Media response - Kerbside Collection Compliance Service Review

Published on 12 September 2019

Response to the Southern Times Messenger.

Comments attributed to Mayor Erin Thompson.

In terms of contaminated bins,

  1. What is considered "contamination"?
    ‘Contamination’ really depends on which stream of waste it relates to. For example, contaminants in a waste bin are items prohibited from going to landfill such as motor oil, e-waste, chemicals and non-alkaline batteries to name a few. In a recycling bin common contaminants include, but are not limited to, nappies, soft plastics and textiles. In organics bins, common contaminants include non-compostable bags, plastics and garden equipment. It’s really important everyone understands what can and can’t go in each bin, not only to reduce the impact on the environment, but to reduce the financial costs associated with contamination.

  2. What are the consequences of a bin being contaminated?
    The result of contamination has significant financial and environmental costs. For example, contamination in recycling bins can result in an entire truck load of recyclables having to be disposed of in landfill.

    Ongoing problems with contamination across all three collection services result in increased costs for monitoring, education and processing, which is ultimately paid for by ratepayers. Some of the current challenges with recyclables processing has been caused by high levels of contaminants being put into recycling bins.

  3. Why has the number of contaminated bins risen so significantly in a year? Was there a crack down by the council?
    The number of bins being reported as contaminated has increased due to enhanced focus on contamination by our education team and by drivers, as well as increased community awareness of the issue. Although the number being reported has risen, contamination levels have remained relatively steady over the past few years despite our proactive attempts to raise awareness through education programs. With increasing costs and changing technology, waste management on a local and national scale needs to be continuously monitored, reviewed and improved.

    With green organics collection increasing to a fortnightly service in January 2020, we have an opportunity to increase our diversion of green organic matter from the general waste stream. Even though it’s not considered contamination, diverting it from landfill has monetary and environmental benefits to ratepayers.

    Our Kerbside Collection Compliance Service Review will focus on ways to improve compliance to reduce contamination and costs, and improve customer service. We want to work with the community to manage this global challenge in waste management.

On the unauthorised bins,

  1. Why does the council collect them? Why not just leave them out on the kerb?
    We provide feedback to residents who have unauthorised or contaminated bins via feedback left on the bin. This feedback aims to educate residents on correct disposal methods or entitlements. We do remove bins that are consistently presented for collection after an appropriate notification period.

    Drivers don’t always know if a bin is authorised or not and the reasons for these are listed below.

  2. Or is it not clear which bins are unauthorised? E.g. someone has stolen someone else's bin?
    It’s not always clear to the driver whether an additional bin is authorised and this can be for several reasons including:
    • the number and variety of different bins used by council over the years (including bins used prior to amalgamation)
    • whether the bin belongs to the address it’s been placed in front of
    • drivers not having access to technology in the field that tells them whether a bin is still being paid for or not.

    Our Kerbside Collection Compliance Service Review will look into best practice methods for dealing with authorised and unauthorised bins including how drivers can distinguish the difference between them, and how we can make it easier to manage collection services for all residents.

  3. What does the 3logix GPS tracking system do and how does it work?
    Council currently utilise a previous version of the 3logix GPS system across our entire waste fleet and have trialled an upgraded 3logix GPS system on six vehicles. The data received during the trial helped inform the scope of the Kerbside Collection Compliance Service Review.

    The review will look at the technology available to assist kerbside collection services.

ENDS