By Stella Tzobanakis
Scavengers targeting hard rubbish left out on Brimbank streets for the annual collection face being fined, the council has warned.
Brimbank infrastructure and city services director Neil Whiteside said it was illegal for scavengers to remove material from nature strips.
“Once the material is placed out for collection it becomes the property of council,” he said.
Mr Whiteside said residents needed to ask their neighbours for permission to remove items left on nature strips.
And he urged residents to dob-in scavengers by contacting the council.
He said noting details such as items removed, time and place, car registration numbers and vehicle types could help identify illegal dumping or scavengers.
Mr Whiteside said the council collected almost 3500 tonnes of hard rubbish during the yearly collection, which costs about $1.3 million annually.
This year’s collection ends on August 11.
Mr Whiteside said there had been a noticeable improvement in the segregation of recyclable items from general waste over the years.
But there had been an increase in scrap metal scavenging, including the destruction of electrical appliances to extract their scrap metal, which “often leaves a mess to be cleaned up”.
Among items commonly left out that could not be collected were paints and gas cylinders – they can be taken to the council’s resource recovery centre on Stadium Drive in Keilor Park and disposed of at no cost.
“Building waste from home renovations are not-acceptable items that are also sometimes placed out for collection,” he said.
Mr Whiteside said items being placed out too early was also becoming a problem, creating unsightly amenity issues throughout Brimbank.
The hard rubbish service was started as a way to provide residents with an opportunity to dispose of unwanted household waste unsuitable for the regular kerbside collection service.
Items such as steel, e-waste and mattresses can be recycled or reused. General waste that cannot be recycled or reused is sent to landfill.