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85 cubic metres of compost wasted after single act of contamination at Cooma Landfill

Sharon Kelley17 March 2021
Contaminated waste in organic compost at Cooma Landfill.

Eighty-five cubic metres of compost was wasted after the discovery of contamination in food organics and garden organics (FOGO) compost at Cooma Landfill. Photo: Snowy Monaro Regional Council Facebook.

Thanks to the inappropriate use of a green bin, staff at Cooma Landfill were forced to dump 85 cubic metres of future compost into landfill last week.

A canvas bag filled with dirty needles and other intravenous items was discovered in the Cooma Landfill compost farm, wasting dozens of hours of work, thousands of litres of water, hundreds of kilograms of fertiliser, and the recycling efforts of residents with a single act of contamination.

Workers sorting food organics and garden organics (FOGO) green bins also removed a microwave, a blender, an esky, a plastic bag full of dirty nappies, a door, tangled old wire, a cut-up couch, and countless shopping bags, recyclables and logs.

Snowy Monaro Regional Council’s waste operations team members must remove these contaminants by hand, putting them at high risk when dangerous items are mixed in. Cooma residents have subsequently been urged to ensure they are using their green bins properly.


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“Incidents like last week’s discovery are costing ratepayers significant amounts of money in wasted time and resources,” said Snowy Monaro Regional Council Mayor Peter Beer.

“The vast majority of Cooma residents do the right thing with their green bins. However, the minority who throw rubbish, recycling and even this dangerous biohazardous waste into their green bins jeopardise the community’s hard work.”

Green FOGO bins are only for waste that comes from a plant or animal in a natural state.

Residents can use FOGO green bins for food scraps including cooked meat and bones; garden waste, including untreated wood no larger than kindling; paper towels; serviettes and tissues; and pizza boxes.

For further information on waste, recycling, FOGO and other rubbish disposal in the region, visit the Snowy Monaro Regional Council waste and recycling page.

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