Council started a project in 2009 to develop a sustainable and equitable waste strategy for the City. The Waste Strategy initially focused on household (domestic) waste because it makes up 70 per cent of all the City's waste that goes to landfill.
After public consultation, in 2011 Council resolved to introduce a phased 3-bin service for household waste.
In 2015, after public consultation, Council adopted the City of Lake Macquarie Waste Strategy (2015-2023).
- outlines services and new infrastructure identified in the Draft Waste Strategy (2010-2040) that are currently underway
- documents Council's waste management direction to 2023
- describes existing and planned waste management facilities and services provided by Council to manage the City's waste
- identifies plans and opportunities for future improvement
- sets clear targets and strategies to achieve these goals.
Lake Macquarie is also participating in the Draft Hunter Region Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2014-2021
Lake Macquarie's phased 3-bin service
In February 2011, Council resolved to introduce a phased 3-bin service for household waste consisting of:
- Phase One – started in April 2013, with the introduction of a new green waste bin for all households in addition to the existing garbage and recycling bins. At present, the green waste bin is for garden waste only and is emptied fortnightly.
- Phase Two – once the composting facility at Awaba has been built and commissioned, all food waste will be able to go in the green waste bin along with the garden waste that is currently accepted. All food waste includes all cooked and uncooked food, processed food, meat and bones, seafood (including bones and shells), dairy, egg shells, tea bags, coffee grounds and fruit and vegetable scraps. At this time, the collection frequency of the green waste bin will change to weekly, and the garbage bin will change to fortnightly (on the opposite week to recycling bin).
The next steps in the 3-bin service
- Expected to start in the next one to two years. Council will advise of the date.
- Food and other organic material becomes smelly as it decomposes. This is why we will continue to collect food scraps each week – but from the green waste bin instead of the garbage bin.
- Green waste bins will be emptied each week and garbage bins will be emptied each fortnight. There will be no changes to the recycling bin service.
- All bin sizes stay the same.
- The total amount of available bin space per household stays the same.
- All material in the green waste bin will be taken to a new composting facility, where it will be processed into compost, mulch and soil conditioners for use on parks, gardens and sporting grounds. Council will provide each household with a kitchen food scrap container and a supply of compostable liners to separate food scraps from other garbage in the kitchen. These compostable bags are the only bags that will be accepted in the green waste bin.
Why are we changing the service?
The phased 3-bin service will save landfill space, keep waste costs affordable (for you and Council) and help us make valuable compostable material that was once considered waste.
Did you know? In its first two years of service, Lake Mac residents used their green waste bins to divert over 67 Olympic-sized swimming pools of garden waste from landfill.
Did you know? Our City-wide bin audits show one-third of the material in the average garbage bin is food waste (by weight), and the average garbage bin is about two-thirds full. When all food waste goes in the green waste bin, and the three-bin service is utilised to its full potential, there should be extra available space in the garbage bin.
Benefits of this service
This phased 3-bin service is being implemented for a number of reasons:
- It is the cheapest way to manage our City's waste, ($4 million cheaper over 10 years than the next-best option) keeping our waste services as affordable as possible for our residents.
- It will extend the lifespan of our only landfill at Awaba.
- The food and garden waste collected from the green bins will be processed into high quality mulch and compost for use on parks, gardens and sporting grounds.
- It is the system that our community told us they preferred.
Twenty five other councils in NSW have successfully implemented the same or a comparable bin system that we are adopting because of the financial, practical and environmental benefits it delivers.
Find out more about why our current system was the preferred household waste management system for our City by reading the Background of phased 3-bin service page.
Page last updated: 03 January 2017