Background of the three-bin service
In 2015, after public consultation, Council adopted the City of Lake Macquarie Waste Strategy (2015-2023). 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 one involved a new kerbside green waste bin for garden waste only, collected fortnightly. Phase two 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
Council has completed a range of community engagement and research work to ensure the transition to the phased 3-bin waste service is as smooth as possible for the Lake Macquarie community.
Kerbside food waste trial
In Spring 2016, 70 households in Rathmines and Fishing Point participated in a 66 day trial the kerbside food waste service. The trial participants were provided with a starter kit identical to what will be rolled out to the Lake Macquarie community in 2018.
During the kerbside food waste service trial:
- On average, each household disposed of over 3kg of food in their green bin each week.
- In total, over 2 tonne of food waste was composted as part of the trial.
- The majority of participants used 2-3 compostable bags per week in their food scrap bin.
- Only 20% of garbage bins were reported as full.
- 75% of green bins were reported as more than half full every week.
- Food waste represented 20% (by weight) of material in the green bins.
- Odour and pests were not a major issue.
- There was minimal contamination in the green bins.
What trial participants said:
- 88% prefer the kerbside food waste service over the current bin collection system,
- 85% are comfortable with fortnightly garbage collection; and
- 96% found the food scraps bin and compostable bags easy to use.
Findings from other NSW councils experience
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.
Community nappy trial
In February 2014, 100 Lake Macquarie homes who use disposable nappies or incontinence aids participated in an eight-week community nappy trial to help guide 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 and two week mark) plus surveys at the start and end of the trail.
Some of the key findings of the nappy 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 nappy 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.
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.
We are currently preparing for Phase 2 of the 3-bin service.
See other initiatives of the Waste Strategy Project.
Page last updated: 14 June 2017