Council’s latest decision regarding waste collection changes has spurred much controversy on social media. Council has decided that the green bin collection will now become weekly instead of fortnightly and the red bin collection will change over to fortnightly. Food waste is now meant to go into the green bin.

This decision is supposedly based on a trial run of 1000 residences in the McKinnon/Ormond area. On the basis of this trial we now have the decision to forge ahead with this changeover.

Our understanding is that by diverting food waste into green bin collections this will reduce the amount of garbage going to landfill and also have environmental benefit in terms of reducing carbon emissions from this food waste  – as claimed in the letter dated 3rd May that was sent out to households.

We are not advocating in favour or against this decision. What we are fully cognisant of is the lack of process that has informed this decision making. When council decides something that will have an immediate and huge impact on residents’ lives, then they had better make sure that all the data is accurate, that it has majority community support, and is economically viable.

To the best of our knowledge, no formal consultation was undertaken by council for the trial and certainly none for this final decision. In other words, what is the real level of community support for this change? Nor do we know the cost of the green tidies that council has produced for distribution. We also don’t know how much the garbage ‘police’ surveillance is likely to cost. Or the cost of providing extra bins for those families that deal with nappies.

All we have to go on to determine whether the trial is in fact working and worthy of being implemented across the entire municipality is to be found in the small print of the current Quarterly Report. Here is the screen dump (page 31) from this report.

If the objective is to increase the amount of food scraps being diverted into the green bin, then the above results clearly show that this isn’t happening. So, what does this really mean? That residents aren’t embracing the change? If so, then what guarantee does council have that this will improve – unless of course they introduce a fine system to ‘encourage’ compliance! Nor do we accept the pathetic reasoning that seeks to blame COVID for the lack of improvement. Surely people still continued eating and creating food scraps regardless of whether they were in COVID lockdown or not. We could even argue that with lockdown more people would be cooking and eating at home rather than going out, so the production of food scraps should have increased! We also find it hard to buy the argument about seasons. Does this mean that winter produces more food scraps than summer? Where is the evidence for any of this?

Summing up we do not appear to have necessary pre-requisite data, or community support, that justifies the decision that has been made. Instead we are forging ahead with a project that cannot guarantee ‘success’, and has the potential to impact dramatically on countless residents. Perhaps we should simply say that this is another example of pre-determined decision making by council that ignores process and thorough testing, monitoring, and analyses.