Reducing landfill the city’s next challenge

THE results of the Port Lincoln City Council’s rubbish and recycling bin audit are in and although it did not reveal anything too surprising, the results were interesting. 

While the idea of someone rummaging through the city’s kerbside waste does not sound appealing it has produced some useful information and it could have a positive affect on what goes into landfill. 

KESAB Environmental Solutions undertook the audit of 100 household waste and 100 recycle bins over a five-day period.

A total of 1264 kilograms of residual waste bin (red-lid bin) contents and 719 kilograms of recycling bin contents were sorted into more than 50 different categories. 

Not surprisingly, a large portion of what is going into the city’s red-lidded bins is garden organics like lawn clippings, prunings and weeds. 

One solution to this would be for the council to provide garden organic bins for kerbside collection but this will come at a cost – which means a rate rise – and not everyone wants or will be able to afford that.

Perhaps it might be a good idea for people on the same street or neighbours to have a chat with each other about cleaning up their yards on the same week and to share the cost of dropping the green waste at the dump. 

It costs about $17 to drop a ute-full or single-axle trailer load of garden waste at the refuse centre – it’s only $9 if you only have a car load – which seems like the more cost-efficient option.

Things like food scraps and tissues are also ending up in red-lidded bins – these compostable materials made up 35 per cent of the rubbish in the audited bins. 

That is 4.4 kilograms per household per week of compostable material that is going into landfill that could be composted and put back into the city’s gardens or even used on farms. 

It is important to note that almost any move the council makes on reducing landfill will come down to a dollars and cents game and the councillors have to do the right thing by ratepayers. 

So perhaps education on what can and cannot be recycled and what we should be reusing is a good idea, it certainly can’t do any harm. 

Port Lincoln has the potential to reduce its estimated 3970 tonnes of kerbside waste to landfill by 2350 tonnes.

The challenge now lies in how we should go about it.