Waste collection- Fortnightly or Weekly

It seems every year the fortnightly or weekly bin debate recurs. This has been the storey dominating the media cycle today. So frequently what we continue to hear is it is all about cost saving.

Council waste binsI have entered this debate frequently in the past. Each time I have advocated that the question should not be about reducing the blue bin but about increasing the frequency of the green bin collection.

Our food stuff, the smelly stuff, the stuff that attracts ants should go in the green bin. We should therefore be talking about this bin being collected weekly. Conversely the blue bin, which goes to landfill, should be fortnightly.

In other words this should not be a debate focused on fortnightly or weekly. It should be about green verses blue.

An opinion incidentally I expressed today to Channel 9 when interviewed by chance in my own street.

We believe however and are being told the blue bin contains the smelly, ant attracting rubbish. This means that we as a society are not interested in getting biodegradable rubbish away from landfill.

It’s important to note, in spite of what you may be hearing, is that the LGA does not yet have an endorsed position on waste collection frequency. Until its member councils are consulted, the LGA cannot hold a position. This has not yet happened. All it is doing is trying to start the conversation.

The State Government must take the lead as the frequency of collections is set in their legislation. Any position that the LGA (on behalf of councils) might take, they (we) can only lobby the State Government to consider changing the collection.

Based on comments however made by both the Government and the Opposition today, it appears unlikely that there is support in Parliament for changes to the current system. This means they are not interested in taking the lead in better waste disposal.

Written & authorised by Don Palmer, 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park SA 5034

Some things have changed

For some you will have already seen the change, others must still await their turn. Green trucks are navigating our streets in lieu  of the white ones we used to see.

Yes! Council has a new Waste Contractor, Solo Resource Recovery.

In a contract that will save us all some money, waste collection being our single biggest contract. It was also good to see the drivers show more caution in navigating some of our tight streets. In recent times the drivers of our previous contractor were not observing our speed restrictions.

While this is a big change many parts of the process will not change.Check below for details of what has and what has not changed.

Big Agenda in July.

With Council about to move into caretaker mode July will prove busy with two full councils meetings on the agenda.

We will have our usual end of month meeting on the 28th. This will be preceded whoever by one on the 14th.

At the 14th meeting we will review a number of things including the review of our CEO’s performance over the last year, and more importantly the renewal of our waste collection contract.

What a Load of Rubbish – The LGA response

Fortnightly waste collection – letter to the Advertiser by the LGA

Letter submitted to the Advertiser following a misleading article regarding fortnightly waste collection



The Advertiser ran a front page story on Saturday (2/3/13) headed (on its Adelaide Now website) “Adelaide’s suburban Councils push for fortnightly rubbish collection.”
This headline wrongly creates the impression that metropolitan Councils are currently seeking to implement fortnightly collections in opposition to a State regulation requiring weekly landfill collections.
This is simply not the case. The LGA is not aware of one Council considering this issue.
In response to questions submitted by reporter Callie Watson, the LGA advised her verbally on two occasions and via email that the issue was not currently on our agenda.
The email read in part: “The LGA has not tested the issue with metropolitan Councils since the regulation was made (2009) and Councils have not raised the issue with the LGA as a key issue since then.”
This issue was emphasised with reporter Watson as we were concerned to ensure readers understood this is an issue which is likely to come back on the agenda for debate at some point in the future but is not currently being considered.
It seems to me to be fairly fundamental to a newspaper’s role to understand the difference between a topic which is likely to come up for debate at some point in the future and one which is being actively considered – and the difference between individual Mayors, or contractors’ views and those of corporate entities such as “Councils”.
By the number of concerns expressed on Adelaide Now, via social media and by Councillors, your decision to omit this central and emphasised element of our response did confuse and mislead readers to believe this change is currently being considered.
I would like to think that the Advertiser will take responsibility to correct this confusion, perhaps as prominently as the original story, to better inform its readers.

Wendy CampanaCEO, Local Government Association of SAAdelaide

Matches my response from last week in this blog,

What a Load of Rubbish – or – a conversation we have to have?

Is rubbish collections fortnightly a load of rubbish?  Or is there a conversation we have to have?

I copied onto this blog site last week the transcript of an article from Adelaide Now and asked your thoughts on the questions posed in that article. With no response to my questions yet I found while on the road today that I could not listen to talk back radio without criticism of Council decisions to proceed with fortnightly collection of the red bin (blue in the case of the City of Unley).

The conversation today was damming of councils for making such decisions. Indeed it was two waste management authorities making the suggestion, not any Council, with three mayors supporting that we probably should be moving this way. (a future thing).

There is no such decision made that I am aware of at any Council. My understanding is we cant because it is enshrined in legislation. I heard an elected member of one council say they have not discussed it and was unaware it was on their agenda.

Same here. We have not discussed it at Unley and I am unaware that it is on our agenda. Let us be abundantly clear on that.

The debate was very much one sided with the main argument being that there are health issues with leaving food scraps in bins for two weeks. It is smelly and unhealthy was the big cry.

Interestingly only one week ago on talk back radio (not sure if it was the same station or not) the conversation was about a great idea some councils had introduced to put food scraps into a kitchen tidy and to transfer that into the green bin (note- not the red bin). This was applauded by callers and those councils providing the kitchen tidy free congratulated as encouraging responsible waste disposal. Those making a small charge for the tidy (like Unley) criticised for not making it free.


Here we are…Councils applauded for encouraging food scraps into the green bin and then within a week criticised for leaving the food scraps in the red bin for two weeks when in fact they are in the green bin for — TWO weeks.

This is blatantly unfair and I admonish those in the press and the politicians making mileage out of it.

We need a conversation about waste disposal but it needs to be an informed one, and not one focused on the timing of collections. A conversation not unlike the one in the transcript rather than what happened today with political grandstanding.

Questions like the following need to be asked :

should we be putting food scraps into the green bin as we are now being encouraged to do,
should this bin be collected weekly and the red one fortnightly,
should nappies go in the bin or should we be using recyclable nappies like a number of councils (including us) proposed not that far back.
are we ready for this,
if not when are we likely to be (aren’t we heading that way now).

In signing off let me remind everyone that councils will not be doing this without consulting their ratepayers first.