Free Green Waste Disposal Trial too costly to continue

Published on 13 October 2021


Northern Grampians Shire Council (NGSC) has determined that it will no longer continue with the free green waste disposal service to shire households this spring as the result of the initial trial in 2020 proved it uneconomical with insufficient community interest.

The free green waste disposal trial was conducted from 12 to 25 October 2020 after a motion was passed at Council’s unscheduled meeting on 21 September 2020 to investigate the feasibility of the model.

Council had hoped to engage 25 per cent of eligible households in the trial but actual participation was much lower with only 5.4 per cent of rateable properties taking up the initiative.

The trial revealed that the cost of processing green waste was close to 50 per cent more than anticipated at $45.65 per cubic metre. The higher processing cost was compounded by:

  • Receival of non-compliant green waste with a diameter greater than 10mm and inclusion of non-processable general waste in green waste drop offs impeding processing
  • Transport cost of green waste from other areas in the shire to St Arnaud (sole shire based green waste facility)

From the trial sample of participants, Council extrapolated that had 25 per cent of households participated, the cost of the trial in real terms would have been upwards of $114,000.

NGSC CEO, Ms Liana Thompson said the trial was a necessary but regrettably expensive exercise.

“We know from surveying the community that the concept of green waste disposal is very much wanted, and it forms part of our Waste Management Strategy and Action Plan to tackle this, but we have crunched the numbers from this trial, and it is very clear that we do not currently have the infrastructure required to process this type and quantity of waste efficiently to sustain this activity,” Ms Thompson explained.

NGSC Mayor Cr Murray Emerson added, “To implement a disposal program like this is going to come at a cost that we do not think is fair for our ratepayers to bear coming out of the pandemic.

“There is hope on the horizon though,” said Cr Emerson. “We were very fortunate earlier this year to be a grant recipient of the State Government’s Recycling Victoria Council’s Fund. The $80,000 of funding we received has helped us launch a research project with seven other councils to examine the flow of organic material in our region and whether a shared organics processing facility is a viable solution for keeping green waste out of our landfill.

“We will be able to provide further information on this exciting Council collaboration to everyone once the consultancy undertaking the study for us has finalised their report.”

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