Council Weighs Changes to Waste & Organic Bin Collections

At the January Council meeting, Greater Bendigo City Council will consider changing the frequency of household red general waste bin collections from weekly to fortnightly, and green organics bin collections from fortnightly to weekly.

Should Council adopt the proposed changes, they would not occur until the second half of 2023. The changes would apply to the approximate 45,500 households within the organics collection service area. There would be no changes for the 5,495 rural properties that do not receive an organics collection.

The proposed changes are the result of a service review completed in 2022 that found household general waste bins contain 46 per cent of waste that should either be in the recycling bin or organics bin, and not be going to landfill.

The service review found by changing the frequency of organics and general waste bin collections, the City could reduce the amount of general waste collected and divert about 7,000 tonnes of organic material and 4,500 tonnes of recyclable material per year from landfill.

The service review looked at several things, including:

  • If the frequency of collections met community expectations
  • If the frequency of collections aligned with Victorian Government and City of Greater Bendigo policies, plans and objectives
  • The environmental benefits of changing the frequency of bin collections
  • How to encourage people to stop putting organic food and garden material in their general waste bin

More than 17 other Victorian councils, including Macedon Ranges Shire Council, City of Banyule, Glen Eira City Council, Surf Coast Shire Council and Bass Coast Shire Council, have already successfully made a similar bin collection switch and have experienced significant reductions in sending organics to landfill and large increases in their diversion and recycling rates.

The proposed changes are in line with the Victorian Government’s circular economy policies and its Recycling Victoria: A new economy plan, which has set a target for all Victorian Local Governments to send no organic material to landfill by 2030.

The plan has also informed key objectives noted in the City of Greater Bendigo’s Climate Change and Environment Strategy 2021-2026.

Reducing the amount of organic material in the waste stream is important because:

  • The Eaglehawk Landfill is set to close in 2023 and Greater Bendigo is running out of landfill space. This means the City will need to transport all general waste to a landfill outside of Greater Bendigo and this will increase costs to dispose of general waste
  • These costs are passed directly onto ratepayers via the waste charge on your rates notice. Making this change would help minimise future cost increases
  • Food scraps and garden waste are valuable resources that can be recycled into a high-quality compost for use on farms, parks and gardens. The City has recently signed a contract to ensure these materials are processed locally
  • Decomposing food in landfill emits methane, a damaging greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere and contributes to climate change

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