Food for thought. Green Waste v Landfill. It’s up to us. You & Me.

Here is some food for thought for you. Are you helping to keep the amount of waste going to landfill or not. Are you aware of “if it grows, it goes”.

Can I encourage you to undertake to understand the need to put your food scraps into the green bin, not the blue bin. If you already do, thank you.

If you don’t then I encourage you to take up one or both of the opportunities I speak of in this blog.

Taking waste to landfill is already the dearest form of waste disposal. It will soon, as I revealed in a recent blog post, be way more expensive courtesy of the State Government increasing the levy.

If you can follow my lead and the lead of all our councillors, you will start putting your food waste into the green bin. Speaking for myself I put out my blue bin maybe once every three or four weeks. If I could put my green bin our weekly (as I have previously blogged about) I would.

The first opportunity is to commit to the Less To Landfill October Challenge. This is a challenge put on by a group called the Adelaide Waste Collective.

Why not give it a go, challenge yourself. See if you can keep you blue bin off the street for the month of October. I wont have a problem doing so. Will you?

The Second opportunity is to sign up to Council’s own initiative. Join Council’s Take the Pledge Program.

Take the Pledge Green Bin

Take the Pledge Green Bin

If you join Council’s take the pledge program you’ll be in the running to win a $25 Mitre 10 Barrow & Bench – Malvern Store gift card. Join Unley’s war on waste by increasing the amount of items you recycle, and by diverting more food scraps and compostable paper to your organics bin.

You can take the pledge by completing the online form. Pledge takers will receive stickers to place on their green or yellow-lidded bin to demonstrate their commitment to reducing landfill.

Thank you and keep up the good work!

Recycling Industry Inquiry Underway

Parliament’s Environment, Resources and Development Committee is about to conduct a recycling industry inquiry.

They will investigate and report on the current crisis in waste management that exists in South Australia.

Green Bin (weekly)

Green bin every week, not the blue

They will obviously consider how China’s National Sword Policy has impacted on us.  Accordingly, they will explore how South Australia has responded to China’s recent restriction on its importation of recyclable material.

They will however also examine current policy and legislative frameworks that govern resource recovery in this State. This will hopefully examine the potential for desirable reforms.

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I suggest that the problem is not China Sword. Not directly at least. All China Sword has done is highlight a structural deficiency in our waste handling process.

The structural deficiency in our waste handling process needs to be addressed.

Rather than focus on what we can’t control, we must look into what we can control. This requires looking at what we do and what we don’t do. It requires us to determine what we can do better. It also requires us to recognise what we should stop doing.

The Environment, Resources and Development Committee will surely look at the ability of our industry to innovate. Developing an industry capable of achieving the much heralded circular economy is essential.

Whatever happens with the Recycling Industry Inquiry, we must change our kerbside collection system.

We must review the efficiency and effectiveness of the kerbside-collection three bin system. This is the foundation of our system. Get this wrong and we will not solve any problems.

Contamination of the yellow bin collections is the reason China is rejecting our waste. If we do not address this contamination we are expecting our industry to do what China can’t or won’t.

The blue bin goes to land fill and is the dearest to process. Because it is collected weekly, it encourages incorrect use.

I therefore confirm again my belief that we must focus on what we put in our bins. The green bin should be a weekly collection. If it were, items incorrectly put in the blue bin (red in some councils) would be appropriately redirected to the green bin. If it grows it goes.

Hypocritical State Government Deals Savage Blow to Local Government

Our hypocritical State Government has dealt Local Government a Savage  Blow. They have done this by raising the waste levy by 40%. Compounding this, they do it in the week Councils are due to bring down their budgets.

Green Bin (weekly)

Green bin every week, not the blue

Yes! The same hypocritical State Government who claims we (local government) are incapable of keeping council rates at an affordable level. The levy, which is paid on all dumping to land fill, has been lifted in the State budget from $ 100.00 per ton to $ 140.00 per ton. An increase of 40%.

Wait a minute, CPI for the year sits at 2.9%. This means the waste levy impost is 13 times inflation. And they tell us our rates should be capped because we are irresponsible financial mangers.

The timing could not be worse. Local Governments this week are due to confirm their annual business plans and budgets this week for the upcoming year.

 

The treasurer, unashamedly he advised at the SA Press Club luncheon today, says this will encourage Councils to be more efficient in waste reduction.

An incentive to get rubbish away from landfill. But will he be using this money to assist us. No. He will be using it to solve sand drift problems at West Beach and Henley Beach. A non waster levy issue to say the least.

There is little we can do to reduce landfill when the blue bin continues to be the bin that is picked up weekly. Until they legislate for the green bin to be picked up weekly and the blue bin fortnightly the amount going to landfill will not reduce.

 

We are now forced to conduct a last minute review of our business plan and our budget.

We now need to work out what the impact of this increase will have on us. A last minute rush to ensure it does not cause us budget grief. Once we know the impact, we will then be faced with making a decision to do one of three things:

  • Do nothing. This may be appropriate if the cost increase is not too large.
  • Reduce operating costs by an amount similar to the increase. This will mean reconsidering our priorities. This could mean significantly reducing the scope of a project or even eliminating one or more projects we were committing ourselves to.
  • Increase rates at the last minute to recover the extra.

Please keep us in your thoughts as we deal with this conundrum.

Providing Local Leadership: Waste Not Want Not in a Throw Away Society

Do you remember when your Grandma used to say “Ducky, waste not want not”. Those who lived through the great depression learnt that great lesson to waste not want not.

 

Waste Not Want Not

Waste Not Want Not

We live today in an affluent society. A throwaway society and have had for 40 or more years. Before that time, during the war years and the great depression that separated them, we salvaged all we could as part of that waste not want not paradigm.

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Remember too the Dustin Hoffman movie “The Graduate” when the student Benjamin Braddock was mentored by the wise old man Mr. McGuire that “plastics are the future”. How accurate was that prediction that plastics would be the future.

With plastics has come a waste challenge however unlike anything that anyone would have imagined.

This is one of the biggest challenges facing modern communities. We all know the gravity of the problem. We all need to be part of the solution.

The lead in addressing waste must come from the State Government. Our current State Government will hopefully expand on the successes of past state governments, going back to the days of putting a deposit on drink containers.

Councils can provide local leadership.

They can lobby the State Government, particularly with the China ban on taking our yellow bin waste.

Councils can lead by example by reducing what we contribute to the proliferation of plastic waste. We can, as we have just decided, not provide plastics straws at events we run. Likewise we can investigate providing filtered water in all our facilities in lieu of bottled water, and other like strategies.

The Community can play a part too.

You can have a waste not want not paradigm by be being more discerning with how you dispose of your rubbish, on what goods you buy that may be a single use product. You can also participate in determining issues that your local leadership can pursue.

The other way you can help is by electing candidates that can provide the local leadership for the City of Unley to be, in turn, a leader in the local government industry when it comes to waste disposal.

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

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

I Invite You to Take the Pledge and Win

The City of Unley has a program I invite you to participate in. It is called “take the pledge and win”.

The take the pledge and win campaign is a strategy we have undertaken to reduce the amount of organic and recyclable waste going into landfill. By entering you can win both ways….we can both win.

I had the pleasure yesterday to tour many recycling facilities courtesy of a joint venture between Council and KESAB. An Unley Community bus with about 15 ratepayers aboard toured the following establishments:

  •  Electronic Recycling Australia, Underdale (electronics recyclers).
  • VISY (yellow-lidded recycling bins).
  • Adelaide Resource Recovery (demolition recyclers).
  • Jeffries, Wingfield (transfer station for green-lidded organics bins).
  • IWS ( blue-lidded bins).

For me the tour was truly informative and appreciated. The ratepayers who took the tour were also appreciative. They asked many reasoned questions at each establishment, and of our KESAB host Wendy Sutton while in transit. Seeing the facilities in action gave us all an appreciation of the efforts being made by our waste industry to avoid the costly disposal into landfill.

Waste disposal is truly a science now. Consequently the industry has come a long way at reducing the impact of waste on our environment. Councils, including Unley, have been conscious of taking advantage of this. As a result contracts let for waste disposal have to meet exacting environmental targets.

You can participate too. Indeed we ask you to participate so that you and I can both win. So our future generations can win.

This is where our “take the Pledge” program comes in. To ensure we all do win we are, in partnership with Mitre 10 Barrow & Bench, we are offering a way you can win twice. Once you make the pledge you will go into a draw to win one of 10 $25.00 gift cards.

For details visit: https://www.unley.sa.gov.au/waste-recycling/reducing-waste#hash-slide-take-the-pledge-233 and make your pledge today.