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Saturday, August 6, 2022

HOBSONS BAY: Recycling more food waste

All households in Hobsons Bay are invited to register for a large-scale trial of paper bags to help recycle food scraps.

From February, any household that wants to participate can collect a free six-month supply of compostable paper bags from local libraries and community centres.

Mayor of Hobsons Bay, Cr Peter Hemphill, said the city-wide paper bag trial was one of many incentives Council was trialing to make it easier for residents to recycle food organics and reduce landfill.

“With up to a third of some household rubbish bins made up of food scraps, recycling more food waste is a great opportunity to reduce our landfill volumes,” said Cr Hemphill.

“By sending less to landfill we reduce harmful emissions and reduce costs to Council and residents.”

Since introducing the food and garden organics bin service in Hobsons Bay, residents have been recycling their food waste loose, or wrapped in a few sheets of newspaper or paper towel.

However, in a recent survey of Hobsons Bay residents, 57 per cent of respondents said they would use a compostable bag.

To manage contamination risks, only Hobsons Bay branded paper bags can be used, and newspaper and paper towel continue to be allowed.

Council’s food and garden organics partner, Veolia, supports the paper bag trial as a way for residents to manage recycling their food and to ensure Hobsons Bay continues to achieve the highest possible rate of diversion from landfill.

“Through testing, we know that Council-provided paper bags compost in our in-vessel process at the same rate as other materials,” said Steven Marshall, State Manager, Resource Recovery, Veolia.

“Having an easily identifiable Hobsons Bay-branded bag also allows staff on the picking line to quickly recognise an accepted, non-contaminating bag.”

Veolia doesn’t allow plastic bags of any kind as they create challenges with contamination.

All households participating in the paper bag trial will receive two types of paper bags to test at home. Residents’ feedback will help to assess the effect of using paper bags on food recycling and help inform decisions about potential options.

Council ran a small-scale pilot at the end of 2021 in which about 200 households tested one type of paper bag. Feedback from participants so far has been very positive.

“It has made recycling food scraps much easier and cleaner. It’s helped me recycle more and encouraged me to empty my [kitchen caddy] more frequently,” said one pilot participant.

More than 5000 households have already joined the trial. All households in Hobsons Bay are encouraged to join.

To register for the paper bag trial, visit www.hobsonsbay.vic.gov.au/paperbagtrial

With the recent move to fortnightly collections of food and garden organics bins, paper bags are one of many incentives Council is trialling to increase the amount of food and garden waste that’s diverted from landfill.

Council has also expanded the Compost Revolution program, and a free drive-through food and garden waste drop-off is being trialled while households adjust to the changed frequency.