Keeping an eye on rubbish

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If in the next four weeks you see someone rummaging through your bins in the early morning, don’t be alarmed – it isn’t what you think.

Penrith Council’s ‘Do the Right Bin’ team will be hitting the streets of Penrith to check people’s green-lidded bins and make sure they understand what rubbish can and cannot be placed inside.

Aisha Poole, Penrith Council’s waste coordinator, said that Council is using this very hands on approach to reduce the amount of waste that must be disposed of in landfill and educate residents.

“The green bin is for organic waste such as garden vegetation and food, however, something as simple as throwing gardening clippings into a garbage bag will contaminate the waste,” she said.

Contamination of waste is when the wrong types of waste and placed in the wrong bin.

“Just seven bins of contaminated waste can mean that a trucks load of rubbish will have to be deposited in landfill instead of composted, which costs Council, and ultimately the community $2,040 per load,” Ms Poole said.

“The vast majority of the community is doing the right thing but we need to help those people who are not; it may be that they have just moved to the area and don’t understand the system or don’t have the right waste management system to suit their family’s needs.”

When the three bin system was first introduced in 2009, the contamination rate was between 30 and 35 per cent, but that rate is now between nine and 12 per cent.

Residents will be notified if their bin has been checked and there is a problem with their green bin waste via a letter.

“When the street is checked a second time and if people still have some problems, a second letter will be issued,” Ms Poole explained.

“If for a third time there are still issues, Council will send an education officer to visit the residence and talk about the issue, ways to address it, and offer alternative waste service options.”

However, if residents refuse to comply for a fourth time, Council will remove their green bin and their red bin and be placed on a contamination service with a larger red bin, which incurs a higher cost to the resident.

“We have only had to implement this strategy on two occasions in the whole LGA, people generally do the wrong thing simply because they don’t understand or need a different waste service,” Ms Poole said.

If you would like to know more about Council’s waste services, visit their website.

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