Sarah Williams, with her daughter, Sadie, says the choice is to use tightly-tied plastic bags to keep the pong of dirty nappies
Sarah Williams, with her daughter, Sadie, says the choice is to use tightly-tied plastic bags to keep the pong of dirty nappies

Nappies on the nose

By BELINDA F SCOTT

DIRTY nappies caused consternation when they appeared on Coffs Harbour City Council's agenda on Thursday.

This festering lump on the smooth pathway of waste management change was held up to the noses of the councillors by Coffs Harbour mayor, Cr Keith Rhoades.

Cr Rhoades said he 'could not get comfortable' with the planned fortnightly collection of red mixed waste garbage bins because of disposable nappies, which will accumulate in the bins for up to 14 days.

Cr Bill Palmer said unlike food scraps, nappies could not be added to the greenwaste bins, nor could they be recycled.

Council's director of land use, health and development Mark Salter said people might have to return to using cloth nappies, an outcome councillors considered extremely unlikely.

Councillors went through the garbage thoroughly at Thursday's meeting, with the nappy question unfolding a number of smelly messes.

Cr Rod McKelvey said council was advertising and talking up recycling, but people were being forced to put recyclables into garbage because of lack of space in recycling bins, especially since residents had been asked not to crush cans and plastic bottles.

The new recycling machinery at Englands Road cannot easily separate crushed cans and plastic containers.

Cr David Featherstone asked why yellow bins could not be collected weekly, since recyclables made up 85 per cent of waste.

Greenwaste came next as the mayor said the tonnage charge was discouraging people strongly from taking their garden clippings to Englands Road, where it is composted and sold back to the public. He wants the fees for 2007-08 reconsidered in June.

Cr McKelvey said greenwaste was already being dumped in forests and reserves.

The mayor said rubbish was also being dumped and NSW Forests staff were powerless to prosecute, even when they could identify the dumpers.

General manager Stephen Sawtell the said he would look into all the questions raised.

He said most residents could use the spillover area for recyclables at the Englands Road waste management centre.

Regarding bin collection, he said this was one of the complexities in council's waste management contract with the private operator, which involved certain calculations. Coffs Coast Waste Services plans to introduce changes to the bin collection on March 5.



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