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Thoughts on making recycling weekly and rubbish fortnightly

By Benjamin Rose 1 April 2015 23

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I was thinking about the recycling bin at my house and how it gets filled up about five to seven days before the fortnightly recycling pickup and thought about that swapping weekly rubbish collection to fortnightly and making recycling pickup weekly would be overall better for everyone and increase how much is recycled with recyclables not going to landfill.

Everyone in my house recycles and we find ourselves filling up the rubbish bin when the recycling bin overflows. I suspect that the overflow-to-rubbish happens everywhere in the ACT.

The only downsides I can think of would be potential issues with odor from a rubbish bin that is only emptied fortnightly and overfilled rubbish bins which are not as nice to cleanup after they tip over and the contents go everywhere.

I’m somewhat aware of a process where an additional bins can be assigned to a residence however I think that doing the swap would be far better in the long run for all concerned.

What are everyone’s views? Is it a mad idea that has been tried before in Canberra and failed?


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23 Responses to
Thoughts on making recycling weekly and rubbish fortnightly
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dungfungus 6:04 pm 06 Apr 15

Maya123 said :

Innovation said :

Fortnightly rubbish pickup would be a health hazard and stink.

Only with careless, lazy housekeeping. My bin rarely smells, even if I don’t put it out for several weeks, which is quite usual. This is not difficult. It only takes a change of attitude. Perhaps less rubbish collection would lead to this.

I am sure you have the best managed garbage bin in Canberra but don’t be surprised if the government mandates fortnightly garbage collections soon.
This may be the only way they can control the amount going into the Mugga Lane landfill to avert another crisis like they had in the past 6 months.
It would appear that they have underestimated the capacity for other Canberrans to generate rubbish.

Maya123 2:57 pm 05 Apr 15

Innovation said :

Fortnightly rubbish pickup would be a health hazard and stink.

Only with careless, lazy housekeeping. My bin rarely smells, even if I don’t put it out for several weeks, which is quite usual. This is not difficult. It only takes a change of attitude. Perhaps less rubbish collection would lead to this.

Innovation 9:05 pm 04 Apr 15

Fortnightly rubbish pickup would be a health hazard and stink. Smaller bins might be viable for some smaller or efficient households but not everyone. More central or communal rubbish collection points might speed up collection but not everyone would be able to get their rubbish to them.

At just over $50pa, a second recycling bin is pretty good value. Compacting recycling works for most but, from experience, it increases the weight it might slip out of the truck’s grasp. (While the garbo and I were cleaning up the spilled contents our bin he told me that, if possible, rather than over compacting their preference is that owners refill their bin and use both sides of the street for a double collection).

The big problem is how many householders are using the space in their green bins for things that they can’t get rid of any other way? I appreciate that there are commercial providers for a commercial cost, but I do wish that we had the same services as other states such as green waste removal, monthly council kerbside pickups etc. There might be less dumping at charity bins, hoarding in homes and better reuse of old goods and materials that are otherwise cut up and thrown in the rubbish bin. Not everyone has a car or can afford to pay to dispose of rubbish.

Maya123 4:18 pm 03 Apr 15

wildturkeycanoe said :

bd84 said :

Based on what I’ve seen of other people’s “recycling” habits, the reason that the bins get full so quick is that people don’t use the bins properly and just dump everything in there, then complain about the bin being full.

People don’t bother flattening boxes, just dump it in the bin with the non-recyclable plastic bags and styrofoam/polystyrene inside. Put all the recyclables in a plastic bag which isn’t recyclable, takes up more room and will get chucked in the rubbish bin by the recycling people. Put everything inside other boxes, also takes up all the room and probably will get chucked out as rubbish too.

Then there’s the people putting shoes, clothing, pillows, kitchen appliances in the recycling bin too. All not recyclable.

Use some common sense. Put only individual items in there, flatten everything. Take big boxes etc to one of the many recycling drop off stations. Doing that, I’ve never had a problem with an overflowing recycling bin.

One problem with flattening stuff is that it tends to try and resume its previous shape over time and after a while, it becomes a clog for the rubbish underneath. So frustrating to see the bin emptied and have a third of the stuff still stuck in the bottom due to box expansion.

I flatten things, but fortunately I’ve never had that happen in my bin. If it’s problem, cut the box open. I also flatten milk cardboard containers. That helps keep the bulk down too.

wildturkeycanoe 8:59 am 03 Apr 15

bd84 said :

Based on what I’ve seen of other people’s “recycling” habits, the reason that the bins get full so quick is that people don’t use the bins properly and just dump everything in there, then complain about the bin being full.

People don’t bother flattening boxes, just dump it in the bin with the non-recyclable plastic bags and styrofoam/polystyrene inside. Put all the recyclables in a plastic bag which isn’t recyclable, takes up more room and will get chucked in the rubbish bin by the recycling people. Put everything inside other boxes, also takes up all the room and probably will get chucked out as rubbish too.

Then there’s the people putting shoes, clothing, pillows, kitchen appliances in the recycling bin too. All not recyclable.

Use some common sense. Put only individual items in there, flatten everything. Take big boxes etc to one of the many recycling drop off stations. Doing that, I’ve never had a problem with an overflowing recycling bin.

One problem with flattening stuff is that it tends to try and resume its previous shape over time and after a while, it becomes a clog for the rubbish underneath. So frustrating to see the bin emptied and have a third of the stuff still stuck in the bottom due to box expansion.

Maya123 9:42 pm 02 Apr 15

As someone who usually only puts a bin out after several weeks, and then it’s rarely close to full, that’s okay with me. The bin rarely smells either. Smelly bins and maggots mean the owner is too lazy to compost and likely throws in wasted food. That problem is usually solved by composting and not wasting food. My bin is mostly full of empty plastic packets (the CT is the biggest source here), and as those take up little room and don’t smell, that’s why my bin doesn’t go out most weeks. Less bin collections might make the lazy less lazy.

Antagonist 8:09 pm 02 Apr 15

There is definitely a need for weekly recycling collection. I am happy to forego weekly garbage collection as a trade off, since there would no longer be any overflow to the garbage. I won’t lose any sleep if the status quo remains. It gives me an excuse to fill the ute up and go for a drive.

Masquara 7:15 pm 01 Apr 15

No way! Rubbish bins often stink after a few days. Recycling bins don’t.

gazket 7:05 pm 01 Apr 15

recycling bins don’t attract flies, maggotts, vermin, and stink after 2 weeks.

dungfungus 6:49 pm 01 Apr 15

I’m in favour of fortnightly garbage collections.
That way, all Canberrans can share the putrid smell peculiar to the failed land-fill in Mugga Lane that up until now has been the exclusive right of residents of East O’Malley, Isaacs, Fadden, Wanniassa, Macarthur and Chisholm.

Evilomlap 5:25 pm 01 Apr 15

Rollersk8r said :

I should have said – I never ever put recycling in the garbage. That’s lazy. Any recycling overflow can easily be put aside for the next collection – or taken to a recycling centre if you’ve just bought something with heaps of packaging.

Unfortunately you’re in a minority. A lot of people couldn’t care less. I don’t have bins as I live in a unit block we have hoppers. Every time I go to put stuff in the recycling hopper there’s normal garbage in it, often even when the normal garbage hopper is not full. I think it’s because some weaklings just don’t like the smell when you open the normal one.

bd84 5:15 pm 01 Apr 15

Based on what I’ve seen of other people’s “recycling” habits, the reason that the bins get full so quick is that people don’t use the bins properly and just dump everything in there, then complain about the bin being full.

People don’t bother flattening boxes, just dump it in the bin with the non-recyclable plastic bags and styrofoam/polystyrene inside. Put all the recyclables in a plastic bag which isn’t recyclable, takes up more room and will get chucked in the rubbish bin by the recycling people. Put everything inside other boxes, also takes up all the room and probably will get chucked out as rubbish too.

Then there’s the people putting shoes, clothing, pillows, kitchen appliances in the recycling bin too. All not recyclable.

Use some common sense. Put only individual items in there, flatten everything. Take big boxes etc to one of the many recycling drop off stations. Doing that, I’ve never had a problem with an overflowing recycling bin.

digitalchet 5:00 pm 01 Apr 15

Well, it’s not like they haven’t put alternatives in place; just order an extra bin as suggested earlier.

Or if that’s too much trouble why not work something out with nearby neighbours where you all make allowances to top up others’ half-full bins the night or early morning before it’s picked up? Surely not *everybody’s* bins are filled every time.
I know mine isn’t, and I wouldn’t have any issues with any of my neighbours topping it up if they don’t have room for the overflow, as long as I get a chance to put my waste in.

In certain cases (apartment complexes, townhouses, etc.) this could be in return for the trouble of taking the bins out. It just takes a little effort to approach neighbours, right?

MonarchRepublic 4:42 pm 01 Apr 15

chewy14 said :

Notwithstanding the hygiene and odour issue of having rubbish bins taken fortnightly, I’d be guesiing that the recycling people wouldn’t be too happy about it when people filled their rubbish bin in the first week and then contaminated their recycling with general rubbish because there was no where else to put it in the second week.

Exactly. Also, I am more than happy to throw a box of overflow recycling in the back of the car and take it to one of the recycling drop-off stations. I would be unwilling to do the same with potentially smelly, dripping, general household waste. We rarely fill our bin currently, but do from time to time come close. We do a lot to minimise general household waste, but would not get by without weekly pickup, such are our circumstances.

pink little birdie 4:18 pm 01 Apr 15

This has been discussed on here before. Usually around ACT election times.

I think a big barrier to it is the processing capacity so it would be a major upgrade required. But if we were going to do that it would be better to move to a mixed processing plant which are way more effective where everything goes into one bin and is sorted (it caputures something like 97% of recyclables)

Rollersk8r 4:08 pm 01 Apr 15

I should have said – I never ever put recycling in the garbage. That’s lazy. Any recycling overflow can easily be put aside for the next collection – or taken to a recycling centre if you’ve just bought something with heaps of packaging.

chewy14 3:40 pm 01 Apr 15

Notwithstanding the hygiene and odour issue of having rubbish bins taken fortnightly, I’d be guesiing that the recycling people wouldn’t be too happy about it when people filled their rubbish bin in the first week and then contaminated their recycling with general rubbish because there was no where else to put it in the second week.

KB1971 1:41 pm 01 Apr 15

Waaaay back when we got the recycling bins the pick up was weekely but they dropped that because of the cost to benifit ratio. Aparrently we were a bit slow on the uptake. It could be weekely now though I reckon.

vintage123 1:31 pm 01 Apr 15

Imagine living next door to someone with newborn twins and two weeks worth of nappies. That would be nasty.

crackerpants 1:28 pm 01 Apr 15

Completely agree, it’s a thought I’ve had many times. We usually only put our green bin out on recycling days, and it’s only 1/4-1/2 full even then. We compost and recycle, and pay for a trashpack service to collect our recycling overflow and the garden waste that we can’t handle ourselves. Our household rubbish is mostly nappies, and that’s only because I finally gave up on cloth nappies when child no.3 turned 1.

If it wasn’t for the stink factor, I’d be happy with green bin being collected every 4-6 weeks, but recycling definitely needs to be increased.

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