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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 8 Hansard (26 June) . . Page.. 2221..


MS MacDONALD (continuing):

Mr Speaker, I rise today to speak about one of the initiatives of ACT No Waste-the Chifley bio-bins organics trial. From 9 August 2000 until 27 June 2001, a trial was conducted in Chifley which focused on the collection of food and kitchen waste using a third bin.

The main aim of the trial was to determine if an organic collection service was able to effectively separate organics into a stream for reprocessing, thereby reducing the levels of domestic waste going into landfill. In the ACT, 52 per cent of the contents of domestic garbage bins is made up of food and kitchen wastes. That amounts to 23,450 tonnes.

Whilst the bins were designed mainly for the collection of food and kitchen waste, small amounts of garden prunings, lawn clippings and leaves were also collected. Larger amounts of garden waste were not collected because of the scale of garden waste generated in Canberra-being the garden city. That is, over 90,000 tonnes of waste is delivered to recycling services in Canberra each year, which is double the amount of garbage collected in Canberra.

The objectives of the trial were (1) to trial the separate collection of food and kitchen waste for reprocessing; (2) to investigate the amount of food and kitchen waste generated by a suburb containing approximately 1,000 residences, and monitor seasonal variations; (3) to determine the viability of separately collecting food and kitchen waste from the residual garbage stream and reduce the frequency of residual waste collections; and (4) to process the material into a reusable product which meets Australian Standard 4454-1999.

Chifley was chosen as the most suitable suburb for the trial because it had the closest to average demographics in household numbers, age distribution, incomes, et cetera. It also fitted the requirement of having between 800 and 1,200 households. Single households in Chifley were supplied with an 85 litre mobile bin, while multi-unit complexes were provided with 240 litre mobile bins, for shared use. As well as the outside mobile bins, each household was provided with a kitchen tidy bin.

Results from the trial showed that approximately 60 per cent of Chifley residents regularly used the maroon-lidded bins provided to separate their household organic waste from their normal domestic waste. On average, about four tonnes of organic waste was collected each week. Whilst contamination levels in the bio-bins were low at the start of the trial, they increased during the latter months, and this was of concern.

All of the Chifley residents-that includes myself because I participated in this trial-are to be thanked and commended for participating in the Chifley bio-bin trial. Their feedback has been instrumental in the evaluation of the trial. Whilst the trial demonstrated that 60 per cent of organic materials could potentially be recovered by a third bin for Canberra residences, the cost of providing a separate bio-bin service could be better utilised by paying for reprocessing of the waste in the garbage bins-and it would be fiscally irresponsible to move to have a third bin provided around the entirety of Canberra.

The Department of Urban Services recently conducted an expression of interest process to try to identify suitable technology for reprocessing of collected domestic waste. A number of options were proposed, but most were found to be still developing, and


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