Waging war on waste with three bins

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
Margaret River Primary School's Willem Healy is the Shire's new bin ambassador.
Camera IconMargaret River Primary School's Willem Healy is the Shire's new bin ambassador.

The Shire is happy with the rollout of its new three-bin waste system, this week boasting about waste saved from landfill and good compliance rates among households.

But some residents remain critical of the new regime, and took to social media to complain.

A Shire of Augusta-Margaret River press release said waste going to landfill was cut in half thanks to the changes introduced mid-year.

“The introduction of the green FOGO bin and increased recycling services has dropped that number ... to 229 tonnes of waste each month,” Shire waste education officer Jackie Dickson said.

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About 57 per cent of waste was spared, up from 20 per cent under the old system.

Earlier this year, the Shire announced an audit of bins would start in July, with enforcement to begin this month.

Shire sustainable development director Dale Putland said “ad hoc bin audits” would now start next year.

The Shire will seek funding support from the WA Local Government Association’s Bin Tagging Program.

Residents online remained worried about where their waste was headed and whether their efforts were worthwhile. Some complained of health risks, particularly from the green food and organic waste bin.

But a number of red-bin users appeared to misunderstand the directions on the new bin’s lid for rubbish going to landfill. The Shire said green-bin waste was composted at Bunbury-Harvey Regional Council’s organics processing centre.

From the yellow bin, steel and cans were baled and trucked to Kwinana where they were shredded and shipped to South-East Asian furnaces to become construction materials.

Glass was crushed in Perth for building materials, while plastic containers were sorted in Perth and shipped to Malaysia and Indonesia to be washed and shredded for future plastic products.

Baled paper and cardboards go to mills in India, China and Indonesia.

Ms Dickson said the red bin contents went to landfill at Davis Road, and not taken to Vasse as some residents believed.

“The main forms of contamination are food being left in plastic wrapping and plastic bags, so the Shire would like to remind everyone that only 100 per cent compostable products should be put in the FOGO bin,” she said.

“We would like to thank the community for their support of the new service and for taking the extra time to sort their waste correctly.”

The Shire also named Year 6 student Willem Healy as its bin ambassador who will share his waste-disposal knowledge at this week’s Margaret River Agricultural Show.

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