The first of the ACT Government’s promised green bins for garden waste hit the streets today, with the rollout to continue in Kambah and Weston Creek over the next few weeks and collection to commence in those suburbs next month.
The bins will offset some of the 5,000 tonnes of garden waste that pours into landfill each year and save Canberrans from travelling to the tip to dispose of their green waste, such as lawn clippings, leaves and branches.
Organic waste for compost, like egg shells and banana peels, is not allowed in the green bins.
Rubbish collected will be turned into mulch and sold through private companies. Each bin has capacity for 240 litres of rubbish. It also features a barcode to allow delivery to be tracked by the collection contractor using a scanner as the service is for an address, not a person. Each collection will be recorded by the truck. The ACT Government will use data collected in this way for educational purposes if necessary.
In total there were 6180 expressions of interest in the program from residents in Kambah and Weston Creek as at December 2016.
5204 bins have been ordered for those who registered in the area.
First proposed by the Liberals in the run up to the 2012 election, the idea for a separate bin for green waste was originally dismissed by Labor as too expensive. In May 2016, Labor announced it had changed its mind and would launch the pilot program.
Then in the lead-up to the ACT election in October, ACT Minister for Transport and City Services Fitzharris revealed that a Labor government would roll bins out across the Territory, with Tuggeranong suburbs next up from mid-year; Belconnen to follow in mid-2018; the inner north, inner south and Woden in mid-2019 and Gungahlin and Hall in mid-2020.
Ms Fitzharris said 80 per cent of the city would be able to access a green bin within a little over two years of the scheme starting.
Residents had the option of opting out, and those who opted in would pay a $50 deposit for the green bin.
Ms Fitzharris said today that the pilot in Kambah and Weston Creek would help the Government to understand the intricacies of kerbside green waste collection on a larger scale.
“We’re making sure we get it right by conducting a phased roll-out; similar to the recycling bin roll-out [in the 1990s],” she said.
At the time the pilot was announced last year, there was speculation the Murrumbidgee suburbs were chosen to receive bins first because the Weston Creek/Kambah seat was the only one in which Labor had no sitting member candidates. The Liberals had two incumbents in Jeremy Hanson and Giulia Jones, both of whom were elected alongside returnee Caroline Le Couteur, of the Greens, and ALP newcomers Chris Steel and Bec Cody.
Additional reporting by David Tuckwell.
Pictured are Cath and Sammi Collins (right and centre) with Minister Meegan Fitzharris.