Lake Macquarie City Council should reinstate a weekly kerbside collection of general waste from people’s homes, a councillor says.
A new domestic waste routine was introduced at Lake Macquarie late last month as part of council’s ‘Food+Garden=Green’ initiative.
It meant red-lidded general waste bins and yellow-topped recycling bins would be emptied fortnightly and a green waste collection, which included food scraps and other organic material, would take place weekly.
After the first fortnight, council has hailed the move a success, reporting a 14 per cent rise in green bin use and about an extra 1000 tonnes of organic matter being diverted from landfill.
But Cr Kevin Baker said he received a “significant increase” in complaints about bins not being emptied during that time.
Cr Baker called for the weekly garbage collection to return and said he believed council “got the figures wrong” regarding the amount of organic waste produced at the average Lake Macquarie home. He disputed council’s claim, reported by the Newcastle Herald last month, that food waste accounted for about a third of the contents of a household’s general waste bin.
“Based on my own experience and people I’ve spoken to, we aren’t seeing that,” he said.
“A lot of people are putting their green bin out with only a couple of small bags in the bottom.
“If one third of a bin is potential organic waste, why have we only seen an increase of 14 per cent? I love the organics bit, but realistically I think we need to look at getting a weekly general waste service reintroduced.”
A council spokesperson said there had been 83 service requests for missed collections in the past fortnight, but this represented a small fraction of the total 86,494 collections.
He said council received 22 complaints in that time, among 3909 “enquiries” about the new arrangements.
“There has been a significant increase in the number of enquiries to council about the new service, which is expected with any change of this nature,” he said.
Eleebana resident Michelle Shetab said council had replaced seventeen 240L general waste bins with two 1100L bins at a group of 17 town houses at Warners Bay, where she owns three investment properties.
She said residents had filled the general waste bins by Monday, but the green bins had hardly been used.
“I really don’t think [council] has thought this through,” she said.
“I’m honestly all for going green, I fully support it and think it’s a great idea, I just think it’s got to be implemented properly.
“If they try to train people to do it that would be great, but to say ‘we’re going to take a half empty bin once a week’ when you’ve got a full [general waste] bin collected once a fortnight, that doesn’t teach people, it angers people.”
While you’re with us, did you know The Herald is now offering breaking news alerts, daily email newsletters and more? Keep up-to-date with all the local news - sign up here.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.