Dumping greenwaste hurts the hip pocket

By KIREN THANDI

"PREPARE yourself for a shock next time you take greenwaste to the tip on the old trusty 6x4 family trailer," warns Sawtell's Jon Wyatt.

Mr Wyatt had got a post-Christmas surprise he wasn't expecting after his son returned from the tip, finding that fees for dropping off his greenwaste had gone up yet again.

"Whereas the private 6x4 was previously exempt from the commercial tonnage charge rate ? currently just under $80 ? the exemption no longer applies," Mr Wyatt said.

Last week, Mr Wyatt's greenwaste load incurred a cost of $14.70, when he was expecting to pay $7.70.

This included a GST component of $1.34 for which he would eventually be reimbursed if he had been a commercial user.

"Consequently, private ratepayers are actually paying more out of their pockets than commercial users for the same service which, to my way of thinking, is totally unacceptable," he said.

Looking at the history of greenwaste charges over the past four years, Mr Wyatt found they have risen from $4.40, to $5.50, then $7.70, and now he has paid $14.70.

He says this represents a rise of 240 per cent overall, or 60 per cent per annum, on average.

"I can't name anything else that has gone up by 240 per cent," he said.

Mr Wyatt believes that the higher fees will lead to ratepayers not wanting to pay the added fees to look for alternative methods, which may well include dumping their excess greenwaste in places other than the tip, or burning the waste in their backyards.

"It's quite a cost at this time of year," he said. "Trees and shrubs grow like crazy.

"People are looking at multiple trips a year."

Upon taking his concerns to council, Mr Wyatt was told that the new bin arrangement would be in place soon, which may help curb the problem.

A council spokesperson said that the contractors that run the waste facility are paid by the tonnage by council, and that the flat rate was changed to the tonnage fee a few months ago, making it a more accurate method and allowing the facility to run more efficiently.

Coffs Coast Waste Services, who look after the bins, are planning a change-over in bins in March. Changes will see a kitchen tidy for food wastes introduced. The red bin, which is currently collected weekly, will be collected fortnightly, while the green bin will be collected weekly, not fortnightly.



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