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Moira bin opt out allowed

Moira Shire Council says residents with prior private arrangements not obliged to pay for organic waste collection, but composters must take part.

ROB HENSON July 2, 2014 3:58am

Moira Shire has allowed some residents to opt out of its kerbside organic waste service.

The change in council policy will allow the municipality’s sole provider of kerbside organic waste collection, a private operator based in Tocumwal, to compete for the shire’s food scraps.

In April council moved to implement the service for all Cobram, Nathalia, Numurkah and Yarrawonga residents.

Set to begin September 1, the collections program is estimated to cost $180000 per year, fully recovered through an annual $90 charge.

Exemptions apply for residents who:

Live in unit-style accommodation and are unlikely to need a 240litre bin per fortnight; or

Have an existing arrangement with a private operator.

To apply for the exemption — valid for one year — residents must fill out a form and supply supporting documents.

Those who compost organic waste cannot opt out.

Strictly Waste Management owner Kevin Koopman said he was happy his private organics kerbside collection business would be allowed to continue.

‘‘It’s in the policy that they’re going to still let me operate, that we can be competitive with them (council), as long as people show invoices... which is what our company wanted anyway,’’ Mr Koopman said.

The private garbage company based in Tocumwal has a large proportion of its more than 500 customers in the Moira Shire.

The Moira organic waste policy previously charged all residents for organic waste collection, regardless if they had an existing arrangement with Strictly Waste.

But Mr Koopman said he did not believe it was fair that home composters would be charged annually for a compulsory third bin collection.

‘‘Really, if they’re doing their own composting, they should be able to put it on their own gardens,’’ he said.

‘‘Why should they need to pay?’’

Mr Koopman said he was unsure about the future of his business, but said he had plans to remain competitive.

‘‘I was going to offer 120 litre bins, start advertising the smaller units ... for half the price,’’ he said.

Council’s Environmental Services Unit, in a report to councillors, said gardeners and composters were not exempt because of ‘‘the difficulty in determining what makes a property eligible for the exemption and the complexity in measuring associated ongoing compliance with the exemption conditions.’’

Councillor Wendy Buck said she hoped the shire’s keen gardeners and home composters would embrace the wider benefits of the organic service, which allowed for the disposal of more than green waste.

‘‘It will include kitchen waste, such as meat and bones, as well as animal droppings and manure that generally can’t go into traditional compost systems,’’ Cr Buck said.

‘‘Last year, nearly 15000 tonnes of waste went into landfill — that’s about half a tonne of landfill for each Moira Shire resident.

‘‘The organic waste service should divert at least a third of this waste from landfill into compost. This will significantly extend the life of our landfill site and reduce the maintenance costs.’’

Manager of safety amenity and environment sustainability Sally Rice said tenders for the kerbside organics collection contract had closed and providers would be confirmed as soon as the contracts were signed ‘‘hopefully before the end of the month’’.

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