Fears of illegal dumping and smelly neighbourhoods
By Matt Male
THERE’S been fierce opposition against the Bass Coast Shire Council’s new three-bin system, set to start within a month.
Residents fear waste bins will overflow and the stench of 100 nappies sitting in a bin will overpower neighbourhoods.
The smell could even reach the noses of the Bass Coast Shire councillors at the Council Chambers in Wonthaggi.
Council argues it’s good for the environment but residents say the community consultation hasn’t been good enough.
The Jacksons are a family of four in Inverloch, who moved to the area last week after living in Wonthaggi.
They’d rather make a good impression with their neighbours and not stink out their houses with two-year-old Harry’s nappies.
Mother Julie Jackson says baby Harry goes through seven nappies a day. After two weeks, her 120L waste bin will be containing the smell of almost 100 nappies.
The primary school teacher could change to cloth nappies, but she says it’s a hygiene issue.
“I can see what they’re trying to do, but it’s just going to lead to further problems of people, I think, illegally dumping rubbish,” Ms Jackson said.
“Hygienically, the bin not being taken for two weeks is pretty gross. The stench, it’s bad enough with one week’s worth of nappies, let alone two weeks.”
Ms Jackson’s keen to see the waste bin be continued to be emptied weekly and the organics bin emptied fortnightly.
“My kids have veggies every night, but a few peels from potatoes and a carrot, I don’t need that gone every week,” she said.
“I need the 50 dirty rotten nappies gone because they’re reeking outside my house.
“I don’t know whether their aim is to get people to be switching to cloth nappies for the environment, but they’re not mums. They’re not busy mums trying to wash cloth nappies and dry and get rid of poo stains.”
The Jackson family jumps on the rubbish in their bin before bin night because there’s not enough room. After two weeks, it’s likely they’ll be carrying the bins with pegs on their noses.
They can order another landfill bin, but at $132.50 a year, it doesn’t come cheap and it will be emptied the same day, leaving two bins smelling of nappies.
For bigger families, Ms Jackson doesn’t know how they will cope. One of Julie’s friends is about to have twins and Julie says she can’t imagine what it’s going to look or smell like.
“People are going to be running out of room and just dumping it on the road.
“It’s just going to lead to further environmental problems. I get that most of the waste is organic or can be made into compost, but clear all three bins weekly if they want people to be using it and using it efficiently.”
She hopes once people start sorting their rubbish out into the organics bin, some will start using the compost on their own garden.
The Jacksons aren’t alone, on Facebook and via email and post, the Sentinel-Times’ has received many complaints about the new bin system.
In a brochure to residents, council says residents can prevent nappy odour by storing the bin in the shade, double bagging nappies, flushing waste into the toilet before putting the nappy in the bin and using odour removal products such as odour removing crystals or bin fresheners.
In a letter to residents with the new three bins, Mayor Cr Pamela Rothfield said dumping waste in landfill is expensive.
The Environmental Protection Authority hits council with an annual bill of $260,000 and it’s costing $1.8 million to create more landfill room at Grantville Landfill and Waste Transfer Station.
She quoted figures from studies that say up to 69 per cent of an average household’s waste bin is organic waste.
“Just as we have learned to sort our recycling products over the years, we will also learn to sort our organic waste,” Mayor Cr Rothfield said in the letter.
“We know that change bring challenges, but we ask you to please be patient whilst you get used to our new bin system.
“In the long run, the rewards for the future of our community will be all worth the effort, and far outweigh the inconvenience.”
The new three bin system starts Monday, September 4.