City moves towards waste reforms
RESIDENTS and businesses in the City of Greater Geelong will have a new, dedicated bin for glass within seven years as the council moves to comply with the state government’s new circular economy policy.
The council has also entered a new phase of the renewable organics project it is pursuing with in partnership with Barwon Water.
Corangamite federal Labor member Libby Coker has welcomed the decision and has urged the council and others in the region to do more.
The City of Greater Geelong council has registered its interest in completing a draft transition plan – which must be done by the end of September – and at their meeting last week, councillors resolved to allocate $10,000 from the 2020/21 waste management budget to develop the plan.
Under the state government’s waste and resource recovery reforms, councils must provide a four-bin or service model or access to an equivalent service for the separate collection of glass by 2027; co-mingled recycling for paper, plastic and metals; collection services for food organics and garden organics by 2030; and residual garbage collection.
The city’s existing three-bin system sees glass included in yellow-lid recycling bins, and green-lid bins only used for the collection of
Food waste is not recycled at the moment and amounts to about one third of material placed in household garbage bins (equivalent to about 70kg per resident per year). The council will begin a household food collection service trial this financial year.
The state government reforms are in line with the council’s Waste and Resource Recovery Strategy 2020-2030, endorsed in April.
“There is quite a bit of work to be done to prepare Greater Geelong for a move to the new waste system, but we have a solid 10-year waste strategy in place and our team is already doing the necessary planning,” Geelong mayor Stephanie Asher said.
The renewable organics project aims to use existing water and sewerage infrastructure to convert organic waste into energy and soil fertiliser products.
This would reduce the amount of waste being sent to landfill, cutting greenhouse gas emissions and lowering energy costs.
The council has been composting green waste at its purpose-built facility near Anakie since February 2019, but there is no local processing capability for food waste.
Following an assessment of technology and feedstock options in phase one of the project, the council has now agreed to enter into phase two, which will see further investigation of the technical and commercial details of the three shortlisted options.
Chair of the waste management portfolio Cr Ron Nelson said the project was a positive collaboration with the surrounding G21 councils.
Ms Coker said the council’s decision meant food otherwise destined for landfill would become a reusable product.
“I’m passionate about waste and recycling because it’s good for the environment and for jobs. It’s a win-win for all. But there is so much more we as a region could be doing.
“We need a waste and recycling hub and the councils in our region are well placed to grab hold of that opportunity.
“Federal government incentives and rebates are what is needed to help make this happen.”