Tech solutions for new CBD recycling hubs

The City of Melbourne is seeking innovative technology solutions to expand and enhance its network of rubbish and recycling hubs throughout the central city, as part of its response to the state’s recycling crisis.

​Lord Mayor Sally Capp said Council is searching the globe for the best technologies that will work in Melbourne, with an Expressions of Interest process opening on the weekend. 

“We will consider everything from mini-compactor bins, to specialised vehicles, and collection of source separated materials such as glass, organics, paper and cardboard,” the Lord Mayor said.

“We could tailor our network of hubs to the profile of key precincts around the city. For example, we could deliver more food waste and plastic recycling hubs in our hospitality precincts.

“We’re looking at densely populated international cities such as Milan, which has amongst the highest rates of recycling in Europe.”

Chair of the City of Melbourne’s Environment Portfolio, Councillor Cathy Oke said residents and businesses had a critical role to play in helping to reduce waste and find local solutions to the state’s recycling crisis.

“Unfortunately, tonnes of recycling is being sent to landfill so the most important thing people can do right now is to try to avoid creating waste,” Cr Oke said.

“The City of Melbourne understands this is a state-wide issue and we will continue to examine potential short and long-term solutions such as new technologies. We’re also asking our residents and businesses to adjust their behaviour to achieve lasting change.”

“This means changing what products we buy to ones that have less packaging or things that can be re-used in our homes or workplaces. Food waste is an area that almost anyone can cut down on by starting to compost or simply using leftovers to make a new meal instead of throwing them out.”

The Lord Mayor said companies will be asked to submit their proposals for specialised waste and recycling collection services for the central city as part of the Expressions of Interest process.

“We want to expand our network of waste and recycling hubs to transform the way waste and recycling is collected in the central city,” the Lord Mayor said.

“Rather than have multiple trucks circling the city, we want to create more communal hubs so businesses can take their items to a local collection point.”

The Lord Mayor said expanding the hub network would streamline collection services and improve public amenity.

“We know there are around 1000 individual bins stored on public property across the central city. Bins in laneways take up space and can cause odour, visual pollution and attract vermin,” the Lord Mayor said.

“Over the long-term businesses would be encouraged to use the communal network of resource recovery hubs instead of using on-street bins.

“As the network expands over time, the number of on-street private waste bins will be reduced.”

Since 2013 the City of Melbourne has removed more than 500 bins off the streets by providing access to communal garbage compactors and recycling hubs.

The City of Melbourne has three collection facilities for the commercial sector:

  • Degraves Street Recycling Facility processes food waste and collects glass, steel, aluminium, plastic and cardboard generated from more than 100 cafes and restaurants
  • Five communal waste compactors in laneways that take waste from more than 480 businesses
  • Eleven recycling hubs offering free recycling to businesses, with an additional 175 cardboard bins in 68 laneways across the central city.

In particular, the City of Melbourne is looking for innovative technology which could include

  • Wi-Fi or radio frequency identification technology that can charge users for the amount of waste calculated / disposed
  • Smart, card, tap technology which can bill users via a pay-as-you-throw waste management system
  • Smart sensors and bin weights to monitor bin levels
  • GPS tracking to help truck drivers know when a bin needs emptying
  • Ability to compact a variety of waste streams for easier storage and collection.

The expression of interest process follows interviews and workshops with businesses, residents, city users and the waste industry in developing the City of Melbourne’s Waste and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030.

/Public Release. View in full here.