The Weekly Advertiser Horsham

Council dumps waste service

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“We have crunched the numbers from this trial and it is very clear that we do not currently have the infrastruc­ture required to process this type and quantity of waste efficientl­y to sustain this activity” – Liana Thompson

orthern Grampians Shire Council has scrapped a free greenwaste-disposal service for households this spring.

It made the decision after an initial 2020 trial proved it uneconomic­al and failed to attract sufficient community interest.

A trial from October 12 to 25 occurred last year after the council voted to investigat­e the feasibilit­y of the model.

The council had hoped to engage 25 percent of eligible households in the trial, but actual participat­ion was much lower with only 5.4 percent of rateable properties taking up the offer.

The trial also revealed the cost of processing green waste was close to 50 percent more than anticipate­d, at $45.65 per cubic metre.

The higher processing cost was compounded by: Receival of non-compliant green waste with a diameter greater than 10mm and inclusion of non-processabl­e general waste in green waste drop-offs impeding processing; and transport cost of green waste from other areas in the shire to St Arnaud – the sole shire-based green waste facility.

From the trial sample of participan­ts, the council assessed that had 25 percent of households participat­ed, the cost of the trial would have been upwards of $114,000.

Council chief executive Liana Thompson said the trial was a necessary but ‘regrettabl­y’ expensive exercise.

“We know from surveying the community that the concept of green-waste disposal is very much wanted, and it forms part of our waste management strategy and action plan to tackle this,” she said.

“But we have crunched the numbers from this trial and it is very clear that we do not currently have the infrastruc­ture required to process this type and quantity of waste efficientl­y to sustain this activity.”

Mayor Murray Emerson added: “To implement a disposal program like this is going to come at a cost that we do not think is fair for our ratepayers to bear coming out of the pandemic.

“There is hope on the horizon though. We were fortunate earlier this year to be a grant recipient of the State Government’s Recycling Victoria Council’s Fund. The $80,000 of funding we received has helped us launch a research project with seven other councils to examine the flow of organic material in our region and whether a shared organics processing facility is a viable solution for keeping green waste out of our landfill. We will be able to provide further informatio­n on this exciting council collaborat­ion to everyone when the consultanc­y undertakin­g the study for us has finalised their report.”

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