A REPORT on the success of South Gippsland Shire Council’s Kerbside Green Waste Collection was presented last Wednesday to Council, and was applauded as having significantly decreased the amount of green waste which prior to the introduction of the service, had added to landfill gas production and leachate generation.
Peter Roberts – Council’s Waste Management Supervisor and Geoff McKinnon, Council Sustainability Co-ordinator explained that since the service began in July 2015, an overall reduction in kerbside garbage to landfill was achieved despite a large number of additional properties being added to the garbage collection service in Venus Bay.
Taking into account the addition of the Venus Bay services, the actual amount of kerbside waste to landfill from each property (on average) reduced from 411kg to 337kg per year, a reduction of approximately 18 per cent.
Council has traditionally provided a two bin kerbside waste collection service with a 120L garbage bin collected weekly and a 240L recycling bin collected fortnightly.
In July 2014, Council approved the introduction of the Green Waste Collection Service to be delivered on a fortnightly basis and commence in the 2015/16 financial year.
The Service is compulsory for all residential properties receiving a kerbside collection service unless the property is:
- a flat or unit;
- larger than 1 hectare in area; or
- located in an area where the kerbside collection service is optional (rural, Venus Bay, and Walkerville).
Properties that fall under any of these categories are able to opt in if they choose.
At the time the service was introduced, a small number of complaints were received from residents not wanting the service predominantly due to concerns with the additional cost. However, positive feedback was also received from members of the community in favour of the service.
When the service commenced in July 2015 there were initially 6937 participating properties, which increased to 7113 by July 2016. Approximately 250 of these properties are exempt from the service, but have opted to have the service.
The service has been well utilised by the community with 1700 tonnes of green waste collected during its first year, significantly more than the 1000 tonnes that had been anticipated. The service is delivered on the basis of full cost recovery with all costs associated with the collection, transport, and processing of green waste recovered through garbage charges levied on participating properties. The service cost was $532,000 for the 2015/16 year.
For the 2015/16 year, the Service cost component of the garbage charge for participating properties was $78. This amount covers the contract rate for collection and processing and the annual contract price adjustment (based on labour, transport and CPI indexes and fuel prices). The current service cost component of the garbage charge for 2016/17 is $79.35 per property.
The introduction of the service has led to a significant reduction in the volume of green waste dropped off at all transfer stations except Walkerville where the service is unavailable. Overall there was a 23.5 per cent drop in green waste volumes dropped off at transfer stations since the service began compared to 2014/15 (4976 cubic metres reduction). Excluding Walkerville, where the service is not provided, the reduction was 26 per cent (5,148 cubic metres).
Due to volume based pricing structures in the transfer station management contract relating to green waste, the reduction in green waste volumes at the sites has led to savings in green waste mulching and management costs of approximately $30,000 but also a drop in green waste disposal income of approximately $23,000 compared to 2014/15, creating a net saving in transfer station management costs of $7,000.
Due to contractual arrangements and the anticipated high costs of transporting all organic waste long distances to an appropriately licensed processing facility, the introduction of a full organics collection service (which would include food waste) is not currently viable.
However, South Gippsland Shire Council is very interested in the possibility of introducing such a service in the future and will be conducting an investigation into viable composting options for a full organics collection service.
To assist in evaluating the viability of the service becoming a full organics collection (food and green waste) in the future, $20,000 has been allocated in the 2016/17 budget to investigate viable composting options.
The full organics waste service already in place at a number of other councils in Victoria, and that of Bass Coast Shire Council (operational as of September 1, 2017), will – it is hoped – provide Council with the opportunity to monitor the success of such a service.