Macedon Ranges to introduce kerbside food collection

Macedon Ranges Shire Council is expanding its kerbside collection to include food organics, after receiving $182,000 funding from the state government.

According to Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio, the project, worth over $460,000, has the potential to divert an estimated 4864 tonnes of organic material from landfill and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 8241 tonnes.

“This will support Macedon Ranges Shire Council to better divert food and organic waste from landfill, including providing infrastructure to residents such as kitchen caddies, liners and kerbside bins,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

“It’s crucial we continue to support projects like these across regional Victoria – they boost jobs, divert more waste from landfill and reduce emissions.”

Managed by statutory authority Sustainability Victoria, the funding comes from the state government’s $26 million Resource Recovery Infrastructure Fund, which aims to support infrastructure investment to improve collection and reprocessing.

Previous recipients include the City of Greater Geelong to develop laneway recycling for retail and hospitality outlets, Advanced Circular Polymers to assist the development of Australia’s largest plastic recycling facility and Ararat Rural City Council to consolidate three existing rural facilities.

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Recycling returns to G21 region under Cleanaway agreement

Municipal recycling will resume for residents on the Bellarine Peninsula 16 December, under a new agreement between Cleanaway and the Geelong Region Alliance.

Kerbside recycling ceased after the collapse of SKM Recycling earlier this year, with the City of Greater Geelong, Surf Coast Shire Council, Golden Plains Shire and the Borough of Queenscliffe forced to send recyclables to landfill.

Under the agreement, Cleanaway will work with councils to develop local uses for collected material by identifying local secondary markets, with an initial focus on glass reuse.

According to a Cleanaway statement, the agreement includes a discount for councils with low contamination rates.

City of Greater Geelong Waste Management Chair Ron Nelson said the community had been disappointed to see the contents of yellow bins sent to landfill.

“The return of our kerbside recycling service is very good news. We’re now asking for everyone’s help to make it a success by getting back in the habit of sorting your recycling, and learning about the changes to what can and can’t be put in your yellow bin,” Mr Nelson said.

“In the meantime we will continue to work on new ideas to make sure we have the most effective recycling system possible in the long-term.”

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Tasmanian council ceases kerbside recycling

A Tasmanian council will cease kerbside recycling operations from 2020, as part of an overhaul of the region’s waste management strategy.

According to West Coast Council General Manager David Midson, there is limited uptake of recycling bins in the area, with an average 10 per cent of households using the service.

“Recycling collected is often so contaminated that council must expend significant funds to have it sorted and cleaned or allow it to be sent to landfill,” Mr Midson said.

“To resolve these issues in 2020-2021, council aims to move away from kerbside collection and instead provide central separated recycling bins where residents will be able to dispose of recyclables free of charge.”

Other changes to council’s waste management strategy include proactively monitoring illegal dumping and trialling green waste collection at transfer stations for 12 months.

“Currently, green waste deposited at the transfer stations is highly contaminated, resulting in significant council expenditure,” Mr Midson said.

“If this continues, council will move green waste collection to the landfill only, and assess the potential for green waste collection bins.”

Additionally, waste transfer stations will only accept limited categories of waste including domestic waste, oil and green waste from 2020.

Items such as asbestos, tyres, car bodies, concrete, rock rubble and soil will only be accepted at landfill.

Mr Midson said waste management on the West Coast cannot continue as business as usual.

“Current practices do not meet our environmental obligations, our obligations to provide a safe workplace, or the expectations of the community,” Mr Midson said.

“If we continue down the current path, the cost of waste management to ratepayers will increase dramatically.”

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SKM closure prompts glass collection roll out

Victoria’s Moyne Shire Council will soon introduce a fourth kerbside bin for glass collection across the entire shire, bucking the trend of short-term limited trials.

Moyne Shire Mayor Mick Wolfe said the shire was initially planning to trial for only six months in one region, however, the recent closures of SKM resulted in too many recyclables going to landfill.

“Moving ahead with a shire-wide rollout of glass-only kerbside collection is not just better for the environment, it’s better economic management of our waste,” Mr Wolfe said.

“Under a new campaign, Better4Moyne, council will be working with residents to improve waste separation, ultimately reducing the amount of recyclables going to landfill.”

Mr Wolfe said introducing a fourth bin for glass, which currently accounts for roughly 40 per cent of recycles in yellow kerbside bins, will make all recycling easier to process.

“Council will no longer be reliant on SKM, as there are other facilities that can process recyclables that are not contaminated by glass,” Mr Wolfe said.

“There are also facilities that will take the glass, crush it and use it as a substitute for sand in road making. Not only is this a better solution for the environment, it’s better for the economy.”

Moyne Shire Council CEO Bill Millard said the new Better4Moyne campaign will focus on correct separation of waste, using all four kerbside bins.

“The purple-lidded glass collection bins will be emptied monthly, yellow lidded recycling and green lidded FOGO bins every two weeks, and the red lidded landfill bin will continue to be collected weekly,” Mr Millard said.

“Over the coming months we will be focusing on our Better4Moyne waste education campaign, and continue to work with our waste collection contractors to finalise the revised collection schedule.”

Council will provide further roll out details to residents in the coming weeks.

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Is your bin healthy?

The City of Swans latest waste education initiative, which involves auditing the contamination levels of household bins, has led to a 53 per cent decrease in recycling bin contamination.

From kerbside collection to education and training, the City of Swan in Western Australia manages all its own waste services.

The city covers a large and diverse area across Perth’s eastern metropolitan region and has a population of 149,195.

Colin Pumphrey, Fleet and Waste Manager, says while some areas of the city are historically efficient in recycling, others with high density populations need further assistance.

Since April, the City of Swan has been conducting ‘health checks’ on residential kerbside bins to help the community improve recycling habits and reduce waste contamination.

“We need to understand what areas of the city needed our attention in terms of recycling education, and what areas are already doing well,” Colin says.

“We have worked closely with the Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA), which had already developed a successful process for bin tagging.”

According to WALGA, similar programs in South Australia have reduced waste contamination by up to 60 per cent and increased the amount of recycling by 25 per cent.

Colin says bin auditing involves city staff visually checking the contents of general waste and recycling bins in randomly selected areas.

The checks are then followed by constructive individual feedback on how each household can waste less and recycle more.

“Feedback is first provided in the form of a tag on bin handles, which highlights if there are any contaminated items in the recycling bin or items in the general waste bin that could be recycled,” Colin explains.

As a result of the program, Colin says contamination rates in some areas have reduced by 53 per cent.

“In some areas the contamination levels were very high, so it’s a good outcome so far,” he says.

According to Colin, the auditing program is consistent with the city’s wider approach to waste and recycling education.

“As we don’t contract any of our waste collections, we can interact closely with the community to ensure the bins are healthy and uncontaminated,” Colin says.

“It’s not only beneficial in the wider environmental sense, but also helps the city streamline our education processes.”

Colin says while in some areas the issue of waste separation and contamination is well understood, the real challenge is keeping residents up to date with ongoing changes to the waste and recycling industry.

“It’s important for residents to understand the city isn’t just imposing random changes for no good reason, we want them to understand specifically what changes have been made and why?” Colin says.

“As Swan has a fairly transient and changing population, we have to keep the education process going – it’s not something you can do once and forget about.”

Changes to the city’s collection services include future food and organics collection trials, a pre-booked year-round bulk and green waste collection and stricter enforcement of contamination regulations.

Colin says changes are in line with the state’s requirements to increase domestic processing and end markets. So far, the City of Swan has audited 2000 properties.

“We had a couple of households that resisted quite strongly, but the public response has been really positive,” Colin says.

“After people understand the logic behind the program, they don’t seem to have a problem.”

Colin says city officials tag bins based on their level of contamination: good, intermediate or bad.

“If a bin is tagged negatively, residents are given two weeks to remove the contamination, then if needed, another two weeks to improve,” Colin says.

“During that time, city officials will speak with specific residents about how they can lower their contamination levels, and if changes aren’t made, we tape up their bin.”

Colin says 30 bins have been tapped up by the city so far.

“If people don’t comply after their bin has been tapped, the last resort is for council to take the bin away,” Colin explains.

“We have removed six bins in total, with one given back after discussions with the residents.”

Colin says he is currently writing the program’s final report, which he will then put to council.

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Veolia takes over Greater Shepparton waste services

Veolia Environmental Services will undertake Greater Shepparton kerbside waste collections, after council agreed the current contractor, Wheelie Waste, could novate their contract.

According to Greater Shepparton City Council Infrastructure Director Phil Hoare, Veolia will take over all of Wheelie Waste’s Shepparton operations including its commercial transfer station and waste management fleet.

“Residents can be assured it is business as usual and there will be no disruptions to kerbside bin collections,” Mr Hoare said.

“Veolia will be picking up the red, yellow and green lid bins as usual – the only change residents will notice is the branding on the trucks.”

Mr Hoare said all current local Wheelie Waste employees will transfer to Veolia.

Veolia Group General Manager for Victoria Anthony Roderick said the decision allowed Veolia to expand their operations in the Greater Shepparton region.

“This is an exciting opportunity for Veolia as we build capability in northern Victoria and add further value to customers through fleet expansion and route optimisation,” Mr Roderick said.

“Planned and ongoing services, including the kerbside collection services will continue as normal.”

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Which Bin launches in South Australia

The South Australian government has launched a campaign urging residents to consider what they put in their household recycling and organics bins.

Environment Minister David Speirs said the Which Bin campaign was launched to raise awareness of kerbside recycling contamination and bin restrictions.

“South Australians are great recyclers and we have a proven history in waste management,” Mr Speirs said.

“However, we can all do much better when it comes to knowing what should, and should not go in the recycling and green organics bin.”

Mr Speirs said food and green organic waste represents roughly half the contents of the state’s general waste bins.

The campaign aims to divert this waste for landfill and drive traffic to the newly developed Which Bin website, according to Mr Speirs.

The Which Bin website provides residents with a definitive recycling guide irrespective of local council.

“Education is a vital tool in improving the way South Australians approach waste management, and we feel the new campaign will inform the community in an easy to understand way,” Mr Speirs said.

A suite of resources for local government has also been developed, including calendars, bin stickers, signage, posters and customisable social media assets.

“The more we can divert from landfill to recycling and composting the better, for both the environment and reducing costs for local councils while creating jobs,” Mr Speirs said.

“We can support the local recycling industry by ensuring the correct recyclable items are placed in the correct bin and that these are clean and contaminant free.”

Which Bin is funded through the state government’s $12.4 million support package for the recycling industry.

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City of Swan ‘health checks’ residential bins

The City of Swan in Perth is conducting ‘health checks’ on residential kerbside bins to help the community improve recycling habits and reduce waste contamination.

The bin auditing program involves city staff visually checking the contents of general waste and recycling bins in randomly selected areas.

The checks are followed by constructive individual feedback on how each household can waste less and better recycle.

Feedback will be provided in the form of a tag on the bin handle, which states if there are any contaminated items in the recycling bin or items in the general waste bin that can be recycled.

City of Swan Mayor David Lucas said while most of people have good intentions when it comes to waste and recycling, many are unsure of what to place in different bins.

“If your recycling bin is contaminated with even a few unsuitable items, the remaining recyclable material in that bin will go to landfill,” Mr Lucas said.

Mr Lucas said through individual tailored feedback residents will learn how to properly separate their waste.

According to the Western Australian Local Government Association, similar programs in South Australia have reduced waste contamination by up to 60 per cent, and increased the amount of material sent to recycling facilities by 25 per cent.

Mr Lucas said 2000 households and businesses in the City of Swan are planned to take part in the program.

Whiteman Ward Councillor John McNamara said each property selected to take part will be audited four times over an eight week period.

“We’re focusing on providing useful feedback to residents to change behaviour, however if contaminated items continue to be placed in bins by the end of the program, residents will be required to remove the contamination before the bin is emptied,” Mr McNamara said.

“There have been some recent changes around what can be recycled which can be confusing, we’re using this program to empower our community to recycle better and waste less.”

The city will use information collected through the program to understand how well recycling is understood and to determine where more information is required.

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The City of Yarra to trial kerbside glass collection

The City of Yarra in Melbourne has announced plans to trial a fourth kerbside glass bin in 1300 Abbotsford households.

According to the City of Yarra website, starting in June the city will provide residents with a purple-lidded bin for glass waste in addition to the current garbage, recycling and food and garden waste bins.

“We need to change how we recycle as individuals, as a community and as a municipality,” the website reads.

“Our current model of consumption and waste is not working for the planet, environment or our community. We’re all part of the waste system and together must all be part of the solution.”

The trial is estimated to run for 12 months and builds on a successful food and garden waste collection (FOGO) trial conducted last year.

Results from the FOGO trial saw a 40 per cent diversion of waste from landfill, with current FOGO contamination rates now averaging less than one per cent.

“Currently the glass in the kerbside recycling bin is creating contamination,” the website reads.

“Broken glass damages the quality of other materials, by removing it recycling will be better quality and more valuable to processors.”

The website highlights that a lack of available landfill space in Victoria, particularly in metropolitan Melbourne, is creating additional pressure on the waste and recycling industry.

“For years we’ve ignored the potential of locally processing our recycled materials like glass,” the website reads.

“We are being proactive and exploring new ways to collect and manage your recycling to help fix the recycling industry, create local jobs and use waste as a resource instead of sending it to landfill.”

Following the trial period the city will consider expanding the service through Yarra.

The trial will be run with support from the State Government, Sustainability Victoria, RMIT University, Australian Paper Recovery, Four Seasons Waste and Alex Fraser Group.

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Melbourne City Council to consider food waste collection

Melbourne City Council will this week consider a trial of kerbside bins for food waste, designed to test how a domestic food waste collection service would work in the municipality.

As part of the council’s proposed Waste and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030, a third kerbside bin for food scraps would be distributed to 700 City of Melbourne residents.

Councillors will consider the strategy, which also outlines plans to introduce more shared waste hubs for businesses in the central city, and remove some commercial bins from the public realm.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the proposed expansion of the existing network of five waste hubs would activate laneways, reduce truck movements, boost amenity and make Melbourne more liveable.

“We can dramatically reduce the number of bins lining our laneways and the number of trucks on our streets by creating more central waste drop-off points,” Ms Capp said.

“Balcombe Place was transformed last year with a waste hub that has replaced around 20 bins and skips, and as a result we are seeing less illegally dumped rubbish and milk crates left in the lane.”

Chair of the Environment Councillor Cathy Oke said with food making up 50 per cent of household waste in the municipality, finding a solution for discarded food scraps is a key component of the proposed strategy.

“Our residents discarded an estimated 12,000 tonnes of food waste in 2016–17 and through our engagement with the community we know people want a solution to avoid food going to landfill,” Ms Oke said.

“If the strategy is endorsed, a waste collection trial would be held to determine how collection services could work for residents with kerbside bins and a third bin for organic waste would be rolled out to 700 houses in Kensington later this year, building on an earlier trial in 2017.”

If implemented, the trail will see food and garden waste collected weekly, and a supporting education and community engagement campaign enacted.

Ms Oke said the strategy will address changes to the global recycling industry that has left Victorian councils with a critical oversupply of recyclable material and seek to create more demand for recyclable products.

“China and India have restricted their imports and the stockpiling of waste around the state is a major wake-up call for all levels of government,” Ms Oke said.

“We need government procurement targets for recycling to build Australia’s domestic recycling industry. This would create local jobs in our manufacturing sector and most importantly, stop recyclable material from ending up in landfill.”

Moreland City Council plan to enact similar measures, announcing as of 1 July council will expand its kerbside collection services and offer fortnightly food and garden organics collection (FOGO).

The council conducted a four-month trial of FOGO from November 2018 to March 2019 with 1000 households across Pascoe Vale and Pascoe Vale South.

The scheme will be rolled out across the entire municipality in 2021, with households receiving an organics bin at no additional charge.

Mayor of the City of Moreland Natalie Abboud said currently over 50 per cent of waste in Moreland that goes to landfill is food organics.

“When it breaks down in landfill it produces the harmful greenhouse gas methane, which contributes to climate change,” Ms Abboud said.

“By having household food organics collected and properly processed, it can be turned into compost which can be used to enrich soil on farms, parks, school gardens and other useful applications.”

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