By Nathan Johnston

JUST when you thought it was safe to go to your letterbox… BANG! There it is. Your annual rates notice.
As soon as you see that disturbing figure, you ask yourself what you actually get for it.
The most obvious, and one of the most important, is your rubbish collection, provided you live in town.
Rubbish collection has changed dramatically, particularly in the past 20 years thanks to recycling, and for the most part, people have embraced the changes knowing that they’re doing the right thing by the planet.
Remember how quickly those little black plastic recycling crates became redundant? They were replaced with wheelie bins and then the even bigger 240-litre versions we have today.
In South Gippsland, 240 litre green waste bins have also been introduced, and while in winter they might not be needed every fortnight, they’ve been a handy addition.
In fact, residents in South Gippsland would have to be pleased with the system in place.
It suits my two adult and three children home, anyway.
We compost food scraps, the recycling bin is always chockers and the 120-litre weekly general waste bin is more than adequate, but that wasn’t always the case.
Across eight consecutive years, there was always at least one of our children in nappies, and nappies fill bins!
Every Tuesday night (bin night where I live), under the cloak of darkness, I’d have to sneak around the neighbourhood with a couple of garbage bags full of nappies looking to find a nearby bin with some air space.
Mine was already full and tighter than a wool press.
This was every week.
Under its new 10 year contract, Bass Coast Shire Council plans to introduce a fortnightly collection service of a 120 litre general waste bin, along with a weekly 240 litre compostable waste bin and continue the fortnightly 240 litre recycling service.
This will probably work well, except for families with babies.
Unless disposable nappies become compostable or recyclable, expect to see dozens of parents with fists full of garbage bags tip-toeing under the streetlights.