Labor to wage war on food waste if re-elected

Michael Weaver 8 September 2020 11
Food scraps in garbage bin

Belconnen residents will be able to opt-in on a food waste recycling program. Photo: File.

More than 5000 Belconnen households will be among the first in Canberra to trial a food recycling scheme if Labor is re-elected at the upcoming ACT election.

The scheme would eventually be rolled out to all Canberra suburbs and create up to 200 new jobs for collection, construction and ongoing management of the service that would see a $30 million in-vessel composting facility built.

Existing providers would be contracted to compost the green waste service that would be increased from fortnightly to weekly collections.

Minister for City Services Chris Steel said Belconnen provided the ideal location for the trial as many residents live in multi-dwelling apartments where there is little garden waste but far greater food waste.

“This is an opportunity to reduce the 37 per cent of food waste that goes into our garbage bins and actually have it composted into valuable products that can be used in agriculture and in other applications,” Mr Steel said.

“We know that when food waste goes into landfill in the anaerobic conditions, it turns into methane which contributes to climate change so this will help to reduce emissions by 30 per cent.”


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He said contamination of food waste was also an issue that would have to be overcome and pointed to the ACT Government’s love food hate waste campaign.

“We’ve seen in other jurisdictions where they’ve rolled out food waste recycling that contamination rates have been very high and that’s why education will be very important,” Mr Steel said.

It is estimated that Australian households waste up to $3,800 every year by throwing away food that could have been eaten.

The trial scheme in Belconnen would allow residents to opt-in if interested.

Member for Ginninderra Tara Cheyne also said the scheme would allow for residents to compost meat scraps and bones.

“When the scheme is properly rolled out in the suburbs in 2023, people will be looking forward to the green waste bin collection as we move from fortnightly to weekly. There’s a lot of people who are already composting but can’t compost meat and bones, so this initiative will enable that to occur as well,” Ms Cheyne said.

The service was scheduled to commence in 2024, but Labor is pledging to bring the scheme forward to July 2021.

Under the proposed scheme, Canberrans will be able to place food waste in their existing green bins along with other garden waste.


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The announcement came as the Commission for the Human Future released its new policy report The Need for Strategic Food Policy in Australia, which calls for the Australian Government to consider how it can more strategically govern and reform food policy.

It says the negative impacts of our food system cost the Australian economy at least $87 billion a year, including around $21 billion from food waste and $4 billion from lost productivity due to land degradation.

The Australian Commission for the Human Future is a body of researchers and concerned citizens dedicated to finding solutions to the global threats confronting the world.

Commission deputy chair Paul Barratt said the Federal Government does not have a coordinated approach with much of Australia’s food policy sitting with states and territories.

“Food is the most interconnected policy issue any government faces. It touches on just about every major policy portfolio, but no one in government owns it. Meanwhile, Australia and its people continue to suffer poor health, environmental and economic results,” Mr Barratt said.

The report makes seven recommendations for reforming Australia’s food system covering governance, urban food production, soil health, water management, industry policy, nutrition, and research and education.


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11 Responses to Labor to wage war on food waste if re-elected
Acton Acton 6:09 pm 10 Sep 20

Is anyone keeping track of Chris Steel or these daily growing Labor/Greens promises? So far:
$30 million in-vessel composting facility built.
$50 million fund to incentivise Canberrans to purchase new electric vehicles,
$114 million plan to buy 90 electric buses
= $194m, which is about the average yearly rates for 64,500 Canberra households.
All when the budget has already blown out and former Chief Minister Stanhope warning of ACT bankruptcy ahead.

    JS9 JS9 10:28 am 11 Sep 20

    Really depends on how much of it is new money and how much is ‘repurposes money’ Acton as to what the impact actually is. I’d suspect most of hte electric bus money is repurposed money already accounted for that would have been spent on diesel buses or a diesel bus depot etc.

    Other ones appear to be new expenditure however.

JS9 JS9 11:53 am 10 Sep 20

Why the hell are the government talking about blowing 30 million on a facility here in Canberra for this, when a massive organics facility already exists at Woodlawn for processing this stuff – I’m sure they would jump at the chance at taking this waste….. Just need to load it on a train and send it up.

Insanity to commit to options that are way over the top cost wise compared to alternatives that deliver the same outcome.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 1:53 pm 10 Sep 20

    When the offer to send all our waste to Woodlawn was on the table about 8 years ago the current ACT Green/Labor government decided instead to buy land surrounding the MLRMC to provide space for landfill in the ACT for a further 30 years. I am sure a supporting statement was made by a certain government minister that waste generated in the Territory had to be dealt with within the Territory. This was more symbolic akin to the “100 renewable energy in the ACT” mantra.

    Not only do we keep all our waste but we import it too from surrounding shires/regions. It appears we can’t get enough of the stuff.

    JS9 JS9 10:27 am 11 Sep 20

    It is a ridiculous self-imposed position to be in – just dumb.

Julie Maynard Julie Maynard 11:30 am 10 Sep 20

Can’t wait!

Capital Retro Capital Retro 11:25 am 10 Sep 20

Does anyone know where the existing compost contractors are going to process this stuff for the trial period?

I assume that the composting will be done somewhere in Belconnen so all you Labor voters in Belconnen should be aware that the the process of composting rotten food smells a lot.

Jorge Gatica Jorge Gatica 11:21 am 10 Sep 20

So a fleet of diesel burning trucks running all over Canberra to pick up some food scraps

    Brent Hutch Brent Hutch 1:43 pm 10 Sep 20

    Read the article. Placed in existing green bins...

dukethunder dukethunder 10:10 am 10 Sep 20

“The Australian Commission for the Human Future is a body of researchers and concerned citizens dedicated to finding solutions to the global threats confronting the world.”
Hilarious ? Opted out on developing a vaccine for corona virus to focus on food waste policy. It’s concerning that fringe groups such as this, and the Lake Burley Griffen Guardians, are presented as some sort of authority.

    JS9 JS9 11:52 am 10 Sep 20

    I wish a bit more effort was put in duke by authors to get proper authoritative sources, not crazy fringe groups…

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