IT has been one year since Orange City Council introduced the green bin service and in that time there has been a 37 per cent reduction in waste going to landfill.
According to Orange City Council more than half (57 per cent) of Orange residents’ waste is diverted from landfill and either recycled or turned into compost.
That figure is two per cent higher than the goal figure quoted in 2012, one year before the roll-out of the bins, by then enterprise services director Stephen Sykes.
Council spokesman Allan Reeder said there were few incidents of contamination but there were still lessons to be learnt.
“Contamination levels have varied from month-to-month but on average the amount of contaminants collected in the green-lidded bins are less than a third of one per-cent of what’s collected,” he said.
“Plastic bags are the biggest source of contamination, and the major problem is when plastic was shredded and ended up in compost. But there are good signs people are learning not to put waste inside a plastic bag when it goes into their green bin.”
Orange residents paid $82.40 for the service in the 2013/2014 financial year but residents also paid for the service in the 2012/2013 financial year, 12 months before the service was introduced.
The bins were controversial when first rolled out, particularly with people who lived in units.
At times, they claimed there were too many bins in unit complexes, blocking driveways.
Orange City Council’s Environment and Economic Development Policy Committee chair councillor Neil Jones said those teething problems have been sorted out and residents have stopped complaining.
Unfortunately, Cr Jones says, there is little food waste going into the green bins. He believes it’s mostly garden waste which means the compost produced is not as rich as it could be.
“If residents can do more to include more kitchen waste that will add to the nutrient value of the compost,” he said.
“There are some peaks and troughs emerging in the pattern of what materials people are putting into their green bins.
“A lot more material is collected from September to March when the lawns and growing and tree branches are being pruned. The six-week long production process to turn waste into compost tends to even out those peaks.”
Council did not say whether it would review collection times for the bins but Cr Jones said residents simply didn’t put their bins out if they did not need to be collected.
“There’s only been a handful of residents who have asked for their green bin to be taken away. The vast majority of the 15,000 green bins are being used conveniently by local residents,” he said.
The compost created can be purchased from council for $37.10 for a cubic metre.