Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 8 Hansard (26 June) . . Page.. 2226 ..
MS DUNDAS (continuing):
Therefore, my amendments, whilst supporting the gist of Ms MacDonald's motion, call on the government to recommence the bio-bin trial in Chifley and get it right this time. If the information is there identifying the problems, let us use that information to refine the trial. Let us modify the trial and start again with more information and more data-to make bio-bins workable not only in the suburb of Chifley. I would like to see the introduction of bio-bins in other Canberra suburbs, initially on a trial basis, preferably in North Canberra. There would be a greater contrast, a greater number of people using bio-bins in a different part of Canberra. We could see how it worked. Hopefully we would then have a broader understanding of how the community takes on the challenge of bio-bins and recycling of that waste.
With the possibility of tip fees increasing, we should be providing services to support the community to reduce, re-use and recycle. We cannot just make it harder for them to use the tip. We need to make it easier, at the other end, for them to dispose of their waste in a more environmentally aware manner. Bio-bins are an important part of that. We should not punish those who cannot compost, but encourage them to use bio-bins and other forms of reduce, recycle and re-use technology.
The bio-bins trial was a commendable part of what the ACT government was doing as part of the no waste by 2010 initiative, let us not now dismiss it. Let us use the information we have to make it work, and to make it broader. The year 2010 is just around the corner. We cannot delay action to make the goal of no waste a reality.
MR WOOD (Minister for Urban Services and Minister for the Arts) (11:01): This is an important debate. The current domestic collection system was introduced in 1994. At that time, with contracts coming to an end, it was timely to determine the best future options for domestic waste collection, to help us to meet the target of no waste by 2010.
The Chifley bio-bin trial was conducted to identify the potential to separate organic wastes, as one aspect of determining future services. The contract for future services is presently being examined. Timing was quite important, to see whether something should be repeated.
The Department of Urban Services also conducted an expression of interest process to identify potential technologies for the collection and reprocessing of domestic waste. A number of reprocessing options were proposed, including composting, anaerobic digestion and energy recovery. However, most technologies, then, were found to be not fully commercialised. There are risks in selecting a technology which is at that stage.
Whilst the Chifley trial demonstrated that 60 per cent of organic material could potentially be recovered by a third bin collection service, the cost of providing a separate bio-bin service is significant. It was therefore determined that a better overall result could be achieved through the future establishment of an appropriate reprocessing technology. We are still looking for that. The ACT government will continue to monitor evolving technologies and trends elsewhere, to identify the best future option for recovering household wastes from our residences.
Until a suitable reprocessing technology becomes viable, Canberra residents can still play their part in reducing waste by composting kitchen and food organics at home, and using the available recycling services. For example, the ACT community is already