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:

30 July 2018: Service Start

2017: Preparation for Service Start

2016: Food+Garden=Green trial

2015: Have Your Say survey

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:

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

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.

2010: Home composting trial program

In 2010, Council conducted a home composting program aiming to:

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