COMMENT: Food waste redirected from landfill makes a lot of sense

Costa Georgiadis talks organic waste with Bega Valley Shire Council’s Mick Jarochowicz during a visit to the Merimbula Waste and Recycling Depot.

Costa Georgiadis talks organic waste with Bega Valley Shire Council’s Mick Jarochowicz during a visit to the Merimbula Waste and Recycling Depot.

The idea of a food and organics waste collection for the Bega Valley is a great idea in this ever-increasing disposable era.

The reason behind the move is not entirely altruistic though.

We’re told the Central Waste Facility – the shire’s grand solution to the future waste needs of the Valley – is filling up much faster than predicted.

When it opened in late 2013 it was anticipated to provide adequate space for the shire’s rubbish for 30-plus years. Latest estimates suggest it’s closer to 20 years. Concerning given it’s only been in operation less than four years.

All is not lost though.

It’s estimated close to 40 per cent, by weight, of what we throw out is food waste.

If these food scraps could be diverted to a compost-producing organic waste recovery service, it not only provides a valuable end product for reuse on Bega Valley gardens and public land, it gives the CWF a new lease on life – potentially even much longer than those 30 years?

Couple this with the potential of a material recovery facility for the Valley  and we’re talking some serious reduction in our waste. (An MRF is only a pipedream at this stage but we’re told it is under “active consideration” by the council’s waste strategic working group.) 

In a recent reader poll, 88 per cent of you said a recycling facility for the Bega Valley was a great idea, with only 5.3 per cent against. Comments from readers on our Facebook page were also in the majority for the idea, but with a few key concerns raised.

If it created jobs, came with a solid business plan and did not affect the local environment or future residential development needs, there appears to be widespread acceptance of the idea.

Pointedly, one reader said recycling education needs to come first. We agree, particularly given the introduction of FOGO from June 2018 will see our red bins collected fortnightly rather than weekly.

If residents getting the FOGO service use their bins correctly this shouldn’t be as much of a concern as it feels at first mention.

All your existing yellow bin recycling continues as usual (paper, glass, cans and certain plastics); get all your soft plastics to the collection points at local supermarkets and help end the use of single-use plastic bags; and all food scraps will be placed in your green bin.

What’s actually left for the red one? 

Results of a recent reader poll

Results of a recent reader poll

This story Not just reducing waste, but also redirecting first appeared on Bega District News.