Free green bin service offered in bid to curb huge wastage
WITH a huge amount of food scraps ending up in landfill when they don’t need to be, Ipswich City Council is offering its green waste service for free for residents for a limited time in a bid to curb an alarming level of wastage.
The council is falling well behind its landfill diversion target set by the state government.
Ipswich City Council currently offers a paid service with a choice of either a 240 litre or 360 litre green waste wheelie bin, which costs $20 a quarter and is collected every two weeks.
Grass clippings, weeds, animal manure, fruit and vegetable scraps, egg shells and bread can all be put in the bin and it is then mulched and turned into compost at a local facility.
A community survey conducted last year found only a quarter of residents were using the green waste service for food scraps and about 40 per cent of all residents were using the general waste bin for most or all of their food scraps.
The city’s 2020 waste audit revealed that only 0.5 per cent of acceptable food material is being recovered with 99.5 per cent entering landfill.
At Thursday’s council meeting, councillors voted unanimously voted to run a promotion encouraging residents to opt into the green waste service during the Ipswich Show this month.
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Residents who sign up for the service during the show, between May 14-16, will receive six weeks of free service.
The usual charges will start from July 1 and it is open to both homeowners and tenants.
Only the 240 litre green bin is on offer as part of this promotion.
“The Queensland Government’s Waste Reduction and Recycling Act 2011 and associated Waste Management and Resource Recovery Strategy have mandated a 10 per cent waste reduction for households, 50 per cent recycling target and 55 per cent diversion of municipal solid waste by 2025,” a report to councillors noted.
“With council’s diversion rate currently tracking at 22.87 per cent, well below the state’s 2025 diversion target of 55 per cent, the city will need to explore a range of options to increase food diversion.
“Based on an annual green waste service charge of $80 (per annum) the ~1.5 month’s free service is estimated to represent a missed revenue opportunity of (approximately) $10 per service during the 2021-2022 financial year.
“This cost however represents a marginal investment in terms of the longer term financial, legislative, and environmental benefits which will be attained through increased participation in this service.
“Overall, it is anticipated that the increased revenue through improved community participation will offset any free period being offered.”
Division 3 councillor Andrew Fechner said the city now had more than 20,000 green bins.
“I love the idea of this program,” he said.
“It’s more about promoting the new way council is interacting with waste and it really highlights how we’re moving forward and considering new and different things.
“We want people to be making better decisions about what they’re putting in the bin.”
Read more stories by Lachlan McIvor here.