Council bins green waste fee

City of Mount Gambier residents will no longer have to pay an additional fee to subscribe to the kerbside green FOGO (food organics/green organics) bin service from 1 July 2020 with Elected Members this week endorsing a plan to absorb the cost of the service into general rates for residential properties.

To date the service has been provided by Council on an ‘opt in’ basis whereby residents subscribe through an annual payment of $85.00. Under the change residents will only be required to pay an initial fee to cover the cost of the official green organics bin if they do not already have one.

The most recent kerbside bin audit conducted by Council staff indicated that on average 45 per cent of household waste going to landfill is organic matter that could be diverted and recycled through composting.

All new subscribers who opt in to the service by purchasing the bin will also receive a kitchen caddy with compostable liners to assist with diverting food scraps away from landfill.

“The kitchen caddy is an easy way for residents to sort their waste at the sink which will mean less organic matter entering landfill via the general waste bin,” City of Mount Gambier General Manager City Infrastructure Nick Serle said.

“Organic matter is a big contaminant of general waste bins and happens to be integral to the process of bio-organically breaking down other green matter to turn it into compost.”

With 6,853 households currently subscribed to the service and the number set to increase, it is forecast the change will represent a loss of more than $500,000 from Council’s operating revenue that will be absorbed through rate revenue. The loss will be offset slightly with Council recently receiving $32,954 towards the initiative via the State Government Kerbside Performance Plus (Food Organics) Incentives Program.

“This is a large investment however we are confident the savings and environmental benefits that will result from less organic matter entering and contaminating landfill will far outweigh the initial loss of income,” Mr Serle said.

It is much more cost effective for Council to dispose of organic matter to a commercial composting operation than it is for it to end up in landfill where it decreases the life of each cell and increases the emission of harmful greenhouse gases.”

– City of Mount Gambier General Manager City Infrastructure Nick Serle

Council voted unanimously in favour of the initiative that will be backed up by a waste education campaign currently under development. The campaign will be rolled out later this year and aims to assist residents to dispose of household waste correctly through the various streams.

“This is a really positive step in line with our overall goal of reducing waste to landfill,” City of Mount Gambier Mayor Lynette Martin OAM said.

It is anticipated that by reducing the barriers to accessing the FOGO service that residents will be able to experience first-hand how easily they can reduce their volume of general waste simply by sorting it into the appropriate stream.

“I really encourage our residents to take advantage of this opportunity to opt in if you do not already have a FOGO bin,” Mayor Martin said.

“Just by utilising the kitchen caddy system I am confident our residents will see a big reduction in their general waste each week.”

“By working together we can really make a difference towards responsible waste management which is so important for our future, both environmentally and financially.”

With the current subscription ceasing as of 30 June 2020, residents that already have an official green waste bin will not have to take any action to continue receiving the service as bin tags will no longer be required. Residents who wish to opt in can contact Council to arrange payment and delivery of a green waste bin with kerbside collection available from 1 July 2020.

Residents are encouraged to ensure they are only disposing of accepted matter through the green waste system to ensure the viability of the service.

“The technology installed on the waste trucks enable the contents of all bins to be closely monitored and residents are reminded to do the right thing so the service can continue to be provided to all households,” Mr Serle said.

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