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Green bins – so much rubbish!

By John Hargreaves - 6 June 2016 27

greenbins

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.

Toms Trash Paks

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.

bill and tony

 

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27 Responses to
Green bins – so much rubbish!
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sparrowitis 11:26 am 14 Jun 16

La_Tour_Maubourg said :

That cost for Queanbeyan is only for collection, not for processing or disposal so the total figure would be much higher than $3million.

But even then, you haven’t shown that the cost would be a good use of the money or actually provide an overall service that is needed and would benefit the city.

My understanding is that QCC don’t “dispose” of their green waste. They sell it as mulch, for a higher price than the cost of processing. Smart thinking, huh? That’s why it’s not mentioned as a cost. But the ACT Gov sure know how to make a financial mountain out of a molehill.

Green bins benefit everyone because they encourage tidy gardens (without big ugly hoppers in the front yard) and well maintained streets. It’s generally a good idea to encourage people get rid of litter they don’t want around their homes.

Much green waste is generated by public trees, and as such, cleaning up after them is a shared responsibility. Why should a few unlucky residents be personally responsible for their maintenance? Just because they happen to live on the low side of the street where leaves collect?

Not everyone has control of the green waste they are burdened with, and one certainly can’t cut down a tree without answering to the ACT Gov.

Why54 8:10 pm 12 Jun 16

Dear John you killed the fireworks, and now are against the bin. This is fireworks weekend… Such a great contribution to public life.

Walker 9:38 pm 08 Jun 16

Masquara said :

A former Labor minister complaining about having to fund an uneconomic service that will only be used by a minority of the population?

LOL.

It’s rattling.

Mordd 5:49 pm 08 Jun 16

Charlotte Harper said :

creative_canberran said :

John, you just lost the last of the respect I still had for you with this ridiculous op-ed. To be honest I am now glad you’re not infecting ACT Labor with your hysteria anymore.

I’m mortified. If I can’t write an OP piece without expecting everyone to agree with everything I say, I should shut up shop. If this is the “last of the respect”, then it was pretty thin and I guess I’ll just have to live with it.

Well I think we’re in agreement then. You used to stand for real ideas, showed actual vision while serving the ACT. You had my respect back then. Since then you are spending more and more time just opposing instead, much like the ACT Liberals atm. I wouldn’t have pegged you as a “Paul Keating thorn in the side” type yet that is what you are becoming. It is sad to watch. I never would have pegged you for one to be arguing that private enterprise can better serve the citizens that government can. It seems your ideology is shifting from your previous Labor roots. I have been losing respect for you since you left office watching the way you behave, and yes this piece was the straw to break the camels back for me. That’s the raw and honest truth of the matter. I am sure as a former politician you have been told far worse, so despite your feigned outrage I am sure you are not actually mortified, and if you are then good, maybe this comment will make you realise what you are turning into.

John Hargreaves 5:13 pm 08 Jun 16

creative_canberran said :

John, you just lost the last of the respect I still had for you with this ridiculous op-ed. To be honest I am now glad you’re not infecting ACT Labor with your hysteria anymore.

I’m mortified. If I can’t write an OP piece without expecting everyone to agree with everything I say, I should shut up shop. If this is the “last of the respect”, then it was pretty thin and I guess I’ll just have to live with it.

rommeldog56 8:38 am 08 Jun 16

Roundhead89 said :

It costs $22 PER YEAR to collect a green waste bin in Queanbeyan, under $300,000 for the whole city. Multiply by 10 for Canberra – it should cost under $3 million to collect. Not $30 million, even adjusting for ACT Gov gross mismanagement. Forget the overseas study tour, try over the border, and maybe ask QCC to manage it if you want it done right! God knows they do road repairs 10 times better.

Outsourcing it to the QBYN Council is a great idea ! After all, great slabs of lawn mowing in Canberra is already outsourced to a Victorian contractor that is apparently part of the Melbourne city council.

But I think you over simplify the complexities & cost of collecting household & green waste in Canberra. Its a complicated place u know. Because of an MOU between the ACT Labor/Greens Govt (which the Greens Cabinet Member, Shane Rattenburry said he didn’t know anything about !), all tenderers for significant ACT Govt tenders have to be “scrutinised” by UnionsACT. Also, waste/recycling truck drivers here are paid $96K pa !!!! Its a rubbish job, so I suppose one can not begrudge them that as they have to pay for the rapidly rising Annual Rates, levies, Light Rail, more ACT MLAs and other higher than CPI escalating charges imposed by the ACT Labor/Greens Govt some how !

dungfungus 10:26 pm 07 Jun 16

dungfungus said :

La_Tour_Maubourg said :

Roundhead89 said :

It’s rather amusing to see how Canberrans just can’t grasp the concept of the green waste bin.

I appreciate the desire to keep Tom’s Trash Packs in business. They provide a good service where ACT Gov have failed to, albeit for $33 per pack. Thats up to $500 per year to clean up after our government street trees. Forgive me for sticking green waste in the rubbish bin against the best interests of the environment to save $200.

It costs $22 PER YEAR to collect a green waste bin in Queanbeyan, under $300,000 for the whole city. Multiply by 10 for Canberra – it should cost under $3 million to collect. Not $30 million, even adjusting for ACT Gov gross mismanagement. Forget the overseas study tour, try over the border, and maybe ask QCC to manage it if you want it done right! God knows they do road repairs 10 times better.

That cost for Queanbeyan is only for collection, not for processing or disposal so the total figure would be much higher than $3million.

But even then, you haven’t shown that the cost would be a good use of the money or actually provide an overall service that is needed and would benefit the city.

Hell, if each Canberran gave me $3 dollars per year, that would only be a million dollars a year.

How cheap is that?

I’m sure you’ll sign up to the Chewy money delivery service for that price right?

“or actually provide an overall service that is needed”

Toms trash paks prove that the overall service is needed, that part is not in dispute actually. what is in dispute is should government be providing this service, or should it be left to the free market. that argument is as old as civilisation itself.

The provision, collection and processing of this proposed green bin service will be put out to tender so Tom’s Trash Paks should do what all the “out of towners” that win ACT Government contracts do, namely set up virtual offices in every state capital and make a hefty donation to the party.
It’s as simple as that.

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