Community to get a grip on waste

THE possibility of separating food waste from a regular household garbage bin will be looked into as Latrobe City councillors consider modernising council’s waste management.

At last week’s meeting, councillor Sharon Gibson requested a report on the 2012 Kitchen Organics Trial, which saw Churchill residents place mouldy yoghurt, food scraps and cooked bones into biodegradable bags.

These were collected in green-waste bins and composted into mulch at a local site.

Upon reviewing council’s Waste Management Strategy 2010-2017 councillors Gibson and Graeme Middlemiss emphasised the success of the trial, which they said had high participation rates and received positive feedback.

“Ultimately what the system does is dramatically reduce the amount of waste that is put into landfill,” Cr Middlemiss said.

“So what council is looking to do is visit the costing around the trial and see if there are ways to implement it across the city.”

The then-Gippsland Regional Waste Management Group, which is now called Gippsland Waste and Resource Recovery Group, oversaw the trial in Churchill and Mallacoota.

GWRRG executive officer Matt Peake said the group found it would cost ratepayers more to supply the bags, bins and change collection frequency if the trial was to become a permanent service.

“That was our estimation – you wouldn’t get improved economic outcome, but you would definitely get an improved environmental outcome,” Mr Peake said.

He said despite this the East Gippsland Shire Council continued its Kitchen 2 Compost program in Mallacoota, due to community lobbying.

It has since been recognised for its innovation in waste management, halving reduced the amount of organic waste that would have otherwise ended up in landfill.

Mr Peake said food waste in landfill was a primary producer of greenhouse gases such as methane.

Cr Gibson said the motion was about looking into viable and environmentally-friendly means that would reduce landfill and in essence, the cost of waste management for council.

“Whether you call it modernising or not, there are new technologies to manage waste that are better financially and environmentally, so it’s ticking both boxes,” she said.

Council officers will complete a further report about the 2012 Kitchen Organics Trial and plan to present this to councillors in the December meeting.