Weekly organics bin trial for West Beach
If you're a resident of West Beach and you'd like to help reduce the amount of food waste being sent to landfill, then join our trial of weekly, rather than fortnightly, collections.
The trial, which has now started, is still open for registrations and we're keen to see as many West Beach residents take part as possible. Our waste contractor, Solo, will collect green organics bins on a weekly basis in the area, but unless you've registered to take part in the trial and have a bin sticker alerting the driver to this, your bin won't be collected out of scheduled collection times.
The 12-month trial from February 2021 - February 2022 will investigate whether the weekly collection of organics bins:
- reduces the amount of food waste going to landfill by addressing public concerns about food odours in organics bins
- reduces the volume of food in general waste bins
- reduces contamination in organics bins
- indicates community support for more flexible kerbside collection arrangements in future.
Food waste comprises around 40 per cent by weight of household waste sent to landfill. In landfill, food and other organics break down slowly and release methane, a greenhouse gas up to 28 times more harmful at warming the planet than carbon dioxide. Diverting food waste from landfill is a simple action we can all take to reduce global warming.
Landfilling waste is four times more expensive than sending organic material to a commercial compost facility. Given that food waste is the heaviest component in our waste bins, diverting this organic material to compost will reduce Council's waste management costs and help minimise future rate increases.
An added significant benefit of composting organic material, including food waste, is that composting closes the recycling loop and creates a valuable, nutrient-rich resource for farmers, growers and home gardeners.
The City of West Torrens is funding the trial with support of a grant from Green Industries SA.
Register your interest here. The more residents who take part, the more successful the trial will be.
1. Why is this trial happening?
In June 2019 the City of West Torrens resolved to undertake a weekly organics collection trial for 750 households in the West Beach area. The 12 month trial will look at whether the weekly collection of organics bins:
- reduces the amount of food waste going to landfill,
- reduces the volume in general waste bins,
- reduces contamination in organics bins,
- indicates that more flexible kerbside collection arrangements could be considered when planning for the future.
The City of West Torrens is funding the trial with support of a $31,500 grant from Green Industries SA. Similar trials are being conducted in two neighbouring councils.
2. Why is the trial in West Beach?
The West Beach area of Council has been selected for the trial for a number of reasons:
- The area is predominantly low density dwellings with space for gardens so most residents would have an organics bin.
- There is sufficient verge in front of properties to allow for presentation of all three bins every fortnight.
- The presentation of three bins is less likely to affect street parking or create traffic management issues which would hamper the efficient collection of the additional bin every fortnight.
- The area selected is compact and relatively self-contained making the additional weekly bin collection service and direct promotion of the trial to residents easier to manage.
- The layout of West Beach means that collection vehicles can avoid main roads.
3. When will the trial happen and how long is it?
The 12 month trial will start on Monday 1 February 2021 and end on 31 January 2022 at which time organics bin collections for trial participants will revert to a fortnightly cycle.
4. How can I participate?
Only West Torrens residents living in West Beach can participate and participation is voluntary. If you are a resident in the trial area you are encouraged to register your interest by phoning Council on 8416 6333 to speak to a member of the waste team or register online. You can join the trial after it has commenced: the more residents who are involved, the more representative of the community will the results be.
However you can do your bit anyway by recycling all your food waste via your organics bin. To find out more see Food waste recycling.
5. What will trial participants receive?
- A kitchen caddy with a roll of compostable liner bags if you don't already have one.
- Instructions on what can and cannot go into your organics bin for weekly collection.
- A bin sticker for your organics bin to show that you are a trial participant.
These items will be delivered to your home.
6. What about food odours in the organics bin?
There is a public perception that organics bins that are collected fortnightly will develop unpleasant odours if food waste has been placed in them, particularly in warm weather. The weekly collection of organics bins may help to overcome these negative perceptions and lead to an increase in food recycling.
For information on how to manage odours and pest in your organics bin, see odour and pest control.
7. What are the issues with food in landfill?
Food comprises about 40 per cent by weight of household waste sent to landfill. In landfill, food takes about 40 years to break down and releases methane, a greenhouse gas about 28 times* more powerful at warming the Earth than carbon dioxide. It is estimated that 25 per cent of global warming is caused by methane emissions. Diverting food waste from landfill is a simple action we can all take to reduce global warming.
*National Geographic 23 Jan 2019.
8. What are the benefits of food in compost?
Food waste blended with other organic material increases the nutrient and microbial diversity of compost.
Compost is a natural soil conditioner which:
- introduces good micro-organisms and carbon into soils which improve soil health,
- improves the structure, fertility, oxygen levels and moisture retention of soil,
- increases the uptake of nutrients by plants and crops which improves their quality and yield,
- removes the need for costly synthetic fertilisers.
9. Is sending food waste to landfill more expensive than sending it to a compost facility?
Sending waste to landfill is about four times more expensive than sending organic material to a commercial compost facility. Given that food waste is the heaviest component in kerbside waste bins, diverting it all to composting would save Council around $700,000 each year. Those savings, in turn, can help minimise future rate increases.
10. How is composting food waste good for the economy?
When you place food in your waste bin it follows a linear path, a path of no return, to landfill. This is not environmentally sustainable. Composting food waste, whether at home or using your organics bin, recovers valuable resources that can benefit the environment and closes the recycling loop. These recovered resources, when used by farmers, growers and home gardeners, demonstrate a circular economy in action.
Landfilling waste is less labour intensive but significantly more costly than processing organics, including food, into compost. A major benefit of composting food waste is that commercial composters require staff to perform a range of tasks related to:
- compost processing (including batching, turning, monitoring temperature and moisture, grinding and screening),
- scientific testing to ensure Australian composting standards are met,
- production of a range of products (both bulk and bagged) for agricultural use (including broad acre farming, vegetable and grape growers) and for the home gardener,
- sales, marketing and transportation.
So, correctly recycling food waste is not only good for the environment, it supports employment in this valuable and essential industry! South Australia is fortunate to have some of the most innovative composting facilities in Australia. You can find out more about organics processing at a commercial compost facility by viewing our video, 'Tale of Two Bins: Organics'.
12. I don't have an organics bin. How can I get one?
If your organics bin is missing, phone the City of West Torrens Service Centre on 8416 6333 or complete a missing bin report.
If your property has never had an organics bin, phone the Waste Enquiry Line on 8295 5077.
13. How will the trial be assessed?
Composition audits of organics and general waste bins will be conducted before, during and near the completion of the trial period to quantify the type, volume and weight of material. These audits will help to measure the improvements, education needs, and long term behaviour change with respect to food waste recycling. In between the audits visual inspections of bins will be performed to monitor ongoing performance. In addition, participants may be asked to complete a brief online survey to gather their feedback.
14. How will the trial results be used?
The trial of the weekly collection of organics bins provides an opportunity to determine the willingness of residents to change their food recycling behaviour. The results will be provided to Green Industries SA and will contribute to waste management planning in the state. It is hoped that community support for weekly organics bin collection may lead to reform of State legislation to allow for more flexibility in kerbside collection services. This will assist us when planning for local waste collection so that the service can better meet the needs of all residents in the future.
16. If I am not in the trial, can I have a caddy and roll of compostable bags?
All residents in West Torrens, regardless of their suburb, are entitled to a free kitchen waste caddy and roll of compostable bags. Replacement bags are also supplied free of charge. See food waste recycling to find out more.
17. What other supports does Council have for residents to recycle food waste?
All residents in West Torrens are entitled to a rebate on a compost bin or worm farm instead of a free kitchen caddy and supply of compostable bags. See rebates to find out more.