The Alexandrina Council’s decision to change to a fortnightly bin collection system is a bold move that could become the norm for rubbish collection across the country.
The change to move away from the traditional weekly general waste (blue bin) collection has been driven by the ever increasing cost of dumping that rubbish in landfill.
And with research showing that almost 70% of the material placed in the district’s blue bins could be recycled through either the yellow or green bins (which carry only a minor dumping fee to council), it is little wonder the authority has moved to change the system.
There will certainly be an adjustment period for some residents and business owners who may be inconvenienced by the decision to collect all three bins on a fortnightly basis as opposed to the current system of a weekly pick-up for blue bins and a monthly pick-up of the others.
But with open lines of communication and a spirit of understanding on both sides, most difficulties can be overcome. Mayor Keith Parkes has said weekly collection will be reintroduced at peak periods in the summer to help residents and holidaymakers.
What is essential is a long-running, well funded and professional public awareness campaign from the council to educate the wider community to ensure that more materials are placed in the correct bins. The 70% figure for recyclable or compostable material being sent to landfill through the blue bins is a disgrace.
Clearly too many people don’t understand the system. There will always be a small percentage of the population who don’t care and will dump anything in any bin, but most people – if given the opportunity – will try and do the right thing.
The changes will be implemented during the next financial year so the council has a long lead-in time to educate its ratepayers about the new system and make it a smooth and successful transition.
It is obvious that rubbish collection has come a long way in recent years and is a far cry from every household having a single bin into which everything was dumped and ended up in landfill. Now that the decision has been made the most important thing is to bring the community along with the change.