Background of the 3-bin service
In November 2009, Council commenced a project to develop a sustainable and equitable waste strategy for the City. The waste strategy initially focused on domestic waste as it makes up to 70 per cent of all the City's waste that goes to landfill.
On 28 February 2011, Council decided to introduce the preferred option consisting of the following key elements:
- Introduction of a phased 3-bin system for residents to sort their waste. Phase 1 involved a new kerbside green waste bin for garden waste only, collected fortnightly. Phase 2 involves adding food waste to the green waste bin, collecting the green waste bin weekly and the garbage bin fortnightly. This phase is in progress.
- Construction of a new organics composting plant to process the City's garden and food waste into high quality mulch and compost.
- Expansion of Awaba Waste Management Facility for the long-term disposal of the City's residual waste.
Working out the best waste system for us
From 2010 to 2011, Council undertook seasonal City-wide waste audits to work out the quantity and type of waste households were producing. This showed that almost 60% of household waste going to landfill was organic waste (garden waste, food waste and other organics).
The Review of Best Practice Waste Management Alternatives report examined a range of waste management technologies and provided Council with 10 waste recovery and treatment options scored against financial, environmental, social and governance indicators.
The three systems that scored the highest were then analysed in more detail to devise a preferred option.
From July 2010 to October 2010, we conducted extensive community engagement to raise awareness and seek community input on the future of waste in the City, culminating in the public exhibition of the preferred waste technology through the Draft Waste Strategy (2010 -2040).
The consultation methods included workshops, information sessions, an online discussion forum, structured debate, one-on-one correspondence, submission forms and a representative community survey. In total, more than 1600 residents contributed to the discussion on the future of the City's waste services.
From this, the Community Consultation Report – Waste Strategy Project was published. The clear message from the consultation was that the majority of residents supported the preferred option, including the introduction of the phased three-bin system (64 per cent of submissions during public exhibition, 69 per cent of survey respondents).
Alongside the consultation program, Council developed a campaign to raise community awareness of the waste issues driving the need for change. This campaign used a pirate to convey these messages along with a call to action – Avoid, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (ARRR). The campaign won the RH Doherty award for communication in 2011
From 2012 to 2013, Council implemented an extensive community education and engagement campaign to support the introduction of the new green waste service. In 2014, the introduction of this new service won the Local Government NSW Excellence in Environment award – Organics Recovery.
Council is currently preparing for Phase 2 of the 3-bin service.
See other initiatives of the Waste Strategy Project.
Community nappy trial
In February 2014, 100 Lake Macquarie homes who use disposable nappies or incontinence aids participated in the eight-week community nappy trial to help decide on the best way to manage disposable infant nappies or incontinence waste when the change occurs. Households received a separate bin for their nappy waste. The bin was collected fortnightly and the residents recorded observations records (including how full the bin was and the odour at the one week mark and two week mark) plus surveys at the start and end of the trail.
Some of the key findings of the trial were:
- households with three or more people in nappies/incontinence aids are likely to require extra garbage bin capacity when the next step in the service is introduced
- the average odour rating of the garbage bin before the trial (when it contained the household’s garbage and nappy waste) was approximately the same as the average odour rating of the kerbside nappy bin at the end of each fortnight.
- the amount of nappies in the bin did not have a significant effect on the odour rating of the bin.
- observed evidence suggested the level of odour increased significantly when a bin was positioned in the sun, and increased when the nappies were not wrapped in a plastic bag.
Download and read the full report from the community nappy trial.
Findings from other NSW councils experience
At the time of the trial six NSW councils had introduced food and garden waste bin as a weekly service, with a standard fortnightly garbage service. None of these Councils have reported a significant on-going problem with disposal of nappies/incontinence aids.
On 24 November 2014, Council considered the results of the community nappy trial and resolved that soiled absorbent hygiene products would continue to be disposed of in the fortnightly garbage bin in Phase 2 of the 3-bin service. Council also resolved to provide an additional bin and a weekly service option for a fee to those households that wish to use it.
Page last updated: 02 September 2016