Journey to a weekly green bin service
Lake Mac’s waste services have evolved over time to meet our city’s changing needs and to recover more of our waste for reuse and recycling.
The move to Phase 2 of the 3-bin service is part of Council’s long term waste strategy which aims to manage our City’s waste in the most sustainable and cost effective way.
Council has completed a range of community engagement and research work to ensure the transition to Phase 2 of the 3-bin waste service is as smooth as possible for the Lake Macquarie community. This includes running a trial of the Food+Garden=Green service in 2016.
Background to the Food+Garden=Green
November 2018: Kerbside waste audit
Council commissioned an independent waste audit of kerbside bins to measure changes in household waste disposal practices. Auditors collected the bin contents from random locations across the city and weighed, sorted and classified the contents to analyse the city’s kerbside waste composition.
The audit indicates that householders have substantially increased the diversion of recoverable materials from the garbage bin.
Key findings include:
- 97.5 per cent recovery rate of garden organics through the green bin compared to 89.1% in 2013;
- 64.8 per cent food recovery rate in 2018 compared to 0 per cent in 2013;
- 86.5 per cent recovery rate of recyclables through the yellow bin compared to 66.9 per cent in 2013;
- 41.5 per cent of households’ green bins were more than 90 per cent full;
- 39.5 per cent of households’ recycling bins were more than 90 per cent full;
- 22 per cent of households’ garbage bins were more than 90 per cent full; and
- 40 per cent of the garbage bins that were more than 90 per cent full contained more than 40 per cent of materials that could go into the yellow or green bin.
30 July 2018: Service Start
- Food is collected along with garden waste from green bins and is composted at the Lake Macquarie Organics Resource Recovery Facility
- Green bins are emptied weekly, Recycling and garbage are emptied fortnightly
- Starter Kits were delivered to all Lake Mac homes during June and July
2017: Preparation for Service Start
- Council is currently working with the community and key stakeholder groups to help the transition to the Phase 2 service
- Construction of the Lake Macquarie Organics Resource Recovery Facility and the expansion of Awaba Waste Management Facility is underway
2016: Food+Garden=Green trial
- 70 Rathmines and Fishing point households participated in the Food+Garden=Green trial of the phase 2 service for 66 days.
2015: Have Your Say survey
- 889 residents provided feedback on the type of information and support they would need when Phase 2 is introduced
- After public consultation, Council adopted the City of Lake Macquarie Waste Strategy (2015-2023)
2014: 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
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.
2013: Phase 1 of the 3-bin service commences
- Phase 1 of the 3-bin service saw introduction of the green bin for garden waste, emptied fortnightly.
- 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.
2011: Council decision on Lake Macquarie’s Waste Strategy and the 3-bin service
On 28 February 2011, after consultation with our community, Council decided to introduce the preferred waste strategy option, which included the following key elements.
- Phased introduction of a 3-bin system for residents to sort their waste. Phase 1 was the introduction of kerbside green waste bin for garden waste, collected fortnightly. Phase 2 involves adding food waste to the green waste bin, collecting the green waste bin weekly and the garbage bin fortnightly.
- 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
2010: Home composting trial program
In 2010, Council conducted a home composting program aiming to:
- Empower the community to take direct action with regard to waste diversion.
- Raise awareness of waste issues broadly.
- Reduce exposure to possible carbon pollution reduction scheme liabilities from organic waste deposited at Awaba.
Because of a low uptake with the initial trial (out of 7000 flyers, Council received 185 registrations) a home composting program has not been rolled out city-wide.
2010: Draft Waste strategy (2010-2040) and Community Engagement
From July 2010 to October 2010, Council undertook 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. A further 1000 residents completed a telephone survey.
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 3-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.
Page last updated: 22 February 2019