Byron residents embracing organics bins
BYRON Shire residents have recycled 2,300 tonnes of food and garden organics in six months, the council has announced.
Byron Shire Council said this action had reduced their putrescible landfill waste transport and disposal costs by approximately $150,000 since the implementation of the three bin collection service in August.
Plus, Byron Shire has on average 30% less kerbside waste going to landfill compared to the previous two-bin system.
Of the total kerbside waste collected each month, an average of 31% is organic materials, 32% recycling and the remaining 37% is landfill waste.
Mayor Simon Richardson thanked residents for being a 'good sort'.
"Overall Byron Shire's kerbside recycling rate is now 63%, compared with 38% prior to the introduction of our organics service. It's a great result," Cr Richardson said.
"Particularly impressive is that we have maintained this recycling rate over the extremely busy Christmas holiday period.
"But we can do better, let's aim for a total recycling rate of 70%."
Instead of being buried in landfill, organic materials are processed into certified organic compost at Lismore City council's composting facility and used by local farmers and growers to improve agricultural soils.
Local farmer and founder of social enterprise, Munch Crunch Organics, Alasdair Smithson, has been using Lismore's kerbside organics compost for seven or eight years and said it is a great product.
"Overall we are happy with the product and it is a good soil improver," he said.
"It's a great start and hopefully in the not too distant future we can compost our organics here in the Byron Shire."
And while our organics are processed in Lismore, Mr Smithson thanked the Byron Shire community for contributing their organics because the compost is still being used by local farmers and growers, making positive improvements to our soils.
"Well done guys, keep the organic waste going into the green bins," he said.
"It's really important to us as organic farmers, and the general community, that we return organic waste back to the soil to build the organic matter and reduce the effects of climate change by doing so."
The local community has shared their thoughts on the organics bin, and how they feel to have been part of an important environmental initiative.
Suffolk Park resident, Suzie Morley said the three bin system works well for her family of four.
"We compost anyway and we also have a worm farm, but we were producing more organic waste as a family than the worms could cope with," Ms Morley said.
"It's a super easy system and we find we hardly use our red bin."
Ms Morley said the key to making the system work is to have three bins set up in the kitchen.
"We have a cardboard box in the cupboard for all of our recycling and a bin with a liner in it under the kitchen sink for all landfill waste and the caddy on the counter right next to the chopping board for all food scraps so it's convenient when we are cooking."
"I think it's good for training the little ones and now even our four year old Millie knows about composting."
Contamination in organics bin
Organics bin contamination continues to be very low, council said, however they still reminded residents not to use plastic bags, degradable or biodegradable bags in the organics bin.
Place food organics inside a green compostable caddy liner, wrap scraps in newspaper or place directly inside the caddy.
All food and garden waste, including things like meat bones, seafood and soiled paper can also go in the organics bin.
Yellow bin recycling results are also good, but the main contaminants are bagged hard plastic recyclables and loose soft plastics.
This has the potential to spoil a whole truckload of recycling and everybody is needed to stay on board and put the correct items into each bin.
If you need a reminder about what items go in each bin, check the A-Z Recycling Guide on the Byron Shire Council website www.byron.nsw.gov.au/waste-recycling-educational-materials.
Council continues to conduct weekly visual bin contamination audits.
Find out more about the three bin collection service at http://www.byron.nsw.gov.au/your-three-bin-collection-service