Shane Walden, Macedon Ranges Shire Council Director of assets and operations, explains the process that led to council’s 2020 introduction of kerbside glass and organics collections.
The Victorian Government will introduce a container deposit scheme (CDS) by 2023, as part of a new suite of initiatives to reduce waste to landfill by 80 per cent over 10 years.
A four bin kerbside system will also be rolled out as part of a $129 million overhaul of the state’s waste and recycling sector, with seperate bins for glass, food and garden organics, household waste and plastic, metal and paper.
Premier Daniel Andrews said that by collecting glass separately, Victoria can ensure effective recycling, with jars and bottles transformed multiple times into different products, including new roads and footpaths.
“Separate glass collection will also make recovery of other recyclables – like plastic, metal and paper – simpler, with the food and organic bin significantly reducing the amount of waste going to landfill,” he said.
According to Mr Andrews, the bin rollout will begin gradually next year – informed by the needs of local communities and existing council contracts.
“There will also be special arrangements for remote regional households and people in apartments, to ensure everyone gets access to the new four-bin system,” he said.
“This represents a holistic approach to reducing, reusing and recycling our state’s waste. That’s good news for Victoria’s environment and good news for Victorian jobs.”
Waste management will also be classified as an essential service under the new system, to ensure a basic standard of service across the state.
Additionally, a dedicated waste authority will be established to help the state better govern its recycling system and hold waste service providers to account.
“An education and behaviour change campaign will support the rollout of the initiatives. It will target households, businesses, councils, community groups and charities – helping them transition to the new system,” Mr Andrews added.
The Victorian Waste Management Association (VWMA) has welcomed the changes, highlighting Victoria as the only Australian jurisdiction without a CDS currently in place.
VWMA CEO Peter Anderson said the association sees tremendous benefits for Victoria through the introduction of the scheme, including less rubbish sent to landfill, less litter from single use items covered by the scheme and the opportunity to further build public awareness about waste and recycling.
“The Victorian Government is to be congratulated for listening to stakeholders from the waste and recycling sector on the development of this CDS, which will transform how Victorians dispose of certain materials,” Mr Anderson said.
“It’s important that Victorians understand that this is not about imposing additional costs or inconvenience when it comes to disposal of recyclables. It’s about dramatically increasing the amount of waste that gets recycled and, conversely, reducing how much we send to landfill.”
The VWMA has worked closely with the Victorian Government to establish the scheme, Mr Anderson said, and looks forward to further engagement and consultation.
“As part of the transition to a CDS, change and adjustment will be required of every Victorian household and we may need to do things differently,” he said.
“Changes to the size of our bins and frequency of collection will be likely, and we look forward to working with the Victorian Government to help educate Victorians on the many environmental and economic benefits a CDS will deliver.”
South Australia’s first electric-powered kerbside collection truck has taken to the streets of metropolitan Adelaide this week.
The new truck is owned and operated by waste and resource management company East Waste, a subsidiary of seven metropolitan Adelaide councils.
East Waste General Manager Rob Gregory said the new truck replaces a diesel-powered truck and, with zero emissions, will remove the equivalent of 20 vehicles generating 63 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year from Adelaide’s suburban streets.
The truck, supplied by Australian company Superior Pak with drivetrain technology from SEA Electric, is the first in a fleet replacement program.
“It will deliver financial gain to better manage the cost of kerbside collections of recyclable resources and waste,” Mr Gregory said.
“We conservatively project that our new electric vehicle will save more than $220,000 over the seven-year life of its diesel predecessor.”
According to Mr Gregory, East Waste has installed a 30 kilowatt solar system at its Ottaway depot to produce renewable energy for the truck’s batteries.
“Residents will fall in love with our new truck without realising it,” he said.
“With reduced air pollution comes the removal of noise pollution as the truck travels from house to house on bin collection day. It is almost silent.”
Yarra City Councillors have voted to roll out a four-bin kerbside system, with separate bins supplied for organics and glass.
According to councillor Misha Coleman, the new waste and recycling collection model is based on a successful trial of 1300 households in Abbotsford in Melbourne’s inner north.
“The new service introduces a new food and green waste service that will be collected weekly, removing much of the material that causes odours,” she said.
“Another additional new bin will be added for glass, which will be processed locally and used to make new glass containers and for local asphalt.”
Under the new system, glass, commingled recycling and landfill waste bins will be collected fortnightly.
Ms Coleman said Yarra City Council first began the trial “because recycling in Australia is in crisis.”
“It’s time we did things very, very differently, and councils and communities like ours are providing the leadership to drive change in this industry,” she said.
“There is a growing trend of councils moving to greater separation of waste to reduce reliance on unsustainable landfills and to improve reuse of recyclable materials. Eleven other councils in Victoria are moving to a fortnightly landfill waste collection service.”
Ms Coleman added that as a result of the trial, Yarra has seen a dramatic reduction in waste sent to landfill: diverting roughly 60 per cent of all household waste.
“The benefits of this new system include a significant reduction in the amount of waste sent to landfill, a substantial increase in the quality of recyclable materials, and very significant reductions in truck movements around our city, which will reduce vehicle emissions,” she said.
According to Ms Coleman, under the 4-bin model, households will have an increased bin capacity of 50 litres per week.
“We surveyed over 400 residents in the trial area. Almost 80 per cent told us they think these changes are an improvement in managing waste, and just under 90 per cent support separating their waste for collection,” she said.
“Almost 73 per cent of trial participants were satisfied with the fortnightly garbage collection.”
Changes will come into effect from July 2020.
A kerbside glass collection trial has begun in Warrnambool with 3400 properties.
According to a council statment, the four-bin system means households will have their glass and recycling bins picked up from the first week of February, with rubbish and FOGO bins collected the following week.
“Glass collected will be crushed and re-used in road construction,” the statement reads.
Warrnambool Mayor Tony Herbert said the move to a four-bin kerbside system had the potential to reduce the Municipal Waste Charge for each property by roughly $10 annually.
“It’s expensive to separate these items and when glass breaks and embeds in paper or cardboard, it means that these materials – which are otherwise recyclable – can end up in landfill,” Mr Herbert said.
“As well as obviously being a poor environmental outcome, sending material to landfill is expensive because of the Victorian Government’s landfill levy.”
Mr Herbert said responses to a public survey in 2019 helped council reach its decision.
“The most popular survey response was the introduction of kerbside glass collection, alongside a larger rubbish bin that is collected fortnightly,” he said.
“This means that there are the same number of ‘bin lifts’ and truck movements but with an improved recycling outcome.”
The kerbside glass collection will be supplemented with bottle banks at Bunnings, the Dennington Shopping Centre and Norfolk Plaza. These will accept all household glass.
“The bottle banks allow anyone who isn’t currently part of the kerbside glass collection trial to begin separating their glass straight away,” Mr Herbert said.
“The new four-bin system and the bottle banks are a trial. We will use this effort to gather information about how people use the service and how it might be improved.”
Macedon Ranges Shire Council in Victoria is rolling out seperate kerbside glass collections, following a successful 2019 trial.
According to a council statment, the decision comes after Macedon Ranges was one of 33 Victorian councils affected by the closure of recycling processor SKM Recycling.
“A new recycling processor has been identified, but only if glass is removed from the household recycling bins,” the statement reads.
In a 2019 statement, Acting Assets and Operations Director Anne-Louise Lindner said residents needed to work with council to find alternatives to landfill.
“We really hope the community will come on board and help us to remove glass from [general] recycling bins,” Ms Lindner said.
“Shards and small pieces of glass can become embedded in paper and cardboard in recycling bins, and contaminate the other recyclables.”
Macedon’s new 140 litre glass-only bins will be collected every four weeks and have purple lids.
Macedon Ranges Shire Council is expanding its kerbside collection to include food organics, after receiving $182,000 in 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.
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.”
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.”
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.