What you said in our survey

Thursday 05 December 2019

Back in October, 407 of you completed our survey and told us what you really, really think about the Yarra Waste Revolution.

Our survey asked for your comments about the changes we’ve made to your waste and recycling services.

As so many of you responded, we can be confident what you told us is representative of the whole area.

What you have told us will help shape any expansion of this service. Councillors will be considering over the summer how and when the trial will be expanded.


Your thoughts about the changes

Almost 80% of survey respondents told us that they think the Yarra Waste Revolution is an improvement in managing waste. Over 90% said they understand why this trial is happening.

We were very pleased to hear that 85% of you believe that your actions are contributing to a positive outcome.

And over 80% of you said you intend to take more actions to reduce the amount of waste you create. We have lots of information about minimising your waste to help you.

You also told us:

  • Reducing waste is important to the environment – 77% of you agreed or strongly agreed
  • I am supportive of separating my waste collection – 89% of you agreed or strongly agreed
  • The waste trial has had positive benefits for the environment – 79% of you agreed or strongly agreed
  • I am more conscious about the amount of waste I create – 84% of you agreed or strongly agreed

You told us your thoughts on the bins in the trial and the frequency of collection, whether you changed bin sizes and how we could better meet your households’ needs, including what you thought of the information we have been providing to you.

All of this information will be considered by Councillors when they look at the expansion of the trial.

How you’re finding the changes

More than 88% of survey respondents were supportive of separating their waste for collection.

Over 90% of you agreed that separating your glass for recycling is easy.

This drops down to 77% when it came to sorting your food and green waste for composting.

And less than two thirds of recipients agreed that changes to what is now accepted in their yellow-lidded recycling bins are easy to manage.

Most of you (77%) know how to find out more information about sorting your waste – but if at any time you have any questions, please refer to our comprehensive online information or contact us at revolution@yarracity.vic.gov.au or call us on 9205 5555.

How you’re changing

You told us how the changes to your waste and recycling collection have affected you.

One respondent told us: “The trial has altered our habits. We buy milk in glass and don’t buy punnets as they can’t be recycled. We need more options for buying plastic free. For example, at Gleadell Street market you can only buy strawberries in punnets. Council has made this market plastic bag free how about punnet free too?” Thanks for this feedback. We’ve passed it on to our Compliance and Waste Minimisation teams to follow up.

Another said: “I love that the food waste can include dairy, meat, onions, citrus etc. – things that I can’t put into my worm farm.” We’re happy to help. If you want to compost at home read more about compost bins and worm farms.

You also told us you’d like to find out where the food and green waste that is composted is going. It gets sent to a facility in Dandenong for what they call in-vessel composting, which is the biological degradation of organic wastes within an enclosed, controlled and monitored aerobic environment.

Tricky plastics

You said using your yellow-lidded bins and recycling plastics correctly were the hardest parts of the revolution.

We’re being strict about what you can recycle in your yellow-lidded bin as we’re only collecting plastic we know can be recycled here in Australia.

It can be confusing as plastic containers or bags have the recycling symbol on them – but that doesn’t mean they can actually be recycled. Read more about what the recycling symbol means.

You told us:

  • “The recycling of plastic products is the most confusing area for my household … We find we are putting more plastic products in the landfill bin then we did before the trial.”
  • “I’m concerned that I’m putting a lot of items in general rubbish!”
  • “It was hard to feel positive about the trial as our landfill bin became much more full. This is because the trial showed us that a lot of what we thought we were recycling, could not actually be recycled.”

We know it’s hard throwing out plastic packaging that you think should be recycled. But we are only collecting what we know can be and is being recycled here in Australia.

It is frustrating and disappointing that not more can be recycled. Plastic punnets were originally accepted if they had the number 1 in the recycling symbol, but our processor has said they are too difficult to separate so are no longer accepted.

Remember, if it’s not on the list, it doesn’t go in your yellow-lidded bin. Check our full list online.

Many of you asked how you can recycle soft plastics – and the answer is in the REDcycle bins at your local supermarket. The best thing though, if you can, is to avoid them in the first place.

And we agree that supermarkets and other businesses need to reduce their use of plastic and other non-recyclable packaging.

Behind the scenes

Several of you talked about wanting to find out more about what happens in the recycling process.

We have photos on Facebook of recycling being processed at our recycling processor Australian Paper Recovery in Laverton. Please take a look and let us know if you have any questions about the sorting or recycling process at revolution@yarracity.vic.gov.au.

We are also looking at how we can get some of you along to our recycling processor in the New Year. Look out for more about this.

Your other feedback

You also told us: “I am very glad that this revolution is happening. Many other countries have been doing this for years and Australia needs to catch up.”

And: “Such a great initiative that I’m happy Yarra City Council has taken on. Proud to be a part of it and trying to make this a better planet.”

We’re proud that you’ve embraced the revolution so thoroughly. We couldn’t have done it without you.

We’ve got our Facebook group here to help you, as well as our email newsletter. If you haven’t already, sign up to these and talk to us and your community if you have any questions.

Finally, we offered a prize to encourage you to do our survey and Emma Bailey and Katrina Webb each won a $100 Coles Group or Myer Gift Card for completing the survey.

Read more about the Yarra Waste Revolution and find all our information to help you recycle right.

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