It’s been a long time since we threw all our rubbish in the one bin and sent it to the local tip. Now food waste is set to join the long list of items that should never have ended up in landfill.
Kimbriki Resource Recovery Centre, which processes garbage from the Northern Beaches area, already recycles more than 70% of waste. That includes glass, plastic, paper, aluminium cans, car batteries, televisions, computers, vegetation and wood waste, as well as waste concrete, asphalt, bricks and roof tiles. But it isn’t enough.
Our region only has one landfill site for waste that can’t be recycled. That’s at Belrose and, after 51 years of operation, the site is full. That means that after November, the Council will be forced to truck waste to a landfill site in western Sydney instead. It’s expensive and it’s not a sustainable way of dealing with our rubbish. As well food waste in landfill breaks down to release greenhouse gases, including not only carbon dioxide, but methane, which is even worse.
Now there’s a plan to take Northern Beaches recycling to the next level.
In two years time, householders will be required to separate out food scraps and throw them in the green lid bins, along with other garden waste. This one step will reduce the amount of waste going to landfill by almost half.
Kimbriki is not yet able to handle putrescible (food-containing) waste, but that will change when a major new recycling and waste processing facility opens at the site in 2019 or 20. Food and vegetation waste will then be turned into compost, which will be available for sale.
For residents, the number of different bins will decrease from four to three, as follows;
The general waste red-lid bins, which will be collected fortnightly for houses, and weekly for unit blocks.
The mixed recycling bins, for paper, glass and plastic combined, which will be collected fortnightly for houses, and weekly for unit blocks.
The mixed food and vegetation green-lid bins which will be collected weekly. Residents will also be given a free kitchen tidy bin and cornstarch bags to store food waste before putting it in the outside bin.
“This is a sensible plan that was put together by Mosman Council and the three former Northern Beaches councils, which jointly own Kimbriki”, former Manly Councillor Candy Bingham said.
"The Northern Beaches council is on board now as well, and has called for tenders.
“We need to look to the future - we just have to reduce landfill waste. Kimbriki’s advanced new waste technology will do that and at the same time take hundreds of trucks off our local streets.
“It will cost each household about $2 extra per week, which is a great investment.”
While community support for recycling is strong there are concerns such as, how to stop food waste from smelling, and what to do with nappies.
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Candy Bingham, Manly Ward Councillor on Northern Beaches Council. Background in marketing, public relations and community engagement. Author of five business books. Former Lady Mayoress of Sydney. Aka Candy Tymson.