20 March 2022

Nation-first trial of public bin for organic waste launches in Pambula

| Albert McKnight
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Bins next to a restaurant

A new recycling, general waste and FOGO public bin system has been set up at Wheelers Restaurant in Pambula. Photo: BVSC.

Bega Valley Shire Council is trialling a new public bin system incorporating general waste and recycling alongside the popular FOGO (Food Organics and Garden Organics) collection service.

It is reportedly the first trial of a public FOGO bin in Australia and has started at two eateries in the picturesque rural town of Pambula.

“The trial is a response to community demand for better public recycling bins that allow food scraps and compostable packaging to be separated from landfill waste,” council’s FOGO for Business project officer Rechelle Fisher said.

“Many of us are used to separating waste, recycling and FOGO organics at home and demand shows us people want to have the same choices with their public bins.”

The new bins have been set up at Wheelers Seafood Restaurant and Café and Wild Rye’s Baking Co; two businesses that mainly use compostable and recyclable packaging.

Ms Fisher said the bins are “super easy to use” and have clear signage showing people how to choose the right one.

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“Increased consumer demand for responsible packaging has led to more businesses seeking compostable alternatives and with the NSW government single use plastics ban coming in June, this number will continue to grow,” she said.

“This trial will illustrate what public use bins will look like as our society moves further away from single-use plastic packaging.”

The bin trial will run for three months and council will gauge its effectiveness. There are hopes to expand it to other locations if it is successful.

The NSW government will prohibit the supply of lightweight plastic bags from 1 June 2022, while the supply of items such as single-use plastic straws, cutlery, cotton buds and plates and bowls will be prohibited from 1 November 2022.

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“This legislation is expected to stop 2.7 billion single-use items from ending up in our natural environment and waterways over the next 20 years and is a game-changer in the fight against plastic waste across our state,” Environment Minister Matt Kean said late last year.

According to the Australian Plastics Recycling Survey, about 1.3 billion single-use plastic bags were used in 2018-2019.

The public-facing FOGO and recycling bin trial is partly funded by the FOGO for Business grant as part of the Environmental Protection Authority’s Waste Less Recycle More initiative, funded from the waste levy.

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Love this idea! How often will it be cleared? How will they stop the flies and smell? Will the bin need regular washing?

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