ALL household food waste in Lake Macquarie will go in a bin to be picked up weekly in 2016, the city council has reconfirmed.
The council introduced a third bin last year, which is picked up fortnightly and takes only green waste.
This was the first phase of the council’s new waste system. When the second phase is introduced in 2016, the third bin will also take food waste and be picked up weekly.
This waste will be turned into compost at a new plant that a council contractor will build.
In 2016, the general waste bin will change from weekly to fortnightly pick-ups.
With green and food waste going in the third bin, the general waste bin will have much less rubbish – so a fortnightly pick-up should be sufficient, council officials said.
Some residents were concerned that food waste would sit in the general waste bin for a fortnight.
But the council said it would ‘‘examine ways to make separating food waste in the kitchen easy and convenient’’ for disposal in the third bin.
Councillors recently voted that nappies and other disposable hygiene products must go in the general waste bin and be collected only fortnightly in Lake Macquarie from 2016.
This was because the Environmental Protection Authority would not allow the council to collect such items for composting.
The council had done ‘‘smell tests’’ and found that nappies in bins for a fortnight would be manageable. If ratepayers want a weekly garbage service for nappies and hygiene products, they must pay an ‘‘additional fee’’ – probably about $300 a year, a council report said.
Alternatively, the council would offer bins with additional capacity to be collected fortnightly for an extra $100 to $150 a year.
Councillor Daniel Wallace said the three-bin system had ‘‘worked elsewhere’’ and been planned for three years.
Council strategy director Tony Farrell said the new system would provide ‘‘significant financial and environmental benefits’’.
A council statement said the council had made changes to its waste system for ‘‘a number of very important reasons’’. This included limited space at Awaba tip, the NSW tip tax, state waste diversion targets and the council’s commitment to ‘‘a more sustainable future’’.
The council said it did ‘‘significant research, including thousands of bin audits and community surveys before selecting the arrangements that will start in 2016’’.
It analysed 10 options before selecting a three-bin solution.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.