Kerbside recycling bin inspections

Thursday, 8 April 2021

Cr Belinda Moloney, Chair of the Circular Economy Portfolio

Thank you to all members of our community who are making the effort to recycle. These latest figures are encouraging. Soft plastic packaging accounts for about 40 per cent of recycling bin contamination, so this is an area we can still improve. Soft plastics are a significant barrier to the recycling process, as they jam up machinery. Rather than placing soft plastics in your yellow bin, please recycle this material at participating supermarkets. And even better, we encourage all residents to limit use of single use plastics wherever possible – for example, by using reusable containers and shopping bags.

Director City Services Guy Wilson-Browne

Is the City undertaking yellow bin inspections? If so, could I please request details around the inspections? How long have the inspections been running, and how long are they scheduled to continue?

The kerbside recycling bin inspection program has been operating since 2017. The inspection program forms part of our community recycling education program, which aims to reduce contamination in household recycling and garden organics bins.

What are officers looking for?

The inspection program sees officers receive live images of material being emptied from the bin into the recycle truck. The types of contamination that the officers are looking for include bagged material, polystyrene, soft plastics and other non-recyclable items. It provides a valuable insight into the recycling knowledge and behaviours of residents. This information is used for communication and education programs to reduce contamination.

How many bins have been ‘stickered’ in this time?

The Working for Victoria program has temporarily allowed the program to be expanded from one team to four. The teams inspect between 1000 and 1500 kerbside bin each day. The number of bins stickered range between 6 per cent and 10 per cent.

How many households did City officers liaise with regarding their recycling in 2020?

About 95 per cent of residents who receive an education sticker subsequently substantially reduce contamination in their bins. This is a great result and shows residents are keen to learn how to play their part in recycling correctly.

Since January 2020, have any residents been fined or had their waste services altered by the City as a result of poor recycling?

There have been no fines issued and no changes to service.

Does the City have a policy for how to deal with households that repeatedly place contaminants in recycling?

Our focus is on educating the community and providing residents with the information and encouragement to make positive changes to their waste collection.

What is the current contamination rate in kerbside recycling?

The current contamination rate is 16.7 per cent by weight in residential kerbside recycling.

How does this compare to the contamination rates seen during the COVID-19 pandemic?

The contamination rate by weight has fallen from late last year, where it averaged 17.35 per cent.
It is also down significantly on the rate initially seen after the City’s kerbside recycling service resumed in December 2019, when it topped 35 per cent.

How do recycling habits appear to be changing in Geelong?

There is a higher community awareness of the RedCycle soft plastics recycling program. Soft plastic packaging can be dropped off at participating supermarkets. This low-density and flimsy plastic packaging material cannot be recycled through the comingled kerbside recycling bins, as it jams up machinery during the sorting process.

Page last updated: Thursday, 8 April 2021