Reuse starts at home

RUBBISH: Mayor Bruce Green, at the resource recovery centre, said items like take-away coffee cups were contaminating recycling and should go into red-lidded bins.
RUBBISH: Mayor Bruce Green, at the resource recovery centre, said items like take-away coffee cups were contaminating recycling and should go into red-lidded bins.

A BIN audit of 100 general waste bins and 100 recycling bins in Port Lincoln in September revealed a high percentage of garden organics – like lawn clippings and garden prunings – are being dumped in the city’s red-lidded bins.

The audit ran over five days, taking into account all collection dates and demographics of the Port Lincoln City Council area.

Of the 1264 kilograms of rubbish collected from the red-lidded bins for the audit, 24 per cent of it was made up of garden organics and 35 per cent was compostable material like food scraps. 

Keep South Australia Beautiful (KESAB) auditor Grace Barila said the recycling bins audited contained 85 per cent materials suitable for recycling and 15 per cent contamination. 

She said the audit also revealed a lot of take-away coffee cups were still going into recycling bins event though they were not recyclable. 

In her report to the council on Monday night, Ms Barila said the 35 per cent compostable material going into red-lidded bins contributed significantly to the council’s landfill disposal cost.

She said of the 3970 tonnes a year that went to landfill from kerbside collection, 1400 tonnes was compostable material. 

“If combined with the 950 tonnes per annum of green organics (that goes to landfill), there is an opportunity to remove up to 2350 tonnes per annum from landfill disposal if a suitable composting facility was available as an alternative to landfill,” Ms Barila said.

Port Lincoln mayor Bruce Green said in addition to garden organics contaminating general waste bins and going to landfill, soft plastics like plastic bags and plastic wrapping were contaminating recycling loads and should be going into the red-lidded general waste bin.

Mr Green said without a composting facility to process the compostable materials going into landfill it would be up to households to reuse and compost this waste.

“Now it’s a matter of educating people on what to do with their green waste or investigating if the community would be willing to pay for the cost of picking up the green bins,” he said.

“We are comforted by the fact that, apart from the green waste, there are no real abnormalities in our waste compared with other cities.” 

Mr Green said the council would get another report on how to maximise the reusing, reducing and recycling. 

He said individuals were responsible for reducing the amount of waste the council had to deal with as the alternative was to begin additional kerbside services for garden organics, which would come at a cost to ratepayers.

Mr Green said education about how garden waste and food scraps could be reused to save them going in to landfill seemed like the best option.