Hobsons Bay council officers are conducting audits of bins put out for kerbside collection, slapping stickers on those containing unaccepted items and refusing to collect them.

It follows this month’s roll-out of the council’s four-bin recycling service, comprising new food and garden waste and glass bins in addition to existing garbage and recycling bins.

Non-compliant light green lidded bins were last week slapped with a sticker stating: “Your food and garden waste bin wasn’t collected because it contains …”

This was followed by one or more ticks next to a list of unacceptable items including compostable and biodegradable bags, pet droppings, food containers and packaging, nappies and wipes, logs larger than 30 centimetres, metal, glass, plastic, cardboard, coffee pods, teabags, ash and soil.

Yellow lidded recycling bins are also being checked.

Some items that previously went in the yellow bin will no longer be accepted, with the council’s website stating: “Hobsons Bay is partnering with a local processor that has strict, high standards for what it can and can’t recycle locally.”

Unaccepted items include milk cartons, coated or waxed coffee cups and plastic codes 3 to 7.

Mayor Colleen Gates said the audits of bins on nature strips would be carried out for the next six weeks.

“For those households who received a sticker and didn’t get their bin emptied, council will send a truck within two business days to empty the bin and the resident can work on getting it right for the next time,” she said.

“Council will not be able to continue sending a spare truck to collect non-compliant bins and households may be asked in future to take contaminants out of their bin in order to have them collected.

“Often, the wrong items in bins can contaminate the whole truck, sending the whole load to landfill.
“This is more environmentally damaging, wastes the recycling efforts of others and costs our ratepayers more money as landfill is more expensive.”

Following Star Weekly’s report on health concerns raised by residents due to bin liners being banned in the food bins, the council on Sunday said “after double checking with our food and garden waste contractors that they can manage the volume they have advised us they will accept one or two layers of newspaper or paper towel” used to wrap food waste.

Williamstown resident Jenny Toon said other councils successfully allowed compostable bin liners.

“I have come from the City of Greater Bendigo where we have very successfully operated a green bin system, collected fortnightly, using bright green compostable bin liners – apparently the same as Macedon Shire,” she said.

“This system has won wide acclaim and reduced rubbish landfill and other environmental indices.”
Another resident Maria Boni said she was concerned less items could be recycled under the new system.

“Only symbols 1 and 2 can be recycled and all the others go into the rubbish,” she said.

“I work for a food-packaging company and our trays and tubs are symbol 5 which are recyclable – but we cannot do that. This does not make sense.”