AT LAST Wednesday’s meeting of South Gippsland Shire Council, a proposal to introduce a kerbside green waste collection service from 1 July 2015 was endorsed by Council.
For an annual charge for the service of $76.73, residents will be provided with a 240 litre green waste bin (the same size as their recycling bin), which will be collected from their properties on a fortnightly basis, all year round.
Charges for the service will not be applied to rates until the service commences in July 2015. The advanced notice of this decision before the service can commence is necessary to allow sufficient time for the contractors to purchase the required trucks and bins and to distribute the bins to each participating property.
Material able to be disposed of in the green waste bin will include garden prunings, lawn clippings, weeds, leaves and small logs (maximum size 100mm x 300mm).
The service will be compulsory for all properties that receive a residential kerbside garbage collection service, apart from those that are in optional service areas, such as Venus Bay and Walkerville, part of a unit development or where the area of their property is one hectare or larger. Residential properties that receive kerbside garbage and recycling service but are exempt from the compulsory green waste collection service will be able to opt in for the service.
“The service provides a great outcome for residents,” said Geoff McKinnon, Council’s manager of sustainability. “We have received consistent requests for a service to be provided, particularly by our more senior residents and those without the ability to transport their own green waste to a transfer station.”
“When comparing the value of the service against taking green waste to a transfer station, the advantages are quite clear,” added Mr McKinnon. “If residents were to fill their green waste bin each fortnight, the cost for that material to be collected and recycled would be cheaper than transporting it to a transfer station themselves and it would be collected from right outside their property.”
Council did not give the green waste kerbside collection unanimous support. Crs Jeanette Harding and Bob Newton argued that it was too costly and should not be compulsory. They and Cr Kieran Kennedy voted against the scheme.
However, most councillors supported the scheme. Several pointed out that in addition to the direct benefit for property owners of having a convenient, cost effective way to dispose of green waste, the service will also divert large quantities of green waste currently contained in kerbside garbage bins from landfill. The diversion of this material will provide environmental benefits, through lower greenhouse emissions, and cost savings for Council – and in turn the community – through extending the life of the landfill by conserving airspace.
“The implementation of the service is in line with the objectives of Council’s Waste Management Strategy 2011-2021 and it’s a win-win situation for both the community and the environment,” said Mr McKinnon. “The new service will ensure that instead of wasting a valuable resource by burying it in landfill, the collected green waste will be transported to an appropriate processing facility where it will be composted and turned into useful product.”
At this stage there is no suitable processing facility available for a full organics collection, so only a green waste collection is being introduced. However, Council will also set aside $20,000 in the 2015/16 budget to engage an independent specialist consultant to investigate the viability of and processing options for a full organics collection, including food waste as well as green waste.
Other councils in the Gippsland region that provide a compulsory kerbside green waste collection service to township areas are East Gippsland, Baw Baw and Latrobe.