Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

End of the road for green waste service

Organic waste collector calls it quits after long-running dispute with Moira Shire Council.

ROB HENSON July 16, 2014 3:35am

The sole operator of kerbside green waste services in Moira Shire has announced it will cease operations in Victoria, with council taking over in September.

It comes after a months-long battle between Strictly Waste Management and Moira Shire Council.

Council will introduce its own $180000 organic bin service across four of the shire’s major towns from September.

In April council moved to implement the service with a $90 charge for all Cobram, Nathalia, Numurkah and Yarrawonga residents.

Strictly Waste Management owner Kevin Koopman, based in Tocumwal, said to compete with or tender for Moira’s plans he would have to update from green waste to include ‘putrescibles’ or meat and other food scraps, which requires expensive decontamination processes.

He said another 20ha and $200000 would be required for the upgrade.

‘‘We usually only do the green waste, so for me to be competitive we had to go the same as the shire.

‘‘And for us to do farm composting it was going to cost us too much money.’’

The business will now operate among about 140 customers in NSW, which was enough to cover truck fuel.

‘‘I’ve got to keep that going, build on it,’’ he said.

Mr Koopman previously argued council’s initial tendering conditions would put him out of business.

Council softened its stance and offered a one-year exemption, to be reviewed annually, to Mr Koopman’s clients.

While Mr Koopman initially welcomed being able to compete with council, he told the Courier this week there were still issues of trust between his business and council.

‘‘In the end it all comes down to council and whether we trust them or not, and they haven’t got a good track record.’’

Strictly Waste Management started in 2002 and previously boasted about 700 customers, 550 in Moira Shire, and claimed council had helped promote the business.

Council argued its own green waste service had been ‘‘on the drawing board’’ since 2008, with a trial service in Numurkah in July 2011.

Council, in a written response, said in introducing the new service it considered existing private operators and made allowances, to reduce any negative impact on their operations.

‘‘There are both environmental and economic benefits in reducing the amount of organic waste that goes to landfill and this is a State Government policy,’’ council said.

‘‘Moira Shire Council has been working towards the introduction of green waste services for some time.

‘‘Council has determined that a compulsory kerbside organic service is necessary to ensure viability of the service and to be effective in achieving the ultimate goal of maximising the volumes of organic waste diverted from landfill,’’ it said.

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