Little goes to waste in council’s rubbish plan

A Manningham resident puts rubbish bins out for collection. Picture: Samantha O’Connell

By SAMANTHA O’CONNELLA 

Manningham is leading the way in Victorian waste management after producing the lowest amount of garbage on record this year.

According to the October edition of Manningham Matters, Manningham sent 20,500 tonnes of garbage to landfill in 2017/18 – down from 22,068 tonnes the previous year.

A Manningham Council spokesperson said this statistic was a result of the council working efficiently with the community, local and state governments.

“We aim to reduce food organic waste and divertible material waste, such as recyclables and green waste,” the spokesperson said.

“Raising community awareness around the waste services available to residents in Manningham also plays an important role.”

Earlier this year, Manningham Council came under fire for a 20 per cent rubbish collection fee hike, and has since implemented a number of new waste management programs.

“Manningham is working with the State Government’s Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group and other eastern region councils to establish an organic processing facility, which would enable garden waste and material to be processed as compost,” the spokesperson said.

“Manningham also hopes to expand this or a similar facility into a food organic waste processing centre within five years.”

While plans were under way for the new facilities, the council was meanwhile running a number of other initiatives to reduce food waste.

One such initiative – and a key factor in Manningham’s success – is a service allowing residents to buy compost systems for up to 80 per cent off retail price.

NSW-based group Compost Revolution partners with councils such as Manningham to encourage composting. The organisation’s operations director Justin Bonsey said Manningham Council had created a “perfect storm of awareness” by partnering with Compost Revolution.

“So far nearly 900 households have joined the revolution,” Mr Bonsey said.

“But this only tells part of the picture, as our web and targeted social media engagement have reached tens of thousands of homes with the message,” he said.

“We know from past surveys that composting leads people to engage in other waste-reduction activities, so there has no doubt been a strong indirect impact from the program as well.”

Mr Bonsey said composting was especially important in Victoria, where food waste accounted for about 36 per cent of landfill garbage, and garden waste making up about 8 per cent of all landfill.

“[The remaining types of rubbish] include difficult-to-recycle soft plastics, improperly sorted recyclables like beverage containers, non-recyclable hot drink containers, and other non-recyclable odds and ends,” he said.

“The best way to eliminate these is to ban items like plastic bags, implement container deposit legislation, work with large retailers to reduce packaging materials, and of course design consumer items to be repaired and reused for longer life,” he said.

“In terms of waste management, [we promote] the simple message that anyone can do it.”