Blue Mountains Council's waste strategy up for comment until December 5

Feed the chooks instead of your bin: Council's waste strategy for the next five years is up for comment and Greens Cr Brent Hoare wants the community to comment.
Feed the chooks instead of your bin: Council's waste strategy for the next five years is up for comment and Greens Cr Brent Hoare wants the community to comment.

With a backyard teeming with chickens gobbling on leftover prawn shells, Greens councillor Brent Hoare is doing what he can to limit waste going into his bins.

And he’s urging the community to think more carefully about what happens to their waste.

“In spite of great improvements over the last 20 years, our current waste disposal habits are unsustainable.

“At current rates our only landfill will be full by 2034. So before a child born today leaves high school, the Blaxland tip will be full.”

Cr Hoare has urged residents to have a say in the development of the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery strategy and action plan for 2017-2021. At last month’s council meeting the public comment period was extended fom 28 to 60 days. 

“This means people have until the Friday before Christmas to go to Council’s “Have Your Say” website, download the draft strategy document, and make a submission.

Blue Mountains Council has implemented a number of strategies to reduce waste in recent years. Some 35,000 tonnes of mixed waste goes into the Blaxland Tip annually. Since the new green bin was introduced in July last year there was a 28 per cent decrease in household waste from 2015 and $1.89 million saved in disposal costs. There have also been numerous council workshops on composting. The draft waste plan says without those changes, the landfill “would have been full by 2023”.

Blue Mountains residents generate two and a half times less waste than the national average, according to the Australian Government’s Waste and Recycling Report of 2011, and Cr Hoare said while that’s positive news there is always more that can be done.

“The scale of change achieved in reducing waste and improving recycling shows that much can be done, but there is much more we need to do to reduce waste going to landfill, and extend the life of our tip,” he said. 

“For example, about one quarter of waste from households, and one fifth of business waste are organic food wastes. We need to find better solutions to encourage and compel the adoption of other treatment methods to keep compostable wastes and chook food out of landfill.”

Some of Cr Hoare’s own tips for reducing waste include “trying hard to avoid packaging, buying stuff in bulk from the food co-op, bringing your own bags/jars to local shops, having a worm farm and compost heap (for stuff worms don’t like and garden waste)” and much more.