Organics collection for rural households

Organic waste collection

The Victorian Government has introduced statewide kerbside reforms as part of its circular economy policy and plan, Recycling Victoria: A new economy. One of the outcomes of this reform involves mandating organics collection within local governments for all properties. At its meeting on June 26, 2023, the City of Greater Bendigo Council decided to extend the City’s organic collection service to all households in Greater Bendigo in preparation for these changes. 

This means that 5,633 rural households in Greater Bendigo who currently do not receive the service will be included in the service from November 2023.  It is important to note that rural households will not be charged for the new service in the current financial year.  Charges for the service will only commence in the 2024/2025 financial year.

The City’s organics collection service has been successfully operating in urban areas of Greater Bendigo since September 2016. In more recent years the service has been further extended to the townships of Heathcote, Elmore, Goornong and Axedale. It is now time to provide an organics collection service for all remaining households in Greater Bendigo.

Therefore, in November a new organics kerbside bin, a kitchen caddy and a roll of compostable caddy liners along with a range of information will be delivered to your property.

From November 2023 to February 2024, your new organics bin will be collected fortnightly on the opposite week to your recycling collection. Commencing Monday February 5, 2024 this will change and your organics bin will be collected weekly, and your general waste bin will be collected fortnightly.

The change in collection frequency follows a service review completed in 2022, which found 46 per cent of material household general waste bins should either be in the recycling bin or the organics bin, and not be going to landfill. Of this, 28 per cent was organic in nature. 

As a result of this review, in early 2023 Council agreed to swap the collection of general waste bins from weekly to fortnightly, and the collection of green organics bins from fortnightly to weekly. A commitment was made to review properties without the organics collection service so that the service would still meet the State Government’s requirements and could be provided consistently for all properties in Greater Bendigo.

By making the switch to when general waste and organics bins are collected, the City’s aim is to reduce the amount of general waste being collected and stop about 7,000 tonnes of organic material and 4,500 tonnes of recyclable material per year from going to landfill.

Frequently asked questions

Why is the City of Greater Bendigo extending the organic waste collection service to all properties in rural Greater Bendigo?
  • The service complies with the Victorian Government State-wide Kerbside Reform and Recycling Victoria Policy. 
  • The City of Greater Bendigo is committed to reducing waste to landfill by effectively managing all forms of waste. There are currently 5,633 rural properties that do not have an organics collection service. Providing this service will help achieve this.
  • The costs associated with sending waste to landfill will continue to increase which means the less waste we send to landfill the less it will cost the community.
  • Kerbside bin audits undertaken by the City in July 2023 found that over 46 per cent of the contents of general waste bins in rural properties is organic (food and garden material) in nature which can be composted and reused rather than going straight to landfill.
  • Organic material placed in landfill is the biggest cause of dangerous methane gas and other greenhouse gases, a significant contributor to climate change.
  • The City’s organics service is saving approximately 14,500 tonnes of organic material each year from going to landfill. Instead it is being turned into reusable compost which is a great outcome for the environment. 
Who will receive the kerbside organics collection service?

All remaining 5,633 properties in rural Greater Bendigo who are not currently receiving an organic waste collection service.

How will the new three bin system work?

Rural residents will receive a new 240 litre (lime green lid) organics bin which will bring the total number of bins at your property to three. An information guide, kitchen caddy and compostable caddy liners will also be delivered with your new 240 litre (lime green lid) organics bin to help you understand the system and to avoid contaminating the organics service.

What can I put in my lime green lid organics bin?

A simple thing to remember is if it didn’t grow, it doesn’t go in your organics bin!

You can put all your food scraps, garden material, dry leaves and debris from fuel reduction efforts around your property, paper and raw cardboard materials in your new organics bin, including: 

  • Cooked and uncooked food
  • Meat, poultry, and bones
  • Fruit and vegetable scraps
  • Eggs and eggshells
  • Fish and seafood
  • Bark, prunings and small branches (must be no bigger than 100mm in diameter and no longer than the length of your organics bin)
  • Non-noxious weeds, lawn clippings and small plants
  • Timber (natural: untreated, unpainted, unstained)
  • Leaves, and dry fuel/debris
  • Wooden skewers, toothpicks and cutlery
  • Newspaper, paper towel and tissues
  • Shredded paper, soiled paper and raw cardboard
  • Dog poo (bagged in the green compostable liners)
  • Hair and animal fur
  • Paper bags

Please note the following items cannot go in your new organics bin:

  • Diseased plants and noxious weeds*
  • MDF, particle board or treated timber
  • Nappies
  • Clothing/textiles
  • “Biodegradable” products

*For more information about declared noxious weeds, please visit the Agriculture Victoria website. 

Will the collection of my general waste or recycling bins change?

From the week commencing Monday February 5, 2024, the City will swap the collection frequency of household general waste bins and organics bins. Your recycling bin collections will not change. 

From November 20, 2023 your collection will be:

  • FORTNIGHTLY collection of your organics bin
  • FORTNIGHTLY collection of your recycling bin
  • WEEKLY collection of your general waste bin

From Monday February 5, 2024, it will change to:

  • WEEKLY collection of your organics bin
  • FORTNIGHTLY collection of your recycling bin
  • FORTNIGHTLY collection of your general waste bin
Why is the City changing the frequency of general waste and organics bin collections in early 2024?

The City is making these changes:

  • To stop organic food and garden material from going to landfill and generating greenhouse gas emissions. Some households are still putting food and garden material in their general waste bin and the change will encourage people to use the correct bins 
  • To encourage and educate households to correctly sort the waste they create
  • To lessen the amount of general waste that will need to be transported to landfills outside of Greater Bendigo when the Eaglehawk Landfill reaches capacity in 2023 
  • The costs associated with sending waste to landfill will continue to increase which means the less waste we send to landfill the less it will cost the community
  • To achieve the aims of the Victorian Government’s circular economy policy and Recycling Victoria: A new economy plan and the actions of the City of Greater Bendigo’s Climate Change and Environment Strategy 2021-2026
When will I get my new lime green lid organics bin, kitchen caddy and compostable caddy liners?

You will receive your organics bin before the first collection commencing the week of Monday November 20, 2023.

Each household will receive:

  • 1 x 240 litre lime green lid organics bin
  • 1 x 8 litre kitchen caddy
  • 1 roll of 150 compostable caddy liners (approximately a 12 month supply)
  • 1 information booklet
Where should I put my kitchen caddy?

The kitchen caddy has been designed to sit in your kitchen to help you separate your food scraps for placement into the lime green lid organics bin along with any organic garden material you have. 

What are the compostable caddy liners made of?

The compostable caddy liners are made from corn starch and vegetable oils and breakdown in around 30 days when commercially composted. As the bags are designed to breakdown readily, they need to be stored in a dark, cool, dry place, so they last for the full year.

Here are some important tips to keep the caddy liners from splitting:

  • Store caddy liners in a dark, cool, dry place
  • Allow hot food to cool before placing it in the caddy liner
  • Place paper towel in the bottom of the caddy liner to soak up any liquid
  • Allow wet food to drain prior to placing in the caddy liner
Can I use other types of bags to line my kitchen caddy?

No. Only the compostable caddy liners provided by the City of Greater Bendigo can be used as plastic bags will not break down in the composting system and will contaminate the organics service.

To request additional compostable liners once the service commences please contact us or request them online.

What if I don’t produce any organic material from gardening?

The lime green lid organics bin is for a combination of garden, food, and other kitchen material like paper towel, tissues and even hair. You can use the lime green lid organics bin for just food scraps and other organic material even if you don’t garden.

What if I don’t produce enough food or garden organics to fill my bin?

Kerbside bin audits undertaken by the City in mid-2023 found that 46 per cent of the contents of general waste bins in rural properties was organic in nature. See page 2 for examples of organic material – some may surprise you! 

Even if you still produce very little organic material, it doesn’t matter how much or how little you have to put in your bin as it doesn’t need to be full for collection and every little bit of waste diverted from landfill counts.

I already compost my organic waste at home or have a worm farm. Can I continue to do this?

Yes, please do. People may find that the lime green lid organics bin allows them to compost a greater variety of food organics (e.g. egg shells, meat, bones, citrus and seafood) that are sometimes difficult to home compost.

What happens to the food and garden organics I put in my lime green lid organics bin?

Food and garden scraps collected in the lime green lid organics bin will be taken to an organics processing facility operated by Biomix in Stanhope to be turned into compost for re-use.

A new organics processing facility will be established in Huntly in late 2024. This will reduce the transport requirements of the organics collection service, making the process even more sustainable.

Can I get a smaller organics bin?

The City has 140 litre and 240 litre green organics bins available and there is no cost difference between the sizes.

You can easily arrange a smaller or larger organics bin online or by contacting us.

Can I get different size waste and recycling bins?

Recycling bins are currently available in 140lt, 240lt and 360lt capacity and there is no differentiation of the annual collection fee for recycling bins of any size.

The recommended general waste bin size is 140lt. This is the most cost effective and widely utilised size across Greater Bendigo. Prior to the change to a weekly collection of general waste bins, there will be an option to upsize to a 240lt bin. However, this is costly and will increase the waste management charges on your rates notice due to the Victorian Government’s landfill levy fees. We recommend reaching out to our team if you require support in utilising your 140lt general waste bin more effectively.

How much will the new organic waste collection cost the ratepayer?

The City will not charge residents in the new rural collection areas for the service until the 2024/2025 financial year.  We understand this is a big change for households, therefore we are providing a free trial period to allow time for households to adjust. 

The charges for this service will be determined in the City’s 2024/2025 budget. 

Are there any exemptions from the organic waste collection service?

Yes, an exemption will be available for those households that are able to comply with the City’s Kerbside Exemption Policy and can demonstrate that they are effectively managing all food and garden organic material on their property. 

Exemption applications for your property will not be accepted or processed until Monday May 6, 2024.

If your household is approved for an organics exemption, the collection of your general waste bin will still remain fortnightly from the week beginning Monday February 5, 2024 and the amount you are charged for the general waste service will not change.
 

Contact

If you have any questions about this project, please contact:

[email protected] 

1300 002 642