In the past, Nillumbik has pioneered programs such as FOGO, which made us one of the first councils to allow residents to put food and garden waste in the same bin. We have always taken recycling seriously and residents have benefited from a large recycling bin and weekly green waste collection, which is vital for landowners with large properties and lots of green waste to dispose of.
In 2019, we saw the recycling crisis, which meant all of our recycling ended up going to landfill. I was very pleased to see Nillumbik Council’s strong action on this issue. In Nillumbik, we were well-informed and we only went a few weeks without proper recycling.
Council took strong action on the recycling crisis in Nillumbik but now it is time to make sure it never happens again.
The recycling crisis is something I never want to see again. There is a lot we can do to keep recycling healthy in Victoria and local councils play a vital role in this. We need better information for residents to help them decide what should and shouldn’t go in their yellow bin to prevent contamination. I will work with residents to find ways to improve on this.
For a short time, we were able to put soft plastics in our yellow bin in Nillumbik by tying them up in a plastic bag and putting it in the top of the bin. Unfortunately, this program ended during the recycling crisis and now, residents have to take their soft plastics to Coles or Woolworths to recycle it. I want to find a way to bring this back to Nillumbik to make it easier for residents to recycle their soft plastic waste.
The New Bin
The Victorian Government has recently announced that everyone in Victoria will be getting a new bin specifically for glass. This means that instead of having three bins, we will have four. This is an important step forwards, as glass is one of the worst contaminants in recycling bins. I understand, however, residents’ concerns about having to worry about an extra bin, especially for rural landowners, many of whom have to drag their bins up and down long, steep driveways every week.
Having an extra bin for glass is an important step forward for recycling but its implementation must be guided by the community.
I will work with all members of the community to find the best way to implement the new glass recycling bin in Nillumbik to make it as easy as possible for residents to transition to the new system. It will take some getting used to but in the long-term, it will be a win for the environment and will reduce the cost of waste collection due to the reduced need to decontaminate our recycled waste.
While the collection and disposal of our waste is a huge part of what Council does, it cannot be our only strategy for dealing with waste in our community. As a society, we are responsible for a huge amount of waste and there’s a lot that Council can do to reduce this. This includes schemes to encourage locals to reuse their waste and programs to support local businesses to use less disposable packaging.
Council can do a lot to help the community generate less waste.
Our bins are collected once a week and still, they fill up and many of us are simply unable to fit everything in. It is possible to get extra bins but this costs money and it doesn’t address the underlying problem. It’s very difficult for people to avoid waste when everything we buy is wrapped in disposable packaging. Council can’t stop this altogether but they can run programs to encourage local businesses to avoid this. I plan to work with local businesses to make this a reality. It is good for the environment and it is good for residents.