ACT Labor has pledged to create a city-wide food waste collection service which will reduce carbon emissions and create 200 jobs across the collection, construction and management services.
The $42.5 million scheme will allow Canberrans to place food scraps in their green bins along with other garden waste, stopping food scraps from going to landfill and reducing emissions in the waste sector by 30 per cent, Chief Minister Andrew Barr said at the policy’s launch this morning (10 August).
“More than a third of ACT residential garbage bin contents are food waste (37 per cent) which currently goes to landfill and contributes to greenhouse gas emissions,” Mr Barr said.
“To roll out this new service effectively, a re-elected ACT Labor Government will pilot the collection service in 2021 before a full city-wide scheme is put in place.
“This will include a mix of households including apartments and townhouses.”
The scheme will be rolled out in 2023 to allow time for the construction of the $30 million compost facility in Canberra. A further $12.5 million will be spent on collection over the next four years.
Around 5000 households will be chosen for a trial, although there are no details on which suburbs will be taking part.
Minister for City Services Chris Steel reiterated that this was a free collection for Canberrans when asked if the costs would be indexed in a rates rise.
“Canberrans will pay no extra in terms of the cost of this service. This will be funded through consolidated revenue and we will be outlining that before the election,” he said.
At this stage, it is not known whether the service will be extended to NSW residents of Ginninderry.
The Government has already pledged to reduce food waste by the end of 2023 by stopping 15,000 tonnes of food waste from local hospitality and food retail businesses going to landfill as a part of its ACT Climate Change Strategy 2019-2025.
Mr Barr says the universal green bin scheme will also be expanded in the same timeframe. The current scheme is an opt-in service with a $50 registration fee for those without a concession card.
“Kitchen caddies and compostable liners will be provided to all homes,” he said.
“Apartment complexes will also be part of the scheme and we will work with body corporates on the best way to include them through the pilot.
“We will also fund the construction of a new large scale in-vessel processing facility to turn Canberra’s food and garden waste into valuable compost.”
The policy has been welcomed by the Greens although they said the policy was nothing new as a motion from Caroline Le Couteur was passed in the Assembly last year which committed the Government to start planning for a new food waste collection service for green bins before 2023.
“Canberrans want to do our bit in the ‘War on Waste’. It is certainly well and truly time we had a food waste collection system in the Territory,” Ms Le Couteur said.
Mr Steel defended the policy saying it was a recommendation of the 2018 Waste Feasibility Study Roadmap, which was adopted by Labor.