By Bonny Burrows
Cardinia Shire Council has declared a war on waste.
At their 11 Decembers general council meeting, councillors announced a major overhaul of the shire’s waste management services aimed at curbing the dumping of rubbish and minimising landfill.
The Waste and Resource Recovery Strategy (2017-2026), adopted at the meeting, is expected to drastically change the way the shire tackles waste, both in households and in public spaces.
The major change to be implemented under the plan will be the end of the current bi-annual hard waste collection service at set times and a new system that will allow residents to book free hard waste pick-ups twice a year at times of their own choosing.
Cardinia Shire Deputy Mayor Brett Owen said this system was already in place in the City of Casey with great success.
“We are going to change to a bookable service. Each resident will have two services available a year at times suitable to them,” Cr Owen said.
“We believe this will reduce the amount of illegally dumped rubbish.”
Other changes to be considered under the strategy include the possibility of diverting food waste from landfill into green waste and the development of a dedicated litter and illegal dumping prevention officer, to promote “correct behaviours” among local residents.
Fed up with “the out of control” dumping of rubbish, councillors hope by taking the lead and educating the community residents will change their ways.
According to the council, data reveals that already “the incidences of illegally dumped rubbish in Cardinia Shire is significantly higher than the Victorian average”.
And with the population booming, the council fears the rate of landfill will increase to that of metropolitan Melbourne unless something is done.
“We really need to look at our footprint in the community. Everything we throw out goes somewhere,” Cr Michael Schilling said.
The Central Ward councillor said he would like to see the shire set an example on waste reduction and demonstrate how simple strategies could make a big difference.
Eventually he said he would like to see the shire consider banning plastic bags.
“Already in Cardinia we can recycle soft plastics but I’d like to see what else we can do,” Cr Schilling said.
Mayor Collin Ross said the benefits of curbing waste weren’t just environmental.
“Landfill is probably 10 times dearer than recycling into green waste,” Cr Ross said.
Cr Owen said the changes recommended in the long-term strategy would be implemented over the next few years because the council needed to fulfil its current waste contract.