Food organics, garden organics

Article image - Food organics, garden organics The caricatures created by local author and council waste collection employee Trevor Nichols and illustrated by his wife Lyndsey

Cooma-Monaro Shire Council and the broader community were facing challenges due to an increase in the amount of solid waste generated and the growth of demand for sustainable practices.

To solve this problem, Council is reinforcing the NSW EPA’s ‘Waste Less Recycle More’ message by reducing the amount of waste going to landfill.  

A program of initiatives has engaged residents in reducing the volume of waste needing to be managed.

A secondary benefit is the raising of community awareness resulting from these initiatives.

Introducing a third bin – to enable kerbside collection of food, garden and organic waste is part of this program.

In the first four months of operation with the new three-bin system Council has been able to divert around 260 tonnes of food and garden waste to the “Coompost Farm” for processing.

In addition to this council has collected an additional 39 tonnes of dry recyclables and landfilled 112 tonnes less of residual waste based on the same period for 2014, the equivalent of around 14 full truckloads of waste.

The compost, known locally as “Coompost”, can be used by the community for food growing, for use on Council parks and gardens, as in the agricultural sector.

Cooma-Monaro Shire Council’s goal is to achieve the EPA target of 70 percent diversion from Landfill by 2021.

The roll-out of the new three-bin system and the transition from a single waste bin to a fully operational three-bin system, first with the introduction of recycling and now the food and garden waste service has been exceptionally well received.

Negative comments have been extremely minimal to date, with the vast majority of the residents really embracing the new system.

This is a completely new service for most of the community and Council found it to be the smoothest process they have embarked upon.

Council rolled out bins, kitchen caddies and biodegradable food/organic waste bags to 3100 homes – over 9000 items being delivered to our householders as part of this project.

Council had conducted a 100-household kerbside trial for two years prior to the bin rollout to gauge the benefits of the services and also the likely acceptance by the community members involved.

In addition to this council had been trialling with the manufacturing of compost for the past seven years.

The branding of the new waste disposal vehicle includes caricatures created by local author and council waste collection employee Trevor Nichols and illustrated by his wife Lyndsey. Trevor’s books are aimed at helping children with the ‘Waste Less Recycling More’ message.  Trevor and Lyndsey also conduct school visits to promote this message.  

The character images from these books were placed on the side of the new waste collection vehicle depicting the characters in a Cooma centric setting featuring Cooma’s avenue of flags, Centennial Park, ScrapMart and Coompost along with a ‘Waste Less Recycle More’ message.