There has been a bit of chatter around lately about a third bin. Usual stuff. NSW has them, why not us? It is good for the environment for people to put their green waste out for collection.
The proponents say that old pensioners can’t get to the green waste area of the tip because they have no trailer and often no car. They say what about the apartment dwellers?
And so a vocal minority have pressured the current ACT Government to introduce voluntary third bins. What a load of rubbish!
So here’s a bit of history.
In the October 2012 ACT election campaign, the Libs promised the third bin for Canberrans. The Government resisted it then and should have resisted it now. Populist tripe and unnecessary.
There was a bio-bin trial in the suburb of Chifley in 2002 with the introduction of a third bin for people in multi-unit properties to gauge how a community would respond to the opportunity of selecting the types of waste they dispose of and share in the excitement of recycling.
The glass and paper bins had already been introduced and they were going OK. The ordinary waste bins were doing well as usual and the multi-unit properties were chosen because they were possibly the most problematic of dwelling types for waste disposal. Good thinking 99! Let’s see how an ordinary suburb goes with the concept and let’s see if there is a shrill demand for more bins and for ordinary household.
Well this trial concluded that bio bins, with all the education attached to their introduction, did not work.
The principal problem was that the waste contained in bio bins was contaminated to such extent that the collections could not be disposed of in any other way than land fill. Disposable nappies, plastics, metals were all found in the bins prior to disposal. People actually did not embrace the concept.
I know that now the option is voluntary and that a $50 deposit is charged (with nothing for the pensioners) but there is no increase in the rates. This means that my household which does separate our domestic waste and use a commercial waste collector for our other waste will be paying for those who opt in. Admittedly, we sometimes put other things in the external packs but we also have a mulcher for our tree and hedge clippings to be turned into mulch for the garden.
Yeah, well there are loads of people in Canberra who already have a “third” bin and have had such for years.
It is called Tom’s Trash Paks. I have one outside my place next to my bins and I know heaps of people who use this service to dispose of their green waste from gardening. As an aside to those greenies out there about household green waste, how about just composting the stuff?
This new service is likely to put Tom’s Trash Paks out of business because a large amount of their business is the removal to landscape supplies outlet and green waste recycling centre Corkhills of green waste after a gardening binge by people without trailers and without the strength to lift heavy loads.
This service has a charge to pick up which is very reasonable and a small $3.30 charge to you if you don’t require the removal and replacement of the pack. Not that much of an impost! And they provide one-off collections as well, so an annual clean-up is catered for.
When green waste is taken to Corkhills, you pay nothing to drop off but you do pay to get your own stuff back after it has been processed into garden soils etc. But there is another facet of green waste that folks don’t know about or dismiss.
When domestic waste goes into landfill, the greenies say the sky is going to fall in. well it doesn’t. In fact it can be a good thing in that the organic waste such a domestic green waste, whether it is gardening waste or food scraps, bio degrade in the ground and produce methane. There is methane collection at the Mugga tip.
This collection of methane is input into the electricity generators at the bottom of the hill, separated from the water in which it comes (the water sprayed around locally to encourage rehabilitation of the tip), the methane burnt to produce steam which drives the turbines and produces enough power into the grid to drive about 4000 homes with no pollutants.
Now this input to the tip will of course continue but at a cost that we don’t bear at the moment. What part of the promise that your rates won’t increase do you believe?
The voluntary nature of this service will mean that in many streets in Canberra, the pickup will be uneconomic and so a contract for such service will not be on a per bin basis but an hourly rate. It’s going to be costly. And … multi-unit properties use skips not standard collection bins.
I won’t be opting in for this service, I’ll be continuing with my excellent service from Toms Trash Paks and I’ll be waiting to see whether I am paying for other peoples’ services through my rates.
Just a few things to get them off my chest (and into the appropriate bin). Oh… and here’s the best use of the third bin as demonstrated by Bill Stefaniak and Tony De Domenico in 1992.