making the same mistake twice.

If contaminants are found a sticker is placed on the bin. Contaminants can be plastic in a green bin, bagged-up waste in a yellow bin, or something prohibited such as asbestos, in a red bin.

“The sticker includes a web address that directs to important information on how to use bins correctly and the consequences of not following this advice.

“We’re confident an education campaign will reduce the need to take things further, but we will take action if needed,” Gundrill said. “We offer four chances and direct education before any further steps are taken.

“People found to have contaminated their bins a fourth time will have their green and yellow bins removed and replaced with a general waste bin for which there will be an additional ongoing fee.

“The best thing for our community is to have zero contamination, zero bins removed, zero additional fees, and everyone putting the right thing in the right bin. We can do this if we work together. It’s vital that we keep bin contamination to a minimum – for environmental, safety, and economic reasons – and these measures will help us achieve these goals.”

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