At what stage do we reach 'tipping' point

FOGO friendly at Crankys.
FOGO friendly at Crankys.

It has long been flagged that our central waste facility is being filled much faster than originally predicted.

When it was commissioned in 2013, it was estimated to be able to contain our waste for 30 years but within four years, that figure had been revised back to 20 years.

More recently though council said it would require replacement in approximately 2030, subject to introduction of measures to reduce rates of landfill.

Total waste to landfill - that's from what is in red bins - has increased from approximately 19,000 tonnes in 2012 to 27,000 tonnes in 2017 - that's an increase of around 30 per cent and there's been no population growth in the Bega Valley to match it.

Sadly the bushfire disaster adds its own toll to the waste problem. The addition of some 120,000 cubic metres of bushfire waste will use the equivalent of almost half the new large cell 4 that is being built.

That is something we can't change and no one would want to see anything other than assistance in clearing offered to those who have lost everything in the fires.

But one disaster, however bad, should not take our focus from the main issue - we are wasteful.

No one who witnessed the agony that Wolumla locals went through as they battled against having the central waste facility on their doorstep, would want to see this visited on their own neighbourhood.

It is a traumatic process but one which will continue and at an accelerated rate unless we can do something about it.

It is easy to be disconnected from the waste problem; simply put it in the bin and it gets collected, what difference will my one extra piece of rubbish make.

But if we all decided to put just a little less in the red bin, it could extend the life of the central waste facility.

If we reduced just one per cent of our waste going into red bins we could be stopping 2000-3000 tonnes of waste going into landfill every year.

The numbers going to landfill are big unfortunately, but that also means the savings - even small ones - are too.

Council is hoping its success with domestic FOGO (Food and Garden Organics) waste can be replicated in the commercial sector. Cranky Cafe in Merimbula has already shown that not only can a cafe use a FOGO service, if they do, it will save them money.

The less landfill is used, the better off the community and the environment will be.