Coupons for hard rubbish

The return of kerbside hard waste collection is still not on the cards for Latrobe Valley residents.

But soon, a coupon system will be, as part of a 12-month trial to begin in 2017/18.

Last Monday Latrobe City councillors opted to provide ratepayers two one cubic metre coupons to either dispose of hard or green waste themselves or book a kerbside collection service.

These will be available to use all year-round and replace the existing twice-yearly drop off weekends for hard waste and green waste, which have proven costly for council and unpopular among residents.

“There would be no need to increase staff numbers for both the contractor and council, it would minimise the disposal of waste to landfill through maximum recovery of resources, while maintaining a service with the highest regard for safety,” a council report said.

“With the allowance for year round access it is also considered that dumping of rubbish will be reduced.”

The decision to trial the voucher system comes in light of a council review, which found the current hard waste service did not meet community expectations; was cumbersome and costly, and did not minimise waste going to landfill.

The report stated other councils with a coupon system indicated the service was well-used without long queues, no additional staff were required and the maximum volume limits were not abused.

In speaking of her support for the trial, deputy mayor Sharon Gibson recounted “many different tries or takes about how to solve the hard waste issue”.

“When it is just the two weekends in a year, you try and get everyone who wishes to go to the transfer station through the gates,” Cr Gibson told The Express.

“A lot more staff are involved because of the sheer volumes and also (consider) the amount of waste that actually has to go to landfill.

“Because of the sheer volumes on those weekends, the staff do not have the time to pull everything out, and pull all of the recycling out of the waste.

“In some ways it will be a better service than the old hard rubbish kerbside collection, because this can be booked throughout the year.”

Cr Sandy Kam opposed the trial, suggesting offering just two coupons each year would essentially halve the current hard waste service provided.

At the moment there are four no-charge drop-off weekends, two for hard waste and two for green waste, but these will finish at the end of the 2016/17 financial year.

The coupon trial will kick off in the 2017/18 financial year, with ratepayers to be given two one cubic metre coupons with their annual rates notice.