Revolutionising waste in Yarra

Thursday 19 December 2019

Drawing of bins on red background

Our trial changes to waste and recycling in Abbotsford are going so well we’re considering rolling this new service out to the rest of Yarra.

Since June this year, 1,300 households in Abbotsford have been participating in the Yarra Waste Revolution and sorting their waste and recycling into four bins:

  • glass collection
  • food and garden waste collection
  • recycling collection
  • garbage collection.

Since then, 105 tonnes of food and green waste have been diverted from landfill and 63 tonnes of recycling and 46 tonnes of glass have been recycled here in Australia. (Figures correct to 17 December 2019.)

We’ve surveyed over 400 residents in the trial area and almost 80% told us they think these changes are an improvement in managing waste.

Almost 90% support separating their waste for collection and 79% agree that the trial has had positive benefits for the environment.

One residents told us: “I’m loving the changes – and think it’s really important to make them.”

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

Yarra Mayor, Councillor Misha Coleman, said: “We started this trial because recycling in Australia is in trouble. It’s time we did things very, very differently and councils like ours are providing the leadership to drive change in this industry.

“With the fantastic cooperation of our Abbotsford residents, since June we’ve been working to help fix the recycling industry, create local jobs and make sure we keep resources circulating, which are lost when they enter landfill.

“We also want to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and reduce pressure on landfill.

“Now we’re in a position to consider expanding the service throughout Yarra.”

In February 2020, Councillors will consider proposals to roll out this new service across Yarra. The state government will be releasing a circular economy policy shortly that may impact how and when our service is rolled out, should Council determine that a roll out across Yarra is appropriate.

I’m not in the trial area, what can I do?

Household recyclables in Yarra are being collected and processed as usual so please keep recycling and putting your bins out for collection.

But you can still play your part by being mindful of the products you buy and the amount of waste you generate.

We also need to recycle the right way to reduce contamination in our bins. You can also help by choosing products made with recycled materials.

Read more tips for recycling right in Yarra and reducing the amount of waste you create.

Just over 50% of the average waste (garbage) bin is food and garden waste. Find out how you can help reduce your household’s food waste, plus Sustainability Victoria has more tips

We also have a number of recycling drop off points in Yarra where you can recycle items not collected in your recycling bin. We are also collecting glass separately at our Clifton Hill drop off point. Read more about our drop off points

What are some of the issues in recycling today?

Glass can create contamination in kerbside recycling bins. Broken glass damages the quality of the other materials, including plastics, paper, cardboard and aluminium.

By removing glass from the other recycling it is better quality and more valuable to processors. This will help diversify the market for recyclable materials and help develop domestic markets for recycled products.

A separate stream of glass will create a sustainable supply of quality glass for reuse, with 90% of the glass being made into new glass containers and the rest replacing virgin sand in the manufacture of asphalt.

The higher quality commingled recycling can be recycled back into the domestic processing market, instead of being exported.

The lack of available landfill space in Victoria, particularly in metropolitan Melbourne is adding further pressure to the waste and recycling industry. Taking food waste out of the waste (garbage) bin will dramatically reduce the amount of material going to landfill.


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