FOLLOWING the lead of Bankstown City Council by giving away compost and mulch for free could be an incentive to encourage residents to use their green bins, according to councillor Reg Kidd.
Residents who want compost made from organic garden and food waste must pay Orange City Council $36 per cubic metre.
The charge is on top of the compulsory $82.40 yearly green bin fee - of which $61.80 is for the bin collection and $20.60 covers the shortfall between the costs of making the compost and the revenue from its sale.
In what is believed to be an Australian first, Bankstown council gives each household two free bags of compost and two free bags of mulch made from their green bin waste.
Cr Kidd believes waiving the price of the compost and mulch will allow residents to see their green waste being put to use.
“I know you’ve got to try and cover the costs, but there’s a public cost as well,” he said.
Cr Kidd said he believed the $36 per cubic metre charge for compost was too expensive on top of the annual green bin fee.
“I know it’s good for the environment and everyone,” he said.
“But I still believe there’s a breaking point with people and rates.”
Cr Kidd said he wanted to see the business plan to find out if council could make enough money from commercial bulk sales of the compost to offset the price for residents.
Council spokesman Allan Reeder said council only receives a comparatively small amount of income from compost sales to residents but it should be measured against the much larger value of the commercial quantities produced and sold by council’s contractor JR Richards.
“This additional income is a key factor in the mix when Orange City Council negotiates the overall fee paid to the contractor,” he said.
“Orange City Council is selling compost to residents as a service and so they can see a tangible benefit of the green organics waste scheme which they’ve been participating in.”
“The price of the compost is determined so that council won’t be unduly out of pocket, while not putting other compost sellers in Orange at an unfair disadvantage.”
Mr Reeder said the first batches of compost were being tested before it is sold by the trailer load to the public at the end of November from the Ophir Road Resource Recovery Centre.